HT Exclusive: MGM Resorts' VP of Loyalty Marketing Talks Loyalty

Announced last week, and debuting on Feb. 1, MGM Rewards will be a totally new loyalty program that aims to increase brand recognition, enhance member benefits, and streamline the guest experience.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture
Catch Aria Resort Casino MGM
Aria Resort Casino Source: MGM Resorts

Last week, MGM Resorts announced that it would be revamping it loyalty program on Feb. 1. For the first time, non-gaming customers will join their gaming counterparts and have the benefit of earning a currency - MGM Rewards Points - redeemable for complimentary food and beverage, entertainment, hotel stays and more. Plus, all members will be able to earn points on nearly all expenditures at MGM Resorts destinations, integrating both non-gaming and gaming activity.

To learn more about this new loyalty program and the “why” behind the change, HT sat down with Anil Mansukhani, MGM Resorts’ Vice President of Loyalty Marketing.

Why did MGM revamp its loyalty program?

As a leader in entertainment and hospitality, we regularly listen to feedback from our guests and employees and saw this as a great opportunity to enhance member benefits and earning potential as well as create a simpler, more streamlined experience across our many lines of business in both Las Vegas and our regional properties.

What is MGM hoping to accomplish with the revamp?

There are two primary reasons behind the changes. Related to the name change, our research indicated that many guests didn’t always make the connection between M life and MGM Resorts.  In rebranding to MGM Rewards, we are aligning our loyalty program more closely with our company brand, making a direct connection to our resorts and encouraging members to take advantage of greater benefits across the entire portfolio. As to the program elements, we saw opportunity to deepen our relationships with non-gaming customers, inspire cross-regional and cross-property activity, simplify the program for our members and enhance the rewards for our most loyal guests.  

What resources did MGM rely on to help guide program changes?

The program enhancements are the result of in-depth research, analysis and program design work over the past two years, including customer feedback via program surveys and focus groups. As we've listened to customer feedback in the development of this program, we've consistently heard that loyalty program benefits are the single most important priority. This new structure offers more ways for customers to earn by recognizing virtually all spend at MGM Resorts’ 20+ U.S. properties.

What new experiences and offers can guests expect with the enhanced program?

The program offers expanded gaming and non-gaming earning opportunities as well as new and exclusive marquee benefits for each tier.

By incorporating non-gaming spend, MGM Rewards will enable MGM Resorts to understand the luxury traveler better than ever before and offer marquee benefits - including waived resort fees, air travel credit, complimentary MGM Rewards concert tickets in Las Vegas and tier achievement events - of interest to high-frequency travel audiences.

Now, members in both Las Vegas and our regional properties can earn MGM Rewards Points for both gaming and non-gaming spend, unlocking a currency that can be used to redeem hotel stays, food & beverage experiences, entertainment, access to award-winning spas and more.

Can you explain how the earning and redemption processes have been simplified?

MGM Rewards seamlessly integrates gaming and non-gaming spend giving members more ways to earn and a simpler way to redeem awards across MGM Resorts' 20+ regional and Las Vegas properties. Guests now earn MGM Rewards Points when they play, stay or dine at any MGM Resorts destinations on directly booked rooms and food & beverage as well as slots and table games