Loyalty programs have been a staple of the travel industry for decades and their casino counterparts are now just as well established. It takes something very special to make headlines in the trade press nowadays, but that’s exactly what happened in January 2011, when MGM Resorts International launched “M-Life,” a totally new concept in rewarding customers.
M-Life combines the best attributes of a Points Program for frequent hotel guests and a Player’s Club for loyal casino patrons. It is a single, integrated system that’s capable of tracking and acknowledging every aspect of loyal customer behavior at MGM properties, including shopping and dining as well as hours spent at the poker table. The result is an array of perks heretofore unimagined, from spending a day as a dolphin trainer to cooking with a celebrity chef or getting married aboard the “Titanic.”
A New Level of Luxury Rewards
M-Life still offers the basic room, food and entertainment comps that have supported previous MGM loyalty programs. However, now the pampering is reaching new heights, thanks to such innovations as “Exclusive Tier Benefits” and “M-Life Moments.” The latter provides a full menu of memory-making events for members to choose from—a list of unique activities compiled from the countless experiences available at MGM Resorts International.
For example, members can exchange M-Life credits for the chance to be the DJ at a steamy Las Vegas club or take a backstage tour of Cirque du Soleil productions like Mystère or Zumanity. There are dancing lessons given by the world-famous Jabbawockeez and opportunities to swim with sharks in a 1.3 million gallon, 22-foot-deep tank called the Shipwreck Exhibit.
The idea behind the eye-popping rewards is to bring a level of emotion to the loyalty program— truly personal once-in-a-lifetime “Moments” that go beyond material goods and creature comforts. One member might want to have VIP concert seating, while another arranges a poolside poker party. More imaginative options, such as compiling the play list for the Bellagio fountains, are also possible.
No Barriers to Entry
Each new member receives a unique ID number upon joining M-Life, a number that enables tracking of every action taken, starting with check-in at the front desk and running through meals ordered via room service, drinks at the lobby bar, slot machines played, tickets booked for shows, souvenirs shopping and more. That means M Life members get credit for ever penny spent.
In fact, redeemable credits work in four different ways. “PointPlay” awards casino Players Club points at a rate of one point for every $2 of slot play or $10 of video poker action. “FreePlay” provides promotional cash for use on members’ favorite games. “Express Comps” are earned at a rate of two cents for every casino Players Club point earned and can be used to pay for rooms, meals, shows, spa treatments and clubbing, etc. And “Holiday Gift Shoppe Points” accrue throughout the year in conjunction with spending and casino play to gain such rewards as jewelry, electronics, household items, sporting goods, gift cards and more.
For members’ convenience, Express Comps can be redeemed at M Life Express Kiosks, the M-Life Players Club or online at mlife.com. It is also possible for two eligible M-Life members who reside at the same address to link their accounts and share M-Life benefits. For many couples, that means a potential doubling of rewards that might have otherwise been non-transferable.
Higher-Level Benefits, Too
The topmost privileges of M-Life have been reserved for the most loyal customers of all. Everyone begins at the Sapphire level and has the opportunity to progress through the various tiers of membership from Pearl to Gold and Platinum.
Members of the higher tiers earn casino Players Club points and Express Comps at a much faster rate through accelerated “Bonus Points.” Discounts on the number of credits required for free rooms, meals, show tickets and M-Life Moments are also set by tier, providing even greater benefits at higher levels. Other perks of higher status include priority check-in and check-out, upgraded rooms, line passes and discounted pricing for retail shopping. Casino hosts may be assigned to assist top-tier members, too.
Tier levels are accorded by the total number of “Tier Credits” accumulated. On reel and video slot machines, members earn 10 Tier Credits for every $2 of coin-in. For video poker and specialty games, the rate stands at 10 Tier Credits for every $10 of coin-in. Promotion to the Pearl level occurs when 25,000 Tier Credits are obtained. The Gold level requires 75,000 Tier Credits and Platinum 200,000.
Many Participating Properties
Because the M-Life program has been integrated into all MGM properties, only a single membership ID is valid for earning credits at 15 different resorts, including the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip as well as the very newest properties at CityCenter—all-suite Vdara Hotel & Spa and the twin-tower Aria Resort & Casino.
Other holiday destinations in the program are the Signature at MGM Grand, the Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York-New York. Outside Las Vegas, participating resorts include the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi and the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica. In Michigan, there’s the MGM Grand Detroit, too.
To join the M-Life program, members must be at least 21 years of age. Membership applications may be completed and ID numbers issued online, but membership cards and program benefit booklets must be picked up personally at a participating MGM property. At that time, a valid photo ID must be presented.
Inactivity in the program for a period of twelve months can result in accumulated points or Express Comps being forfeited. Any FreePlay redeemed from PointPlay automatically expires eighteen months after issuance. Points and comps awarded under the M-Life program have no cash value, and any tax liability resulting from the accumulation or use of program benefits is the solely the member’s obligation.