An integral part of the casino culture, comps are something that many people want, but most don’t understand. This page breaks down the comp programs, so you get the most out of your time in Vegas.
We’ve all heard it when we are talking about Vegas. Someone tells you, “My room was comped” or “My casino host is getting me comped tickets to the show.” Casino comps are a part of the fabric that makes Las Vegas unique. However, with so many changes to programs and how they work in general, it can be very confusing to the average player.
Have no fear! We are here to help navigate through the different comp programs, how they work, and what the best way to accumulate and use your points, so you get the most out of your time.
How do Comp Programs work?
Comp (short for “Complimentary”) programs are marketing tools designed to motivate you to be loyal to a casino. These programs are all basically the same at their core – you are rewarded for spending money at property when you use your comp card, and you can use these rewards for various discounts or complimentary items at the property.
In the old days, comp programs were much more subjective, especially at Table Games. A Pit Boss would monitor your play, and depending on your stakes level and loyalty, you could be handed a voucher for a meal or tickets to a show. This was their way of ensuring the top players remain loyal. Over the years, the system has become more methodical and mathematics-based, but you are still rewarded for your play over periods of time.
The first thing you should do if you are going to Vegas is to stop in at the customer service desk of the casino you are staying in -you can get your comp account set up and receive your Player’s Club card there. This is a key step – no matter what you are betting, if you are not being rated with your card, you will receive no benefits.
The rest is easy – present your card everywhere you can. From tables to slots to the bars and restaurants, you are earning points everywhere you can spend money. Make sure to get extra copies of the card in case you lose one.
What Comp Program is the best?
This question is much easier to answer than in the past with all the consolidation in the Las Vegas casino industry over the years. The Strip is littered with casinos, but there are basically only two comp programs split between the majority of the casinos – Total Rewards (Caesars properties) and MLife (MGM properties). There are a couple of independent programs for casinos not owned by those groups on the Strip, and the Station Casinos (including Palms) have their own comp program as well.
When we look into the different Vegas casino comp programs, we don’t see a ton of differences in them, especially when comparing Total Rewards to MLife. The main thing to remember is that if you are looking to earn as many comp points as possible, trying to stick to one of the programs consistently is the best way to get the biggest rewards.
When looking at comp programs, it is important to distinguish between Rewards Points and Status Points. You can earn Regards Points all over a resort, but gaining status (and the privilege that comes with it) is something you earn at the gaming machines and tables.
How to get the most out of a casino comp program
Instead of trying to tell you which one you should choose, let’s have a look at how you can accumulate the most points and what you should use your rewards on when you have enough.
Start before you leave for Vegas!
This is the biggest tip that we have for our Vegas players -you can start earning com points and rewards before you even plan your trip! Both Total Rewards and MLife offer credit cards that earn you points on all purchases, including multipliers, if you use the card to book anything or spend at their resorts. This is the easiest way to accumulate points (not status), giving you lots of ways to earn free meals and rooms all year long!
Look for promos
All comp programs have their own marketing hooks to try to gamble more. For example, you may earn up to 10x the points playing slot machines during certain hours and days, and even if you aren’t a slots player by nature, this is a great way to rack up the status points and rewards without as much effort. There are daily promotions that you can find by checking in with your card at the Rewards kiosks around any casino property. You may also receive them via email when you give the casino your contact information, so make sure they don’t go to spam folders!
Know the qualification minimums
If you are a table games player, you may not realize that each game requires a minimum bet amount and time played to receive status and comp points. The pit bosses can walk you through all of that – don’t be afraid to ask, as they are only too happy to help. There is no point being disappointed in finding out the hours of work you just put in on the Blackjack table are worthless because you were not betting enough per hand.
Make sure you use your rewards wisely
How you use your rewards points is entirely up to you, but there are ways to make your points last longer. First off, the more that you play and the status level you reach will determine if your room will be comped or deeply discounted. Trust us, you will receive lots of offers on rooms, and you should take the casino up on that. However, all the incidental charges and meals you charge to the room can also be paid by comps. You should charge everything in the hotel to your room so that you can determine how much you could save at the end of your trip.
Also, you should make sure you use reward points before they expire. They can often be used in gift shops for branded gear and other items that can make for nice gifts to bring home. Tickets to shows and such are typically something a casino host can arrange for you – you will be given access to a host if you reach a high enough status level.
Overall, what we are trying to get across to you on this page is that there are no bad comp programs, as long as you know the rules going in and use some of the above tips and tricks to race your way to status and rewards. That way, it will be you telling your friends about your comped rooms before you know it!