I recently got invited to Las Vegas by MGM Resorts International to learn about their M life rewards program. It’s an interesting, unique and complicated concept that might just be duplicated by other hotel companies, so listen up.
M life used to be just a players club but since not everyone gambles the executives came up with a program that rewards not only the guests who spend their money in the casino but practically anywhere else in one of their 15 properties around the world. FYI: Their resorts are: ARIA, Bellagio, Vdara, MGM Grand, The Signature at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur in Las Vegas; Beau Rivage and Gold Strike in Mississippi; and MGM Grand Detroit.
M life is a way to get guests to spend money in one of their properties instead of their competitors and in return they are rewarded for virtually every dollar spent on hotel stays, restaurants, entertainment, attractions, spas, casinos … It’s smart and they also created tier structure like the airlines have done (just replace flying with buying/playing).
M life has five member tiers – Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum and the premium, invitation-only NOIR. It doesn’t cost to join and new members (like me) start at Sapphire. The higher up you get the more benefits you earn like special hotel offers, pre-sale access to concert and fight tickets, priority reservations, priority hotel check-in, room upgrades, VIP services …
Their thinking is no one wants to be on the wrong side of the red velvet ropes so they created close to 100 “M life Moments” which can be enjoyed by M life members. They include anything from picking the song for The Fountains of Bellagio or spinning as a guest DJ at one of Vegas’ hottest clubs to private batting practice at Detroit’s Comerica Park with a former Tigers’ pitcher. As members move up Tier Levels, they unlock additional M life Moments.
Based on Tier Level, members can skip the lines at MGM Resorts’ restaurants, nightclubs and at hotel check-in.
Lucky me and 16 other bloggers got to experience some of the Moments without earning it so we can write about it. In addition to choosing the song for The Fountains of Bellagio, we also received private cooking lessons from renowned chefs at Aureole in Mandalay Bay and attended Michael Jordan’s Celebrity Golf Tournament. We even had private cabanas poolside. Pics are in the photo gallery below.
In addition to playing casino games, they created online video games where users can earn points just by playing. The games look similar to Farmville, and I have absolutely no desire to play them but I’m not their target market. They are going after females between 35-55 who have a household income of over $100,000 a year. Shockingly, they have had 2.5 million downloads of their Facebook game and their average user plays 3.1 times a day for 22 minutes at a time. FYI: The reason they go after the 35-55 female demographic is because they are the decision makers for vacations.
Even more interesting and brilliant is that locals have different rewards since they can get to the casinos too easily and they don’t want to give a “free lunch” to those that don’t buy a hotel room.
Players can even earn points by tweeting or “checking in” at different locations via social media platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter. They receive up to 500 M life Tier Credits per resort per day, allowing members to advance more quickly to the next Tier Level, each level providing additional benefits. This creates loyalty and return visits.
Good to know:
- There’s 30 million members enrolled in the M life club (10 million are active).
- 20% of guests who check into their hotels are M life members.
- There are about 3,000 members with black cards (it’s based on spend and play).
- VIP access also goes beyond MGM Resorts since members can receive rewards and perks with M life’s preferred partners like Royal Caribbean, Ameristar Casinos, Inc., Avis Budget Group and Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment.
- The executives told us it’s not a loyalty program but rather an experiential program.
- In the near future they are going to use trigger-based marketing. For examples, if you are on their network and you bought tickets for one of their shows, a few minutes after it ends you will get a message to your phone inviting you to go to one of their bars in the next hour and the first drink is on them.
M life Resources:
- Register for M life
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Follow M life on Twitter
- M life Mobile App
- Register your Visa card with M life
- M life FAQs
- M life Moments