If you’re one of those folks who likes to use miles and points for your vacations, Vegas has always been something of, well, a desert without any water. Sure, you can find flights to Vegas using miles. But, what about hotels? Generally speaking, you’re going to be relegated to a third-tier hotel off the Strip. There have been a few exceptions over the years. Notably, Starwood used to have a relationship with Planet Hollywood right on the Strip. And, you can still stay at a Westin near the Strip, though it’s not an especially pretty property. My go-to hotel up until now has been Cosmopolitan. It’s an easy property to get in and out of, the rooms are great, and I could earn some loyalty points in the Marriott Rewards program (though that was a distant 3rd place when considering where to stay).
Hyatt changed all that today, and in a super big way. They’ve announced a partnership with M Life, the loyalty program for the MGM resorts in Las Vegas that also includes elite benefits at all MGM properties in Las Vegas, including the ability to redeem Gold Passport points for a free room. Well, gee, what properties does that cover, you ask?
Want something upscale? No problem, Bellagio and Aria have you covered, as well as THEhotel at Mandalay. Mid-priced? Mandalay Bay, Mirage and Monte Carlo. On a budget? Yup, Luxor and Excalibur. It even includes a hotel without a casino, Vdara, which I’ve been meaning to try my last few times in Vegas.
The next important question is where do these properties fit from a category standpoint? You know, how many points is it going to set you back? The properties aren’t loaded on the Hyatt website yet, but I was able to get the category information and plug in the points beside each in a graphic below that should help spell everything out.
At first blush, I agree with most of these. I think Mandalay should be a 5, and Mirage should probably be a 4, but both of those are border-line. More importantly, if you have the Hyatt credit card you can use your annual free night at any of the properties category 4 or below (Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur). I think the Hyatt credit card is a solid card to have in your wallet. I don’t put a ton of spend on it but it does provide some great benefits. And now, you’ve got one more great city to use that annual free night in.
Here’s a graphic that details what benefits you’ll receive as a Hyatt Gold Passport member at these properties:
Even though I enjoy travel to Vegas, I can’t say I’m an M Life member. But, I perused their chart of benefits and there’s definitely some useful stuff here. And, Hyatt Gold Passport members won’t have to choose which currency to earn, they‘ll be able to double-dip and earn M Life points on stays as well.
The only thing I’d like to see (and it’s a small item) is room upgrade benefits. As of this announcement, room upgrades are not included. That’s nothing to be overly upset about, and fairly well expected when you consider the value the suites have to the casinos when they award them to high rollers. I have no idea if this gets folded in later (or the ability to redeem points for suites as well), but it really is a small nit in light of an unprecedented announcement when it comes to hotel loyalty on the Strip.
There have been lots of near misses in Vegas when it comes to one of the major hotel chains having a presence on the strip. When City Center was being built there were all kinds of rumors. I remember at one point hearing that there would be a Westin in City Center, then a Grand Hyatt. Alas, none of those materialized and all we got was Cosmopolitan, a beautiful Vegas property in it’s own right, but one that earns Marriott Rewards points (meh).
Hyatt goes to the well on this one and comes back with a huge new benefit for it’s Gold Passport members. I remember Jeff Zidell, the senior VP who runs Hyatt Gold Passport, being asked about a year or so ago a question during a Q&A. He was asked if the introduction of a Hyatt credit card was a sign that Hyatt was going to continue to find new ways to monetize their loyalty programs. I love his answer (paraphrased, since my memory is not as good as it used to be), “We don’t look at our loyalty program as a way to make money. We have a loyalty program to build/reward customer loyalty.”
It’s such a simple answer, but Hyatt keeps backing it up. The credit card has been a rewarding addition to my wallet. And now, Jeff and the whole team at Hyatt have made Vegas a great stop for me as a Hyatt Diamond member.