Usually anytime a casino makes a change to a players club it does not benefit the player.  Well, from what I can read on Cosmo's website I can not find a negative (except for slot players).  The previous change to Cosmo's player club was the following:
-$7.50 coin in = 1 identity point on video poker
-$1.50 coin in = 1 identity point on reel slots
-$1 spent on hotel,spa,dining, and shopping = 5 identity points (For every $100 spent = $5 in resort credit)

-Sterling level: requires 5,000 identity points
-Gold level: 20,000 points
-Platinum: 50,000 points

Now the website shows the following

-Video Poker has gone from $7.50 down to $6 coin in per identity point
-Slots has gone from $1.50 up to $2.50 coin in per identity point
-spending has stayed the same
-Sterling level requirement has dropped from 5,000 down to 4,000 points!

Now assuming that the same applies with 100 points = $1 in free play or comps the new earning level for VP players is .167%.  This beats out the entry level Total Rewards, Mlife, B Connected and even the D and Downtown Grand players clubs.  

This is a step in the right direction for the new ownership.  Lets just hope they keep my 10c 100 play Bonus Poker machine on the floor!

Sterling Rewards: The free room night and BOGO buffet each month are not the most attractive offers, but the rooms are amazing at Cosmo, and I can't remember getting a free room for hitting the 2nd level of any other players club.
I believe the Cosmo still uses a rolling 12 month period for earning points, I know I will have some expiring come my next trip.  I hope to hit that Sterling level now that it is more attainable.  I'll report back after my trip!
I have no idea if this something I will continue but I am going to play around with podcasting!  At this point I do not plan to make any major investments in mixers or microphones, I am simply playing with garageband and my built in microphone on the computer and letting it fly.  I am surprised how easy it was to make one and get it into Itunes, so if you are interested you can search comped vegas in Itunes and pull it up.  You can also follow this link: which is the site I used to publish this podcast.  I want to keep the episodes short and provide tips and insight into getting the most comps for your gambling dollar.  So give it a try, if its awful let me know!  
So, first of all to even know that you receive a $100 reward for achieving diamond status requires research.  This is not something that you are told when you go to pick up your card, no email sent, no offer mailed, nothing.  Its buried somewhere in the total rewards site, and if you obsessively read vegas message boards, you will find a discussion on it there.  

With Diamond status, you earn 15,000 tier points and then you are diamond level for the remainder of the year it was earned, the next full calendar year and then 3 more months the following year.  Reading message boards, I was under the assumption that since I earned diamond in 2014, this "reward dinner" would be eligible to me starting in 2015.  The more I read, the more I found where people had been told it expired March 31st.  So I had to find out for myself this trip, in case I wouldn't be back before March 31st.

I approach the counter and inquire about the $100 reward.  "Yup, do you want it now?"  I asked about the expiration and sure enough I was told 3/31/15.  I asked for the certificate on 1/1/15.  It seems kinda shitty that it wouldn't be valid for the whole year, but even shittier that you have to seek it out.  But being a savvy gambler requires homework, at least that is what I tell myself.

Armed with my certificate and less than 24 hours left in vegas I scour the card the total rewards agent handed me to decide where to go.  We were in Bally's at the time, so my first thought was BLT steak.  Something that I love is when a restaurant will post the menu with prices outside the entrance to help decide if you want to commit.  The prices were high but not Gordon Ramsey high.  It bothered me that everything was separate.  Steak: 60 bucks, want a side? 12 bucks, how about soup or salad? another 16 bucks.  Forget the appetizer, I'm going to spend more on this meal out of pocket than we would have making a different dining choice, say....IN N OUT (this was the first trip in 3 years where we didn't eat IN N OUT Burger at least once).  So we scratched that, we thought about Bacchanal buffet again, but we just had it 3 days prior and really wanted to try something new.  We had been playing at planet hollywood earlier and saw how crazy BURGR was, probably due to the holiday so I decided against that as well.  How about KGB?  Pulled up the menu, it seemed decent, and we would have to work at getting to $100, thats the frugal way to do it I thought!

We jumped in the car, parked at Harrah's, walked through the newly renovated casino (which looks pretty nice) and passed the new cafeteria style food court.  Along with maybe 4 other tables with people, we were quickly seated and handed menus.  With $100 to burn we decided whatever burger we ordered, we would upgrade the pattys to KOBE beef and add bacon.  We each ordered milk shakes.  Give us fried pickles, mac N cheese sticks, oh and throw some popcorn shrimp on the order as well!  Of course we wait for 15 minutes, then receive all of  our app's and 3 minutes later our burgers show up!  

So a quick rundown of what I thought of the food: mac N cheese sticks, very good worth an order.  Deep fried pickles, I wish they wouldn't have used such large pickle spears, Ive had deep fried pickle chips at other places that are much more satisfying, so these, just OK.  Popcorn shrimp, we actually took most of these with us as we filled up quickly.  The dipping sauce was very good and the shrimp was fine, no tails to pull out, but these were not the reason to come to a "gourmet" burger joint.  I had the KOBE burger with caramelized red onion jam, some kinda sweet tasting spread they call garlic aioli (throw an accent above the i) cherry tomatoes, and mixed greens.  I added bacon just because (money to burn, remember?) and it was just OK.  I've had those Waygu sliders from the Bacchanal buffet at Caesars and I guess I was expecting something like that.  I honestly couldn't tell what made KOBE so special (maybe once you grind up premium meat it all tastes the same?)  but I wasn't blown away.  The sweet spread was interesting, but I didn't finish the burger.  

Total bill came to $88 so I wasted $12 and still had to throw down a $20 tip for mediocre food.  Now I guess If I look at it from the point of view of all the food I ate for $20 its not bad, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt my "reward dinner" was wasted.  Vegas is about gambling first, and food second, and I hear they have shows as well.  I love how many great dining options we have experienced and how many more we still have to try.  Knowing that we wasted a dinner in vegas on that, when I could have put the $100 towards an amazing $200 meal, I feel I made the wrong choice.  Would I have decided differently had I been up for the trip?  Absolutely!  Winners eat steak and lobster, losers eat shitty burgers.

We didn't hit In and Out, we didn't go downtown so no pizza rock, we let Vegas get the best of us and ate for convenience.  Trying to plan your meals ahead of time is so hard in Vegas, but after the many food court sessions we had this trip I think I will be putting more effort into planning for the next one.       

Like many others, when the total rewards credit card came out, I read about it, weighed the pros and cons, then jumped on board because of the great value!  After my spending was met I was given $100 in total rewards credits to spend, 2 free buffet of buffet passes, and what I felt was the coolest and most valuable perk, platinum status!  It was not mentioned if this would only be given the first year but even so it's a great value for someone to get this without gambling a dime.  Then to my surprise they extended the platinum for the next year!  For a no-annual fee card this was amazing!

The changes I'm referring to are that as of November 11th you cannot have your resort fee waived if you are platinum status and below.  It now is only given to diamond and above.  Looking at this from the perspective of those who gained platinum status from the credit card, it was a fun ride, and you definitely received some great value from this card while it lasted.  For those who achieved this status through gambling, it is certainly going to upset these customers.  From a business perspective, given the debt this company is in, and the number of "new platinum members" they received from this credit card, I am not surprised by this move.  This was saving most customers $50-$100 on their trip by waiving these fees.  So how do you make this business move without upsetting your core gambling demographic?  Waive the fee on comped stays.

Take a look at the model BOYD gaming uses.  They are a locals casino, but with a big presence downtown as well.  They continue to buck the trend with the downtown joints by not charging a resort fee, but at this point this is no longer an option for CET.  BOYD does charge a resort fee at Gold Coast, Orleans, Sun Coast, and Sams Town.  The perk is that if your are comped a stay at any of these properties, the resort fee is waived.  As nice as Total Rewards is, they seem to get married to their card statuses which alienates the lower level consistent gamblers that are still money makers for them but are left out of these perks.  

I am fortunate in that I made diamond for the first time this year, so this policy change will not affect me unless I drop my status after 2015.  Had this not been the case and I was still at the Platinum level, I would be pretty upset with this change.  A comped room used to mean a comped room, and that is tough to swallow.  Given the nicer properties MGM offers, I will occasionally stay on a "comped offer" at one of those properties knowing I'm stuck with the resort fee.  CET doesn't have this luxury in my opinion.  The properties that truly comp their players, are properties worth keeping in your tool bag.  My up-coming trip over New Years will be 4 nights at Ballys but Im staying my first night on a comp at the Gold Coast.  My old stand-by, I think they deserve some play for rewarding the gamblers, even if they did drop my 9/6 super times pay machine!