Waived fees and free casino status: Now’s a good time to maximize your Las Vegas trip with a hotel status match

Feb 7, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information. It was most recently published on Nov. 27, 2019.
Got status? If the answer’s no, don’t despair. Now’s the time to update your 2020 status-match checklist, especially if you’re headed to Las Vegas.
If you currently hold elite status with any hotel chain, you can status match to Wyndham Rewards, all the way to the program’s top-tier Diamond status. And if you can qualify for Wyndham Diamond status, you can match that to Diamond status within the Caesars Hotels and Resorts chain, which owns many of the most famous hotels on the Strip and in Atlantic City: Caesars Palace, The LINQ, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Harrah’s, Nobu and more.
As reported by Miles to Memories, Caesars resets its elite status on Feb. 1 each year, while Wyndham status resets on Jan. 1. So if you’ve already rematched your Wyndham elite status for 2020, this week is a good time to rematch that to Caesars. This move will waive all of your resort and parking fees, qualify you for free shows as well as a $100 celebration dinner, and a number of other premium perks for free.


Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive getaway with your friends, are headed to a convention or just scored tickets to the hottest concert of the season, there’s always something happening in Las Vegas. We’ll tell you how to get there on miles and points, where to stay, the best times to plan a trip and what to do while you’re there. Don’t worry — there’s plenty to do in Sin City besides gambling!
Las Vegas is known as the city of excess — and for good reason. From the biggest buffets to the largest casinos, it’s got a handle on the whole “more is more” concept. Nowhere is this more visible than Sin City’s hotels, which loom impressively above the desert landscape, promising cheap rooms, free alcohol — and fees. From your parking to your resort fees and even your in-room coffee, just about everything in Vegas has a cost.
That is, of course, unless you’re an elite.
I recently spent two days in Las Vegas seeing exactly how I could avoid paying the exorbitant costs, utilizing elite status gained through status matches. My conclusion? It was easy. Really easy. And the best part is that you only need a single credit card to do it.
Today I’ll walk you through exactly how to accomplish this for yourself.

In This Post

Step 1: Get yourself a credit card

This status match merry-go-round starts with elite status gained from a credit card. Several good options are depending on your investment in the credit card game:

Marriott

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
    • Provides Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
    • Provides Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Provides Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status

Note that the top two cards also provide 15 elite-night credits each year, putting you within striking distance of higher tiers by combining the cards with some stay activity.

Hilton

  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
    • Provides Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
    • Provides Hilton Honors Gold status
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Provides Hilton Honors Gold status
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Provides Hilton Honors Gold status

IHG

  • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
    • Provides IHG Rewards Club Platinum status

Radisson

  • Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
    • Provides Radisson Rewards Gold status

Honorable Mention: Founderscard

Founderscard is a community membership, not a credit card, but it provides Caesars Rewards Diamond status. Holders of this card, skip to Step 4.

Step 2: Match your elite status (to Wyndham)


The crux of our mission here is to gain elite status at Wyndham, which unlocks a host of other programs and opportunities to status match. This is due in large part to partnerships across different hotel brands. For example, Wyndham is a Caesars partner, and the two provide reciprocal elite status across their chains. M life and Hyatt are similarly paired, and we’ll be using those ties to take advantage of generous matching policies.

First, register for Wyndham’s status match, using the status gained from one of the cards mentioned above. Wyndham will generally give you instant Diamond status for three months with the option to extend by staying 14 nights in 90 days. That’s not necessary for what we’re doing here, though feel free to complete the challenge if you’re up for it.

Step 3: Match your elite status (to Caesars)


As I mentioned above, Caesars and Wyndham have a partnership that allows for reciprocal status across either program. This is excellent news for us, as Wyndham Rewards Diamond members can match evenly across to Diamond status with Caesars Rewards.
At this point we’ve already done really well, unlocking tons of benefits with your Caesars Rewards Diamond status, with perks that include:

  • Waived resort fees on all stays
  • Complimentary valet and self-parking
  • $100 annual celebration dinner at Caesars-owned restaurants
  • 15% off best available rate on rooms and suites
  • Guaranteed room with 72-hour notice (in Las Vegas and Atlantic City)
  • Two free show tickets per month
  • Priority lines at check-in, shows, restaurants, valet, casino cages, and rewards desks
  • Complimentary four-night stay at the Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas

I’d peg the most valuable of these perks as the waived resort fees (which saves you about$44 per night), the free $100 dinner and the complimentary valet parking (which is regularly $24 per night). Everything else is nice, but these three together can transform your Las Vegas trip from amazing to cheap and amazing.

Step 4: Match your elite status (to M life)

But wait! There’s more! You’ve already gathered elite status across a couple of hotel chains, but why stop there?
This next step is a little more difficult, as reports tend to conflict over whether status matching to M life is possible via Caesars. Well, I’m pleased to say I was able to do it, and here’s how.
There is a single hotel in all of Las Vegas that will grant you an M Life status match with Caesars: the MGM Grand. I started — and failed — at the Aria, where the kind M life rewards desk agent advised that I needed to head to the MGM if I was looking to status match.
There are strings attached to this offer. First, you must be a new member. Luckily for me, I missed the boat on the Hyatt-M life matching in the glory days and hadn’t bothered to create an account since. Second, this offer is only good once, and it’s only valid for 12 months.
You’ll need to start at the M life rewards desk, where they can create your account for you (I don’t know that this is mandatory, as you can create your own account online. However, I wanted to be certain that they knew my account was brand-new). You’ll then be advised to proceed to the Casino Host’s office, where an employee will take your Caesars card (and your newly minted M life card), and match you up to M life Gold.
Though not as lucrative as Caesars Diamond status, M life Gold also has many perks:

  • Room upgrades (not including suites)
  • Complimentary valet and self-parking
  • Priority lines at check-in, restaurants and nightclubs
  • Priority access to fine dining reservations

You may be gaining less in incentives by matching over to M life, but there’s one really big positive that comes of it.

Step 5: Match your elite status (to Hyatt)

Probably my biggest incentive to complete this status matching quest was to gain access to Hyatt elite status. I already had Discoverist as a result of the World of Hyatt Credit Card, but I wanted Explorist, which TPG values at a whopping $945 per year (versus just $150 for Discoverist).
As I mentioned previously, M life and Hyatt have a partnership that gives members of their programs reciprocal status. This means that as soon as you have M life Gold, you can head here to validate your status and match across to Hyatt Explorist.

I also mentioned earlier that the M life matching offer via Caesars was a one-time thing. This is common for most hotel status matches, as they’re looking to poach your business, not give you free rewards for forever. However, it is an entirely different ball-game between hotel partnerships, which will allow you to match and re-match repeatedly over the years. All you need to do is head back to the registration page and rematch your expiring status with your current status. Rinse and repeat, and you’ll essentially have permanent elite status (until they catch on, anyway).

Bonus step: Fast track your way to American Airlines elite status

There’s another angle that this approach may unlock for you. As we reported back in May, you can now link your Hyatt and American Airlines accounts to gain new benefits:

Members are also being targeted with opportunities to fast track elite status with American, an offer I received as a newly minted Explorist.

American Airlines has publicly available status match offers to either Gold or Platinum, but they do charge a fee for the request which costs between $100 to $340 (for Gold), depending on your current status and whether you want elite status while you complete the challenge.
Doing it this way gives you immediate status for free, and the opportunity to keep it at no charge. (Aside from the flight costs, obviously.)

Bottom line

Though Las Vegas is a notoriously expensive city, you can reduce the cost while maximizing your benefits by leveraging elite status across its hotels. Even better, those benefits continue long after your trip ends with the ability to cross-match at additional hotel chains and even fast track your way to airline elite status — all from a single credit card.
Katherine Fan contributed to this post.

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