Loyalty programs are a common offering by uk casino sites. However, it can be the case that not everything that glitters is gold. While it’s true many casino sites offer incentives for playing, each one is different. With this being the case, it’s hardly surprising that some programs are more valuable than others. As a player, you need to know what they are and how they work in practice.
What Are Loyalty Programs?
An online casino loyalty program is no different from any other reward scheme; when you spend money, you accrue points which have a value of some sort. As you’d expect, each operator has their own criteria. However, as an example, a typical loyalty program will look like this:
- Wager £XX to earn YY loyalty point/s.
- Use YY points to purchase ZZ bonus/bonus credits.
To help distinguish one system from another, operators will jazz things up with multipliers, points boosts and loyalty levels. But whichever way an online casino dresses up their loyalty scheme, there is one idea you need to keep in mind: consistency counts. To put it another way, the more you wager, the more rewards you can earn. Of course, you shouldn’t bet more than you can afford. However, if you want to make any casino loyalty system pay, you need to play for real money. Assuming you do this, you’ll earn points which, in turn, can be used to unlock some extra value.
How Do Casino Loyalty Schemes Work?
To give you a better understanding of how loyalty programs work, lets a look at the one offered by Hippodrome Online Casino
At Hippodrome you earn five loyalty points for every £10 wagered. However, unless you play slots, the £10 total will have a different value. Because of weighting contributions, the game you play will determine how much of your bet is acknowledged. For example, every pound you wager on slots will count towards the £10 target as these games have a 100% weighting. In contrast, table poker has a 50% weighting. This means £0.50 of every £1 staked is counted. Therefore, you’ll have to stake £20 to hit the “£10” target.
As confusing as this sounds, this is standard practice in the online casino world. When we say, “you have to wager XX to earn YY points”, this often the figure based on any slots bets you make. At the Hippodrome Online Casino, the following weightings are in place:
- 100% weighting = All Slots, American Roulette and all Parlour Games.
- 50% weighting = All Table Pokers, all Roulettes (Except America Roulette), Red Dog, Casino Was and Sic Bo
- 10% weighting = All Video/Power Pokers (except All Aces Video/Power Pokers), all Blackjacks (except Classic Blackjack), all Craps and all Baccarats
- 2% weighting = Classic Blackjack and All Aces Video/Power Pokers.
Once you’ve banked at least 5,000 loyalty points, you can exchange them for £10 in casino credits. Finally, these credits will be subject to a 30X playthrough.
So, if we look at this in practical terms, you have to wager £10,000 to hit the 5,000-point goal. Once you’ve done that, you can claim a £10 bonus which will have a £300 playthrough requirement. As you can see, these are lofty targets. However, when you take into account the VIP levels and their respective bonuses, it’s not as tough as it may seem. For example, once you hit 5,000 points and move to the second tier (silver), you’ll receive a 25% points boost.
Another important point to note is that money wagered is not the same as money lost. Wagering simply means the money you’ve staked irrespective of any wins or losses. Therefore, it’s possible you can bet £10,000 but win £10,100. This would give you enough points to claim some cashback and leave you with a £100 profit.
With the Hippodrome’s loyalty scheme, the only reward you can collect is bonus cash. This isn’t true of every system (as you’ll see below). However, what’s important to note with loyalty programs is points are not going to be just handed over to you, consistency is key when it comes to reward programs. Casinos aren’t in the business of giving something for nothing, you have to show you’re loyalty in order to get something back.
What Are VIP Programs?
Up until this point, things have been fairly straight forward; VIP programs and their differences and similarities to loyalty program complicate this a little. Firstly, some casino sites call their loyalty program a VIP scheme. The second reason there can be confusion is that loyalty schemes often have a VIP element to them. For example, if you look at Betway Casino you’ll enter the Plus Points system when you start to wager real money. Like Hippodrome, you’ll earn five points for every £10 you wager. What’s more, you can start spending points when you hit 5,000.
However, the reason this system can also be described as a VIP program is because it contains six tiers. Starting at Blue and scaling up to Black, each tier gives you access to an ever-increasing selection of bonuses. From points boost to personalized offers and invites to special events, each tier is more lucrative than the one before. The reason casinos include these VIP elements is to encourage you to play more. Again, it comes back to the idea that the more you put in, the more you get back.
Finally, some online casinos have an invite-only VIP program. Sometimes this can apply to the top level of the loyalty scheme and sometimes it can be for a special set of promotions that only selected players will receive. 888casino one of our recommended casino sites offers this. Although 8888 doesn’t tell you exactly what you have to do in order to become a VIP player, the unwritten rule is that you will need to wager a considerable amount of money to be chosen.
Benefits of VIP Programs
Although each site has its own nuances, it’s typically the case that players who have reached the very top tier are those that have wagered a considerable sum of money. For invite-only schemes, there are no exact requirements. However, to reach the top of tier of Betway Casino you’ll have to accrue one million points. This target is over the lifetime of your account and not a monthly target.
In fact, if you reach the top tier, you only have to earn 50,000 loyalty points to stay there. However, to become a Black player, you’ll have to stake £500,000. That’s a lot of money by anyone’s standards. This is why there are multiple levels, each with their own bonuses. By making incremental steps up the ladder, the journey doesn’t seem as arduous.
In general, top tier bonuses at the top online casinos include:
- Points boosts
- Personalised reload bonuses
- Free bets
- Enhanced cashback rates
- Personal VIP account manager
- Invitations to special events
Loyalty Programs and VIP Programs: What’s the Difference?
Loyalty schemes and VIP schemes can be one and the same thing. Betway Casino and the Hippodrome Online Casino are perfect examples of this. However, you also have a site like 888casino which has a loyalty program known as Comp Points (where you can exchange points for cash) and an invite-only VIP system. In practice, the answer depends on the site you’re using. The best thing to do if you’re interested in one or the other is to read through our casino reviews and then check each site for yourself.
Should You Play the Loyalty Game?
If you’re a low stakes player or someone that doesn’t play too often, loyalty schemes aren’t going to matter too much. However, the counter to this is that you don’t have to do anything extra to join one. Because the casino records the number of bets you make and then ranks you accordingly, you don’t have to opt-in or do anything specific. Therefore, if you do happen to play and wager a lot in one month, you could accrue some loyalty points. If you are a high roller you might want to make sure you taking advantage of everything the casino can offer you. For example, high stake roulette sites offer special loyalty programs for their players.
One thing we wouldn’t advise, however, is to stretch yourself just to hit a specific target. If you can’t get to a certain level naturally, ignore it. In other words, loyalty programs are great, but they should be seen as a background bonus. If you get to the next tier, great. If you don’t, forget about it. In reality, weekly promotions such as reload bonuses and free spin offers are more lucrative in the short-term. Of course, if you’re a high-volume player, it’s worth focusing on loyalty rewards. However, if you’re a casual player, stick to regular promotions and treat loyalty schemes as an added bonuses.