Middle Age Miles

How to Use MGM’s MLife Program to Generate Explorist Status with Hyatt – and for Now, 8 Club Lounge Access Awards!

I made Explorist elite status with Hyatt through stays at MGM properties in Vegas!

This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!

We’re starting off our “Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!” Trip Report with this article, because it’s the most time-sensitive. Going forward, you will still be able to use MGM’s MLife program to generate Explorist status with Hyatt, but you will only earn Club Lounge Access Awards using this method if you complete achieve MLife Gold status and match it to Hyatt Explorist on or before February 28, 2019.

We were extremely happy to use this trick to gain Explorist status during our Vegas stay this past weekend. We now have 8 Club Lounge Access Awards that are good until February 29, 2020. That would give us breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres on up to 8 Hyatt stays within the next year – what a treat that would be! We could really enjoy some free breakfast and evening snacks on our Hyatt stays!


Here are things you need to know to take advantage of this trick:

  • MLife is the loyalty program of MGM Grand and its related hotel properties in Las Vegas and beyond.
    • MGM properties in Las Vegas include: Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus, Delano, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Mirage, New York-New York, Nomad, Park MGM, the Signature at MGM Grand, and Vdara
  • MLife and World of Hyatt (Hyatt) have an affiliation where you can earn points and match status between the MLife and Hyatt programs.
  • We published a recent article with a lot of good information on the MLife-Hyatt partnership and how to use it: Vegas Prep and Tips – Maximizing MLife and World of Hyatt Benefits

Beyond these basics, there are some specific features of the MLife-Hyatt partnership that are helpful to know for purposes of this trick:

  • It takes 75,000 “tier credits” with MLife to reach MLife Gold elite status
  • Each dollar of spend at an MGM property earns 25 tier credits
    • Thus, it takes $3,000 in spend to reach 75,000 tier credits
    • Qualifying Spend that “counts” for tier credits includes:
      • Room rates (but not taxes)
      • Resort fees (but not taxes on resort fees)
      • Food & drink at restaurants at MGM properties (but not taxes or tips)
      • Show tickets for shows at MGM properties (but not taxes or service fees)
      • Spend at MGM property retail shops (like the sundry/souvenir store; but not independent retail shops like jewelry stores or other name-brand shops, even if they’re located within MGM properties)
      • Spend in any of these categories that is reversed by a property credit (for example, if you have a $100 food & beverage credit and spend $250 on a meal, you should expect only $150 of this spend to “count” for tier credits; in this situation you’d earn 3,750 tier credits for this meal)
    • You can also earn tier credits through your casino play at MGM properties (10 tier credits for each $3 of slot play; 10 tier credits for each $10 of video poker play; credits for play on table games based on average wager and time played)
  • MLife and Hyatt have a reciprocal elite status tier-matching program
    • Most importantly for purposes of this article, MLife Gold status matches to Hyatt Explorist status
  • In MLife, two persons with the same address can link their accounts together
    • With linked accounts, tier credits earned by each person are pooled into a single total, and each person receives elite status determined by the total amount of tier credits
    • The linking must be done in person at an MLife desk at an MGM property, with both persons present

How to Use MLife to Generate Explorist Status with Hyatt – and for Now, 8 Club Lounge Certificates

For starters, you’ll need for you and a second person (spouse/domestic partner/other person at least 21 years old living at the same address) to be signed up for the MLife and World of Hyatt loyalty programs. Assuming that you’re staying at an MGM property, you’ll also need to be sure to give your MLife and World of Hyatt numbers to the agent at check-in. Getting credit works easiest if you charge everything to your room – meals, drinks, show tickets, etc. But if you spend money at an MGM property that’s not charged to your room, keep the receipts and take them to an MLife desk to receive tier credits.

With that in mind, you’ll need to:

  • Make $3,000 of Qualifying Spend to earn 75,000 tier credits
    • Or earn 75,000 tier credits through a combination of Qualifying Spend and gambling
    • And remember, the tier credits earned by both persons combine into a single total, so each of you can help get to the $3,000 spend/75,000 tier credit threshold
  • Watch your MLife online account to see when your account reflects 75,000 tier credits
    • In our experience, the tier credits usually show up in your MLife account quickly, overnight at latest
    • Your MLife account will automatically show Gold status once you hit 75,000 tier credits
  • Immediately match your MLife Gold status to Hyatt Explorist:
    • Go to mlife.com and log in to your account
    • Click “MLife Rewards” in the upper right menu
    • Scroll down until you see World of Hyatt Featured Partner, and click the “Learn More” button
    • On the right side, there should be a button you can click that says “Click Here to Opt In”
    • This should take you to a World of Hyatt page where you can enter your Hyatt credentials
    • This should complete the linking of your accounts and status
      • You should immediately see Explorist status reflected in your Hyatt account
      • And you should also be able to see your 4 Club Lounge certificates (“Club Access Awards”) in the “My Account” section of your profile, under the “My Awards” tab
  • Repeat these steps for the other person on your linked MLife account
    • And the second person should also receive Explorist status and 4 Club Access Awards

That’s 2 people with Explorist status and a total of 8 Club Access Awards! If you do this now, your Explorist status and Club Access Awards will be good through February 29, 2020.

Here are a few screenshots showing our success with this process:

During this weekend, we crossed the 75,000 tier credit threshold for Gold status with MLife in my account
Philly’s MLife account and mine are linked, so her account also showed MLife Gold status
Once we went through the status matching process described in this article, my World of Hyatt account immediately showed Explorist status
And I almost immediately received an email from Hyatt welcoming me to Explorist status
My welcome email described these World of Hyatt elite benefits, including the 4 Club Lounge Access Awards
And the 4 Club Access Awards immediately showed up in my World of Hyatt account
We went through the same process with Philly, and her World of Hyatt immediately showed Explorist status too – along with 4 more Club Lounge Access Awards – even though she has 0 points and 0 lifetime stays with World of Hyatt!

Unfortunately, you can only use this trick to get the Club Access Awards for a few more weeks, through February 28, 2019. At that point, the ability to get Club Access Awards dies; however, you’ll still be able to be matched to Explorist status. So, if you’re interested in using this trick to get the Club Access Awards, get on the ball and book your stays in Vegas now!

A Few Notes on Hyatt Explorist Status and the Club Access Awards

Explorist is Hyatt’s mid-tier status. With Explorist, you’ll generally receive the following benefits at Hyatt hotels:

  • 20% point bonus on your Hyatt spend
  • Upgrade to the best room available, excluding suites and Club lounge-access rooms
  • 2:00 pm late checkout, a complimentary bottle of water each day, and premium in-room internet access

And here’s some more information on the Club Lounge Access Awards:

  • They must be redeemed prior to check-in, by calling Hyatt at 888-454-9288 or 402-952-1124
  • They’re available at Hyatt properties that have a Club lounge
    • But not at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Miraval, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Residence Club hotels and resorts, or MGM/MLife properties
  • They’re good for up to a maximum of 7 consecutive nights
  • You can use them in connection with paid nights, points redemptions, or nights paid with points + cash
    • But not when you’ve used a free night certificate (for example, from the Hyatt credit card or from hitting certain milestones within the World of Hyatt program)
  • Club Lounge access generally includes continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres

Final Thoughts on the Club Lounge Awards and Elite Status

The Club Lounge Access Awards we’ve earned through this trick definitely make Hyatt more competitive with Marriott/SPG and Hilton for our business. With both of those chains, we have top-level elite status. It seems to us like Hyatt treats its top-level elites (Globalists) better than Marriott and Hilton, and thus there’s a siren call to go for Globalist status with Hyatt.

But it’s tough to forego the top-level elite benefits available to us at the other chains while we make a run at Hyatt Globalist. And it takes a lot of nights to obtain Globalist – 60 in all, although the number can be reduced with credits from the Chase World of Hyatt credit card. We can maintain our Diamond status with Hilton by holding the Amex Hilton Aspire credit card. But we’re going to need a lot of actual hotel nights to re-qualify for Marriott Platinum or Platinum Premier status. We won’t spend nearly enough hotel nights to qualify for top-tier status at both Marriott and Hyatt. We have to choose.

I don’t think the Club Lounge awards push us over the top to switch our primary loyalty from Marriott to Hyatt, but it’s certainly an intriguing proposition and thought experiment.

What do you think of this trick to generate Hyatt Explorist status and 8 Club Lounge Access Awards through Las Vegas stays with MLife? Does anyone have time to try this out and earn the bevy of valuable Club Lounge awards before the end of February? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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2 thoughts on “How to Use MGM’s MLife Program to Generate Explorist Status with Hyatt – and for Now, 8 Club Lounge Access Awards!

  1. Brett Hamlton

    Hi Craig. Nice write up. We we’re just in Vegas so I just missed out. In reality, I doubt I would dropped $3k for the status and club access. Can you tell me what club access gets me? Why is it going away? Did Hyatt decide to stop giving club access with the status match?

    1. Craig Post author

      Hi Brett – Thanks for the comment and compliment. I think you’re right in that you don’t want to go far out of your way to “manufacture” $3,000 in spend to get the status and club access. The MLife points-earning needs to be at least mostly organic through whatever room, dining, show tickets and gambling that you’d normally do. That said, if your organic behavior gets you close to 75,000 tier credits, like within 5,000 or so ($200 in spend), it might be worth splurging on a special dinner or something to push you over the threshold.

      Club access gets you breakfast in the lounge and evening hors d’oeuvres, and generally the lounges supply water, sodas, coffee and snacks throughout the day. The international lounges are really nice and often also have complimentary beer and wine (whereas the US lounges more often have an honor bar for beer/wine/spirits). I semi-randomly pulled a couple of reviews that you can check out:

      International – Grand Hyatt Berlin by One Mile at a Time – https://onemileatatime.com/review-grand-hyatt-berlin/

      Domestic – Grand Hyatt Seattle by Gate to Adventures – https://gatetoadventures.com/hotel-review-grand-hyatt-seattle/

      The 4 Club Access Awards will no longer be awarded automatically upon reaching Explorist status, as of March 1. At that point, getting Explorist through MLife linking or some other status match will no longer get you the Club Access Awards. Instead, you’ll have to stay 20 nights in a year to get 2 Club Access Awards, and 30 nights in a year to get another 2 Club Access Awards. Here is the official explanation from Hyatt: https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/member-benefits/whats-coming.html

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