Earning & Redeeming Free Stays In Las Vegas With Hyatt

Earning & Redeeming Free Stays In Las Vegas With Hyatt
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Image courtesy: kennejima
 

Las Vegas is one of my favorite destinations, but when Hyatt launched its partnership with MGM Resorts last year, it rocketed even higher on my list of places to be.

Las Vegas has historically been off the map for many hotel programs, since the hotel-casinos that dominate the landscape are mostly owned by companies like Caesars and MGM that specialize in that niche. Hyatt’s deal with MGM was the first step in a series of maneuvers by hotel programs to strike partnerships opening the Las Vegas Strip to hotel loyalty customers. To date, it remains the best and most complete partnership in Vegas. Here’s why:

MGM Resorts – More Than MGM!

Don’t let the name mislead you: while MGM Resorts might share a piece of its name with MGM Grand, the Emerald of the Strip is only one of many MGM properties in Las Vegas. These include Excalibur, Luxor, New York New York, Mandalay Bay, Aria, Vdara, Bellagio, The Mirage and more.

You can earn and use Hyatt points on stays at all of these MGM properties.

Earning Hyatt Gold Passport Points At MGM Properties

By linking your Hyatt Gold Passport and Mlife accounts, you can earn 5 Gold Passport points for every $1 you spend at MGM properties. As is true at Hyatt properties, Gold Passport Platinum elites will earn a 15% bonus, while Gold Passport Diamond elites earn a 30% bonus. There’s no limit to how many points you can earn on your room spending, so be sure to bill all charges to your room!

As an Mlife member, you’re allowed to bill charges to your room even from other MGM properties! For example, let’s say you’re staying at Aria but have dinner at Bellagio. You can bill that dinner back to your room at Aria and earn an extra 5 GP points per dollar for your trouble! This is a great practice to follow in Las Vegas, anyway, since sending as many charges as possible back to your room helps the casino marketing staff see exactly how good of a customer you’ve been, leading to future offers of discounts and comps.

Up to $5,000 in incidental spending per trip can be tacked on to your room folio and earn extra points. Note that casino spend will not earn Hyatt points, just resort spending. Still, that includes dining, shows, spa appointments, golf, shopping and a variety of other possibilities!

Critically for party planners, you can even earn points on up to three rooms, so long as you book them as part of the same reservation. Note that you can only earn elite qualifying nights for the room you’re staying in, but the extra points earned on other rooms can stack quickly if you’re planning a big vacation or party with friends or family.

Here’s the best part about earning Hyatt points at MGM properties: you’ll still earn Tier Credits with Mlife and rack up eligibility for comps and special discounts based on your play and spending! That makes this a true double-dip opportunity, where you can earn credit with Hyatt and MGM at the same time.

Status Matching – Mlife & Hyatt Gold Passport

Though SPG, Marriott and IHG all have relationships with one or more properties on the Strip, only Hyatt and MGM’s Mlife program offer a two-way status match program.

Mlife to Gold Passport

There are five levels of status for MGM’s Mlife program. Base members are considered Sapphire. Pearl members have earned at least 25,000 Tier Credits through a mixture of gaming and on-property spending.

Gold status is awarded after reaching 75,000 Tier Credits in a calendar year, while Platinum status is typically granted after reaching 200,000 Tier Credits in a year. The top level of status, Noir, is offered on an invitation-only basis to high-rollers and frequent MGM customers.

Mlife Golf, Platinum and Noir members may be matched to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status on an annual basis. Sapphire and Pearl members are not granted any elite status with Hyatt.

Gold Passport to Mlife

Most readers are likely working in the other direction, hoping to turn their elite status with Hyatt into some special treatment while in Las Vegas. Gold Passport Platinum members are matched to Mlife Gold. Gold Passport Diamond members can be matched to Mlife Platinum status.

Hyatt Platinum status is relatively easy to earn – simply holding the Hyatt Visa Card will do the trick, as will either 15 nights or 5 total stays in a calendar year at Hyatt properties.

Hyatt Diamond status is normally much harder to earn, requiring 25 stays or 50 total nights over the course of a year. From time to time, Hyatt offers a Diamond Trial Program, though, that can provide a fast path to top-tier status on a limited basis. HHonors Gold and Diamond, Marriott Gold and Platinum, SPG Platinum and IHG Platinum Elite members may all apply for a Diamond status trial with Hyatt.

If approved, they are granted Diamond privileges for a 60 day period. To hold onto their Diamond status, challenge applicants must stay 12 nights with Hyatt during this 60 day period. As a bonus incentive, 1,000 extra Gold Passport points are typically issued for each of the first six eligible nights stayed while participating in this promotion. (Learn more about the Diamond Challenge and its benefits in the PointsAway Book!)

This is important to the Mlife partnership for two reasons:

1) It’s possible to complete the challenge by staying at Las Vegas MGM properties. That includes budget entries like Excalibur and Luxor, which often offer rooms for as low as $20-$30 per night midweek. That makes a long vacation in Vegas the easiest way to secure your Diamond status going forward.

2) When matching status from Hyatt to Mlife, the system checks only for your current status with Hyatt. That means if you match over to Mlife during a Diamond Trial, you can expect to be matched to Mlife Platinum, the highest publicly available tier! This status will last until October 1st of any given year, and your status with Hyatt isn’t checked again until that time. That means a Diamond Trial now can mean up to 14 months of top-tier benefits with MGM Resorts, even if you aren’t able to complete it successfully.

Though many perks are still tied directly to your play and spend, Mlife Platinum comes with a number of great benefits even if you’re new to the program. That includes access to faster buffet lines, priority restaurant and event reservations, the ability to hop to the front of the taxi line and VIP access to many nightclubs operated at MGM properties. The taxi benefit is, believe it or not, one of the best perks of Mlife Platinum.

The wait for a cab can stretch to a half hour or longer during peak times during the evening. Simply flash your pass and you can be next in line. It’s okay to enjoy the disgruntled looks on those still standing in line just a little, so long as you don’t gloat too much!

Redeeming Hyatt Points for Stays At MGM Properties

Each MGM resort has been added to one of Hyatt’s redemption categories:

  • Category 2 (8,000 points)– Excalibur
  • Category 3 (12,000 points)– Luxor
  • Category 4 (15,000 points)– Monte Carlo • New York New York
  • Category 5 (20,000 points)– MGM Grand • Signature at MGM Grand • Vdara • The Mirage
  • Category 6 (25,000 points)– Aria • Bellagio • Mandalay Bay • The Delano at Mandalay Bay

It’s only possible to redeem Gold Passport points toward standard rooms, not suites or upgrades. Most of the time, rooms at these properties can be booked at cash rates well below the value those points might yield outside of Las Vegas.

Image courtesy: MGM Resorts
 

For example, the 25,000 points needed for a stay at Aria would be better used at one of the many Category 6 Hyatt properties in New York City for much of the year, where nightly rates tend to be much, much higher. Aside from the rare peak seasonal redemption opportunity, I’d normally rather earn Hyatt points at MGM properties and then use them when staying elsewhere.

Wrapping Up

Between two-way status matching, the ability to earn points in both programs simultaneously and the opportunity to redeem Hyatt points for stays at MGM properties, Hyatt’s partnership with MGM is arguably the strongest on the Strip. That said, we want to give you a fair look at the other possibilities, as well. In our next post, we’ll take a look at what SPG, IHG and Marriott have to offer on the Strip!

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About PointsAway
Casey Ayers is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. After amassing enough miles and points to travel anywhere in the world for almost free in less than six months, he developed PointsAway as a way to help others make travel dreams big and small come true.
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