NOTE: On January 1, 2013 Total Rewards changed the Tier Points required for the various tiers. Please read my post about the changes. You can also see an updated Total Rewards overview in my Total Rewards Overview post.
There was a time when getting comps was pretty easy, but how the casino decided what comps you would get was a bit of a mystery. The system was open to a lot of personal discretion from pit bosses and hosts. Today, most process is a bit more transparent … to a certain extent. Today, it is easier to claim your comps, too, but those comps tend to be less valuable.
There are 2 main players clubs in Las Vegas.
Total Rewards and Mlife.
Total Rewards covers the Caesars Entertainment properties – Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s, Flamingo, Bally’s, Paris, Imperial Palace (now The Quad) and Rio. Total Rewards is also used at the numerous Caesars Entertainment properties across the US.
Mlife covers the MGM Resorts International properties – MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Signature at MGM Grand, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay and a few casinos outside Las Vegas.
Wynn and the Venetian each have their own club and most of the ‘locals’ casinos that you might have heard of are part of Boyd’s BConnected or Station’s Boarding Pass players clubs.
The basic process for tracking your play is the same with all players clubs.
For table games like blackjack and craps, present your card to the dealer when you buy in.
For slot and video poker machines, put your card in the card reader before you start playing.
Today, I am just going to cover the Total Rewards system.
You can sign up for the Total Rewards card in person at any Caesars Entertainment casino or online at https://www.totalrewards.com/Program/
If you want to earn comps, the casino needs to track your play. To do this at a table game, present your card to the dealer when you sit down at a table game. The pit boss will come over, say hello and take your card. They will note how much you bought in for, give you your card back and say “good luck”. They will check your bet size every so often in order to gauge your average bet size. How they compute your comps for table games is a little bit of a mystery, but it is based upon the theoretical house advantage of the game you are playing, your average bet size and the duration of your session. How much you win or lose is rarely a factor.
It is a bit easier to track when you are playing a machine. Before you start playing the machine, put your Total Rewards card in the card reader. The card reader should light up and the display next to it should say “Hello [your first name]” and give a quick readout of your current Tier Credits and Reward Credits. If you have already played that day it should also let you know how many credits you have already earned that day. As you play, that little display will show you a countdown and your accumulated Base Points for the session. For slot machines, you earn 1 Base Point for every $5 of coin in ($5 through the machine). For video poker machines, you get 1 Base Point for every $10 through the machine. For each Base Point, you get 1 Tier Credit and at 1 Reward Credit. You may also get Bonus Points. For each Bonus Credit you get an additional Reward Credit, but not a Tier Credit.
Base Points total = Tier Points total.
Base Points total + Bonus Points total = Reward Credits total
Bonus Points vary by game type and can even vary from machine to machine. If you are getting a lot of Bonus Points, you are probably playing a game with a high house advantage.
Why the different Credits?
Reward Credits are your comps. 1 Reward Credit equals 1 cent worth of comp value. 500 Reward Credits equals $5.00 that you can put towards your room, an item at the gift shop, dinner at a casino restaurant, etc. Those comps add up slowly, but they will add up. To get those 500 Reward Credits on a slot machine (considering only 1 Reward Credit for every $5 through the machine since we have no way of calculating the Bonus Points for any given machine), it would take $2500 of coin in. In a real life scenario, you should be getting a bit more than $5 in comps for that $2500 through the machine, but it is still going to be less than 1% back in comps. It is important to note that $2500 through the machine is not $2500 won or lost.
Tier credits determine your status in the hierarchy of players. Calculating Tier Credits is fairly easy for slot machines and video poker. Total Rewards gives you 1 Tier Credit for every $10 through a video poker machine or every $5 through a slot machine. You might notice that it has the same rate as the Base Points mentioned earlier. Tier Credits for table games are based upon the game, your average bet size and the duration of your play. The exact details of those calculations are closely guarded. I do know that time plays a big part, though.
NOTE: On January 1, 2013 Total Rewards Changed the Tier Points required for the various tiers. Please read my post about the changes.
The Total Reward system has 4 tiers. They are Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Seven Stars. Gold is the initial tier and does not require any gambling. To reach Platinum, you must earn 4000 Tier Points in a calendar year (January 1 – December 31). Diamond status requires 11,000 Tier Credits. Seven Stars status is by invitation only and requires at least 100,000 Tier Credits (That is half a million dollars through a slot machine in a single year!). Tier Credits reset at the beginning of the year, but your status is good for the next full calendar year and through March of the following year. For example, earning 4000 Tier Points in February 2012 will give you Platinum status until March 2014.
The benefits of each tier vary slightly in the different gaming markets (Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, Tunica, New Orleans, etc.). In Las Vegas, Gold status gives you a slight discount at the casino gift shop and participating retailers in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. It often gives you a discount of at least $10 off of the going room rate at Caesars Entertainment resorts, too.
The main benefits of Platinum status are express hotel check in, priority buffet seating and spa and show discounts.
Diamond status gives you those perks, better discounts, priority taxi and valet service, free entry to a few nightclubs and access to the private Diamond Lounge with free drinks and snacks (a nice refuge from the casino).
Seven Stars status gives all the Diamond perks plus 2 free show tickets each month, access to the Seven Stars lounge (where available) and a free round of golf.
For full details on all of the benefits of each tier, visit https://www.totalrewards.com
Free rooms and special offers are frequently associated with the higher tiers, but those offers are based upon your daily gambling average (referred to as ADT or Average Daily Theoretical [loss]) and not your tier. Someone who earns Diamond status by earning 2200 Tier Credits a day for 5 days will receive better offers than someone who earns Diamond status by earning 100 Tier Points per day for 110 days even though they will both have 11,000 Tier Credits and Diamond status.
Gambling is not the only way to accrue comps. Total Rewards also lets you earn comps by tracking purchases at casino owned restaurants and retailers. You earn 1 Reward Credit for every dollar you spend. The give you a Tier Credit for every $5 spent. Achieving Platinum status solely by shopping requires you to spend $20,000. That will also get you $200 in comps (a 1% rebate).