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Thread: Fine Points About The $500 Total Rewards Gift Cards

  1. #1
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    I have been claiming the $500 Total Rewards Gift Cards for my Seven Stars Experience Credits for my play at Caesars casinos. And I have been using the cards to pay for my various bills including gift shop purchases and restaurants.

    I recently discovered that you can pay your tips with the gift cards. In the past when I used Reward Credits to pay at restaurants I had to pay the tip in cash. With the gift cards there is no more cash out of pocket.

    I also used the TR Gift Cards to settle my hotel bill including room service, gift shop purchases, and restaurant meals. Again the cards were accepted "as cash" and no cash out of my pocket was needed.

    But ironically, the Gift Cards are NOT accepted for check-ins. You must still provide a real credit card to check-in to cover the basic $200 hold.

    Why not accept the Gift Card at check-in? I asked and was told because you might go over the credit on the Gift Card.

    In fact, when you use a credit card at check-in -- there is a hold placed on that card for everything not being comped such as room service, restaurant meals, etc. And that hold can easily go above your $200 hold.
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  2. #2
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    When I go to Rincon it's a $150 deposit. They've asked me if I want to use cash or a credit card. I use a debit/credit card and rarely see this as "pending on my account". Although they do tell you it will be held for 7-10 business days.

  3. #3
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    My basic $200 hold from Caesars often stays on my account for four days after checkout.
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  4. #4
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    Hi Alan:

    I am curious about your choice of $500 Total Rewards Gift cards for Experience points given the other options. I do recall you had a bad experience with the illusory "Gas for a Year." But if I reach those levels I find following the 2 Experience choice attractive: "Helicopter and Jeep Tour. Take in the beauty and grandeur of Arizona's landscapes during a private helicopter and jeep tour for two. Then relax in comfort with up to four nights of hotel accommodations at Harrah's Ak-Chin. Transportation to and from Harrah’s Ak-Chin and destination site is included."

    I would like to know if anyone has considered or taken that option.

  5. #5
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    Well, I just have no interest in staying at Ak-Chin or looking at the desert. But if you want to do that, why not?
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  6. #6
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    Another thing to be aware of is that the new Gift Cards do not have an expiration date. Look at the back of the card and no date is indicated. This could be a problem when you use it, and the cashier might opt to call Total Rewards to check on the expiration date of the card. The new cards being issued now generally have an expiration in 2014.

    The cards can also be given as gifts, and are sent to you with a gift card holder. See photo.

    Keep in mind that most of the stores and restaurants in the casino hotels accept the card. An exception is Central, the 24-hour restaurant in the lobby at Caesars Palace. Central does not accept the card because it is not owned by Caesars -- it is a privately owned restaurant. Caesars owns everything else in the complex, even the branded restaurants of the celebrity chefs. In the case of dining at Central, charge your meal to your room (if staying there) and pay for it at check-out using your gift card. This will work.

    If you are just dropping in to Central for a meal and you are not a registered guest, you will have to find some other way to pay for your meal as the gift card just won't be accepted.
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    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by FABismonte View Post
    Hi Alan:

    I am curious about your choice of $500 Total Rewards Gift cards for Experience points given the other options. I do recall you had a bad experience with the illusory "Gas for a Year." But if I reach those levels I find following the 2 Experience choice attractive: "Helicopter and Jeep Tour. Take in the beauty and grandeur of Arizona's landscapes during a private helicopter and jeep tour for two. Then relax in comfort with up to four nights of hotel accommodations at Harrah's Ak-Chin. Transportation to and from Harrah’s Ak-Chin and destination site is included."

    I would like to know if anyone has considered or taken that option.
    Not sure that's worth $500.

    You are doing a two-person heli/jeep tour. I would guess you could get this for $300 or so.

    The Ak-Chin room has zero value because Seven Stars get it anyway.

    I would probably just take the $500 gift card and pay for the heli/jeep tour myself if I wanted it.
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  8. #8
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    Good reasoning Dan. So it comes down to the actual price of the tour. Anyone know?
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  9. #9
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    The two-person heli/jeep tour is 2 credits or $1000, definitely not worth it.

  10. #10
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    Although all shops in the link are on the list for the gift card I had a lot of problems using them there.

    I found that telling the merchants to run the card as a Master Card worked in most cases.

    At Brooklyn Bowl they fought with me stating they do not accept them. They told me I could use my reward credits at 1 to 1. This turned out not to be true as CET charged me 2 to 1. After many calls to the Manager at Brooklyn Bowl he told me there was nothing he could or would do for me. I complained to the higher-ups at CET and was credited ˝ my points back.

    I do hope they get the problems cleared up and add more store as I have 6 more credits waiting to be used.

  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Not sure that's worth $500.

    You are doing a two-person heli/jeep tour. I would guess you could get this for $300 or so.

    The Ak-Chin room has zero value because Seven Stars get it anyway.

    I would probably just take the $500 gift card and pay for the heli/jeep tour myself if I wanted it.
    Hi Dan,

    I believe that the event also includes "Transportation to and from Harrah’s Ak-Chin and destination site . . . " so I guess one needs to factor in roundtrip travel to Phoenix as part of that benefit if I am reading that correctly. I do not know if there is a budget limit for such travel.

    At any rate, while I expect to hit Seven Stars again, it is unlikely I would reach 100,000 Tier Points beyond that to earn "2 Experience Points."

  12. #12
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    Aaron, if you are staying at one of the hotels, and you have a problem with a restaurant taking the card, then charge it to your room and pay with your card at check-out.

    When I found out Central at Caesars does not accept the gift card, I simply charged to my room and then at check-out paid with the TR gift card -- tip included.

    In fact on my last trip to Caesars, the only cash out of my pocket (with the exception of gaming) went to tip the housekeepers and the car valets. Everything else was either comped per the offer, or paid for with Gift cards.

    I'm now sitting with four of the $500 gift cards, plus two more that are partially used... one has about $173 remaining and the other has about $18 remaining.

    What I am really hoping for is Caesars making that deal with the Forum Shops stores in the fourth quarter so the gift cards will be good there. Each time I go to Caesars I ask about it and I am told either it will happen "any day now" or "not until the fourth quarter." Well the fourth quarter starts October.
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by Alan Mendelson View Post
    then charge it to your room and pay with your card at check-out.
    I thought of that too, but the Link shops are not setup for room charges yet.

  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by Alan Mendelson View Post
    Aaron, if you are staying at one of the hotels, and you have a problem with a restaurant taking the card, then charge it to your room and pay with your card at check-out.
    Good advice. Maybe some day I'll have one of those cards.

  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    I thought of that too, but the Link shops are not setup for room charges yet.
    Thanks for the info -- that will keep me away from there.

    Funny thing is I just got a promotion mailer from Caesars offering comps for the Linq restaurants and stores. But how the heck am I supposed to use those comps if they aren't hooked up to the central system yet??
    Alan Mendelson
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    "(Alan) simply can't get past a die having six sides." -- Michael Shackleford May 12, 2015

  16. #16
    I wonder if the delay in the gift card's usability at the Forum Shops & Linq is intentional, or if it's just the usual CET ineptitude.

    It's to their advantage in a way to force you to use it at their own shops, because they don't have to reimburse anyone -- it only costs them wholesale for whatever you're using (or even less).

    I also have an issue with how they clearly are providing poor value on the experiences other than the gift card. Clearly they are getting these experiences at a cut rate. Take the jeep/helicopter tour. There's no way Caesars is paying that company its normal rate, as they have a direct partnership with them and are bringing them virtually guaranteed business. Even with the cut rate that Caesars must be paying, they still aren't giving you value corresponding to $500 per experience credit. And that's pretty bad, considering that $500 per 50,000 tiers earned is already a pretty bad award, given that Seven Stars at 150,000 tiers is worth so many times that.

    They are trying to get away too cheap here, and just pissing people off. You don't need to be a bargain shopper to realize that a jeep & helicopter tour for two (without transportation, other than a car ride from the Phoenix area) doesn't cost $1000.

    I see what they're trying to do here -- provide flexibility and cool "experiences" for their Seven Stars members, but it's just not being done right. The fact that the gas card situation was such a fail (and the fact that nobody knew how it worked) was even more embarrassing, especially when they could have just skipped the FRN crap and given people $1000 in Shell cards.

    There's a lot to be said for not pissing off and inconveniencing your best customers, and that seems to be exactly what CET is doing.

    Look at the hassle Aaron (by all accounts a fairly active high-limit player and an easygoing guy) had to go through, simply to get that idiotic RC mistake corrected.

    Alan, you have an "in" to some of the higher-ups at CET. Can you explain why they are so incompetent? I'm not kidding, if they appointed me as head of the Total Rewards program, I could revamp it completely (without any significant added cost) to work properly and make the customers happy. It's not rocket science. Why can't they find someone to do this?
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