I am not a good gambler. Good with numbers, yes. I took math classes for fun in college. But I can barely shuffle a deck and am easily distracted by flashing lights.
So when Hyatt and MGM Resorts announced a new partnership, I was pretty excited that my existing Hyatt Diamond status would be matched to M life’s Platinum tier. How else would I ever achieve something like that? (There’s a cocktail loyalty program at one of my favorite restaurants. That is much more attainable.) I was even more excited when I and a few other Hyatt Diamond members got invited to a launch party for the new partnerships this coming weekend, which included an upgrade to M life’s invitation-only NOIR tier. I sent a quick email and was upgraded a week early so I could benefit form the NOIR status during my bachelor party.
While a bachelor party may not be everyone’s idea of a typical Las Vegas vacation, I would like to comment on what you lucky Hyatt Gold Passport elites can expect from M life. Remember, Hyatt Platinum members will be upgraded to M life Gold, and Hyatt Diamond members will be upgraded to M life Platinum. Some of my experiences as a NOIR member were exclusive to that tier, but Platinum and Gold members can still expect a less stressful trip.
As a NOIR member, I received complimentary round-trip airport transportation in a limousine. This was actually a little complicated to set up because I needed to do it after booking my reservation, and I didn’t have a specific phone number to call. I just used the main reservations line and explained what I wanted, but in the future I plan to Google the name of the hotel and “VIP Services.” In the case of The Mirage, this connects you to the lobby’s VIP lounge.
It would be nice if Mlife.com allowed you to make your request online, but I have found the website to have extremely limited functionality. As this first example demonstrated, M life also does a relatively poor job of explaining your benefits and how to exercise them. More than once I was left wondering just how far I should push the DYKWIA card. Fortunately, people put up with a lot in Las Vegas — even my friend, Mike.
Our driver met us at our flight’s baggage claim and was extremely friendly. It took a few minutes because over a dozen drivers showed up at once. Those for the MGM Resorts have iPads with different background images depending on the hotel, so I went up to a driver for Bellagio and asked if he could point me in the right direction. Unfortunately there was no Scotch in the limo, but they did have some bottled water and USA Today. Someday when I have more money than sense, I’ll be a true VIP and request a bottle of Glenmorangie and the WSJ.
When we arrived at The Mirage, we bypassed the snaking line for regular check-in after noticing a short line, only two people deep, for M life members with Gold or higher status. It turns out this line is pretty much for Gold members only. The clerk read my file and walked us over to the VIP lounge next door, which is behind unmarked doors. I got to use it because of my NOIR status, but my understanding is that Platinum members should also be entitled. Again, it’s not clearly explained on M life’s website, and online reports sometimes conflict.
The VIP experience actually worked out well because no one at The Mirage had any recollection of a new partnership with Hyatt. My companions and I enjoyed a couple of free beers (Stella Artois) while my Gold Passport number was added to the reservations and they checked on any available suites. No upgrade was possible, unfortunately, because of an invitational poker tournament that weekend. Most of the people we saw checking in alongside us already had pre-booked suites …and much nicer watches.
Let me just say that while I’m okay with the $20 trick, it feels a LOT more awkward when you’re trying it in the VIP lounge. These are people who already have suites. Free suites. Maybe even the free bottle of Glenmorangie. And I’m there with my discount M life booking trying to curry favor with chump change.
But the VIP lounge does have its perks. We all received black, VIP-labeled room keys that we could use to re-enter the lounge. Free beer is one thing, especially when they charge $12 at the pool. But I really appreciated the free coffee in the morning. The line at Starbucks was always 20 people deep. I don’t need a latte after drinking an entire bottle of Scotch the night before. I just need caffeine. Anything, really, until I can get another 32-ounce blender from Margaritaville.
Having M life elite status also means skipping a lot of other lines. Want a taxi? Platinum and NOIR members don’t have to wait. Just walk to the front of the line. It’s important to note that there may not actually be a separate line for you, so just walk up like you belong. Pearl and Gold members have to settle for skipping the line for buffets, though these lines sometimes looking like you’re waiting for Space Mountain. I probably could have skipped the lines for Starbucks and Carnegie’s Delicatessen, but I again felt really awkward doing so. Unlike boarding a plane through the elite line anytime you like, there is only one line at most places. Good luck getting past the crowds stabbing you in the back with their angry glares.
Restaurant reservations were easier and perhaps more valuable. I wanted visit Todd English’s Olives restaurant at Bellagio on Saturday and called about an hour ahead for a 7 PM dinner. Not surprisingly, the maître ‘d said they were booked until 10:30 PM. I asked if being NOIR would change the answer, and she responded that 7:15 PM was available. She just couldn’t confirm a view of the fountains. Technically a guaranteed reservation is only a benefit for NOIR members (guaranteed show reservations, too) but Platinum and Gold members receive priority consideration, at least. Think of it as waiting standby. Someone is sure to be having more fun at the tables.
Checkout was also a lot faster that normal, and we got another limo ride to the airport. I can get used to that. Taxis try to take you on crazy detours to run up the meter. Shuttles stop at a dozen hotels before you finally reach your destination. The limo is there for YOU. It’s awesome. Really awesome.
Again, my only real complaint throughout the stay was that an M life elite member really has to know what he or she is entitled to in order to take advantage of all the benefits. I wanted to get breakfast one morning, and rather than wait in line (too long) or walk to the front (too timid) I just went hungry until I reached the airport. Similarly, we only knew about the VIP lounge because someone at the front desk walked us there. Not everyone gets a heads up.
I think of these as unofficial ways of ensuring that only the most deserving elite members take advantage of their benefits. If, like me, you get it comped through a special offer or a status match, then you won’t know all the ins and outs. Only the true DYKWIAs will be rewarded. It’s classic Vegas. Hopefully my experience will benefit a few of you who will be future M life Gold and Platinum members — and other lucky recipients of NOIR status — during your next trip to Las Vegas.