Earn Starwood Points for Gambling in Vegas

I didn’t know you could do this:

The Westin Casuarina is the only Starwood property in Las Vegas, and you earn Starpoints whenever you spend money there.

But did you know that if you gamble in the casino, you’ll earn Casuarina player points that you can then convert to Starpoints?

And then, through Starwood, you can convert Starpoints to miles at many airlines on a 1:1 basis.

Last year after a few days of degenerate gambling at Westin, I built up $100 worth of points, but there isn’t much to purchase with those points – just an overpriced steakhouse, an overpriced Starbucks, and a gift shop. It used to be better when Planet Hollywood was a Starwood property, but they converted to Caesars last year.

So I took Westin up on a little-advertised offer, and went to the front desk to convert all of my player points to Starwood points ($10 in points = 1,000 Starwood points). Make sure they give you a receipt, because it still wasn’t credited to my account two months later, and I had to make a few “this is unacceptable” calls.

Contra this post, of course, there’s not just the Westin but also the Element Las Vegas Summerlin in the Starwood portfolio. And I believe Planet Hollywood left Starwood two years ago.

But the relevant point remains. This could be a reason for some miles and points junkies to choose gambling at the Westin over a competing casino!

(HT: S.B.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Nice. $10 in points = 1,000 Starwood points is a pretty sweet conversion ratio. Even if the casino restaurants weren’t overpriced, $100 in comps becomes 10K SPG, enough for a cat 4 night, which can often run $200 or more.

  2. To echo Sapan’s comments, what’s the Westin’s comp system like, i.e., what was your average bet and how long did you gamble to get $100 in comps?

    This could be very exciting (read: detrimental) news to me, as I have both gambling and points addictions.

  3. @Barelyelite – the usual system for table games is to refund 25% of the expected loss as comps. For example for blackjack a casino estimate may be a 2% advantage (ideal play is lower, but casino estimates factor in that few players play perfectly). A $10 player will gamble around $800 an hour, or $16 estimated loss, or $4 in comps.

    For skilled players I could definitely see an advantage to converting to Starwood points. I may start a discussion on some gambling forums I frequent about this.

    Note though that all of the above is moot is the casino in question is unusually stiff with comps. For example Harahs properties comp table players at only 1/10th the usual rate in exchange for free room offers with modest play.

  4. Did you mean to say:

    And then, through Starwood, you can convert Starpoints to miles at many airlines on a 1:1.25 basis.

    ?

  5. Just checked over at wizardofvegas.com, and it appears the Westin has pretty unfavorable blackjack rules and only double odds on craps. I’ll likely stick to the strip and give this one a pass.

  6. You can also exchange Harrahs total rewards
    points into Hawaiian air. Harrahs does have
    a credit card also. You can easily score a
    ton of miles when on a binge in Vegas.
    Conversion is 2 to 1 HA mile

  7. Earn $50 in Free Slot Play!
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    Earn Bonus Starpoints
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  8. Don’t know about tables but for Video Poker, which offers you the best odds, For VP, $10 in coin-in earns you a point and 20 points earns you $1. In other words, the payback is 0.50% and $2000 in play gets you your 1,000 points.

    The best video poker is a form of Deuces Wild that pays back 98.91% at optimal pay. Unfortunately, I have never seen an optimal play (e.g., Bob Dancer) card for it.

    This promo has actually improved over the years. I mentioned it back in November, 2008 in the FT thread http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/10781205-post164.html and it was only 500 SPG points for the same $10 in casino credits. Back then, however, the casino had 9/6 (full pay, 99.54%) video poker, so there were better returns. Thus, in terms of total payback, over an infinite period of time, the former promotion was 13 basis points better. But, given the volatility of the machines, the current one is probably better.

    It’s also worth noting that there’s a parallel comp system that awards you casino retail credit (overpriced restaurants and giftshop) in addition to the slot credit. That system runs in the 0.4%-0.8% range, although I feel like I get toward the low end on VP.

    Mike

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