The Total Rewards Visa Card: Is it Worthy of Your Wallet?

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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

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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).

The Basics

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.

Sign-up Bonus

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.

Benefits

Total Rewards Visa
You won’t exactly hit the jackpot with this card

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:

Only the best for the VIPs
Only the best for the VIPs

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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*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.

Comments

  1. 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.

    • 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!

  2. 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

  3. ikerumbus says

    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.

  4. Lmurphy says

    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.

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