Negative Changes to Total Rewards for 2018
Caesars Entertainment announced some changes to their Total Rewards program for the upcoming 2018 calendar year. They are pretty terrible and they, indirectly, greatly reduce the value of the FoundersCard.
The interesting part is that they left the lower tiers (Gold, Platinum) completely unscathed but they removed the best perks of the Diamond and 7 Stars status.
Regular Diamond Status Devalued (15,000 tier credits)
Diamond members will no longer be able to enter the lounge, for free, at 15,000 tier credits. You will now need to have earned 25,000 tier credits to get into the lounges for free. You could have earned that level either in the previous year or the current year. If you are below 25,000 tier credits, or earned Diamond status via the FoundersCard, you would need to pay $10 in comps to get in. You CAN NOT pay cash to get in you must use 1,000 reward credits.
Value Lost – $10 x the number of Diamond Lounge visits you normally make
Aspiration Level 1 removed (40,000 tier credits)
This was a decent goal for non whales to shoot for. It came with 4 night complimentary stay at any Caesars property as well as a $100 Folio credit on that stay.
The 4 night stay isn’t a big deal for most of the people who reached this level since they were probably comped every trip anyways. It did allow them the opportunity to stay at a place like the Cromwell, or Nobu, where you have to have a higher daily rate to get comped.
The $100 folio credit is worth $100. I will say the potential to get into a better hotel is worth another $100.
Value Lost: $200
Aspiration Level 2 Removed (80,000 tier credits)
This hurts the small whales. People who were not quite able to get to 7 stars but had something of real value to shoot for. Once you reached level 2 you got $750 towards airfare for 2, economy only. You also got an additional four night stay at any Caesars property. And they just added a two night stay in a suite at any Las Vegas property this year, which seems counterproductive at this point.
The airfare was a worthy goal to shoot for. You got $750 in value from that plus you were able to earn status and airline miles with this perk.
Another 4 night stay is probably even worth less at this level since you would get comped anywhere if you played this much in my opinion.
The two night stay in a suite was a nice perk and it didn’t seem to have any restrictions. I will value this at $300.
Value Lost: $1050
Changes to 7 Stars Status (150,000 tier credits)
7 Stars players lost everything above, since they used to get those perks on the way to 7 Stars status. They were already $1250 in the hole but Caesars decided to kick them while they were down!
They no longer guarantee 7 Stars free rooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It now says prevailing rates will apply. So if it is a busy weekend or if they are sold out they will not make room for you.
The rest of the 7 Star perks do stay intact.
Value Lost: Thousands if you knew how to play it right
How it Affects FoundersCard Members
One of the biggest, if not biggest, perks of the FoundersCard was Total Rewards Diamond status. With this you got a $100 Diamond dinner voucher and free access to most Diamond lounges in the Total Rewards portfolio.
With this change you will no longer be able to access the Diamond lounges for free. And, since you got the status without gambling you will most likely not have the 1,000 reward credits to get in. Total Rewards has essentially dumped the free loaders.
I think pulling out of the FoundersCard group would have been easier since you are still harming gamblers that reached 15,000 tier credits the hard way. They will most likely have the reward credits but I doubt most hang around lounges enough to get $10 out of it every time.
You are still able to get the $100 Diamond dinner, 2 free show tickets per month, free parking, no resort fees, and hopefully the free trip to the Atlantis sticks around. There is still some value to be had there but losing the lounge access is a big hit.
This is a peculiar move by Caesars Entertainment and Total Rewards. I get trying to dump the free loaders who fill the lounges without gambling, but I think there were other ways it could have been accomplished.
Removing the Aspiration levels is foolish at best. Once you hit 25,000 tier credits what is the point to continue to gamble at their properties. Most of the people who are Diamond level will never get near 7 Star status. The Aspiration level perks gave these gamblers something to strive for, and kept them gambling, myself included. These middle level Diamond players are your bread and butter. They are the hard core gamblers that don’t use up a ton of perks when they come out to the casino. Seems counter productive to me.
Who knows how this will affect FoundersCard, I can see a lot of people dropping it. Especially Las Vegas locals who got the card mainly for the lounge access.
The gap from Diamond status (15,000) to 7 Star (150,000) is now ridiculous. If anything, they should have added more tiers with smaller perks along the way. And they pull it away 12 months after adding perks to the Aspiration 2 level….this seems very counter productive. I wouldn’t be surprised if many middle of the road gamblers, 15-40,000 tier credit level types, decide to go elsewhere on their next trip. Only time will tell.
Hat Tip to Travel Zork