Free Las Vegas “High Roller” Status Through Credit Cards?

Written by on June 16, 2017 in Credit Cards, Hotel and Airline Status

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The Las Vegas Strip at night -- looking south from Caesars Palace.

One of the most legendary travel statuses in the world is that of the Las Vegas high roller. But can any credit cards give you high roller status without placing a single bet?

The Life of a Vegas High Roller

Private jets, complimentary villas and suites, free spa treatments, posh private dining rooms with comped meals, and many other luxuries come to mind when people think of Vegas high rollers.

Most of those perks are reserved for people gambling a lot of money (usually at least six figures) while spending hours doing so. I know a Vegas high roller who is routinely comped rooms, meals, and the occasional massage. To receive these perks, however, he must gamble a minimum of $50 per bet — and play four hours each day.

For the rest us, though, is there an easier, cheaper way to earn some Vegas high roller perks?

Absolutely!

The status is more high roller-lite. The benefits aren’t overwhelming. In other words, you won’t be ferried to Sin City in one of Steve Wynn’s private jets. Don’t expect butlers, private villa, or limousine transportation.

But if you enjoy saving money, earning bonus points, and receiving the chance upgrade, you won’t be disappointed!

Some travel credit cards offer instant lower-tier high roller status and Vegas point bonuses. A few others offer complimentary room nights. Another entitles the cardholder to dining and resort credit — in Vegas and around the world.

Spoiler alert: free Las Vegas high roller status probably won't score you a private jet ride.

Spoiler alert: free Las Vegas high roller status obtained through credit cards probably won’t score you a private jet ride. But free parking, shopping discounts, expedited service at restaurants, and an occasional room upgrade? That’s a different story! (Photo ©iStockphoto.com/dicus63)

Vegas Loyalty Programs

Two corporations pretty much rule the Vegas Strip: MGM Resorts (MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, and many others) and Caesars Entertainment (Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Flamingo, and several more). Both have loyalty programs (in this case, they’re also called “players clubs”). Registration is free, though members must be at least 21-years-old.

MGM Grand Las Vegas: an M Life Rewards Hotel.

MGM Grand Las Vegas: an M Life Rewards Hotel. (Photo ©iStockphoto.com/lorcel)

Like airline and hotel loyalty programs, Vegas players clubs are tier-oriented. Perks get better at each level.

MGM Resorts’ program is known as “M Life.” (VegasGuy has a good write up about the Mlife program.) Caesars’ boasts their “Total Rewards” club (And here’s VegasGuy’s take on Total Rewards.).

There are several ways to earn points: gambling is probably the number one factor. Dining, entertainment, and spa purchases fall in line after that.

Paris Las Vegas (left) and Planet Hollywood — both Total Rewards hotels.

Paris Las Vegas (left) and Planet Hollywood — both Total Rewards hotels. (Photo ©iStockphoto.com/littleny)

Free M Life Pearl Status with M life Credit Card

M Life offers a complimentary boost to the program’s Pearl status when you hold the no annual fee M life Rewards MasterCard.

Pearl is one step above Sapphire — the status given to anyone who enrolls in M life. What advantages does Pearl status have over Sapphire? Per the M life website:

  • Complimentary self-parking (now that many Vegas resorts charge for parking — and continually raise their rates— this is a nice, money-saving perk)
  • Dedicated line at buffets (this allows you to be seated before people who hold Sapphire — or no status at all)
  • 10% shopping discount (as opposed to Sapphire’s 5%) at select MGM Resorts shops. (Read our post about that great perk)
  • 10% bonus on points earned playing slots at M life Rewards destinations nationwide (if you like playing slots, you’ll earn 10% more M life points that can be used towards room, entertainment, and other charges)
  • 10% bonus on Express Comps earned at M Life Rewards destinations nationwide

Here’s an extra, unpublished perk — and your mileage may vary: you might occasionally score an upgrade to the next best available room. This depends on:

  • Your politely asking if there are any upgrades available for elite M Life members — and showing the receptionist your M Life status card.
  • Room availability
  • The receptionist’s generosity
  • The front desk manager’s generosity

It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you!

The M Life credit card is a solid option for any Vegas traveler. The complimentary Pearl status alone — with its complimentary parking and shopping discount — can yield substantial savings.

Plus, the current sign up bonus offers 10,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first three billing cycles of your account’s opening. Based on the research I’ve conducted, 10,000 M life points is worth about $120.

Free M Life Pearl (or Higher) Status with Hyatt Status Match and Hyatt Credit Card

Another route to explore — and the one I personally used — is to take advantage of the Hyatt and M life status match opportunities. World of Hyatt members can match for free their respective status level to a certain M Life tier (and vice versa).

The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase entitles World of Hyatt members to the program’s second tier — known as “Discoverist.” (Read about World of Hyatt’s benefits here) Discoverists can then request a complimentary match to M life Pearl status. (Higher-tiered Hyatt elites match to M life Gold).

Despite the Hyatt Credit Card’s $75 annual fee, there are several reasons I went this route.

  • Elite status at two hotel chains (Hyatt and MGM Resorts)
  • The Hyatt Credit Card gives new cardholders two free nights at any Hyatt, anywhere in the world (provided you make $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of being approved) UPDATE: Mommy Points reported on June 21, 2017, that this sign up perk is being eliminated in favor of more bonus points. She notes this change is effective June 29, 2017.
  • The Hyatt Credit Card comes with a complimentary night at one of Hyatt’s category 1-4 hotels worldwide, starting the second year you hold the card.

The Hyatt Credit Card’s free nights can be redeemed at MGM Resorts properties.

As I wrote about in my review of the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card from Chase, award rooms aren’t technically free if you’re paying an annual fee. But $75 basically buying  you two hotel statuses, scoring you two hotel rooms your first year, and a room each additional year is darn good deal.

Free Total Rewards Platinum Status with the Total Rewards Visa Card

The Caesars folks have their own branded credit card — the Total Rewards Visa Card. Like the M Life Rewards Credit Card, the Total Rewards Visa Card has no annual fee. It also entitles cardholders to Total Rewards’ second tier status, known as Platinum.

Platinum offers two decent advantages over the complimentary Gold status anyone attains simply by enrolling in Total Rewards:

  • Complimentary valet and self parking
  • 15% discount at participating spas and casino gift shops

Here’s the catch: you must spend at least $5000 on your Total Rewards Visa Card each calendar year to retain your Platinum status. From what I’ve seen, the M Life credit card has no such stipulation.

Assuming you can put $10,000 on a Total Rewards Visa Card each year, you’ll receive “unlimited VIP access” which entitles you to:

  • VIP Line Access at participating restaurants
  • VIP Line check-in
  • VIP Line for taxis and entertainment venues
  • Preferred entry into participating Las Vegas nightclubs
  • Pool access at all Las Vegas properties

The current Total Rewards Visa Card sign up bonus offers 10,000 points after spending $750 within the first three billing cycles of your account’s opening. Total Rewards points are worth one cent each, meaning the 10,000 point bonus is worth $100 in comps.

Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts in Vegas: A Better Alternative?

The happiest I’ve been with Vegas perks has been through the American Express Platinum Card‘s worldwide Fine Hotels & Resorts Program (FHR).

Cardholders booking through FHR receive:

  • Unique amenity valued at $100 per stay, such as a spa or food and beverage credit
  • Daily breakfast vouchers/credits for two people (maximum of $30/person — total savings of $60 per day)
  • Room upgrade upon arrival (when available)
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out
  • Noon check-in (when available)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

None of the above perks come with either M Life’s Pearl or Total Rewards’ Platinum status. You’d have to gamble — or spend on a resort-branded credit card — a small fortune of money to earn comps like those.

Plus, each FHR cardholder can book up to three rooms for a stay — and each can take advantage of all the benefits!

The view from our upgraded room -- thanks to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts -- at Bellagio Las Vegas! (Click for a larger image.)

Checking out the “Eiffel Tower” from “Lake Como”! The view from our upgraded room — thanks to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts — at Bellagio Las Vegas! (Click for a larger image.)

A two-night stay at a Fine Hotels and Resorts property can knock off $220 off one’s bill. While most of the hotels are a little spendy (such as ARIAFour Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Palazzo), we’ve scored some great rates at Bellagio and Delano. Both are great properties and I highly recommend them.

Plus, you have access to two airport lounges in Las Vegas’ McCarran airport: Amex’s Centurion Lounge (free buffet and full service bar) and The Club (with Priority Pass membership through American Express). If you’re a Vegas regular and/or travel even somewhat frequently, I highly recommend considering the Amex Platinum/FHR route.

Do You Hold Vegas High Roller Status?

Tell us in the comment section below!

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About the Author

About the Author: Chris Carley is a writer, media consultant, voice over artist, dog owner, husband, and recently became a dad! He loves talking all things points and miles. You'll likely find him in an airport lounge while on a trip that involves the most circuitous route possible leading to his ultimate destination. .

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