myVEGAS: Is It Worth It?

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In Las Vegas, comps (“complimentaries” or freebies) are handed out to those gambling a certain amount (a lot) of money. Depending on how much you spend, you could be comped a free meal, a show ticket, or even your room for the length of your stay. Even low rollers like me can score free drinks while playing the penny slots. This is part of what makes gambling fun. I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff?

Except this is just one of the many ways Vegas psychs people out. Because in this case, “free” isn’t really free. It’s more like the casino version of a cashback credit card or an airline rewards card. You’re being rewarded for spending money by getting something in return that is worth a fraction of what you spent. If you’re playing max bet at bartop video poker, you’ll get a free drink, all right, but if you’re not winning, you can run through $60 in 30 minutes of play or less. That’s a pretty expensive “free” drink.

myVEGAS

But it’s not just money that can lose its value in the chasing of comps. You’ve heard the expression “Time is money”? You have to consider what your time is worth, too. Which brings me to the reason why I am writing today’s post: The online game called myVEGAS.

More and more Vegas visitors are chasing comps via a Facebook game called myVEGAS. This is a free game, so it costs you no money (in theory), but you can rack up points that can be exchanged for real-world comps in Vegas, like meals, shows, drinks and even rooms. Sounds like a screaming deal, right?

 

myVEGAS wheel spin results

There’s a daily wheel spin for points.

My Experiment Using myVEGAS

I have to admit, I don’t play online games, so I found the popularity of myVEGAS baffling at first. Don’t people have better things to do with their time? I thought. Last spring, I decided to sign up for myVEGAS to see what all the fuss was about. I wrote down my initial thoughts during my first few rounds playing the game. Here’s what I wrote, verbatim:

Oh God. It IS fun. I played the game for 15 minutes and I can easily see why people get hooked on this. It’s like playing slots in Vegas on someone else’s dime—and you win a lot more than you do on real machines! Good Lord, it’s insidious! It’s like drug dealers handing out free samples of crack so they can get you hooked and keep you coming back for more! AUGH!

After years of diligently hiding every reference of every fricking Facebook game that my friends have ever played, now Facebook thinks I actually want to see that stuff again. No, Facebook, I don’t want to play Farmville! FML.

After that I forgot to record my thoughts, but I can easily tell you what I like and don’t like about myVEGAS.

 

myVEGAS 2

Annoying pop-up trying to coax me into buying points.

What I like:

  • It’s fun to play slots for free.
  • It’s cool that you can earn freebies for playing.
  • There’s an auto-spin button so you can set a certain bet and the game will play itself for 10, 25, 50, 100 or 200 spins while you go off and do something else. Thank God for automation.

What I don’t like:

  • Every single time I logged into myVEGAS, I would have to click through 3-4 pop-up boxes that wanted me to buy things or hand over my credit card number to Facebook. I have found no way to shut those boxes off permanently.
  • The variety of games is limited, so after awhile, I got sick of playing the same games all the time.
  • The games often caused my computer to freeze, and I’d have to reboot it.
  • There are certain restrictions for redemptions that I find limiting, like you can only redeem 3 things in a certain period of time and you can’t redeem for more than one of the same thing at a time.
  • Most importantly, you have to play for a very long time to accumulate the amount of rewards points needed to get any of the good comps.

 

This game is seriously time-consuming

I quickly learned there were sneaky ways of accumulating points faster, but they were all things I wasn’t willing to do, like:

  • Bug my Facebook friends to play, too
  • Create a fake Facebook account and friend thousands of other myVEGAS players (total strangers to me) to accumulate more points every day
  • Sign up for a credit card I don’t want
  • Buy game points
  • Share my credit card with Facebook

So I had to earn my points the old-fashioned way: Slowly, over time.

 

redemption printout

Printout of my buffet redemption. (Totally not worth it, by the way.)

 

By the time of my July trip to Vegas, I had enough points to redeem for something small. But I couldn’t do it, because everything I wanted was constantly “sold out.” No matter what time of day or day of the week I checked, they were always sold out. I finally learned that they roll over the comps every day at 7am Vegas time, or 10am Eastern time (my time). So I started checking at 10am. STILL SOLD OUT. What kind of racket is this? I thought. I gave up.

I thought about disabling the app on Facebook at that time. But I had another trip coming up in October and I knew I wouldn’t be able to write about myVEGAS until I’d actually gone through the process of redeeming points. So I kept playing. By September, I had earned enough points to redeem them for:

  • a free Saturday night stay at the Luxor
  • a free breakfast at the Luxor’s buffet
  • a free margarita at Tacos & Tequila at the Luxor

Shockingly, all were available at 7pm on a Saturday night. I clicked “redeem” and felt triumphant.

 

Luxor room

I scored this room at the Luxor on a Saturday night as a myVEGAS comp.

 

The redemption process itself went smoothly. I called the number that myVEGAS gave me to book my Saturday night hotel comp. It was a bit of a hassle to make 2 different bookings, because I booked the other 5 nights on a special offer I received through my Mlife (MGM Resorts’ loyalty club) account. But everything worked out just fine.

I printed up my redemptions for the free drink and buffet. I brought them to the Mlife counter at the Luxor to get them loaded onto my players card. All I had to do was tell the staff at the buffet and at Tacos & Tequila that I had the comp on my card. In both places, it worked without a hitch. (Note: Redemptions don’t include gratuities, so remember you still need to tip your server.)

 

T and T

The house margarita was undrinkable. What a waste of a comp.

Is It Worth It?

That depends on how much free time you have and whether you enjoy spending it playing online games, and how diligent you are about finding ways to get around the rules to increase your freebies with less effort. I personally found it to be a huge waste of time.

Of the 3 comps I received, only the Saturday night stay at the Luxor was of any value (my fault for two bad choices, I guess). Even then, I would have been better off just paying cash. Here’s why:

  • Cost of Luxor breakfast buffet: $16.
  • Cost of margarita: $12.
  • Approximate cost of Saturday night stay at the Luxor (guesstimate, I forgot to write it down): $150
  • Number of hours at my day job to earn the money to pay for these things: 6.35.
  • Approximate number of hours spent playing myVEGAS to earn these things (calculated as 180 days x 40 minutes per day average, a conservative estimate): 120.
  • Value of 120 hours of my time based on my salary: $3,326

 

If it’s true that “time is money” then I spent $3,326 on an undrinkable margarita, a terrible breakfast, and a hotel room at the Luxor for one night. Those are pretty damn expensive “freebies” if you ask me.

But that’s just my opinion of myVEGAS. What’s yours–love it, hate it, or haven’t tried it?

 

24 thoughts on “myVEGAS: Is It Worth It?

  1. ContactRida

    wow. thank you for taking the time to really investigate this. i prefer to pay for the ‘comps’ than play for them. hopefully i will get lucky again on Priceline and get another great hotel deal. great post!

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I think the people who are making it work for them are people who are really into online games to begin with, Jeff. If that’s the case, sure, why not get some freebies, too? But otherwise, it’s just not worth it.

      Reply
  2. Scarletcat

    I’m impressed you took the time to get enough points for the Saturday room! Impressive work and thank you for it!

    I too have found it a waste of time for the “comp” available. It’s the first and only FB game I’ve tried and it has left me quite underwhelmed. I’ve tried the “long awaited” mobile app recently and if anything could top the FB game it’s that. I thought this would be an easy way to add some points to my MLife account, but I’m still waiting to see any benefit in 4 months of play.

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I’m with you, Scarletcat. I never would have seen it through to the redemption of points if I weren’t planning to blog about it, I’d have given up after about a month.

      Reply
  3. Craig

    Personally I like the game. It’s free, the ‘ comps ‘ are free and not ‘paid for ‘ comps since I didn’t spend a cent to get them. Yes, time is money, but I’m not spending company time playing the game , so I don’t think that applies here. I’m looking forward to eating my rewards and if I don’t like what I redeemed the points for? No big deal since it was free. I can always go to Earl of Sandwich and get a decent sandwich for $6 any time of day.

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Hi, Craig! I’m so sorry for the delay getting your comment on the site. It got caught up in my spam filter for some reason. Glad to hear from somebody who does think the game is worth it. Have you redeemed any comps yet? How were they?

      Reply
  4. Nicole

    I started playing myVEGAS when it came out last year as a brainless time killer when sitting around in front of the TV in the evening. The rewards in the beginning were great! Better food options and two tickets to shows at lower redemption amounts. Now it seems most of the “good” comps are always sold out. I said to my husband just tonight that we should see what we can get for our upcoming trip in January and then I’m done! Then I said, “OH! I should see if Vegas Solo is updated!” ;)

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I, too, have noticed a decline in good comps, Nicole. And hey, I’m really honored that you thought of me as soon as you thought of your Vegas trip. Thanks! :-)

      Reply
  5. Kayday

    There’s also the problem that many of these “freebies” require you to buy something else in order to redeem them (“free” drink with entree purchase, for example). Figuring that in, my “free” absinthe at Sage cost around $200. That’s a lot of money to find out I really don’t like absinthe after all! (Good thing the dinner was terrific.)

    Reply
  6. Phyllis

    I am not into online games by any means, I never bought any chips, I played in my spare time as did other members in my group. We played for about 2 months and I had enough for two free buffets in Vegas. The other people in my group had about the same. It was simple and we saved about 60 bucks.

    Reply
      1. Elane Dickenson

        I enjoy playing on-line slot machines, so before I discovered this one I frittered on others that just accumulated points with no place to spend them. With MyVegas I got a free “O” ticket and two good buffets on my last trip for time I probably would have wasted anyway. For someone like me, who just enjoys the game for itself, it’s well worth the time.

        Reply
        1. Gray Cargill Post author

          Yes, Elane, I think that’s what it all boils down to. It’s not worth doing it just to try to get comps. But if you enjoy spending your time that way and would do it regardless, then you might as well get comped for it!

          Reply
  7. Marc

    I’ve been thinking about MyVegas for a couple weeks and needed to re-read this. You covered everything I needed. The valuation of time is great because time really is money for me.

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Marc. Obviously, everyone will have a different opinion, depending on how much time vs. money they have, how much they enjoy playing online games, etc. but for me, it just wasn’t worth the outlay of time.

      Reply
  8. Tina Christie-Rowlings

    I have been playing MyVegas from close to the beginning… last May, I was able to get a ticket to see Zarkana (was on one of the couches, 3 rows from the stage), the buffet at Excalibur (so not worth it), and a free pastry at Jean-Philippe Patisserie (excellent)….. I enjoy playing the games, something to do while watching TV…. This May, I will be spending 3 nights at The Aria, all comped by the game, and only have to pay the resort fees…..

    Reply
  9. Andrew Fry (@andrewfry72)

    Booking 9 months ahead has given me a lot of casual lunchtime MyVegas playtime to accumulate enough points for a free breakfast buffet, Five50 pizza & beer and one Signature Pastry at Jean Philippe Patisserie. Hopefully I will find the self control not to redeem them all in one day…

    Reply
  10. Andrew Fry (@andrewfry72)

    One thing caught me out – visiting the the MLife desk in Aria to redeem my rewards, I was told to choose there and then which specific day each reward was to be used. Panicking a bit I chose three consecutive days. I managed to redeem the buffet (very good), Five50 pizza (excellent) but ended up missing out on the pastry as I was away from the hotel all day.

    Reply
    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Yikes, Andrew, that is a bummer. Couldn’t you have gone to the MLife desk each time you wanted to use something instead of all at once? That’s a pain, too, but then at least you’d know you wouldn’t miss out on the reward.

      Reply

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