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I just returned from my first trip to Atlantic City, a journey I undertook for research purposes both in the gambling and award travel arenas. Atlantic City had my attention because I've been reading for some time about all of the resort/casino status match opportunities available in the East Coast gambling town. The below information is a summary of all the match opportunities I undertook as well as Award Travel 101 member Derek Teay who graciously took his time to compare notes and summarize all the opportunities he undertook during the same week I was in town.
Status Match Primer
Before starting your Atlantic City status match round, you need to know a few basic principles about these status match opportunities:
- Many of the casino resorts in Atlantic City are part of larger nationwide loyalty programs like Caesars Rewards and Mlife. Make sure you know which resorts are associated with each program, which we will cover below.
- Status matches typically only apply to new accounts with each casino. If you already have an Mlife account for example, the Borgata most likely will not upgrade your existing account. This means you need to be strategic about when you open an account with the resorts/award programs in Atlantic City.
- If you can bring along a spouse or significant other, be strategic about your match strategy. Ensure you can use all your free nights during the offer period while also considering whether to double up on all the offers. It could make sense for only one of you to match this year to enjoy elevated benefits through September (when the casino loyalty year typically ends) and then your significant other match next year (assuming these generous offers are still around) to give yourself another year of tier status.
- You must have your driver's license to sign up for most of the programs as they want your address, but some have reported having success with a passport.
Gain Initial Status
The easiest way to begin and to maximize a status match run to Atlantic City is to earn Caesars Rewards Diamond status. This is the highest status you can earn without gambling and will allow you to be matched to the highest possible matched status at other properties without involving a casino host. The easiest way to earn Caesars Rewards Diamond is to earn Wyndham Rewards Diamond status which partners with Caesars Rewards. Once you earn Wyndham Diamond, you can match that online to Caesars Rewards. At that point, you are set to enter any of the Atlantic City casinos discussed below and start the match run.
You can earn Wyndham Diamond status through Wyndham's ongoing status match/challenge offer. This means in order to start this whole domino effect, you must have hotel status with at least one chain. The following hotel statuses will qualify you for Wyndham Diamond:
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite or higher
- Hilton Honors Gold or higher
- Choice Privileges Diamond
- Best Western Diamond Select
- Hyatt Globalist
- IHG Platinum Elite or higher
- Radisson Rewards Gold or higher
- Omni Select Guest Black
If you have no hotel status at all, there are a variety of credit cards which will earn you one or more of the above statuses—just for holding the card. If you only care about qualifying for the Wyndham Diamond match, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card offers automatic Hilton Gold status with an annual fee of $95 (Terms Apply – Rates & Fees).
Another low-cost option is the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card which offers automatic Platinum Elite status with an annual fee of $89. If you're looking for a top-tier card with a huge range of benefits, including Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Gold, The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms Apply) is an excellent pick.
Once you have your qualifying elite status, submit a screenshot of your credentials to Wyndham and wait for your status to be upgraded. The Wyndham offer is technically a challenge, so if you want to hold Wyndham Rewards Diamond for longer than three months, you'll need to stay 14 nights in 90 days. Once your Wyndham Diamond status shows up—typically 48-72 hours after submitting your credentials—head to the Caesars Rewards site to match your new Wyndham status to Caesars Rewards Diamond. Your Caesars account will be upgraded within seven business days of submitting the request.
This means you'll want to start the Wyndham status-match process at least 10 business days before your planned departure for Atlantic City, allowing 3 days for hotel status to be matched by Wyndham and 7 more days for an upgrade to Caesars Diamond. If you don't already have one of the hotel elite statuses listed above, you'll want to apply for a rewards card like the Amex Platinum, IHG Rewards Premier Card, or Hilton Ascend at least a month ahead of time. With Caesars Rewards status in hand, it's time to head to the city to start your match rounds.
Below is a list of current Atlantic City casino/resort status match offers as of February 2019. Let's start with the benefits of the newest status you just acquired:
Bally's Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City (Caesars Rewards Diamond)
Match specific offers: None
Notable Status Benefits: A complimentary Atlantis Bahamas stay (based on tier credits as well), a $100 celebration dinner, free self or valet parking, no resort fees, priority lines, a guaranteed room with 72hr notice, and lounge access for Diamond Elite members that have earned at least 25,000 Tier Credits in the previous or current year. See all benefits here.
Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa (Match to Mlife Gold)
Match specific offers: $100 Bonus Slot Dollars or Match Play, Complimentary night in classic room, full details here.
Notable Status Benefits: Priority lines, priority check-in, a 20% bonus on points earned from slots, and Royal Caribbean cruise onboard benefits. See all benefits here.
Ocean Resort Casino (Match to Ocean Premier Platinum)
Match specific offers: $75 in free play, two complimentary nights valid any day of the week
Notable Status Benefits: Premier lounge access (with $12.50 in comp dollars), free valet and self parking, room upgrades, priority lines. See all benefits here.
Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City (Match to Wild Card Rewards Rock Royalty)
Match specific offers: Two complimentary nights valid any day of the week, $100 bonus free play, two tickets to comedy club, one-time entry for you and one guest to Fresh Harvest Buffet or Legends Lounge
Notable Status Benefits: Priority lines, priority hotel check-in, room upgrades, access to buffet or lounge for you and a guest for $10 comp dollars per person, free self and valet parking, and complimentary show tickets. See all benefits here.
Bonus Match: World of Hyatt — Once you have Mlife Gold status from the Borgata you can take advantage of the Mlife/Hyatt partnership and match to Hyatt's Explorist status, which is just below top tier Globalist.
If you happen to be a regular gambler and have a higher status like Caesars Seven Stars it may be possible to match to Mlife Platinum (more rare) or Ocean Premier Black according to many reports. There is also plenty of gambling around Atlantic City in Pennsylvania and Delaware where you may be able to further match those player's club tiers as well. The total route starting at Harrah's to pick up your Diamond card then going to Borgata, Ocean and Hard Rock will cover 2.9 miles.
One last bit of information for any of our readers that are veterans: a few of the casino loyalty programs have special cards which give you additional benefits on top of your casino tier level. As an example, Ocean gives veterans a free night each month (good Sunday-Thurs nights) and 10% off all food and beverages. Be sure to bring your VA or state-issued Veteran's ID to sign up for the benefits when you match your status.
Here’s a chart recapping the above strategy for maximizing status matches in Atlantic City:
Right now, there's plenty of value to be had in “free play” and tier benefits that will make your trip to Atlantic City more enjoyable. If you're headed to Vegas after your northeast trip, Mlife Gold and Caesars Rewards Diamond will also make your trip out west much more enjoyable and hopefully yield further match opportunities on the strip.
If you're aware of any other casinos in Atlantic City offering tier matches please let us know in the comments and either link the information or shoot us an email with the details. Happy status matching.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Rates & Fees)
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