Like most who play it, I was lured into myVegas by the siren song of funding the bulk of a two or three day trip to Vegas using free rewards. While that may have been possible a couple of years ago, it really isn't any longer. Casinos are the most carny industry outside of professional wrestling (and actual carnies I guess), and if they introduce a seemingly generous offer, you can be sure they'll gradually ratchet it down over time (and probably yank it arbitrarily at some point). myVegas has been going for a few years now, so it's already well into the Nerfing stage at this point.
So does that mean myVegas is now entirely useless? Not *entirely*, but it needs to be looked at as a way to add small enhancements and discounts to a trip that you were planning to pay for already, instead of a way to get a couple days of free rent / free food like it used to be. If you didn't already have a trip to Vegas or California partner Graton Rancheria planned and budgeted for, then yeah, it is kind of useless now.
Terms, Conditions and Asterisks
Though this is a game review site, I'm going to lead off talking about the rewards, since that's what everyone is really interested in. The games are really just something you sit through and tolerate to get there.
So the basic structure is this: myVegas is funded by MGM, and is used to promote their properties (they own about half of the major casinos on the Strip) and get you hooked on gambling. You play a variety of virtual slots and blackjack using virtual chips. Small amounts of free chips are doled out each day in the game and you can get them through external means as well, but there's also the option of buying them with Real Monies, which is how game maker/manager Playstudios stays afloat.
Similar to casino "player's club" programs, your play earns you "loyalty points", and these are what you cash in for rewards. The rewards mostly center on MGM properties in Vegas, things like comp rooms, free buffets, free drinks, etc. There's also a few partners such as Allegiant Air, Royal Caribbean Cruises and even Shaq for some reason.
Now, this USED to be great when they let you stay 3 nights back-to-back at most properties, and also before the Great Vegas Ratcheting-Up Of Resort Fees in 2014. Terms and conditions have changed such that most rewards are really just like small discounts of a few bucks instead now.
There's an overall limitation of only three prize redemptions per 30 days. This applies not just to comp rooms but to ANY reward, no matter how humble.
If you're primarily interested in hotel stays, here's the further limitations:
- No back-to-back nights at one property for sure, and I *think* you may only be able to use one night at one property every 30 days, going by message board posts (MGM is opaque on some of these terms in typical carny casino style).
- You still have to pay the resort fee for your comp night. The low end is Excalibur at $22 per night, the swanker places like Bellagio are around $30.
- If you combine your comp night with any other reward at that particular property, you have to stay multiple nights there (and be paying for the extra nights).
- There's also two different types of comp room offers, the regular ones and the "Bonus" ones. "Bonus" ones cost less loyalty points, but they're limited to about 10 available days in most months for Sun-Thu or 3 or 4 days for weekends. Presumably the days they expect no one to be there anyway. There's a calendar you can view for each property by clicking on the reward in the game.
- As of 2015 free nights at Circus Circus are no longer offered. While this certainly wasn't one of the swankiest options on the Strip, it was the cheapest option by far, both in terms of loyalty points and nightly resort fee ($17).
Even if you just want a buffet or some free booze, you usually need to be staying at that hotel at the time you redeem it. Some offer an equivalent reward that doesn't require the hote stay, but at 2x the loyalty points. When 18k can get you a comp room, 22k for a buffet seems a little silly by comparison.
But what if you're not at all interested in the casinos? Can you work the partner offers? Well, the best one seems to be 35 or 50% off a Royal Carribean cruise, though those are very expensive (hundreds of thousands of loyalty points). Allegiant offers discounts on vacation packages, but not on standard airfare. The Shaq stuff is like a ludicrous amount of points for ludicrous things, like millions of points to have Shaq('s social media manager) tweet you and follow you for a year.
The Gaming Floor
Alright, so we've established the rewards are semi-garbo and are only useful in really specific circumstances. Let's move on to the actual games.
It's basically a whole bunch of slots and blackjack, which allows you to play up to three hands but not with other people. The slots are a mix of fictional games created just for myVegas and virtual counterparts of a few actual slots by Konami. The Konami slots are as money-chewing as their real-life counterparts, but the myVegas exclusive slots are actually more generous than anything you'll find in reality (mostly thanks to the bonus games).
Between the general looseness of the slots and frequent promotions, you can actually manage to come out ahead here consistently. I guess the idea is to make the newbies think this can happen in real life too, which it most decidedly will not. Anyway, I actually managed to take the starting amount of chips and through low betting on max lines and playing when promotions are on, have at this point turned it into a bankroll of over 2 million virtual chips without ever purchasing anything.
In addition to your daily bonus wheel spin, you gradually unlock properties that give you chips multiple times per day (if you log in to click on them), and when new features or games are unveiled myVegas will usually email you 5,000 free chips to draw your attention to it (happens 2-4 times a month usually). Plus you can send free daily chip gifts to your friends who play the game, and those friends also add a big multiplier to your daily bonus spin. There's groups where you can find people who want to friend just for this game so you don't have to spam your IRL friends and fam about it.
So it's not hard to stay in chips, but loyalty points come a lot slower. Naturally, you get a lot more for playing slots than blackjack, since anyone with a good strategy card and a basically functional brain can consistently break even or only lose a little at blackjack while racking up tons of comps. You can still 'sploit blackjack to a degree, but you need a bankroll in the millions to absorb variance since you'll have to make huge bets to actually get significant loyalty points in return.
The main thing is, none of this is interesting at all unless you're a slot addict. I guess the blackjack game could be useful if you want to practice for real life while getting a little something out of it. As far as the slots go, most people just have them running in the background, and only interact with them because the periodic bonus games and messages about big wins require you to click on them to proceed.
Instead of looking at getting significant freebies out of myVegas, at this point I look at it as a way to check out each of the MGM properties for the cost of only their resort fee here and there, since I go to Vegas once or twice a year anyway. If you're already planning on staying at their properties, you can grab dining credits or free buffets for a fairly low amount of reward credits. If you weren't already planning on going there and dropping some coin, however, there isn't really enough here to get you there anymore.