Brand New MGM M life Rewards MasterCard Launches Today With Instant Elite Status

Around 11 a.m. Eastern today the MGM M life Rewards from First Bankcard will launch. I spoke with Jordan Salmon, MGM’s Vice President of Loyalty Marketing, on Monday about the product.

Here are the basics of this no annual fee card which has no foreign transaction fees:

  • Signup bonus. 10,000 points after $1000 spend within 3 billing cycles
  • Points-earning. Double points at gas stations and supermarkets and triple points at M life Rewards destinations.
  • Elite status. Cardmembers are immediately elevated to M life Rewards ‘Pearl’ status with an additional benefit of VIP check-in (that usually only comes with Gold status and above). In addition, points earned on the card are both redeemable and tier points to help you earn higher elite status levels.

An M life Rewards point is worth a penny apiece used either:

  • As free play, you stick your membership card in the machine at a casino and and pick ‘point play’
  • As express comps, anywhere on property with 1000 points worth $10 towards restaurants, your room folio, or anything else. (There’s a cap on Express Points of $5000 a year or $10,000 for top tier Noir members.)

It’s very competitive for a no annual fee with no foreign transaction fees and rewards including spend category bonuses. The product is issued as a MasterCard and as a World MasterCard depending on credit of the applicant.

It will be most interesting for MGM resort guests for offering instant status, VIP check-in, and the ability to earn elite tier status through spending year-round. (Priority check-in at a 3000 or 4000 room property can be a Very. Big. Deal.)

Las Vegas properties transitioning to paid parking, it’s the casino’s “checked bag fees” — a reason to get the card to avoid the nuisance fee since M life’s Pearl members get free self-parking.

They’ll be testing instance card issuance for applications today at MGM Grand, and are looking to roll that out to the rest of their properties in about a month. The interesting thing about applying on property is that elite tier status upgrades are processed in almost real-time. There’s no wait.

You could literally apply on property, and if you’re instantly approved for the card your account should reflect your new benefits. Your parking will be free for your stay. And you’ll get buffet line passes for your stay, and discount at retail shops too.

Pearl is normally earned after 25,000 tier credits. But the card doesn’t start you off for the year with 25,000 tier credits. You have Pearl status as long as you hold the card, but you still need to earn the full 75,000 points required for Gold status or 200,000 for Platinum. But that doesn’t require $75,000 or $200,000 in spend, because category bonuses count towards your tier points as well.

The best status play, I think, is Hyatt Gold Passport’s credit card. It has a $75 annual fee but a better signup bonus and an annual free night (at a category 1-4 hotel) and comes with Gold Passport Platinum status.

Gold Passport Platinum comps each year to MGM M life Rewards Gold which is a tier level higher than what comes with the M life Rewards card. Gold gets room upgrades, priority restaurant reservations, and VIP Line Access for nightclubs and pool day clubs.

It’ s interesting that the MGM card comes with a lower tier status than the Hyatt card does, but they’re really targeted at different markets. Plan ahead, commit to a card with an annual fee, and you do better starting your relationship with MGM through Hyatt. But MGM offers status upgrades instantly on-site with their own no annual fee card.

The information related to cards in this post have not been provided or reviewed by their issuers. This blog does not earn compensation or credit for these products.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The major disadvantage which either you ignore and failed to realize is that this card is issue by FNBO.

    FNBO is infamous for their at best mediocre credit limits, their slow, manual processing of applications and their keen ability to decline applications for moronic reasons such as more than two inquiries showing on your credit report.

    I wouldn’t touch FNBO with the sh!tty end of a stick even if it gave free nights in the White House.

  2. Interesting side note, Milhouse changed his name to M Life when he moved to Capital City

  3. I have to assume that this card will Not eliminate the ‘Resort Fee’ To me, and many others, I’m sure just can’t stand the ‘Resort Fee’. Parking isn’t an issue to those of us who doesn’t rent a car in LAS. But oh, those Resort Fees.

  4. The front -of -the-line at Shake Shack at NYNY is the best benefit of Hyatt Diamond’s status transfer to MGM’s M “gamble away your Life” status.

    This card doesn’t seem to offer much. I have no interest.

    Eh, maybe I’ll cut the line at Bellagio’s buffet, but for $15 i can pay to cut the line at the much better Wynn buffet.
    It always surprises me how many people paying to stay at Wynn would rather wait 45 minutes or longer to get seated, and stand in a line to boot.

  5. Meh.. I applied for one, and it should be here this week. I will use it for the first year and see how it goes. I am already Plat member with 500k points this year, but I’d like to see how my express comps will add up. The express comps. are great. Depending on what my express comps. balance coupled with Resort Credit (on comp. rooms) I usually travel light and charge everything to the room and let the Hotel pick up the tab :). Anyhow, i’m more interested on how fast I can build my express comps. prior to my Vegas visits..

  6. So how much are 10000 bonus points worth? Is it $10 per 1000 points like Total Rewards?

  7. Anybody know how long it takes for the rewards to hit your Mlife account? I’ve used the card and made my $1000 but i have not seen the points reflected on MLIFE.

  8. I see somebody was asking whats the credit limit initially. I just applied and was instantly approved for $6,500.00. Not sure what they base your initial credit limit on.

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