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VegasChatter article on CET tier "inflation"

Discussion in 'Comps' started by sigsev, Apr 16, 2015.

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  1. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    Here's an interesting take on the recent 50% tier credit promotion that just ended, and the resulting increase in the number of higher tier CET cards.

    http://www.vegaschatter.com/story/2015/4/16/8414/07525/vegas-travel/Total+Rewards+Has+A+VIP+Inflation+Problem

    I reached Diamond in two days with pretty little effort, played about 5 hours each day to hit the Diamond tier. And that was without the TC bonus promotion. I plan on reaching Diamond 40 next trip.

    I would argue that the value of "freebies" offered to anyone below Diamond 40 is negligible. On the other hand the perceived value of having a Platinum or Diamond card is high, to the player. When I reached Platinum I looked at my benefits... and shrugged. There wasn't any change. When I reached Diamond, at least I got a couple of interesting benefits. The real perks start at Diamond 40, and for that you do need serious play.

    However the point of the article is relevant, in that the degrading of tier benefits affects all tiers and not just the lower ones. Many top players on this board and others have also complained of a downgrade in their free play offers and other items of value.

    I think this is an issue of luxury economics. If you have an item that is deemed a luxury, like a pair of Louboutin heels, and that item is scarce because of price or lack of supply it becomes desirable. If you then flood the market with pairs of Louboutin heels and everyone walks around with them, that item is no longer attractive to the luxury set and they seek out something else that is exclusive.

    I sense a lot of 7Stars members are upset at their offers being downgraded, and they will soon be upset at the increase in the number of Diamond and 7Star members swelling their ranks. If their club is no longer exclusive, it'll be a hit to its perceived value, and that will weaken their desire to maintain status even more.

    TR is very good at drawing in those masses though, and just like all former luxury brands gone mainstream the mass appeal will ensure its profitability. But perhaps they will lose the big whales in the process.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    This is my take on it. As I put in my recent comparison about CET Diamond vs. mLife Platinum, mLife Platinum does nearly nothing for me, and I have all but ceased going to mLife properties except Mirage, which has a silver strike machine. At mlIfe, at Platinum to are basically "game over" because the next level is "invitation only". At least at CET I have a glimmer of hope at making 7 Stars.

    This year my play has been CET to the point of almost exclusivity. CET meets my needs. CET is "gambling" on quantity vs. quality, hoping to get hundreds of low-mid level players like me. They will lose a few high level players, but it will even out. And, for those high level players that they want to keep, they will find a way to keep them.

    You have to figure that they are not losing money In their new strategy. What would they do, "Make it up on volume?".

    I do feel for the 7 star members who feel slighted, but that's not me right now.

    Just my .02
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  3. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    Well, Seven Stars is invite only as well, now.

    One thing the TR system does well is incentivize players to move up in tier. More tiers mean that people can watch themselves achieve the next level sooner and so it pushes them to keep going. Making the diamond aspiration tiers transparent is part of this as well. I know it certainly works on me since I plan on hitting Diamond 40 soon.

    Contrast this with Mlife's hidden tiers and its easy to see why people are engaged in TR more. Mlife has a second tier of Platinum, but they don't advertise it or tell you how many points you need to hit it. Likewise Noir is a mystery, I've heard anywhere between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 TCs to get an invite.

    Much like the real world, the true high rollers and whales will always have a tier of their own. Its really the middle class that the inflation affects. Those that gamble enough to reach high tiers but fall short of high roller status are probably the ones who will feel the most effects of any comp or tier benefit clawbacks.
     
  4. sabre

    sabre Low-Roller

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    LOL at diamond having negligible value for your average player. No resort fees and lounge access is pretty huge.
     
  5. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    I meant the cost of doling out those perks from CET's point of view. I should have phrased that better.
     
  6. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    But, it's still getting 'em in the door. If they're Diamond, they'll play. If they don't make their "comp level", they'll get their offers decreased.

    I'm sure that this is an experiment for this year. If it works, fine, if not, try something else next year.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  7. vetsen

    vetsen Tourist

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    I think they're trying to use tier to get more play from people rather than using free play or other hard cost promos.

    Once a diamond lounge is full the cost can't really increase. So CET figures they get people to play more by offering them Diamond at a reduced rate and it doesn't cost the company anything.

    The problem with strategy is players are going to get upset when they realize the value of being Diamond as been watered down. But, what else are you going to do to get people to play more when you don't have cash to offer them?
     
  8. newmans

    newmans VIP Whale

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    Seven Stars is very different from Mlife Noir. Noir is invite only and the requirements are fuzzy.
    With Total Rewards, if you make 150,000 tier credits and do not have outstanding markers or have any incidents (eg punching a dealer etc), you'll be given 7 Star status.
     
  9. engicedave

    engicedave VIP Whale

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    The tier bonus was simply to ease fears of the CET bankruptcy filing. As soon as they announced the BK, it was a few days later they announced the "Winter Tier Bonus"

    It was done to make you, the player, believe they're here to stay, gain some extra play early in the BK proceedings, from those looking to maximize that bonus, and to make people feel confident in the re-org.

    It does dilute the "mystique" of being a Diamond or 7-Stars, but at the same time, it encourages a bit more play from those who are always justthisshort of making Diamond or 7-Star, and then the hope is once they get there and enjoy the benefits, they'll chase the comps next year to obtain that status once again.....no one likes being denied what they once had.

    As for offers, that all goes off your ADT and stuff....the card is more for show than go. You can be a plat with a killer ADT and get better offers than Diamonds with a weaker ADT. That's why when you go to so many of those locals Harrah's and Horseshoe's, there's a ton of Diamond Players, but they earn it through volume...many many small trips....2-3x a week at a hundred dollars or so, while others go only a couple times a year and drop $2K a day for 4 days. Who do you think has the higher card and who has a higher ADT?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  10. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    I never really got the point of the 50% bonus promotion except to front load extra play in the first quarter of the year.

    They are going to have a shitload more people collecting the Diamond Level 1 value of:
    • $100 Dinner voucher
    • Exemption from resort fees
    • Lounge access
     
  11. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    I believe the thought was "get them to Diamond level" early in the year, and when they see the Diamond level incentives, they will come and play. It's all about getting our butts in the door. At least that's how it worked on me.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  12. engicedave

    engicedave VIP Whale

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    Yep, that's how I see it from a business decision.
    Front load Q1 after BK with a lot of play and at same time give a lot of plats a taste of, or put them in reach of, Diamond status, so that once (if) they reach Diamond and see the Diamond Lounge benefits, line benefits, and more, they'll push to get that same status the following years.

    Like crack, just give them one taste and they'll keep coming back for more
     
  13. Champster1

    Champster1 High-Roller

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    Damn. You couldn't find a better example than "crack"?!?!?

    Point well taken though!!!
     
    March Madness...here I come !!
  14. shokhead

    shokhead I'm no big spender!

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    As long as my rooms are comped I'm pretty happy.
     
    Here we go again!
  15. Champster1

    Champster1 High-Roller

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    +1!!!
     
    March Madness...here I come !!
  16. Funkhouser

    Funkhouser In Charge of the Big Door

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    Anyone who has been around the Total Rewards system and been a diamond players for 10 years or more will tell you the value of the program has declined.

    CET TR was a great rewards program back when they were trying to build the brand, and there was far less consolidation. I can remember the monthly diamond private invite parties with
    comp booze and great buffets. Premium gift giveaways, room comps always available, and generous free play returns. This was all back up to the 2007 = 2008 recession. Then the offers
    started slipping with the same level of play.

    First the monthly promotions and events went away. Then they started doing things like making the priority lines for promotional events for Seven Star only and lumping Diamond players in with the rest of the groups.
    Discretionary comps, previously given away generously were now more scrutinized Then we saw reductions in hosts, and a shift to "Casino Sales Executives" or as I like to call them pretend hosts.

    Offers went down, Tier earning requirements went up. Finally what we have now at diamond level is a fraction of the benefits we had 10 years ago. All while being touted as the next best thing to sliced bread.
    Expanding gambling and consolidation has made CET try less harder to deliver a good comp program. If it wasn't for the free LV rooms and Diamond lounges I would have quit them long ago. With the diminished values
    and diluting of the tiers, I have given up the effort to maintain any status. If it happens it happens, however I freely spread my gaming bankroll around properties now and live better on the comp systems of other properties.

    All my higher comps for my next trip are derived from MyVegas rather than my tier program at CET. I can only hope for a breakup of the company to improve the gaming comps for players in Vegas.
     
  17. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    Name me ANY rewards program that hasn't devalued over time!!!

    It's called . . . inflation. Also, shareholder "squeeze". In CETs case, it's (probably) the bankruptcy.

    When I first started flying with Delta Airlines it was 120,000 miles for 2 round trip business class seats to Asia. By the time I finally got to redeeming them, it was only one business class seat.

    The last time I went to Caesars, Seven Start and Diamond were "back" (this Is my first year in CET after being a Platinum mLife member).

    However, I understand your disappointment. The thing is, where would you go for better?
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  18. Guy_

    Guy_ Low-Roller

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    I became a Diamond member in 2012. So by many I may be considered a "Newbie"
    Even since then I have seen the decline in the benefits but it is hard to know if the drop is tier based on ADT based.

    in 2012 my daily bankroll was between 800-1k a day
    - I was getting Comp'd suites every trip at my local casino
    - I was getting Freeplay offers around $350-$500 in Vegas

    Last year my daily bankroll was $2500-3k a day
    - at my local Casino I get a JR. Suite
    - In Vegas I get $100- $150 free play offers

    Now, I seldom ask for anything other then saying "I need a room can you help me out" to my host.
    2 years ago they changed my host from a "Casino sales executive" to an "Executive casino Host" because my play level increased and since then I have received far less.
    Considering I have tripled my bankroll since I started getting diamond It sucks getting less.

    The only reason I keep staying with TR is because when I go to vegas I stay for 5 days and it appears Mlife only comp 3 days as the standard.
    (comped rooms are the most important perk for me)
     
  19. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    +1 to what Guy said. Bankrolls are not the same but my change/increase in the same time frame has proportionally been the same. A year ago I was getting $500 in free play and after heavy playing last April, my host (who had been with CET for years but retired from the business) added another $500 play to my August trip for my birthday because my offers hadn't yet caught up with my play prior play. He added that, by the way, unsolicited. My birthday trip was fabulous, I was a loyal CET player during my trip and at the back end had close to $3k in charges comped off.

    New host is absolutely horrible. Nice lady, but horrible. And I pride myself in being low maintenance. My free play now ranges between $300 and $375, despite my level of play being substantively HIGHER this year than even a year ago. I had an offer for $500 FSP for June, booked it, and after I booked it I think CET thought it was a mistake and the free play amount was LOWERED back to $375. WTF? I cancelled the reservation.

    During the trip I took earlier this month I paid for two nights at Encore and did the upgrade to the suites, so the room all in was about $500 for two nights. The day before I checked out a regular red card boothling saw my play, which was decent but a fraction of what I played most days when I was staying at Caesars, and volunteered that I should stop by the red card desk before check out. A day later I did and she very quickly and discretely typed something into the computer, got a host on the phone in like 15 seconds (not kidding), tells me the host will take care of the room, tells me what the requirements are for an encore tower suite (5,000 points so I guess non tower rooms are the 3,000 I have seen quoted -- I had about 12,000 over two and half days), hands the phone to me over the counter with the host on the other end of the line, who then thanks for me staying and playing and says to call her the next time I am planning a trip to Vegas. Simultaneously the boothling is handing me the host's business card, which she had behind the counter. The entire transaction I swear was under 2 minutes. Wow.

    Meanwhile, it took, AND I AM NOT EXAGGERATING, more than five emails (starting in January) to my lame host, two conversations with the Diamond/SS check in person (who was nice but who really couldn't do anything), and finally a good and responsive host in the Caesars host office to have my $500 SS folio credit added to my stay. My lame host never took care of it but the guy in the host office did. I wasn't pissed when I saw him; instead I was just mentally tired/worn out by the fact that over weeks and then days during my trip something so simple had not been taken care of. I even showed him the email to my host, from mid January, when I put the request in. He was clearly embarrassed. He said "do not worry. I will contact my boss and since I am not your host will get permission to go in and add the credit and I will call you when it is added." A few minutes later he did but I didn't hear the phone ring. A few minutes after that he was standing next to me at the machine where I was playing to tell me he had taken care of it. I am going to ask if he can be my host in the future, especially since my lame host isn't even based at Caesars.

    Too much struggle/effort for a basic benefit and taking care of it shouldn't be rocket science. I contrast that with my experience at Wynn, where I was hoping something would be comped off but didn't have any expectations that it would be; I just wanted to experience staying in the tower suites and I received a very good rate. Taking care of $500+, which is what I was prepared to pay, was a nice benefit.

    I am going to fully utilize my Seven Star benefits this year and played so much during this past trip that I already have 90k in Tier Credits, so I will make SS again even though I was ambivalent about doing so. I will also say that despite my heavy play during my most recent trip, other than my host responding to my emails about my $500 folio credit (which she never fixed), I never got a text, welcome message, how 'ya doin", etc. over the course of a relatively lengthy trip to Vegas, a trip where I had three days earning 5,000+ Tier Credits before the bonus.

    I've used my $750 Diamond aspirations travel benefit for a one way first class ticket on Virgin America for my return from Vegas back home for an upcoming trip. I'll be using Jet Blue points for my flght TO Vegas, so the airfare is "free." (I put in quotes because, of course, I have paid for it but it is a nice and tangible benefit.)

    But for my next trip, rather than staying 3 or 4 days at Caesars, 2 days someplace else, and the final 3-4 days at Caesars (so that I can use two CET offers during one trip), I'm doing close to the minimum of CET stays, so 3 nights (but really 2 full days) at CET, 4 days at Encore (with hopefully a tower suites upgrade, all of which I hope my host will cover up front or at least on the back end), and the final 2 nights at CET. I don't want to NOT avail myself of the CET benefits I have earned but CET will get the bare minimum and WYNNCORE will get much more, with a touch of Bellagio. My time at Encore was fun even though the gambling wasn't great. My stay there was so relaxing, however, that it felt like a nice and chilled vacation. I could see booking a long stay there and having multiple days just chilling by the pool or in the amazing spa (which is smaller but exponentially more beautiful than Qua) or relaxing in my room with my in-room breakfast and fabulously pressed clothes. (I took advantage of the complimentary pressing service and I had a cotton dress pressed to perfection. It was in my closet 45 minutes after giving it to the bellman.) It may not be big deal to others but I was also pumped to see that in the spa shop right next to the entrance to the spa, there is a short passageway to take an elevator directly to the Encore pool. So, next trip I can workout at the fitness center, which is feet away from the spa, pay $40 for the spa (cheaper than Qua though as a SS it is complimentary for me and one other), enjoy the spa, leave my things in the locker there, ride down to the pool, hang there for a bit, come back to the spa, enjoy the facilities some more and shower and dress for the rest of the day. Even the design/interconnection of those three spaces is brilliant. Actually, it is just common sense but I haven't seen it in any other Vegas hotel.

    Yeah, I've become a WYNNCORE convert but will do the smart thing and continue to take advantage of the CET benefits that I have earned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  20. domeboy

    domeboy VIP Whale

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    I agree that freeplay offers, etc. are declining even with an increased bankroll. But, the recession is finally over and things are getting back to normal. It may be that offers aren't declining, but rather that they were artificially high during the recession. Also, I have found how you are treated varies by property. I didn't feel wanted at Caesars, but Paris always has someone from Diamond Check-in call before my trip to see if I need anything. this usually gets me a red room strip view guaranteed. Also, I know in AC if you aren't at least diamond you get left in the dust when it comes to customer service and lines.
     
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