Credit where credit is due – Vegas reward credit cards

In an earlier post, we talked about the Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards and MGM Resorts Mlife Rewards programs. Today we’re looking at the Total Rewards VISA and Mlife Rewards Mastercard credit card offerings, to see how they can help you increase status and/or rewards.

While each program has a branded credit card that may accelerate your benefits, you’ll definitely want to consider whether another travel or cashback card may give you better rewards. And of course, remember that carrying a balance on a rewards card can easily eradicate any net value of the rewards.

Total Rewards VISA

Comenity (known for lots of retail credit cards) issues the Total Rewards VISA.

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Total Rewards VISA by Comenity Bank

Signing bonus:

  • 10,000 reward credits (RC) after spending $750 ($100 value at TR properties)
  • a welcome freebie chosen from buffet passes, show or High Roller tickets, or a one night hotel stay
  • TR Platinum status after a purchase in the first 90 days

Ongoing benefits:

  • TR Platinum after $5,000/year spend after the first year
  • A “VIP pass” after $10,000/year spend which gives you a subset of the TR Diamond benefits (including preferred access to restaurants, check-in, taxi lines, entertainment venues, night clubs, and pools). Note that if you achieve TR Diamond, you won’t need the VIP pass since Diamond status gives you all those benefits and more.
  • This card also gives you further reward credits based on spend, including 5 RC per dollar spent at TR venues including hotels and restaurants, 2 RC per dollar on airlines, gas, and groceries, and 1 RC per dollar on any other purchase.
  • No annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. Interest rates are 14.49, 18.49, and 23.49% as of April 2017. Balance transfers and cash advances are at 26.49%.

Accelerating Status:

  • This card can give you a shortcut to status, but does NOT accumulate TR status beyond Platinum+VIP Pass. You’ll earn One tier credit per dollar on any Caesars property spend, with or without the card, but you’ll get 5x the rewards on that spend with the card, as well as the 2x (2%) rewards for airlines, gas, grocery and standard (1%) for general VISA spend. So other than the $5k/$10k thresholds for Platinum/VIP, your spend will not accelerate your status toward Diamond.

Mlife Rewards Mastercard

mlife-rewards-mastercard-credit-card-acct-summary-tif-image-133-207-high
Mlife Rewards Mastercard by First Bankcard

First Bankcard issues the Mlife Rewards Mastercard.

Signing bonus:

  • 10,000 Rewards Points (not tier credits though) after spending $1,000 in the first three billing cycles ($100 value at Mlife properties, when used for FREEPLAY or Express Comps)

Ongoing benefits:

  • Mlife Pearl status, equivalent to earning 25,000 tier credits (TC). This level gives you buffet express lane access, 10% discounts at most MGM retail outlets, and other benefits. You’ll still have to get to 75,000 TC to reach gold status though.
  • 3X points and TCs for spend at Mlife venues (resort hotels including room charges, dining, shows, retail), 2x points and TCs for gas and groceries, and 1x for all other purchases.
  • No annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees. Interest rate is 19.99% as of April 2017, and includes balance transfers and cash advances.

Accelerating Status:

  • This card DOES accelerate status earning, even for non-MGM-property spend. You start at Pearl, and the 3x/2x/1x mentioned above do apply to TCs and status. So spending $75,000 on anything, or $37,500 on gas and groceries, would get you to Mlife Gold before you even set foot in Las Vegas.

Robert’s Card Considerations

I hold the Total Rewards VISA, and primarily use it at Caesars properties (although I’ll sometimes put gas or groceries on it for the extra points). In 2016 I earned about $500 worth of rewards (including signup bonus), which covered Hell’s Kitchen Tasting Menu for two at Gordon Ramsay Steak and half of a hearty meal for two at BLT Steak at Bally’s. Since I’ve had little trouble earning Mlife Gold status organically, I haven’t been tempted to get the Mlife Rewards MMasterCard but for someone only staying at an MGM property once or twice a year, it’s worth considering.

Also note that unlike actual property spend credits, which generally post within a day or two of final settlement (if not sooner), your rewards from the credit cards will not post to your Total Rewards or Mlife Rewards accounts immediately. So that $5,000 meal at Giada’s charged to your Total Rewards VISA will result in 25,000 extra tier credits from TR, but you’ll have to use the $250 value after your statement closes. However, that $5,000 meal at Giada’s may earn you diamond status in one day if you charge it to your room. More on that later though.

Where do we go from here?

If you’re looking for a modest way to boost your rewards (and possibly your status) with Caesars or MGM, consider their respective credit cards. If you have other ways of keeping your points alive though, you may want to dig into other rewards cards or make the most of the cards you already have.

What cards do you use to make the most of your Vegas experiences? Share in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

[Photo credit: Credit card images sourced from the respective loyalty programs’ websites.]

Disclosure: Links are provided to the respective card issuers’ sites, but rsts11travel is not an affiliate and does not receive compensation or any other consideration if our readers follow those links or apply/are approved/spend tons of money on the cards. Although you could take us to Guy Savoy next time we’re in town if you like.

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