Now that Hyatt Gold Passport elite members can receive matching status and benefits with M life, the rewards program for MGM Resorts, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about how it actually works. First, casino rewards generally confuse the hell out of me, so it’s a fun challenge. Second, it’s still a loyalty program! What am I missing out on? Third, I plan to spend a lot of money at their resorts due to a bachelor party and another trip coming up, so I want to know if that loyalty is worthwhile.
Background on M life
Most casino programs are extremely complicated. It doesn’t help that the earnings and redemption options are poorly publicized or that the terms and conditions are covered with layers of fine print. MGM’s own T&Cs stretch on for pages and are contained in collapsible tabs that don’t allow easy searching. I had a difficult time figuring out what an “M life-eligible stay” was until I re-read the FAQs provided by Hyatt for their new partnership. They include:
- Stays booked through M life (either online or over the phone).
- Stays booked through the hotel’s own web site.
- Other stays where you still make payment directly to the hotel.
- Stays booked through Hyatt.com or through a Hyatt Global Contact Center.
I’ve learned in the past week that booking through M life can earn you a good 10-20% discount over the lowest rate on the hotel’s own website. I saved several hundred dollars on three rooms for my bachelor party, and I just opened a fresh account online with no prior activity! There’s also a thread on FlyerTalk with some particularly good discounts and resort credits through the end of July.
You can’t book more than one room online, but it’s easy enough to go through the process again or get the discount extended if you book over the phone. That’s another thing: book online and you pay a one night’s deposit (still refundable), but using the phone avoids the deposit requirement.
Earning Tier Points with Hyatt and M life
You will earn 5 Gold Passport points per dollar spent at participating MGM Resorts (essentially the 12 on the Las Vegas Strip), including any elite bonus for Gold Passport Platinum or Diamond status. You also earn 25 Tier Points per dollar in M life. You will earn Gold Passport stay and night credit only for your own room, though you still earn Gold Passport and M life points for all rooms in your reservation.
This is much like how you earn stay and night credit when staying at a Hyatt hotel. However, there’s one catch. Many people (including me) have commented that you can get cheap mattress runs by staying at some of the less expensive MGM Resorts. This is true, but they will not count for a Hyatt Diamond trial. Qualifying nights for a Diamond trial must be completed at a Hyatt hotel.
Over the two upcoming stays, I expect to spend about $3,000. This will be worth 19,500 Gold Passport points including my 30% Diamond elite bonus and also 75,000 M life tier points. That’s enough tier points right there to earn M life Gold status, although my Gold Passport Diamond status will be matched to M life Platinum (200,000 tier points).
Since I touched on elite status, it’s worth noting the window for accumulating tier points and benefitting from elite status is different with M life than with many traditional hotel programs. Hyatt Gold Passport counts the number of nights or stays you accumulate between January 1 and December 31 in 2013 (for example). Your status is then valid until February 28 of 2015 — this includes the remainder of 2013, all of 2014, and a short period at the beginning of 2015.
M life doesn’t count nights or stays. That’s what tier points are for. The terms and conditions explain that the earning period is from October 1 through September 31. Your status is then valid for the remainder of the current earning period and all of the next earning period. So if you earned 75,000 tier points by September 1 in 2013, you would have Gold status through September 30, 2014. If you earned all 75,000 tier points on or after October 1, 2013, then you would keep your status through September 30, 2015.
I’m not sure how this difference in calendars will affect the status match program. My guess is that if you have a particular M life status in March, the corresponding Gold Passport status will carry over to February the next year. If you have a particular Gold Passport status in October, the corresponding M life status will carry over to September the next year.
Coming up… The difference between tier points, base points, and comps.