Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards® is one of the largest and most well known casino loyalty programs. This program covers numerous casinos throughout the United States and even a few international locations. In this regard, it is most similar to a hotel loyalty program with numerous locations where you can earn and spend points. But, the way you earn points is vastly different and more complicated than hotel loyalty programs.
To sign up for Total Rewards® you do not have to be a US Citizen, but you do need to be at least 21 years old. Many find that it is easiest to sign-up online prior to their first Caesars Entertainment property visit. This way, you can just go to the Total Rewards Loyalty Desk show your valid ID and immediately receive a Total Rewards Gold Card.
For ease, I refer to all properties as Caesars Entertainment Properties, but these include such diverse brands as Caesars, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Planet Hollywood, Harveys and numerous other casinos that span from the East Coast of the USA (Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore) to the West Coast (Las Vegas, San Diego, Lake Tahoe).
The purpose of a casino loyalty program, first and foremost is to reward those who gamble (“game”) at a given Caesars Entertainment property for their “gambling action.” This “gambling action” refers to one’s casino play. This play might be via slot machines, video poker machines or table games such as blackjack or craps. At this time, I will concentrate on discussing casino play at brick and mortar casinos in the Total Rewards collection.
When you play at a casino you earn points in the casino loyalty program if you are enrolled in the program and also use your players card. A players card is simply an encoded loyalty card that allows you to earn points while playing machines (video poker or slots) or table games. When playing a machine, you insert the card and the machine will respond that the card has been accepted. This varies a bit from game to game (machine to machine) but the most important thing is that the machine registers that your card has been inserted.
Some machines will keep track of your earned Tier Credits. But, simplistically it is very important to make sure the machine has acknowledged that your card is inserted. If this does not happen, there will be no record of your casino play.
Sounds rather simple, but with so many distractions in a casino it is not unusual for a player to insert their card and not have it register. If you desire to earn points never play at a machine that will not register your player’s card. From a process perspective those new to casino gaming should try to focus on a consistent procedure every time that they play. This involves inserting and removing your players card before and after play, as well as remembering to cash-out your remaining credits before leaving a machine. It is unfortunate, but I have witnessed many players who forget even the most basic things after one (or eight) cocktails. Of course, most important is watching your money and remembering to cash-out before getting up from any gaming machine.
With Total Rewards you earn two types of credits, Tier Credits (Tier) and Reward Credits (RCs). Tier credits will determine your status. Similar to how hotels and airlines associate loyalty with status (for example, Delta Diamond Medallion Status or Hilton Diamond Status) casino loyalty programs like Total Rewards do the same. Your tier score resets on January 1st of every year. Your (earned) status is good for one calendar year until March 31st. For example, if you earn Total Rewards Diamond Status at any point in 2015 that status will be valid for all of 2016 and until March 31st of 2017. Online, it will show that your status is only valid until March 31st of 2016 but status level resets on the 1st of April every year. What is confusing, is that earning status (not your status level) resets to zero on January 1st (Tier = 0). This is very similar to the way airlines (Delta, United, American) operate with regard to earning and retaining elite status.
The following chart, displays the status levels for Total Rewards and the number of tier points necessary to attain those levels. There are some shortcuts (bonuses for play thresholds known as “Tier Credit Bonuses”) that we will talk about in a future post. When you join Total Rewards you start out with Gold Tier (or level).
Reward credits can be used like cash and are redeemable for free casino play, hotel, dining, shopping, spa, entertainment and numerous other experiences. In future articles, we will be delving into some of the best and worst ways to use your hard earned reward credits. Reward Credits can also be transferred and used for other non-casino related activities with Total Rewards partners that include such diverse brands as HAWAIIAN AIRLINES® and STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST ®.
Also, it is important to note that Total Rewards Reward Credits expire within 6 months. What does this mean? If one goes without any activity for six (6) months their Reward Credits will reset to zero. Luckily, there are many ways to keep your Reward Credits from expiring. A very important concept we will be discussing in length, since Reward Credits are very much like “cash.”
What makes casino loyalty programs even better than traditional hotel and airline programs, is that in addition to both the Tier Credits and Reward Credits you can also receive marketing offers for various properties. It is impossible to figure exactly what you might receive, but these offers can include free (comp) rooms, shows/concerts, casino play (free play), match play or free bets, spa services and numerous other items. For many, free (comp) rooms is one of the most valuable perks of casino loyalty programs. These offers will come via postal mail, email and are also available by checking your Total Rewards account online. For example, a free room offer for Las Vegas might look like this.
Our next installment will talk about how much you earn while gaming at machines (slot machines and video poker) and at house banked gaming tables (including but not limited to games like blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat). There are a lot of things to consider when you embark on participating in a casino loyalty program. In many ways there is something for everyone, but it is also best to understand the programs before you play. This is similar to how you can optimize getting the most from airline mileage programs by understanding the basics of the programs before flying and accumulating airline miles. There are quite a few similarities, but the differences are striking and can be exciting even for the occasional recreational gambler.