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The new Marriott-MGM partnership has created shockwaves in the world of gambling and hospitality, especially in the U.S., of course. MGM Resorts, the world’s largest casino operator, and Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, have now launched their unique partnership (to replace the one between Hyatt and MGM).

Here are the details, pending the update of our ultimate guide to Marriott’s 30+ hotel brands.

 

Overview of the new Marriott-MGM partnership

Since Marriott Bonvoy is unquestionably the best hotel rewards program for Canadian travelers, it’s certainly good news to have more options… even if the partnership could have been much more interesting.

Here are the basics of the Marriott-MGM partnership:

  • 16 MGM resorts are joining Marriott Bonvoy
    • The world’s largest rewards program
  • A new Marriott brand has been created for 12 of the 16 resorts
    • The MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy
    • The other 4 join existing Marriott collections
  • MGM Resorts remains completely independent
    • Its MGM Rewards program too
  • Bookings must be made directly with Marriott
    • If you want the Marriott benefits
    • On the Marriott website or app
  • It’s mainly good for earning points rather than using them
    • Like most hotels in North America
    • Date-dependent, as with all hotels worldwide
  • It can be very interesting to qualify for Marriott elite status
    • Sometimes prices in cash can be quite low
  • The benefits for Marriott elite members are a little disappointing
    • They’re a little better for MGM Rewards elite members
  • The partnership also includes 3 other less interesting components
    • Marriott and MGM points transfers
      • Possible but absolutely not recommended
    • BetMGM with Marriott Bonvoy
      • To bet while you’re in the right states
    • Marriott Bonvoy Moments with MGM
      • To use your points for experiences in Vegas

Collections are hotel brands known as soft brands. These are independent, more unique hotels that maintain their own character and particularity but that affiliate with a well-known brand. These are my favorite types of hotels.

Concrete example! While all Sheraton brand hotels share similarities, Autograph Collection brand hotels are all different and unique. But with both brands, you get the benefits of a major chain and the rewards program!

 

Which hotels are part of the Marriott-MGM partnership?

Almost all MGM Resorts hotels in the U.S. participate in the partnership with Marriott. I’m sharing the complete list with you.

You can see a small photo of each hotel in the next section.

Here are the 12 joining the new brand MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy:

Here are the 4 joining the 3 existing collections by Marriott (all in Vegas):

Here are the MGM hotels not included in the Marriott partnership:

 

What are the prices at MGM hotels?

Prices are important both for those who want to:

  • Take advantage of the Marriott-MGM partnership to qualify or requalify for elite status
  • Simply choose the hotel at the best price, especially in Las Vegas, where 11 of the 16 resorts in the Marriott-MGM partnership are located

The least expensive MGM hotels in Las Vegas are generally the Excalibur and Luxor, while the most luxurious are the Bellagio and the 3 others that have joined existing collections.

As always, you can do a simple search on the Marriott website to see all the details and compare prices, of course, as they vary based on the dates.

 

Unfortunately, the resort fee scam was invented in Las Vegas so it makes points redemptions even less interesting — 99% of Marriott hotels worldwide have no resort fees, but all the hotels part of the Marriott-MGM partnership in Vegas have some, obviously.

Here’s just one example of the cash and points cost for each hotel on a random date (October 23).

Bellagio Resort & Casino 

  • $631
  • 70,000 points + $68 resort fee
price-of-the-bellagio-resort-casino
Price of the Bellagio Resort & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

ARIA Resort & Casino

  • $445
  • 46,000 points + Resort fee of $68
price-of-the-aria-resort-casino
Price of the ARIA Resort & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

  • $834
  • 100,000 points + Resort fee of $57
price-of-the-cosmopolitan-of-las-vegas
Price of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (image credit: Marriott)

 

Park MGM Las Vegas

  • $263
  • 23,000 points + Resort fee of $57
price-of-the-park-mgm-las-vegas
Price of the Park MGM Las Vegas (image credit: Marriott)

 

Vdara Hotel & Spa

  • $609
  • 70,000 points + Resort fee of $68
price-of-the-vdara-hotel-spa
Price of the Vdara Hotel & Spa (image credit: Marriott)

 

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

  • $239*
  • 27 000 points + Resort fee of $61*

*For October 24 as there is no basic room left on October 23

price-of-the-mgm-grand-hotel-casino
Price of the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

The Signature at MGM Grand

  • $504
  • 150,000 points + Resort fee of $57
price-of-the-signature-at-mgm-grand
Price of The Signature at MGM Grand (image credit: Marriott)

 

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

  • $734
  • 88,000 points + Resort fee of $61
price-of-the-mandalay-bay-resort-and-casino
Price of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

New York-New York Hotel & Casino

  • $295
  • 28,000 points + Resort fee of $57
price-of-the-new-york-new-york-hotel-casino
Price of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

Luxor Hotel & Casino

  • $363
  • 40,000 points + Resort fee of $50
price-of-the-luxor-hotel-casino
Price of the Luxor Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

  • $174
  • 13,000 points + Resort fee of $50
price-of-the-excalibur-hotel-casino
Price of the Excalibur Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott)

 

Is it good to use Marriott points for MGM hotels?

Just do the math for your specific dates, as always.

However, most Marriott hotels in North America are better places to earn Marriott points (by paying with cash or with other points of the more simple type) rather than to use Marriott points.

In general, the random pricing in points doesn’t provide a very good value in North America. But sometimes, it’s worth it, especially when cash prices are expensive. It all depends!

But you’ll usually get better value in other destinations — plus, destinations outside North America are often much more culturally rich and interesting.

So you’re often better off paying the Marriott hotel with cash (and instead using bank points which are of the more simple type) and saving your Marriott Bonvoy points for another use. At least, that’s what you should do if you want to maximize the value of (and avoid wasting) these points of the more lucrative type, which have an unlimited value!

Just compare the price in cash with the price in points. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to read about the basics of how Marriott Bonvoy points work.

 

Is it better to book with Marriott or MGM?

First of all, for hotel bookings, it’s not at all like with flights: it doesn’t matter if you book with third-party sites. 

So when choosing where to book, you have 2 options:

  • With the hotel directly
  • With a third-party site

To decide, you always have to look at 2 things:

  • The price
  • The rewards earned 

This is another excellent example of 1 of the 6 most important elements in the world of travel rewards: the importance of knowing how to count, i.e. always looking at 2 sides of an equation, never just 1 side as 99% of people do.

Often, the price is the same or similar on all platforms. In that case, it’s simple.

Normally, if you want to earn more rewards, it’s best to book directly with the hotel chain (if it’s a chain where you’ll be staying often enough) or with Hotels.com (to get 10% of simple rewards back at any hotel).

But with the Marriott-MGM partnership, there are 2 chains with which you can book directly (MGM or Marriott). 

For the same price, it’s certainly better to book with Marriott rather than MGM to earn points that are far more interesting (they have more usage and value).

But it may not be the same price…

MGM is known for often offering lower prices to its members — you can create a free account in just a few clicks, it’s easy of course, as always. 

So compare prices, as always. Calculate the price difference. However, as you earn many more rewards by booking with Marriott, it’s not just the price you need to look at as mentioned above.

In the case where you:

  • Don’t have Marriott Bonvoy elite status and don’t want to reach it, it’s better to book with MGM if it’s much cheaper
  • Just have the automatic Silver Elite status that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card: it may still be better to book with MGM depending on the importance of the price difference
  • Have a higher status: it may be worth booking with Marriott depending on how much you value the elite benefits offered

It also depends on the dates. Like almost everything else in the travel world, you just need to take the time to compare the prices and benefits of each option.

 

For example, on the same completely random date, I pulled the price for the cheapest MGM hotel in Las Vegas, Excalibur.

MGM-MARRIOTT-PRICE-COMPARAISON-EXCALIBUR-LAS VEGAS
Price comparison of the Excalibur Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott, MGM, Trivago, Hotels.com)

 

In this example, it’s simple. The price is higher on MGM than on Marriott and Hotels.com. It happens, everything always varies… it’s really that simple, so always compare! And for the same price, it’s better to book with Marriott, which gives more than Hotels.com’s 10% discount!

On other dates, it’s different!

MGM PRICE COMPARAISON Hotels.com Marriott Trivago
Price comparison of the Excalibur Hotel & Casino (image credit: Marriott, MGM, Trivago, Hotels.com)

 

MGM is $150, while the other 3 are $180! So it’s probably best to book with MGM.

It’s going to vary depending on the hotel, the date of stay, and the date of the search, just like all the prices of all the hotels in the world. Just do the math.

 

What are the benefits of the Marriott-MGM partnership?

Here are the benefits at MGM Hotels based on your Marriott membership status. You can read the basics of elite status if you haven’t already.

Because it’s a unique partnership, there are some differences between Marriott’s elite status benefits and the other brands. This makes the already complex benefits system even more complex.

Some are technically offered only until December 31, 2024 (indicated with an asterisk), but could be extended.

5pts/$ earn rate! If you have the only card that is for all Canadian travelers without exception, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card, it goes without saying that an additional benefit is to earn 5 pts/$ for your MGM hotel expenses, thanks to this new partnership.

 

Non-elite members

Here are the benefits offered to all members:

  • Earn 10 pts/$US (in addition to your card rewards)
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night (for elite status)

It’s the same as all the other Marriott brands, which is obviously not much: anyone can (and should) create a free Marriott account.

 

Silver Elite members

Here are the Silver benefits (automatic elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Card):

  • Earn 11 pts/$US
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night

It’s very little too, because everyone and their mother has the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card which is the only one everyone should always keep for its awesome Marriott annual free night certificate.

 

Gold Elite members

Here are the Gold benefits (automatic elite status with the Amex Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card):

  • Earn 12.5 pts/$US
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night
  • Welcome gift of 500 pts per stay

That’s still very little because many travelers take advantage of the shortcut to Gold status with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card: it comes with 15 elite night credits, so there are only 10 nights left to reach elite Gold status.

 

Platinum Elite members

Here are the Platinum benefits:

  • Earn 15 pts/$US
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night
  • Free room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Priority queue for check-in 
  • Late check-out at 2 PM (subject to availability)*
  • Choice of welcome gift
    • 1000 pts per stay
    • US$15 meal credit per night

It’s from this level onwards that the benefits become very interesting in the Marriott elite program. The US$15 per day credit for food and beverages and priority queuing are interesting, as are late check-out if it’s available, and upgrades if you get them (it’s far from being like outside North America and Western Europe, where it’s virtually guaranteed).

 

Titanium Elite members

Here are the Titanium benefits:

  • Earn 17.5 pts/$US
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night
  • Free room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Priority queue for check-in 
  • Late check-out at 2 PM (subject to availability)*
  • Choice of welcome gift
    • 1000 pts per stay
    • US$15 meal credit per night

These are exactly the same benefits as Platinum, except for the extra bonus points and priority for room upgrades and late check-out of course. Having been Platinum for a few years before becoming Titanium, the difference is pretty remarkable, generally speaking.

 

Ambassador Elite members

Here are the Ambassador benefits:

  • Earn 17.5 pts/$US
  • Earn 1 elite night credit per night
  • Waived resort fees
  • Guaranteed complimentary suite upgrade*
    • 1x/year in Vegas
    • Up to 3 nights
  • Free parking*
  • Priority queue for valet parking and taxis*
  • Priority queue for restaurants*
  • Priority queue for other services*
  • Priority queue for check-in
  • Early check-in at 1 PM (subject to availability)*
  • Late check-out at 4 PM (subject to availability)*
  • 15% discount in certain shops*
  • Choice of welcome gift
    • 1000 pts per stay
    • US$15 meal credit per night

If you’re one of the ultra-rich or one of those who have an employer who pays for several hotels, the benefits are even better, especially with the Marriott-MGM partnership.

 

Is there an elite status match between MGM and Marriott?

The elite status match between the MGM Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy programs is offered only to MGM Rewards elite members, of which there are probably very, very few in Canada. 

And on top of that, it’s technically only until December 31, 2024 (it could be extended). If you have this status, it’s worth doing it anyway of course.

Here are the matches:

  • MGM Rewards Gold → Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite
  • MGM Rewards Platinum → Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite
  • MGM Rewards NOIR → Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite

You can request the match on your MGM Rewards account.

 

Is it possible to transfer points between MGM Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy?

It’s possible, but it’s yet another excellent example of 1 of the 6 most important elements in the world of travel rewards: the importance of knowing how to do the math.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it (as is often the case). Transfer rates between Marriott and MGM are terrible, so it’s best to avoid it.

Here are the transfer rates:

  • 1 Marriott Bonvoy point → 0.8 MGM Rewards points 
  • 1 MGM Rewards point → 0.8 Marriott Bonvoy points 

Our conservative Flytrippers Valuation for Marriott Bonvoy points is ≈ 0.9¢/pt and MGM Rewards points have a fixed value of 1¢/pt, so:

  • ≈ 0.9¢/pt → 0.8¢/pt (Marriott Bonvoy → MGM Rewards)
  • 1¢/pt → ≈ 0.7¢/pt (MGM Rewards → Marriott Bonvoy)

Generally, the only points that gain value by being transferred — and therefore the only points that should be transferred — are bank points. You can read the basics of transferable points if you didn’t know that.

 

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Summary

The new Marriott-MGM partnership is excellent news for the members of the best hotel rewards program for Canadian travelers. But especially for those with elite status, even if it’s only the automatic Silver elite status of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card.

 

What would you like to know about the Marriott-MGM partnership? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See the flight deals we spot: Cheap flights

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Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

 

Featured image: Las Vegas Strip, Nevada (photo credit: David Vives)

 

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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