Credit Card Reviews

M life MasterCard: Review

The M life MasterCard seemingly serves a singular purpose for cardholders: cheap Pearl status. It’s an inoffensive, but rather boring card that isn’t as useful as one would hope. It doesn’t mean it should be outright ignored, especially if you frequent M life properties. But, a complimentary card may do a whole lot more for you if a cheap status upgrade is all you want. Let’s break it down:

I’m a big fan of the Hyatt card and have found it useful to complement my gambling proclivities.

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • 3x reward points and Tier Credits for each dollar spent at M life Rewards properties
  • 2x reward points and Tier Credits for each dollar spent on gas and at supermarkets
  • 1x rewards points and Tier Credits for each dollar spent elsewhere
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 10,000 reward points after spending $1000 in the first three months, which is equivalent to $100 in Express Comps or FREEPLAY

The sign-on bonus and no foreign transaction fee features are actually quite good for a free card. The reward credits have limited use, but it’s safe to assume that anyone getting this card will be frequenting M life resorts, so it won’t be hard to spend what is essentially $100 in credits.

Earning reward points and tier credits is what sets this card apart from its competitor, the Total Rewards Visa card, which only awards reward points. Reward points are inherently more valuable than tier credits. Tier credits aren’t actually a currency. Rather, they are a unit of measure to determine your tier status. They can not be redeemed for anything of value. Reward points, on the other hand, build in your account and can be turned into the comps and FREEPLAY us gamblers enjoy.

Earning tier credits with this card is a nice perk for M life to flaunt, but it’s essentially useless for most people. To get to Gold status you have to earn 75,000 tier credits. That would take an incredible amount of spend solely on this card to achieve. That is, if you’re not achieving a premium tier through gambling. Because of this, you’d likely get a lot more value concentrating your spending on a variety of other cards.

The accelerated earning of 3x and 2x is comparable and, in some cases, even better than the best travel credit cards. However, their usability is naturally limited to M life properties. I don’t need anything else motivating me to go to a casino. If I were to get this card, which I don’t plan on doing, I would only use it until the sign-on bonus was acquired. Earning flexible bank points is more important for me.

Benefits:

  • Automatic Pearl Status upgrade
  • Priority check-in at M life resorts
  • Complimentary self parking at Vegas properties
  • Buffet line pass at Vegas properties
  • 10% earning bonus on points from gambling

The main benefit of the card is the automatic upgrade to Pearl Status. The rest are really just benefits of having that Pearl Status. The only exception is priority check-in. Non-cardholders only have access to priority check-in if they are Gold Status or above.

I am guessing that M life’s move to paid parking in Vegas has caused a lot of frequent visitors and locals to consider the card. Free parking is a nice perk that will only get more valuable over time. After all, I can’t imagine the current M life top brass reducing rates in the future.

The accelerated line pass for buffets is nice if you like buffets. The 10% earning bonus on gambling is fun, sure, but is it likely to push non-elite tier gamblers into the upper echelon of the M life ranks? Probably not.

A lot of the perks are flashy but empty. That doesn’t mean, however, that the card is useless. As a free upgrade to Pearl and discounted parking, it works perfectly. But, if you’re willing to pay a little bit, you could get different card which also grants Pearl status and can get you a couple free nights at an M life property. Enter, the World of Hyatt credit card.

I’m a big fan of the Hyatt card and have found it useful to complement my gambling proclivities. I won’t get into all aspects of the card. Basically, the Hyatt card has a $95 annual fee, which is obviously more than the M life card. The Hyatt card grants Hyatt’s Discoverist status automatically to cardholders. Because of Hyatt and M life’s streamlined relationship, Discoversist status can be matched directly to M life’s Pearl status, granting access to the most important perks the M life card offers.

To offset the Hyatt card’s $95 fee, cardholders have the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus points when signing up. Currently, 50,000 bonus points is enough for two free nights, based on availability, in a standard room at any Vegas M life resort. Category 6 properties, of which Bellagio, Aria, and Delano are, cost 25,000 points per night through Hyatt’s booking portal. Further, cardholders receive a free room certificate good for a complimentary room night at any Hyatt category 1-4 property. This includes Park MGM, MGM Grand, New York-New York, Luxor, and Excalibur. This annual certificate easily pays for the card itself.

What’s equally fun and frustrating about the points and miles world is that there may be a complimentary card or program that achieves the same goal and provides more value. Accordingly, taking a chance on the Hyatt card may be the right play if your only goal is to get Pearl status. If you don’t like the Hyatt card or simply want to use the bonus, get your free nights, and obtain your Pearl status, then dump the card and get the M life card the following year. Or, just get the M life card and be done with it. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple.

The information herein should not be considered prescriptive financial advice. Travel Fanboy receives no commission or compensation from any credit card issuer or affiliated companies. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

For information on how the churn and burn process can impact your credit score: Churn and Burn Credit Score Guide

M life light
  • Sign-on Bonus
  • Spending Bonus
  • Flexibility
  • Relative Value
3.5

Summary

$0 annual fee

10,000 reward credit sign-on bonus

3x points and tier credits at M life resorts

2x points and tier credits at gas stations and supermarkets

Automatic Pearl status upgrade

About the author

Travel Fanboy

Adam is the host of the Travel Fanboy Podcast, editor of TravelFanboy.com, and a super famous travel influencer. He's no expert, just an enthusiast who enjoys having a top-shelf trip at a happy hour price. Formerly of Vegas Fanboy fame.