I feel like it’s Las Vegas week on Wheel of Fortune, but the mileage version. But it’s my last day here in the sun, so the very cool tie-up between Marriott and The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (CLV, for space purposes) makes the papers today.
As loyalty programs have expanded, they have started to encourage cross-industry sharing. In this case, lodging companies, who don’t want to pay for real estate on the Las Vegas Strip or deal with the volatility of gambling, have partnered with casinos. MGM and Hyatt have strong ties. Hilton and Starwood also have partnerships with local properties, although those seem to be more fluid. But it’s the link between Marriott and CLV that may offer you the best opportunity.
Transferrable Points Are An Opportunity
In most partnerships, while you can use points from one program to purchase a reward at another (e.g., You can use Hyatt points to redeem for nights at an MGM property.), you cannot actually transfer points between the programs.
The Cosmopolitan and MGM actually allow you to do so. Of course, they have an advantage over their competitors: The Cosmopolitan is actually a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, which is a group of independent hotels with access to the Marriott reservations and rewards program.
The ability to convert points directly between Marriott and CLV’s Identity rewards program is a valuable one. It gives you a method to cash out in from program to another, giving you another option if you are looking to redeem but don’t have a large balance. It also gives you a place to go if your points are going to expire.
The only downside is that the exchange rate is not favorable: A Marriott Rewards point translates at 0.4 cents per point, lower than the value that you would get if you used it at a hotel*. Likewise, 500 Identity Points (worth $5 in comps) only converts to 400 Marriott points, which means you are paying 1.25 cents per Marriott point, a rate higher than fair value. Thus, I would only convert in the case of necessity. Converting points is not the best use, although it is an option.
The Identity Program Is A Good One
Because The Cosmopolitan only has a single location, it has to make its loyalty program good. And it did. You earn one point per $2.50 wagered on traditional slots, or one per $6 on video poker. 100 points gives you $1 in play or comps. They also give you five points per dollar spent elsewhere at the hotel, or the equivalent of a 5% rebate. Even better is that you get a 2X or 3X multiplier in slots (not video poker) as you earn “tier points (the equivalent of elite status at hotels and airlines.). The first bump up is at 4,000 points, so $800 in hotel spend will double your slot return.
The Bottom Line
Not everyone will be able to take advantage of the Marriott-Cosmopolitan relationship but, for those who can, it could be valuable.
*Best as I can tell, points from non-gaming sources, including Marriott, can only be used for hotel comps, not to play in the casino.
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