5 Hacks You Can Start Using Today to Get More Comps


Casino gamblers face a certain dilemma whenever they place a wager – we want to win, but we also know the odds are stacked squarely in favor of the house.

And sure enough, you’ll wind up losing far more bets than you win, simply based on the odds against you. If people judged their experiences at the casino based solely on the bottom line, most of us would find a less expensive hobby.

The same holds true for purely recreational gamblers, the folks who are just passing through Las Vegas for a convention or vacation. These visitors don’t come to gamble, but they’ll invariably drop a few coins into the slot machine and try their luck. And of course, 99 out of 100 walk away empty handed.

Once again, players like this would quickly sour on the whole idea of casino gambling – unless there was some other incentive acting as the hook to keep them interested.

That’s where the idea of casino comps comes into play.

Short for complimentary, the term “comp” refers to any form of rebate or refund offered by the casino. Traditional comps include discounted room rates or even free weekend stays, buffet vouchers, tickets to the nightly show, or “free-play” coupons which get you in the games at no cost.

In each case, however, the concept remains the same: reward players by giving them a little something back on their losses.

Savvy casino operators discovered long ago that losing isn’t a pleasant experience for anybody. And for a business based on the notion of offering negative expectation wagers, the casino will inherently produce more losing sessions than winners. That’s just the nature of the beast in this case.

By lavishing players with comps, venues can go a long way towards mitigating that sense of loss associated with casino gambling. Sure, you may have dropped $100 in an hour on the blackjack tables, but heading up to the room with two free buffet vouchers in hand provides a certain solace.

Comps originated on the fly, with sharp pit bosses recognizing regular players, taking them aside after a loss, and passing them a ticket or voucher on the sly. In today’s hyper-competitive casino industry climate, however, the use of comps has become highly specialized.

The major casino chains like MGM and Caesars run their own comp programs – M Life and Total Rewards, respectively – which encompass all of their associated properties.


Rather than rely on eagle-eyed pit bosses to spot players in need of a confidence-boosting comp, the modern system makes use of Players Club promotions to track the play of anyone holding a players card. Complex formulas are then used to turn your exact wagering levels and session length into players points, which can then be redeemed for real dollars as comps from in-house retail outlets, restaurants, and entertainment.

Nowadays, an intelligent player who doesn’t mind putting in a little legwork can easily secure enough comps to offset significant losses. By playing the right games at the right times, requesting confirmation of your session statistics from a manager, and bringing your business to the most generous casinos – you can quickly start racking up enough points to live it up in Las Vegas.

In this fashion, even a terrible trip on the tables can become a break-even affair, all thanks to the power of comps.

I’ve spent a pretty penny in my years as an advantage-play gambler. And while I strive to succeed by playing skill games using proper strategy, I’m not above using comps to balance out those inevitable losses. Below, you’ll find my top five tips and tricks to help you score more comps on your next trip to the casino.

1 – You Can’t Claim Comps Unless You Join the Club

First things first… the only reliable way to earn casino comps these days is by registering a Players Club account.

Your casino of choice may call the promotion by one name or another – Boyd Gaming properties call it B Connected, Stations Casinos go with My Boarding Pass, etc. – but the premise remains the same across the board.


When you enter a casino for the first time, skip the gaming area and head straight for the Players Club kiosk. From there, run through the registration process to get yourself in the system.

You’ll only need your basic information to get started, but be sure to provide as many points of contact (home address, email, and phone number) as possible. I’ll dig into this idea more deeply in the next entry, but suffice it to say, you want to keep the lines of communication open with your favorite casino when the time comes to score comps.

Between the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City, and local tribal gambling halls, I probably have 50 cards linked to Players Club accounts in casinos across the country. For the most part, these programs work in the same way, calculating your running points balance based on your volume of play. In other words, gamble more money over longer sessions, and you’ll pile up the players points in a hurry.

But it can be useful to study the terms and conditions used by the big boys of the industry, as the MGMs and Caesars of the world operate several dozen properties between them. Indeed, when walking the Las Vegas Strip, you’re almost guaranteed to head into a casino using either the M Life or Total Rewards program.

You can get a better feel for how both programs work by clicking the links above. But as you’ll learn in the third entry, the choice of which major Players Club card to wield when you hit Sin City can be a gamechanger.

2 – Accept Any and All Casino Communications

This is more of basic common sense than a hack, but it bears mentioning in any discussion about earning the most casino comps – make yourself available.

I’ve seen far too many gamblers, even professionals I’m proud to call peers, make a glaring mistake when they register for a Players Club. They’re happy to give out their basic information and get a card, but when the time comes to provide contact information, they become hesitant.

In most cases, the casino will ask for your home address along with an email address.

The home address is used to verify your identity, so you’ll have to hand the digits and street name over. As for the email address, casinos use this to streamline their marketing efforts. They know that most Americans today happily toss out junk mail, so they’ll send messages to your online inbox instead.

With this in mind, be prepared to face a final choice when you’re signing up for a Players Card. You’ll be asked if you’d like to receive promotional material and other messages through email or regular “snail mail.” Most people today choose the former, reasoning that it makes things easier for all parties involved. A few go with traditional delivery, as they don’t trust their email filters to keep casino advertisements out of the trash.

But shockingly, many players decline to receive these offers out of hand. Perhaps they suspect that the casino will bombard them with spam or junk mail that they don’t want or need. Or maybe they’re just looking to gamble without forming some sort of ongoing relationship with a corporate casino chain.


Unfortunately, this approach leaves you on the outside looking in when the time comes for special comp promotions.

The major casinos run seasonal promotions throughout the year, trying to lure customers back during the slow season. Everything from entry to slot tournaments offering guaranteed prize pools, bonus multipliers on point calculations, and lucrative free play vouchers can be obtained directly via mail or email.

But these promotions are almost always password protected, with a special code attached to the mailer. Without that code in hand, even a longtime Players Club member will be left out in the cold if they try to take advantage of a particular promotion.

If you’re in the comp game, why not make yourself as available as possible? That starts with full participation in both mail and email promotions, because you never know what you’re missing out on until you let the messages come to you.

3 – Venue Selection Is the Key to Maximizing Value

The famous Las Vegas Strip was once the Wild West, with several casino owners competing with one another to offer players the best bang for their buck.

But over time, the rise of corporate ownership consolidated the Strip’s collection of casinos in the hands of two massive conglomerates: MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.

Take a look below to see the roster of MGM-owned properties on the Strip alone, each of which uses the M Life card:

  • ARIA Las Vegas
  • Bellagio Las Vegas
  • Excalibur Hotel and Casino
  • Luxor Las Vegas
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
  • MGM Grand Las Vegas
  • The Mirage Las Vegas
  • Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
  • New York New York Hotel and Casino

Next up, you can see the Caesars family of casinos on the Strip:

  • Bally’s Las Vegas
  • Caesars Palace
  • The Cromwell Las Vegas
  • Flamingo Las Vegas
  • Harrah’s Las Vegas
  • The LINQ Las Vegas
  • Paris Las Vegas
  • Planet Hollywood Las Vegas
  • Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino

And remember, that’s just the scene on the Strip. Both of these mega-clubs extend nationwide, adding nearly 100 more casinos from coast to coast to the list. Clearly then, knowing your way around the M Life and Total Rewards point distribution system is an essential skill for thinking gamblers.

Using the terms and conditions published by M Life and Total Rewards (refer to the links above for a refresher), we can compare the typical gambler’s weekend excursion in Vegas to see how they both stack up.

For this exercise, we’ll be using a normal two-day weekend trip to the Strip, with the following budget considerations:

  • Weekend Room Rate= $300 per night
  • Expenses (Food, Drinks, etc.) = $200 per day
  • Gambling Budget = $500 per day

All told, you’ll be spending $600 on your room, $400 on essentials, and $1,000 on the slots.

By plugging those numbers into the Total Rewards points formula, let’s see what you’d earn back in the form of comps:

Total Rewards

  • Lodging = $600 = 600 Reward Credits and 600 Tier Credits
  • Expenses = $400 = 400 Reward Credits and 400 Tier Credits
  • Gambling = $20,000 in combined wagers on slot play = 4,000 Reward Credits and 4,000 Tier Credits

When you tally all of that up, you’ve accumulated 5,000 Reward Credits, which equates to $50 dollars in comps that can be redeemed at any in-house retail outlet. Everything from the morning cold brew at Starbucks to a phone charger at the gift shop can be purchased using Reward Credits rather than cash.

In addition, you’ve earned 5,000 Tier Credits, which is just enough to move you up one tier in the Total Rewards hierarchy. Going from Gold to Platinum is the first step in your comp journey, but you now have access to free valet parking, a 15% discount at the casino gift shop, and even a discounted stay in the Bahamas (see terms). Not bad for a weekend of grinding on your favorite machines.

Using the same weekend budget, let’s see how an M Life card stacks up:

M Life

  • Lodging = $600 = 15,000 Tier Credits
  • Expenses = $400 = 10,000 Tier Credits
  • Gambling = $20,000 in combined wagers on slot play = 6,666 Base Points and 66,666 Tier Credits

In this case, M Life doesn’t award any base points based on your stay, or your spending on in-house expenses. You only score those by gambling, and with an outlay of $20,000 in total wagers, you’ve built up an initial reserve of 6,666 points. Using the same 100 points to $1 ratio as Total Rewards, your points balance is worth $66.66 good on all in-house spending.

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But M Life doubles down on base points by converting them into free play as well. Even better, you don’t have to choose between using the points as cash or for free play. Thus, your M Life card would be loaded with $66.66 for use as spending cash, plus another $66.66 good for free bets.

And with 91,666 in Tier Credits to work with, you’ve jumped from the starting Sapphire level, moving through Pearl and into the Gold Tier. Members of the Gold Tier are entitled to a 20% bonus on their slot point disbursements, access to the priority check-in/check-out lines, and VIP entrance to nightclubs, pool parties, and more.

Using these conditions and budget terms, it looks like the M Life program is a little more generous than Total Rewards. Of course, everybody has different spending habits when they hit Sin City, so take a closer look at the terms of both Players Clubs to see which one works best for you.

From there, try to keep your action at casinos which use your preferred card. It’s always nice to have both in your pocket, but spreading your wagers out over two different clubs can dilute the impact. Instead, focus in on one major club or another and get to work climbing through the tiers.

4 – The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

So far, I’ve focused on slot play, as the vast majority of casual gamblers take to the machines when they touch down in Las Vegas.

Don’t believe me? Well, they don’t have a craps table at McCarran International Airport just off the Strip – but they sure spread a lot of slot machines.

Even so, not all of us are fans of the old one-armed bandits, and millions of players leave the casino without ever spending a cent on the slots. If that describes you, it’ll take a little more work to get full value from your Players Club participation.

Here’s how it works. When you insert your card in a slot machine or a video poker machine for that matter, the system takes over from there. From the time you click “Bet” to get the game started to when you click on “Cash Out,” your play is automatically tracked by the machine’s computer. As you play, your points balance will increase in kind, and everything will be calculated using a computer’s precision.

But take your bankroll over to the table game pits, and things change drastically. You’ll need to present your Players Club card to the dealer ahead of your first bet, and they’ll make a show of sliding it through a special scanner. At this point, many inexperienced players naturally assume that their play is being tracked just like it was on the machines.

Unfortunately, casinos treat table game grinders much differently than they do slot enthusiasts.

That’s because table games tend to offer much lower house rates on average (0.50% for blackjack, 1.06% on Banker in baccarat) when compared to slots (5% for basic games, 9% for progressive jackpots).

Obviously, with those percentages in mind, the casino’s number-crunchers prioritize slot player patronage far more than they do in the pits. This is why every single spin you play will be carefully tracked and recorded, while hands of blackjack or rolls on the craps table are simply monitored by a pit boss.

Table game players must be “rated” by the managerial side in order for their play to be tracked. It all varies depending on the venue, but for the most part, you’ll need to bet bigger than the average bear to become rated. Think $25 per hand on blackjack and baccarat, rather than the $5 minimum.


Unless you specifically introduce yourself to the pit boss and ask them to be rated, chances are you’ll get lost in the shuffle while playing the typical low- to mid-stakes level. They just have too many tables to track, too many players coming and going, to put you on their radar.

This is why I always make a point to ask the pit boss for a rating before I play table games. Usually, just taking this step alone is enough to signal my status as a serious player. But even if they’re on the stricter side, I can find out exactly what I need to average on a bet-per-hand basis to start earning points consistently.

It can be awkward asking a suit and tie to track your play, so I totally get why some players decided to skip this process and keep their nose to the grindstone. But when you check your Players Club balance after an extended session in the pits, only to find your points have barely budged northward, you’ll realize the importance of becoming the squeaky wheel.

5 – Stick to the Slots to Score Max Points

I just went over this in the previous entry, but playing slot machines is by far the best way to boost your comp points balance.

If you’re on the M Life plan, you’ll need to wager $10 on video poker to earn 10 Tier Credits – but only $3 worth of slot play produces the same reward.

It’s the same deal on Total Rewards, with $10 in video poker wagers required to earn a Reward Credit, but only $5 in slot play for the same comp.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where a comp-chaser’s bread is really buttered. I may prefer to play skill-based games like video poker and blackjack, but I always make sure to spend an hour or two spinning the reels to keep my points balance flush.

If you’re searching for the quickest path to a higher tier, or even special invites that only come when you play the “sucker” games, the slots are your ticket every time.


Casinos can’t survive without customers, and increasingly, us players can’t make ends meet without comps. For anyone who takes their gambling seriously, forming a comp strategy is just as important as learning when to double down on soft blackjack hands or how to bet the wrong way in craps. Hopefully, the hacks you learned about today put you on the path to becoming a comp king or queen.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.