Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

August 20, 2009

MGM Grand's 'Prima' Program

Posted by Hunter

I saw the 'Prima' promotion from MGM Grand maybe a week and a half ago and didn't think much of it - at first glance I guess I didn't really get it... until I listened to the T&M Show (kinda like H&M but with some Replacements, more shoe-talk and less Scandinavians).

Turns out, the deal goes something like this: book at MGM Grand under this program and you commit to spending $500 on top of your room cost - basically a credit on your room account. In return, you get all kinds of deals and special offers during your stay including 2-for-1 drinks, 2-for-1 entrees at restaurants, VIP check-in, a limo trip, club access, etc...

This is interesting! I'm sure many people can relate to spending something in this range (or more) during a trip of a few days, especially if they concentrated their activity at one hotel and if show tickets are involved.

As far as I know, there aren't other deals of this kind out there, at least not explicit like this one is. Curious to see how this goes for them and if Prima is around in a few months.


Read archived comments (9 so far)
August 21, 2009 6:31 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, I saw this also, and think its interesting. I'm not a person who stay's at MGM, but a program like this at Wyncore would sure get my attention. A few meals, show, and a spa treatment, and you'd blow right through that $500 in a hurry. I get all these deals from Wynn, but still skipped my summer trip, due to the food cost once we get there. Yes, I can get a room at Encore for under $100 per night, but I'll spend $200 for dinner each evening, not to mention shows and other meals.

August 21, 2009 9:42 AM Posted by parchedearth

Also, you get a room upgrade to one of their lesser suites. For a week long vacation this could be a huge cost savings. And, you can do room charges from any MGM property so dinner, drinks and a show at e.g. Mandalay would count. Downside is you lose any money you don't spend. I agree this type of promotion is promising and I hope they continue to offer and expand these kind of deals.

For myself, a massage, a couple lunches and dinners, and many drinks will more than eat up the $500. Some of the benefits (like 2 for 1 drinks) actually make it much harder to use up the money. I usually spend well over $100/day in drinks, so that is a $50/day benefit.

August 21, 2009 11:01 AM Posted by mungroo

Brian: Wynn's Private Retreat Package (package code WUPRIV) is somewhat similar - the deal may make sense if you plan to spend a fair amount at the Wyncore property):

PACKAGES FROM $529 per night*:

Two nights in a Wynn Las Vegas Resort Room or Encore Resort Suite

Two in-room massage treatments (50-minute "Custom" (from Wynn Las Vegas) or "Fusion" (from Encore) massage per guest (maximum two people) per hotel stay)

In-room dining credit each day (up to $200 per day)

Daily complimentary in-room movie

Mini bar credit each day ($25 per day)

Laundry service credit per stay ($50)

Complimentary Internet access

Long-distance and local phone credit each day ($25 per day)

August 21, 2009 11:20 AM Posted by mike_ch

Brian: You pretty much pointed out why Wynncore won't see a Prima promotion anytime soon. Wynn is discounting his rooms more than anyone else on the street, and he's making it up with food and entertainment. That's partially because he charges more than anybody else on the street as well, and competition has forced him down and caused him to tap on-site amenities for the proft. This ironically meaning people who stay at Wynncore and do everything elsewhere like TI or even Sheldy's are getting a good deal, whereas people from other hotels and locals who go in Wynncore to do things are only adding to the bottom line. I know you and a couple others like to talk about how his place isn't for bargain hunters.

I think the question is, since MGM-Mirage has shown willingness to experiment with this idea, if Bellagio had such an option would it entice you over? This seems like it would be an interesting idea for them to maintain an image of a luxury hotel while not having their lunch eaten by Aria. Instead of giving the store away, they'd be selling deals and subsidies to keep people using the facilities in the hotel instead of running off to Aria or Caesars.

I saw ads for Prima on the MGM jumbotron while stripwalking. It didn't seem like a really huge deal and the video ended with "talk to registration" so I figured it wasn't that big a deal.

August 21, 2009 11:41 AM Posted by parchedearth

Not trying to be argumentative, but Wynn's WUPRIV package is very difficult to make work. If you can get the base room for $169/nt and then add in the $200 dining, $135 for massage, $25 minibar, movie, and internet; it is barely breakeven for the $529 rate. The more days you stay the worse the "deal" becomes. Also, I think the $529 rate is only during the week and goes way up for the weekends.

The keys to the Prima deal are that it is separate from the room rate (so in theory you could start with a comped deluxe room and get the upgrade), you have great flexibility on where you can spend the money, and the rewards for doing it are actually worthwhile.

A comparable offer at Wynn would be a $1000 spending account with room upgrade, free VIP club admission and discounted bottle service, free spa access and discounted services, free airport transfers, free pool cabana, discounted show tickets, VIP check-in, 2-for-1 meals at most of the restaurants, and 2-for-1 drinks at all casino bars. Now that would make sense for me. Unfortunately, Wynn already expects their guests will be spending this much without having to entice them with an offer.

August 24, 2009 4:34 AM Posted by detroit1051

Lower hotel rates are a double-edged sword, especially for high-end hotels:
"Discounting is a risky strategy for luxury hotels, which have the most to lose by lowering rates, travel experts say. Not only is it difficult for high-end properties to raise rates after prolonged price wars, they risk sacrificing brand images they have built up over several years."
"Even a hotel room that is sold near what it costs to maintain — which insiders say is $40 to $60 for a high-quality room in Las Vegas — it could be profitable if customers drop money elsewhere in the resort."
I would be surprised if Wynn/Encore's daily cost to maintain a room is only $60.

August 24, 2009 8:55 AM Posted by mike_ch

They seem to be quoting logic from the rest of the travel agency, unaware that Vegas is a bit of a bubble on it's own. Rates bounce up and down all the time based on the day and in better market conditions a room that's $50 tonight can be $200 tomorrow if a convention rolls in.

Will people staying somewhere they can't afford next year come back? No, but they'll tell people about the place. I've only stayed at Bellagio yet I've been saying I prefer the place to (insert hotel) ever since.

August 25, 2009 5:06 PM Posted by Michael Lu

currently @ mgm grand right now for 3 nights. tried to sign up for prima, was told i couldn't because i was here on a comp. apparently you have to pay regular rates for rooms in order to use prima. oh well, more money to lose on pai gow tiles...

August 26, 2009 6:39 PM Posted by Sam

I generally dislike this kind of logic, but I can't help thinking that MGM wouldn't do this unless they were pretty sure most people are going to be forfeiting some part of the $500, or at least that customers wouldn't spend that much normally. The "benefits" are scattered around — you can get into a club for free, but can't use your 2-for-1 drinks at that club, for example. I suppose that's MGM's way "helping" you reach $500 more quickly, but I've never really needed help spending money in Vegas.

I guess I can see Prima being worth it if you're planning to use the spa, but I wouldn't sign up for it unless I had mapped out a pretty detailed plan of where I'd be spending my money with and without Prima.