A recent casino announcement got us thinking about things. Their email announced a chance in their point redemption ratio into free play. Previously, you could redeem 1.75 points for $1 in free play, but now, depending on the day, it was 2 or 3 points for $1 in free play.
Watering down benefits isn’t new, but what was weird was they had an anytime benefit that lets you redeem 2 points for $1 in cash. Why would you redeem 3 points for $1 in free play when you can get $1.50 in cold hard cash for that same redemption?
Of course, 1 point there equals $1 at restaurants and shops, so should you even redeem it for cash when you can get food or shop at their mall? So let’s talk about earned comps today.
What Are Earned Comps?
If you haven’t heard the phrase earned comps before, that’s the term for the complimentary dollars you earn while you play. Sometimes they’re called Reward Points (MGM) or Reward Credits (Caesars), but regardless of name it’s a bank of credit you get that you can redeem for food, hotel stays, shopping (most of the time) and more.
Earned comps are different from offers, which are used to get you to come back, and can include resort or food credits. Earned comps effectively accrue as you play, and survive for some period of time (usually six months or a year of inactivity, but the expiration varies by casino).
The rate you earn comps varies by casino, and sometimes by your tier level at the casino. The more generous casinos give you a dollar in comps for every $150-200, and there are some comp programs where it can take up to $1000 in wagers on slots or other electronic games to earn $1 in comps. Some casinos allow you to earn comp dollars on tables, whereas others limit comp dollar earnings to electronic game play.
Since earned comps aren’t linked to offers, they can be effectively used anytime on any allowed options at the casino, and can be a great fill-in when offers come up short on for things such as food. But they can also allow for additional experience, such as a spa treatment, if you already have everything else covered.
The Best Use of Earned Comps
Each player wants to get something out of a visit, and that something will vary from person to person. Some love to shop, others love great dining, still others want to be pampered at the spa. So knowing what earned comps can be used for, and then deploying them smartly, is the key to maximizing your casino experience.
One aspect, going back to how we started this article, is looking at how earned comps redeem. Usually when redeeming for free play or cash, the redemption ratio is watered down to at least 2:1, compared to using it at a shop or restaurant.
But increasingly some casinos are raising the redemption rates at some restaurants and shops to be 2:1 as well, so in those cases it’s more of a preference.
The best mix is finding uses of your earned comps that give you what you’re looking for out of a casino trip, while maximizing the value you can wring out of it. If something on your list is available at 1:1 and something else is 2:1, it certainly can make sense to prioritize the 1:1 option so you can simply get a better value out of it.
Earned comps are part of the calculus when it comes to what casinos give you for your play. Making the most helpful use of it can ensure you get the maximum value out of your entertainment trips to the casino.