M life Changes My Attitude toward Las Vegas

For most of my life there were three cities I really didn’t like, and Las Vegas was near the top. It doesn’t have to be expensive, flashy, or over-the-top, but it often is for many tourists. Contrast that with my ideal form of relaxation: an overstuffed leather armchair, a glass of very good Scotch, a copy of The Economist, and a view of some pristine natural environment — preferably behind a window so I don’t have to endure the discomfort of actual weather.

No, Las Vegas wasn’t created with people like me in mind.

I like the chance to have a nice meal and enjoy the warm sun by the pool, but that’s pretty much all Las Vegas ever was to me. The drinks are generally overpriced and not very good. The noise and press of people can be overwhelming. The lines are everywhere (and skipping lines is my biggest motivation for getting elite status with airlines and hotels). Gambling is almost as much fun as setting my wallet on fire.

My new M life status has started to shift my opinion. I’ve talked ad nauseum on this topic, so this is my last post on it. I just thought it would be interesting to note just how drastically it affected my plans on my most recent trip to Las Vegas and why I’m now actually excited to go back.

I invited Amol along with me to the Hyatt/M life launch party last weekend, and after a show and a late dinner (I was getting used to flashing my card to be seated without a reservation) we wandered around looking for something to do. It was 10 PM, and all the young adults were just making their way to Hakkasan, one of the biggest and newest nightclubs in Las Vegas.

Remember what I said about how I relax? I can just tolerate having a cocktail at a casino bar what with all the people and noise, but I figured I might as well see what this M life status can really do. Instead of waiting with over 200 people outside (perhaps over 300, even) we had a nice chat with the bouncer who promptly let us in and waived our cover charges (~$60 each for men).

The drinks inside the club were surprisingly good and not any more expensive than outside in the casino. We had a couple of bourbons (good pour of Knob Creek for $18 each) and cocktails (a large Chinese Sling with fresh ginger for $15). Hakkasan is divided into three areas with a small room for dancing downstairs next to a relatively quiet bar and lounge. The main stage is upstairs and has mostly table service. The balcony was less crowded. Reviews suggest it isn’t the best club in Vegas, but I still had a lot of fun dancing until 4 AM.

M life Hakkasan

It’s worth noting that priority access to nightclubs — and pool day clubs — is a benefit for M life NOIR, Platinum, and Gold members. Basically anyone with elite status from Hyatt Gold Passport can be matched to Platinum or Gold to take advantage of this perk, and you can get Hyatt Platinum status pretty easily with a credit card. Amol commented that he enjoyed himself so much it might even be worth pursuing Diamond status. The one thing I couldn’t do was convince them to give me a free table (after the original party had left.)

I did not get a good look at the coupon that waived our cover charges, but in full disclosure my recollection is there were two check boxes: one for NOIR/Platinum and another for Gold. Perhaps Gold members get a line pass but still have to pay. In any case, the benefit is only for the cardholder and one guest. It would probably make for a great activity at Vegas DO once everyone gets their status matches next month!

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • Seth

    So basically you didnt like Vegas, until M Life bribed you into posting about them nonstop by giving you the highest level of status for free.

    • Scottrick

      That’s not quite how I would put it.

      The NOIR status was a bonus, but I and everyone else invited would have gotten Platinum status anyway. The only major difference I’ve been able to determine between the two is the free airport transportation, which is not a big enough reason for me to visit. And many people can get Gold status, which has some overlap with Platinum, for a credit card’s $75 annual fee (the card was already a good deal just for the free night each year).

      You are correct that the status match has made Las Vegas more enjoyable. And that’s why I’ve written about it. If you aren’t a heavy gambler, it’s hard to get treated well there. I wouldn’t travel as much as I do without elite status, and since my status often wasn’t any good in Las Vegas, that was one place I didn’t go. Now that I have some perks there, it’s actually fun.

      • Fanfoot

        Convince me that the things you experienced weren’t specific to NOIR status and might be accessible to a Hyatt Diamond member matched to M Life Platinum and maybe I’ll buy it.

        • Scottrick

          It would have been nice to do a direct comparison, but I only had a NOIR card, not a Platinum card to try it both ways. If you check out the M life tier benefits, which I’ve discussed several times before, it lists which items are NOIR specific and which are available to Platinum members. Except for a limo, everything I did using my card seems to be available to Platinum members.

          https://www.mlife.com/pages/tier_benefits_las_vegas.html

  • Joy

    There can be other reasons for Vegas. We have family and friends nearby and I love that I can go to 1/2 price shows. I don’t drink, smoke, or seriously gamble. (After I took that course on statistics, I even swore off the lottery!!) The desert surrounding Vegas is amazing! Rent a car and take a drive! I’ve seen some truly beautiful things. You don’t need status to see the desert.

  • FlyingDoctorWu

    Wow Knob Creek is 18 bucks a pour? Hopefully that’s a double… If you’re a whisk(e)y fan than consider trying to get your hands on some George T Stagg.. that stuffs excellent….

    • Scottrick

      It was a double. And while it is high, I was surprised it wasn’t higher. This is Vegas, after all. I was once charged $12 for a Campari and soda.

  • jiefu

    Scott – I’ve been trying to find out more about the priority access to nightclubs benefit (and specifically Hakkasan) since I’m going to Vegas next month (as a new Mlife Platinum thanks to my Hyatt Diamond status). Thank you for sharing your information, since I’ve had little success in uncovering anything in my searches. So how did it specifically work for you? Did you get the cover waiver coupon from someone, or was it just at the door? Thanks!

    • Scottrick

      I walked directly to the front of the line, where there was a sign that said something like “VIP access” or “Priority access.” I showed them my card and ID (they check for a match) and said I had one guest. The first bouncer wrote out a little slip of paper he had on a pad that I was NOIR/Platinum and told me to go forward. Second bouncer checked the paper and ID (age verification), gave me a wrist stamp, and directed me to a cashier. Cashier printed a receipt for $0. Third bouncer checked the receipt and issued a second wrist stamp.

      • jiefu

        Sounds simple enough. Thanks again!

        • Jeanne @ HeelsFirst

          If for some reason you get a weird bouncer, you can go to the concierge for the hotel.

  • AAdvantage Geek

    Funniest statement I’ve read today “Gambling is almost as much fun as setting my wallet on fire.” :-D

    • disqust101

      I love how the casinos call it “gambling”. It’s simply guaranteed money-losing unless you are a very skilled (and lucky) poker player.

  • Pointsandtravel

    Scott,

    I don’t know what M Life is, but I can tell you one thing: It will not change my mind about Las Vegas, as it is the #1 place in the world that I hate! I have tried it multiple times over the years, but it is just not for me. Too much fake, man-made crap for me…so hopefully I won’t have to go there again on business! Love your blog though…

    • Scottrick

      So we have people who think I write too much about M life and people who think I don’t write enough :)

      I agree it’s still a little tough to put up with. More than two nights and I’m usually exhausted.

      • Jeanne @ HeelsFirst

        I’m telling you, spa!

  • Antonio

    What are the other two cities you don’t like?

  • barelyelite

    Out of curiosity, which entrance did you go to to get comped into the club? I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and was told by the mLife people at the MGM Grand that status (I’m mLife Gold) didn’t do anything to skip the line at Hakkasan. Guess I should have asked a bouncer.

    • Scottrick

      There’s only one entrance as far as I could tell. We went to the VIP sign next to the entrance.

    • Jeanne @ HeelsFirst

      The staff is not really good at knowing the rules, so it’s usually a good idea to talk to the concierge to get on the list, or the bouncer. Those are usually to two with the best knowledge.

  • Amol

    The NOIR/Platinum box on the slip was definitely the same. There was another check-mark, one for “C” and one for “R” (ours was marked “C”) but I don’t know what that meant.

    I paid for my own room and I’m still waiting on my tier points and Hyatt points though …

    • Scottrick

      I didn’t see that much (Amol held the slip). My guess is that “C” means “Comp” and “R” means “Reduced”.

  • Diana W

    Wait a minute. . . you dance? Did someone get it on video? That totally doesn’t fit in with the indoors + armchair + Economist scene. I’m so confused!

  • progapanda

    What were the other two cities you didn’t really like?

  • Jeanne @ HeelsFirst

    You are correct that Gold don’t get comped–they get a line pass. But it’s a little more than that. Not all men get let into the Vegas clubs. Once they hit a certain capacity, you need to be with a woman (I’ve walked some guys I don’t know in because 1. it’s unfair 2. it was in my interest to have more men there!) but when you are able to cut the line, you also don’t face being excluded.

  • Ron

    Frankly, all I can think is: How shallow!
    I can certainly understand that you did not previously like Vegas. You prefer a quiet environment and more natural surroundings. Now, you go on a comp trip, get some “status” (I would suggest doing something meaningful with your life in order to attain real status, if that’s important to you), skip some lines, buy an overpriced drink, go dancing in a club that has a cover charge that only a seriously deranged, insecure, or deluded guy would pay for entry … and now you’re in love or, at least, in like with Vegas.
    Please, give me a break. While I generally enjoy some of your blog postings, this is absurd.

    • Scottrick

      I don’t really see how it’s different from any other travel decision I make. If I didn’t get complimentary upgrades and priority security, I would travel 15K miles a year, not 150K miles. For the same reason, without line passes and such, I would visit Las Vegas rarely and instead I plan to go more often. I’m sure it’s one reason why MGM and Hyatt decided to partner. Only a seriously deranged person would pay the cover charge? Well only a seriously deranged person would pay $100 for E+ or $25 for a checked bag in my opinion when there are so many other options to avoid them. I only do those things because they’re free with my elite status.

      The comp trip was actually a bit of a dud. I already went the weekend before for my bachelor party. I went again because I thought I might learn something new that I could share with you guys, and I did — I shared how something I never did before because it seemed expensive and a waste of time is actually a lot of fun when you get M life status and skip the line. It’s something a lot of people with Hyatt Platinum and Diamond status will soon be able to take advantage of, so it’s worth sharing on a blog where I talk a lot about Hyatt.