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Best of Chris Sieroty

Gaming Guru

Chris Sieroty
 

Station Casinos revamping rewards program

14 September 2011

By Chris Sieroty

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- After 12 years and more than 5 million cards issued, Station Casinos officials Tuesday introduced a revamped Boarding Pass rewards program, making it easier for gamblers to earn new incentives and rewards for play at its casinos.

"The economy has made competition more fierce," said Kevin Kelley, chief operating officer of Station Casinos. "We knew we had to do things differently with our boarding pass cards."

The new Boarding Pass program will offer three points, instead of one, for every dollar gambled when playing video poker, slots and video keno.

Among other features is an option for cash back at $1 for every 1,000 points earned, and points can be redeemed at restaurants, bowling centers, movie theaters, two spas and for concerts.

Status credits can also be earned playing poker, bingo or in the race and sports book.

"This is not a promotion," Kelley said. "This is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It never goes away."

Kelly said the company had been though a lot in the past couple of years.

"This lets everyone know that Station Casinos is back to business," he said. "It's time to get back to being the 800-pound gorilla."

Kelley said the changes to its rewards program were made after surveys found customers were looking for value when spending their discretionary income. He said customers also wanted their status to be able to grow much faster and have more choice where they could redeem their points.

To make it easier, the company is merging its three loyalty programs into one with equal points earned and redeemed at all 18 properties. The goal is to replace the Amigo Card at Fiesta Henderson Casino Hotel and the Wild Card at Wildfire Casino with a Station Casinos Boarding Pass.

The redesign of the club is also designed to offer players an easier path to the next tier. At three times points, Preferred status is now 999 credits, compared to 499 points or less under the previous rewards program.

A gold card is now 1,000 credits, up from 500; while to achieve a platinum boarding pass will take 40,000 credits down from 75,000. President's club is now 100,000 credits down from 225,000 and chairman is 300,000 credits down from 750,000.

To promote the new Boarding Pass, Station Casinos is betting on its employees.

"We'll continue to use our employees in our ads," Kelley said. "It all started with our 'We Love Locals' campaign. As a matter of fact, we are airing 40 percent more TV spots than we did with our 'We Love Locals' campaign."

In all, Station Casinos will run 3,200 commercials, along with billboards, direct mail and newspaper advertisements.

Kelley would only say the company was spending a "truckload of money" on this campaign.

He said the only affiliate where customers can earn points was at the Gun Lake Casino property in Michigan. The gaming company decided against negotiating an agreement with a casino company with resorts nationwide.

"Our real focus is in Las Vegas," Kelley said. "We made a big commitment financially. We are very bullish on the long-term growth of Las Vegas."

Kelley also declined to identify the company's financial expectations from the campaign.

He suggested reporters look at the company's earnings reports to see whether the revamped Boarding Pass program had been a success.

He said the biggest challenge going forward is to get customers into a property to exchange cards. Kelley said the company has made it as easy as it can, with new cards being available starting today at every hotel.
Station Casinos revamping rewards program is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.