If you live in Las Vegas, you have seen this year’s coming-out-of-bankruptcy ads from Station Casinos. “We Luv Locals,” the ads say. In recent weeks, Station Casinos’ ads also began shouting, “The all NEW Boarding Pass. The best card in Las Vegas just got better.”
The truth squad be damned. South Point, for one, has long had a more generous deal for locals than Station Casinos. Stations’ new ads should have said, “In an effort to keep up with the competition…….”
Station Casinos has transformed its player’s card rules for all 18 of its casinos. The company has been so excited about the changes they’ve had little parties all over town, inviting players to see what’s new.
My husband and I went to one such party a week ago at Sunset Station Hotel & Casino. Sunset is our local casino of choice based on location, the nice folks in the poker room and the pretty good food in its restaurants..
O.K., so we go to the Madrid ballroom for our meeting at 9:30 a.m. and wait in line to have our cards scanned and then we enter the dark ballroom. At one end, we wait in another line to be offered free coffee and our choice of donuts and cookies. Fine.
We find a seat; the place fills up. A blond lady with a microphone heads to the center of the room and basically says, “Here are a couple videos about the changes.” She doesn’t introduce herself, and the videos are extremely repetitive. Yes, some of us are past 50, but we don’t need to hear the “three points for $1 of play” 10 times.
Yes, $1 in a slot machine now automatically accumulates three players points and with those points, a player can have “free” movies, “free” bowling, “free” meals, etc. Of course, “free” is marketing talk for having spent hundreds of dollars in the casino. Granted, a player no longer must “swipe” a card to get a three-times points multiplier, and that’s good, but we haven’t been told if we will continue to get mailings from the casino with other multiplier offerings.
With no one noticing my raised hand during the very abbreviated question time, as I exited the meeting and was picking up my coupon for a free t-shirt (an inducement to have folks attend the little parties), I asked the blond lady if half points in the restaurants on senior Wednesdays would continue. Her answer: “I guess so. ‘They’ haven’t said anything about that.”
After leaving the ballroom, we were asked to wait in another long line to get our new cards and our gift t-shirt. We’re not line-waiters, so we went directly to the t-shirt lady, got our “free” t-shirts and went elsewhere until the line for new cards dissipated.
As part of the new deal at Station Casinos, in addition to “points”, a player must be aware of “credits”. “Credits” are the stuff that determines if a player is issued a red, gold, platinum, black or maroon card.
The more “credits” a player has, the more perks are available to the player. (You’ll want to hang with folks having a maroon Chairman’s card; they get the largest discounts at the buffet and preference at the valet.) Most of my friends are occasional players and like me, in the past carried a gold card. What the meeting didn’t tell us was that the new gold card no longer carries a small discount at the buffet. To get that discount, one would have to move “up” a notch, meaning that in a six-month period, an individual would need 40,000 credits or more. For slot players other than players of video slots, the person would have to put at least $13,333 through the slots. Credits are also available through video slots, table games, the sports book and poker, but they are not as generous as credits issued with non-video slot play, clearly the casino’s profit center.
One friend we know who spends most of every day in the poker room and has more than 2 million accumulated points (but only enough “credits” for a gold card) was so angry at losing the 25% discount for buffet meals that he literally charged the Rewards Center demanding an upgrade to a Platinum card so that he could keep his discount. He got the upgrade.
The good thing? All station casinos cards are now one card; a player doesn’t have to carry a bunch of different cards. The bad thing? At Thanksgiving time when some folks collected pumpkin pies at several different Station-owned casinos, these same folks may now get only one pie (the real financial reason Stations made all these changes, I’m sure).
Because gambling points from all Stations’ locations are now consolidated and the various levels of cards have been made more generous, some of us actually did move up a notch in terms of the colors of our cards. I have until June 30 of next year to accumulate enough “credits” to keep my new designation.
One more benefit of the new program: whoopee, one can turn in points for cash (as players have always been able to do at the Coast Casinos and at South Point). Of course, some cynics would say the cash will go right back into the machines. No, never. Station Casinos simply luvs locals.