I was offered M life NOIR status last year — along with several other Gold Passport Diamond members — as part of the launch for Hyatt and MGM’s partnership. I didn’t use it very much, but it was fun to have those times when I was in Las Vegas. More interesting was how some people managed to parlay that into other benefits.
When the Delano Las Vegas opened, I was given free elite status with Morgans Hotel Group — a MHG Global Card. Delano is located in the former THEhotel at Mandalay Bay but is operated in partnership with Morgans, and the card managed to arrive shortly before I left home to stay at the Delano for the first time.
It was packaged with a lot of bling. I’m not sure of the exact metal used (a little lighter than the Sapphire Preferred), but the the plain gold look was classy, as was the all-black packaging.
Benefits are specifically described as “entitlements” and include:
- One complimentary night at all of our new hotels.
- $100 in US hotels for a 1 night stay in a standard room if booked and available after 10 PM on night of arrival.
- Upgrade to the best available accommodation upon arrival, not including specialty suites.
- Direct escort to room and welcome gift.
- Full benefits can be found on the Morgans Hotel Group website
It sounds awesome, right?! Even NOIR status doesn’t entitle me to an upgrade at MGM hotels, but now I have two elite cards I can use at the same property.
Except when I checked in, no one had a clue what it was.
I got a room on a low floor, near the elevator. No welcome gift ever arrived. The VIP lounge was closed due to another event. It was probably the worst check-in experience of my life — not solely due to poor elite recognition but also because of all the other miscommunication going on, while I tried to yell over the loud music from the lobby event and later argue with the bouncer that I was invited to that event. I had a friendlier reception at the Holiday Inn Express in Grants Pass, Oregon where the 17-year-old clerk was managing the entire hotel herself and kept alternating between the front desk and towel service at the pool across the parking lot.
The next day I went to the VIP lounge, since reopened, and asked if they could explain what the card offered. They were also unfamiliar with it, but I got a call and an email later that day that basically repeated exactly what was on the website. I sent a follow up email after checking out if they could clarify which benefits were actually honored at the Delano Las Vegas. And eventually I got a response saying that they honor nearly all of them:
…[T]hey are all the same for Delano Las Vegas minus those benefits specifically mentioning Delano South Beach (Mondrian South Beach’s Marina)
I know people who checked in before or later and who got better service. Some even made last-minute reservations on the day of. And after my polite inquiry on the first morning when they learned about the benefits for the first time, there was at least an opportunity to provide that promised welcome amenity, if nothing else.
It seems more likely that they just didn’t care. Which would ordinarily be fine — as I said, I’m used to not being given preferential room assignments in Las Vegas because it’s not really a benefit of any casino program. But to offer something and then not deliver, and in fact to not even inform your staff that you participate in this program, seems pretty awful.
Other than that, the hotel itself was actually pretty good, with a review coming next week. My beef here is about the loyalty program. The MHG Global Card isn’t worth taking with me if I return to the Delano Las Vegas, but I suppose I’ll keep in in a drawer on the off chance I visit one of their other properties.