It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man with membership in a loyalty program must be in want of a good credit card. But the operative word here is “good,” and not every company meets that standard.
Credit cards are one of the few win-win-win situations in the world of loyalty plans. The programs sell points to the bank issuing the card. The card companies reward you with those points. The banks make money from the interchange fees when you use the card to make purchases. Merchants are not a big fan of the offerings, since they often pay higher rates on those cards, but it’s a cost of doing business.*
Total Rewards Visa
As one of the few gaming companies with true national scale, Caesars Entertainment is in a position to issue its own card based on its Total Rewards program. And while the card offers a few basic benefits, it’s probably not enough to attract the heaviest users, for reasons that I will discuss later. On the plus side, the card has no annual fee and is best for those who play at Caesars but don’t do so frequently enough to earn comped RFB (Room, Food and Beverage).
Issued by Comenity Bank, the Total Rewards (TR) Visa Card offers one point per dollar spent, with the exception of double points on airlines, gas and groceries, and 5X points per dollar on spend at TR resorts, casinos and through their events portal.
Spend $750 in the first 90 days of being approved and you will receive 10,000 Reward Credits (RC), which is worth up to about $100, valuing the points at a penny per point toward expenses such as your meals or hotel bill. I’ve seen targeted offers as high as 20,000 points.
You also get your choice of two tickets for the Higher Roller observation wheel in Las Vegas, two buffet passes or one comped night in Atlantic City, Sunday through Thursday. These options compare favorably to the prior bonus of two passes to the Buffet of Buffets.
Make any purchase within 90 days of applying and you will receive Platinum Status in Total Rewards. While an upgrade in status sounds like a big deal, there are actually only two incremental benefits that you get by going from Gold to Platinum, the ability to gift points and a 15% discount at casino gift shops. The real gain comes from the difference between Platinum and Diamond. Furthermore, you need to spend $5,000 on the card per year to maintain your Platinum status. Since you probably would not want to use this card for any expenses except those at an actual Caesars resort, you may or may not hit that threshold, although I’m not sure that it makes much of a difference.
Spending $10,000 in a calendar year on the card will get you “VIP access” in Las Vegas for the following year. Again, big overture, little show. Here are the list of your benefits:
VIP Line check-in is nice and the pool access is a plus, but there’s not a lot of meat on this particular bone. The benefits will likely benefit some more than others.
This card has a very limited audience of customers who would truly benefit. Points are exchangeable for little outside of a Caesars property (They have a catalog of items that you can buy, or you can exchange them for gift cards at a value of less than 0.5 cents per point.) and, even at Caesars resorts, TR points are only worth a penny each. There are much better ways to earn more than 1% on a credit card without being tied into Total Rewards. You can get significant benefit if you spend a lot of money at their properties, but if you are a true big spender, you are probably getting most of your costs comped, anyway. The best thing about this card is that it is free, so those who do spend money at Caesars properties have some opportunity for upside. For anyone else, you’ve got many better options.
*I’ve left out one group that really loses: those people who do not pay their bills in full each month and end up paying the exorbitant interest charges that the banks use to subsidize rewards. Don’t be one of those customers. Pay your bills in full every month and, if you don’t, find a low-interest rate card.
Whit Brayton says
I am finding that the Total Rewards Visa card is not very user friendly, when I get ready for tax season I print up all of the statements for the previous year then review and pull out the various categories required for my taxes. A bit late this year (early March) only to find I can not see any statements over 12 months ago. January and Febuary are not available online and a written request is required with a 3 week wait time! Also for some reason November 2015 was not shown on my statement list. My other major credit card companies have the option of reviewing the last 12 months or you can view by year and even look back a few years, also they offer the year in review summary which breaks down your spending for the year by categories such as gas, groceries, medical etc. Total Rewards doesn’t seem to be much interested to provide these perks to us. I need to review my use of this card knowing it gives no cash back (just points) that can be used for buffets and such at their facilities. I wish they would become more user friendly.
Mike Friedman says
That’s ridiculous. Seems that it’s costing them money in excess labor and mailing costs to get those statements to you.
Hilton Mitchell says
Worst customer service ever. True idiots
f locher says
worst credit card ever
Mark Stephens says
totally agree….a huge waste of time and effort to even carry this POS card. This card is really only good if you live nearby Las Vegas. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone – dropping the card (canceling it) as soon as I can find a way to use my stupid points. Honestly it is a real challenge to even find anything to use my points toward that is worth doing. What a flipping waste!
Uh, so why did you get one? (rolls eyes)
agree poor service out dated computer systems at bank
platinum doesn’t get resort fees waives
and they provided no notice
Tony s says
Been getting offers for this as I hit Vegas 5 times a year. Finally made the call to get one when they did 20,000 point for spending 750 and then another 1000. Came down to roughly 11%,more if u add the comp meal at caesers for 2. Had enough RC to upgrade for 14 a piece. Still not bad. Likely not gonna keep using to maintain plat or VIP. Play the cc game if ur credit is good
Tony s says
Another small benefit is when u pay with reward credit for stuff there is no tax on that portion and that makes a huge difference. Think Vegas is 8.15% and I have 230000. So that’s about 18.75. Getting 5% on cc but paying 8% applying points tto credit stmt will still net 3.15loss. Guess u can redeem a gcard like discover n save extra there. But who wants one unless u know u will shop there
i had this card couple years ago and cancelled. anyone know f you can get the card again and receive the bonus points again?
Mike Friedman says
Did you have the Comenity card or the previous version, which I believe was issued by B of A? If it’s a new bank, you should be fine but, even if you didn’t, you should be in good shape. There’s nothing in the T&C that prohibits getting the bonus a second time and if it was a couple of years since you had the card, you’d probably be out of the penalty period, anyway. Can’t make any guarantees, but if I had to guess, I’d answer to the affirmative.
V Leong says
Comenity Bank offers the worst customer service. The personnel are incompetent and system is setup to steal from customer. This credit card will bring your credit standing down if you are not careful. My score is in the excellent zone but they put a dent on it. After giving them a bad review, they refuse to send me a replacement card and eventually close my account without even dropping me a note.
Below is my experience with Total Rewards Visa. After reading you can make up your own mind if the “Reward” is worth it.
This summer in August we made a family trip to Las Vegas and stayed at the Pink Flamingo. Upon arrival, I went to sign up for a players card and was surprised when they told me I was already in the system. I figured it was from my last summer trip and I had signed up for the Players card and just forgot. They went ahead and printed a players card and asked if I would be interested in signing up for a Visa Total Rewards card. I think the pitch was that I would get two free buffets and automatic upgrade on my players card. All I had to do was place one charge on the card and the reward was mine. I fell for it and signed up. In order to activate the reward and get the buffet I charged the days monorail tickets to my new Rewards card. Card in wallet never to be used again during this trip. Buffet received and we enjoyed the rest of the week.
Now it’s November. I keep getting this unknown caller on my cell at work that fails to leave any voice mail. This happens every day for a week and I’m getting pretty upset at this spam caller. Well the number ends up calling my phone after work hours while I’m at home and I pick up to find out what they want. They tell me they are a collection agency and I am past due and need to make a payment. I said you are mistaken I have never been past due. The reply was that they are from Total Reward Visa and I am late. It’s at that moment I remember the Vegas Trip and signing up for the card. I also do not recall paying the $78 dollar monorail charge. I told the lady that I would have paid the bill if they would have sent me a statement. The small charge was not something I specifically remembered I owed. She relied that they have sent out three statements. She asked my address and I told her. She said that is not the address we have on file or the address we sent the statement. I gave her my previous two addresses which cover the last 11 years of my residence. Neither of those are the right address. I ask what is the address on my account and she replied “I can’t give you that information”. I responded I would call the card company directly and get this resolved.
Next call was to the number on the back of the card that was hidden deep in my wallet. It’s pretty much the same story. Been going to the wrong address and no return mail has been received. Alarm goes off that someone now has my account info from the missing statements. The customer support also says they can not give me the address that’s on file but if I sign up to see online statements it will have the address. Sounds good so I tell the customer support that I need to close my account since my info is floating around. He agrees and takes of the $100 worth of finance charges from all the “late” fees and closes my account. I sign up for online access and pay the $79 dollars of original charges. When I look at the statement I see that the address they were going to was an address I did once have…15 years ago. Apparently I had gotten the players card on a long ago trip to vegas and not once during the sign up at the Flamingo was I asked to verify address on file. At least now we can close this case right?
WRONG!!!! I see my credit current score on my Discover card which has always been over 800. Well all of a sudden this month it has dropped 100 points. I find out it’s because of this fiasco with Total Rewards and they’ve filed unfavorable data with the credit bureau. I understand that being nearly 3 months late would justify a bad report but I still figured since it was a mixup in the Total Reward Visa system and the bill was paid they would work with me to get this resolved. My call to customer service was transferred to “Gayle” in dispute resolution. She listens to my story and confirmed everything with my account notes but then ultimately puts the blame on me. She is telling me there is nothing she can do and that I caused the “double whammy” on my credit score by not paying the bill and then closing my account. This week I will be sending certified letters to both the credit bureau and Total Reward Visa to see if this can be fixed. Either way, this entire experience has not been worth the 2 “free” buffets.
One additional benefit is that they offer Caesar’s Reward Credits through the Rewards Network of restaurants (and some bars) — https://www.totalrewardsdining.com/. On top of the regular 1:1 point earning you’d get for any card, you get 3x credits when using your Total Rewards Visa in the program, and there’s been an introductory offer of 5X for TR Visa use from October until this March (2017).
Unless you’ve already earmarked your cards for another rewards program, this is a great way to earn points quickly at an effective 5x cash back. 3x is a reduction, but will still probably cause me to choose between one place or another if it’s a toss-up.
The “VIP Access” pass unfortunately isn’t incredibly useful if you have Diamond status already (or don’t visit Vegas often) — it’s basically a psuedo-Diamond card that you can flash for some of the perks, but without the real Diamond status. I really wish they offered something else in its place as an option for those of us who are already Diamond.
With the dining program you can enter any credit card. Your best bet is to use the Chase Saphire card which gives 3 pts/$ (which is 4.5 cents for travel booked on the chase site for every $ spent) plus you get the harrahs points. Most airlines and hotel programs are part of the dining program as well but the Harrah’s points is the best value I’ve found so far of all the dining programs.
I go to Vegas a lot but don’t gamble much and just use the card for my first $10K of spend since I eat at their buffets a lot and use Qua at Ceasars most trips so the VIP access to the buffets plus being able to hop right in a cab when there is a long queue are worth the dollars I would lose on $10K on a better rewards credit card. My biggest complaint is that you can’t use the VIP card outside of Vegas, but for people that go to Vegas a couple times a year it’s worth it if you can charge $10,000. The two buffet passes were a really nice sign up bonus.
There are a couple things to be aware of. One is that I was told I would get the 5X/$ spent at all food establishments at Harrahs including restaurants at the Link and food court restaurants at Harrahs property. After charging a couple expensive meals at Places like Yard House and some drinks at Squeeze bar the Link complex I found out that wasn’t the case and I only got 1 pt/$ spent. It’s only good on restaurants inside the casino that Harrah’s owns and operates and another thing I don’t like is they don’t specify which transactions earned bonus $.
The other thing to be careful of is that you can only charge $7,000 a day regardless of your credit line. I had a purchase for around $10,000 and thought it would be a great way to get my minimum spend in for the VIP access for this year and the card was declined despite their website showing over $15,000 available. Upon calling the credit card customer service I found out they have a daily spend limit of $7,000 a day which is absurd. They should have allowed me to spend up to my available credit. That stupid policy ended up costing them a $10K sale that went to Am Ex
I go to Vegas two to three times a year for purposes besides gambling and think it’s worth it if you go to Harrah’s properties for things besides gambling and to keep your points from expiring if you can’t make it to a Harrahs every six month since a credit card charge will keep your balance active.
When I signed up I did it for the 2 24-hour buffet passes and Platinum status sign up promo.
I’m able to do a lot of manufacturing spend and don’t gamble much so I put $10K a year on the card for the VIP status. The VIP status has saved me some time waiting in lines at Buffets and it’s awesome for the taxi line, I just show the valet my card and even if there is a long line for a taxi just hop in the cab in less than a minute after presenting my card.
The card also gives a lot of nice promos during the year. I received an email last week for 600 bonus points for using the card four times this month so four $1.25 soda machine purchase costing me $6 gets me $6.06 in RR credits, no brainer there.
The only drawback is if you have a large purchase. Regardless of your credit limit you can only charge $7K a day. I had a $10,000 reimburseable company charge in January and figured it was a great way to keep my VIP status and the charge kept declining and I have a $15K credit line on this card. After calling the bank I discovered they have a policy where you can only charge a max of $7,000 a day regardless of your credit line which I’ve never heard of before. A good way for them to lose purchases over $7K to a competitor.
A couple other things to keep in mind with the VIP card is that you get a letter to redeem at the TR desk for the card and make sure you keep it and have it with you and Ceasars is the only casino you can redeem it. You can’t redeem it at any other casino. The thing I really hate about it is that the card is only good in Vegas. I go to Harrahs in Windsor and Cleveland a lot and it would be great to use in their buffet lines (which don’t allow Plats to access the VIP line, only diamonds).
I see all the negative reviews and comments on here and I 100% disagree. I have had this card for over 2 years and it’s one of the best in my wallet. I have to take a business trip to Las Vegas every year and earn out the wazoo there with this card. I have $400 in free money (as of today) and it’s $1:$1 off my hotel room. I also earn RCs off my house power bill every month. I have never had an issue with their customer service or with the card. 100% YES, I recommend this card IF you will actually USE it. (And I certainly do.) Plus, they added automatic Platinum status when you have your card. My RCs never expire now. I lost free money every year before this card. They even lowered my APR when I called. I have the exact 3 cards I want now. This, airline and a cash back card. Ideal for travel to Vegas once per year.
Mike Friedman says
Thank you for a contrary opinion. You’re right, if you are going to use the card, it works out nicely, particularly since they raised the bonus.
It is a good way to keep your points active if you can’t go to a Harrah’s casino every six month. The VIP card was a real lifesaver for me last month. I had a redeye flight out of LAS and saw a show at Ceasars and was able to get right into a cab and go to the airport by showing my VIP card. If I didn’t have that I could have missed my flight
Rich Q says
I agree with many on this posting that the Total Rewards Visa is the WORST credit card I have ever had. The customer service is terrible and I regret ever opening this credit card. Unlike every other card I have owned, they do NOT have auto drafting out of your bank account so have to be on top of this card in particular. I couldn’t wait to get it closed as the Customer Service agents are idiots and waste your time without finding resolutions. I give this card and company zero stars!!!!
In my opinion the best benefit of the card (Platinum Status) is the VIP check in desk/line at all the hotels!! After a long drive or flight….the last thing I want to do is wait in line to check in.
I used the card for all my business expenses last year and it turned into free (reward points) dinners at Mesa Grill (Flay), Ramsey Burger, Ramsey Pub, Fieri’s Spot (Mac Burger is bomb), Hash House, Nosh….and I still got $400+ sitting in there.
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