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How to Casino Status Match Your Way to Free Cruises and Free Travel (Without Gambling)

If you had told me last year that one $95 annual fee business card could end up getting me 50+ free nights of travel including several free cruises, I never would have believed you.

But now here I am with two free cruises so far, several free nights in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, a free stay in the Bahamas, and more.

How did I get here? Through the casino status match merry go round.

You might think a casino status match must mean I gamble a lot. I don’t. I will put down a little money on a roulette table every once in while or try my hand at a card game, but I tend to be risk averse when it comes to losing my money.

In fact, you don’t have to gamble a single penny to make any of this work. You will get some free play money, so you might as well play with that since it is free. The rest is up to you.

Two caveats to the rest of this post:

If you know you have a gambling problem, I would not start the status match at all. It is not worth it with how many temptations there will be walking through casinos to do the status matches.

If you know you will struggle with credit card spending, the points and miles game will not be worth it for you. You must be able to fully pay off your credit card by the due date for this to work.

***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Using this links helps us earn money to keep this site running without costing you more than going directly to the site on your own.

Aerial photo of Atlantic City New Jersey boardwalk and casinos near the Atlantic City Pier
Atlantic City boardwalk and casinos with the Steel Pier AC

Two Ways to Start Casino Status Matching Without Gambling

There are two main ways to casino status match without gambling thanks to hotel loyalty programs. One comes from having elite status already at Wyndham or Hyatt. The other is from a credit card.

You need to have Diamond status with Wyndham resorts or Globalist status or Explorist status with Hyatt. However, the Hyatt status match to Caesars is only available for new Caesars rewards members.

To get Explorist status with Hyatt, you typically need 30 qualifying nights in a calendar year or to earn 50,000 base points. To earn Globalist status with Hyatt, you typically need 60 qualifying nights in a calendar year or to earn 100,000 base points.

You can see more about the World of Hyatt tiers here.

To get Diamond status with Wyndham resorts, you need 40 qualifying nights in a calendar year. Here is more information about the Wyndham rewards program and tiers.

The other option is to sign up for the Wyndham Business Earner card. This credit card costs $95 a year, but it gives you automatic Diamond status.

This is the easiest route to get into the casino merry go round as it does not require any nights stayed. This is the route I used to do all of my status matches.

While I have two different businesses (this one and Pinnovation Media), I’ll go over what you need to qualify for a business card further down. You are likely to qualify even if you don’t think you will.

You can also start with the Founders Card to get Caesars Diamond status. I’m not familiar with that route, but Frequent Miler does include it in their post here.

Atlantic City Pier Ferris Wheel at Steel Pier AC
Steel Pier AC ferris wheel

What You’ll Get from Casino Status Matches

Before you read this whole guide, you may be wondering what you’ll get out of it. Is it even worth it to get a credit card or try to get status at casinos if you don’t gamble?

Here is a quick overview of what we’ve earned so far:

  • 3+ nights at Wyndham resorts from the points for getting the credit card
  • $100 dining credit at Caesars properties
  • 2 nights free at Caesars Palace Dubai
  • Up to 5 nights free at Atlantis in the Bahamas (in the Coral)
  • $50 in free play at Hard Rock Atlantic City
  • 2 free nights at Hard Rock Atlantic City
  • One lounge pass at Ocean Atlantic City (buffet for you and a guest)
  • 2 free nights at Ocean Atlantic City
  • 2 free nights at Wynn Las Vegas with $50 dining credit
  • 7 night free MSC Caribbean cruise with oceanview stateroom and no port charges or fees
  • $300 dining credit at Live! Casino in Philadelphia in my birthday month
  • 3 free nights at Hilton at Resorts World in Las Vegas
  • 2 nights free when paying for 2 nights at Baha Mar in the Bahamas
  • Possibly free nights at the Venetian in Las Vegas (they are still working out this partnership)
  • Free or discounted stays at random from all of the casinos

Plus most of the casinos offer free parking, no resort fees, free valet parking, and priority lines at their properties around the world. This can add up if you’ll be staying in places with these properties.

There are also a few other additional benefits I’ll include below that are property specific and not likely to be a deciding factor for you to decide to casino status match.

And here is a quick overview of what we are likely to still earn:

  • Free cruise with Carnival cruise line
  • Free cruise with Royal Caribbean (5 nights in the Caribbean most likely)
  • Free cruise with Holland America (12 night cruise is most likely)
  • Additional free play and free nights from other casinos in Florida, Nevada, and potentially other areas as well

For these free cruises, we may end up having to pay port charges and fees. I’ve also heard that if we match with my free cruise offers instead of my player’s cards, those extra fees may be waived to match the offer.

I’ll continue to update this post as we go through the rest of the process.

Lucy the Elephant in New Jersey
Lucy the Elephant isn’t far down the road from Atlantic City and is worth a visit

Wyndham Business Earner Card to Casino Status Match

The Wyndham Business Earner card is offered by Barclays. This card costs $95 a year, and it is a business credit card.

It gives you automatic Diamond status with Wyndham Resorts which is one of the options for the first step in tier matching at casinos. As long as you continue to pay the $95 a year, you continue to stay Diamond level and be able to status match.

It helps to set up your Wyndham rewards member number first so you have it for your application.

I will say that this was my first time getting a Barclays card at all. I’ve had Chase personal and business cards for the most part, and my experience has been that the Chase cards were easier. I’ve also heard that experiences with Barclays can vary.

It could depend on if you apply as a sole proprietor or as an LLC with an EIN. I applied as an LLC. I’ve heard of people applying both ways getting instant approval, getting approval after a quick call, and getting approval after weeks.

I fell into the weeks category, but I did eventually get approved. I also applied as an LLC but with my social security number instead of my EIN (should have used my EIN).

After I applied, I was told they needed time to process the application. That is a completely normal part of applying for credit cards, so I wasn’t worried.

I called in after a week of not hearing anything and was transferred to the fraud department. They needed me to fax (yes, fax…in 2023) in a copy of my Schedule C from my tax return that showed my business name on it.

I applied for the card under this business, but my Schedule C just said “blog” instead of the name of the blog. Luckily, I have a wonderful tax professional who quickly updated it for me to show the actual blog name.

I managed to fax that in, and I called in a few days later to see if it was received. They told me it can take 10 – 12 business days to receive the fax and input it.

I called back on day 11, and it still had not been received. I called back again on day 12, and it still had not been received. At this point, I think they were tired of hearing from me.

The next day, I got an email that I was approved. While it took a while, about three weeks in total, to get the approval, the process was not terrible. I had expected it to go faster based on how quickly I’ve been able to get approved for other business cards, but I found out this is not abnormal for Barclays.

Wyndham Business Earner card is the easiest way to start the casino status match merry go round
Wyndham Earner Business Card with stickers from Points and Miles Studio

Benefits of Wyndham Business Earner Card

When I signed up for the Wyndham Business Earner Card, the sign up bonus was 45,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. This can change, so I am linking directly to the card here.

These 45,000 points can be used to book any Wyndham properties, Caesars properties, or Vacasa properties. For Wyndham and Caesars properties, you can find rooms as low as 7,500 points a night. Plus, you get a 10% discount on points bookings.

With Vacasa, these vacation rentals are 15,000 per night per bedroom. That means the 45,000 points could get us 3 nights in a one bedroom property. Plus, we would still get the 10% discount on points bookings.

The Wyndham Earner business card also earns 8 points per $1 on gas and Wyndham stays booked directly. The points return on gas purchases is one of the bigger reasons people continue to spend on this card for gas as it is one of the higher returns on gas in the travel hacking game.

The credit card offers 5 points per $1 spent on utilities and advertising and marketing spend. The utilities can be helpful but advertising and marketing may not be as useful.

Each year, you get 15,000 points as an anniversary gift in addition to maintaining Diamond status. Other benefits include no foreign transaction fees and cell phone protection if you pay for your bill with the card.

Perks of Wyndham Diamond Status

In addition to the normal perks offered to lower tiers, Diamond members get early check in and late check out if requested and available.

Wyndham Diamond status also earns you discounted rental rates with Avis and Budget. We just booked a rental for 3 weeks through this since it was the cheapest option we could find (even compared to other discount options with other cards and my husband’s job).

You can also get suite upgrades if available and a welcome amenity at most properties. Plus, you can give someone else Gold status at Wyndham.

The biggest perk of being Diamond status, and the one that makes this whole thing possible, is the ability to match it to Caesars rewards Diamond status.

Once you get your card, you’ll have to apply for Caesars Diamond here. It takes a week or two for your Caesars rewards status to update, so prepare for a little wait once you submit it.

You can see the full benefits of Diamond status here.

Caesars Atlantic City exterior
View from our room of the Caesars sign

Who Can Get a Business Card?

You might be thinking that this all sounds great, but you can’t get a business card. You would be surprised at what can qualify you for one.

As a blogger or content creator, even if you are not making money yet, you qualify. If you sell clothes or other items on Facebook Marketplace or in garage sales, you qualify. Even having business expenses for your regular 9-5 that you get reimbursed for can qualify you.

This does not mean you have to be making money from a side gig or a 1099 job to qualify. The idea is that there is an intent to make money. A lot of business lose money at the start.

You just want to make sure to be honest on the application about your earnings. Business cards do not impact your taxes at all, and you still need to keep track of any true business expenses for taxes separately.

For more details, I highly recommend signing up for and taking the FREE 10X Travel course. This course gave me a great foundation for understanding points and miles, and they are constantly updating it based on feedback from students and changes in the points and miles world.

I first found out about this whole merry go round from their Facebook group, but make sure to complete the course before posting as it is a requirement.

Check out chapter 25 to get a full guide to how to apply for a business card as a sole proprietor and to get more detailed information.

Hyatt Status to Casino Status Match

***This match is no longer live since Hyatt and MGM have split and MGM is now partnering with Marriott. Marriott and MGM have not yet announced if they will be matching, but they will release this information before October according to their press call.***

Hyatt does not offer status just for holding one of their cards. Their cards can help you earn qualifying nights based on spend, but you may not have the spend required to get enough nights that way.

If you have World of Hyatt Explorist or Globalist, Hyatt partners with MGM. Discoverist only matches to MGM rewards Pearl which is not good enough. You can start the casino status match merry go round from Hyatt to MGM instead of Wyndham to Caesars.

The rest of the process would be the same. You just start out by applying for the MGM tier match here. The MGM rewards status should update instantly (or close to it).

Once you have your MGM Gold status, you would need to match to Caesars Diamond in person with your MGM players card. Remember this is only available for new members and not previous Caesars rewards members. Then your Caesars Diamond can match back to Wyndham Diamond.

The beach in Atlantic City
The beach in Atlantic City
Christmas decorations in Atlantic City on the boardwalk
Props for a Christmas movie shooting on the Atlantic City boardwalk

Why You Need to Visit Atlantic City for the Atlantic City Casino Status Match

If you aren’t a gambler, Atlantic City may not be on your bucket list. While the Jersey shore has some great options for beaches, Atlantic City is more known for the casinos.

This may change in future years once the Hard Rock in Atlantic City switches over to the new Unity by Hard Rock reward system. Right now, because Hard Rock Atlantic City is still on the old system, the trip to Atlantic City is necessary for the free cruises.

Ocean Casino in Atlantic City is one of the casinos that offers a free cruise. Rivers Casino in Philadelphia is the other (some recent data points are that this free cruise no longer works as they are taking it away from those who already booked it). Both of them require a trip to Atlantic City to get those free cruises.

For us, that made a trip to Atlantic City worth it. We flew up from Orlando with my Southwest Companion Pass and then stayed at Caesars booked through Wyndham and paid for with the Business Earner card to get even more points.

Thanks to a promotion with Wyndham for 15,000 points when staying three consecutive nights, we also managed to get the extra points that way on top of the 8 points per dollar on the card and the points for the stay through the rewards program itself.

My Diamond status with Caesars meant we did not have to pay any resort fees and got free parking once I added my Caesars number at check in.

Hard Rock Atlantic City and Showboat Casino covered in fog
Hard Rock Atlantic City and Showboat covered in fog

Caesars Diamond Status Perks

Our first stop in Atlantic City was Caesars. We were staying there, but we also needed to get my physical card printed out to take to the other casinos.

This was an easy process. I just had to take my ID to one of the desks at the Caesars Rewards center and ask for it to be printed. There were also kiosks to print it, but mine would not pull up there for some reason. Once I got my card, we were ready to start matching.

The Caesars Diamond status comes with some perks of its own including:

  • $100 dining credit for a celebration dinner at Caesars properties (or $50 Uber Eats anywhere)
  • 2 nights free at Caesars Palace in Dubai
  • Up to 5 nights free at Atlantis in the Bahamas in the Coral Tower (this depends on the month and can come with free play on top of it – you can see the months under Diamond | 15,000 Tier Credits here)
  • No parking fees (including free valet parking) or resort fees at Caesars properties (this saved us at least $60 in parking fees and about $75 in resort fees)
  • Priority lines at all Caesars properties
  • Free or discounted stays at Caesars properties around the world

We originally planned to use the $100 dining credit on this trip, but we ended up not being hungry at the times we were at Caesars. I did confirm it is loaded to my account, and we will likely use it on a future trip to Las Vegas.

The Caesars rewards Diamond players card is the starting point for casino status matching
Caesars Rewards Diamond players card

Match Caesars Diamond to Hard Rock Rock Royalty

Once you have your physical Caesars players card, you’ll head about a mile down the boardwalk to Hard Rock AC. It was cold, and we are Floridians, so we drove down but parked at Ocean Casino.

Hard Rock Atlantic City charges for parking on the way in, and Ocean charges for parking on the way out. On the way in, I did not have status yet. On the way out, I did and could get free parking. The two are a short walk down the boardwalk apart, so we did this to save the parking fee.

If you want to park at Hard Rock, do valet parking. Then you don’t have to pay until you pick up your car, and you’ll have status then to get it for free. You will want to tip the valet driver though.

After the walk down to Hard Rock, we went inside and found the rewards desk. At the rewards desk, I had to show them my ID and my Caesars Diamond status.

I wasn’t sure how it would work, so I just asked, “Do you do any matching for Caesars Diamond?”

They told me they do and got me all signed up for Hard Rock Rock Royalty which is their highest level card. While this match does not offer many perks in and of itself, it allows for two other important matches coming up.

This property is in the process of switching over to Unity, but for right now, it is still using the old reward system which you can then match to Unity at another Hard Rock location.

Hard Rock Atlantic City
Hard Rock Atlantic City

Hard Rock Royalty gave me:

  • $50 in free play (took about 10 minutes to load)
  • 2 free nights at Hard Rock Atlantic City that must be booked within 90 days of matching
  • Free parking at Hard Rock AC
  • Upgraded rooms if requested and available
  • Free monthly car wash at Rocktane (which we won’t really get to use)

The free play expired within a few days, so we went down to the casino to play the free play loaded on my card. I am not a fan of slots mostly because I don’t understand them at all. I never know if I won until it tells me I won.

Because the free play could only be used at a slot machine though, I found one to play and loaded my free play. Once you play the $50, you can cash out anything you won. I kept track on my calculator on my phone and bet the max just to make it go faster (may not be the best idea, but like I said, I’m not great at slots and avoid them).

I walked away with $38.95. When we passed by a roulette table, I put $15 down on red or black and won. I took my $15 back and played the other $15 one more time on red or black. I won again.

At that point, I walked away because I knew I would lose it if I stuck around. My $50 in free play turned in to $68.95 which paid for our lunch at Hard Rock. Even if I hadn’t played roulette, I could have walked away with $38.95 of spending money just from using the free play credits.

Vouchers from slot machine winnings
My winnings from the slot machine free play credits
Cash from table games at Hard Rock Atlantic City
My roulette winnings

Hard Rock Royalty to Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime is the real reason you go to Atlantic City. Ocean Casino Resort was also our favorite of the casino properties as it was the cleanest and didn’t smell like smoke nearly as much as the others.

We spoke to one of the wait staff at the lounge, and she told us it had started out as a completely smoke free property and still only allowed smoking in some areas.

From Hard Rock, we walked back down to where we parked at Ocean and went inside to the Ocean rewards desk.

At the rewards desk, I gave them my Hard Rock players card and my ID and again asked if they matched. My Hard Rock card is the one that matches best at Ocean, so I did not need to show my Caesars Diamond card.

Again, she set up my account and explained the benefits of Ocean Prime to me (which included a free t-shirt that day, but I’m not sure if that is normal – not a reason to sign up anyways although it is a nice shirt).

Aerial photo of Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City
Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City

The benefits of having Ocean Prime include:

  • Free entry for myself and a guest to the lounge one time within 72 hours of matching
  • 2 nights free at Ocean Atlantic City (must be booked within 60 days of matching)
  • 2 free nights at Wynn in Las Vegas with a $50 dining credit
  • 7 night free MSC Caribbean cruise with an oceanview stateroom and no port charges or fees

We used the free entry to the lounge the next day since we already had lunch at Hard Rock. Looking back, we could have saved the money on the Hard Rock lunch and eaten here instead, but we were going to be around the next day anyways.

The lounge was really nice with a full buffet including salad, main courses, sides, and a dessert bar. I don’t drink, but they also had a full bar that was included. You could order ice cream to go with your desserts for free as well.

We both ate a big meal here, and we got some suggestions for other good restaurants and things to do in New Jersey from our waitress who was wonderful.

For the nights at Wynn Las Vegas and the free MSC cruise, you do not get those benefits right away. At the end of the month, Ocean submits all of the people who qualify to those programs. Around the 15th of the next month, I will get the invites for both of those.

Because we matched in April, I will get those on May 15. Then we can book our nights in Vegas and our cruise.

Because Ocean status has an expiration date of June 30, there is some thought that you can book the one cruise for before June 30 and then book another after July 1 when it resets. They told me at Ocean that because I matched in April, my status would automatically renew on July 1 and I could come by for an updated card.

I’m not sure that we will have time to try that double dip because of other travel plans, but if anyone else does, let me know in the comments.

Lounge at Ocean Casino Atlantic City
The lounge at Ocean Casino Resort
Ocean Prime card from Ocean Atlantic City
Ocean Prime players card

Ocean Prime to MGM Gold at Borgata

Once you have Ocean Prime status, you can drive over to the Borgata to match to MGM. You can also match Caesars to MGM in Las Vegas, but we decided to go ahead and match in Atlantic City while we were there.

At Borgata, I had to go to the rewards desk again and show my Ocean Prime card and ID to get an account set up. Like Hard Rock, the MGM rewards Gold status in and of itself does not offer much, but it does allow for some stacking and other rewards.

MGM Gold will get me:

  • Free parking at MGM resorts
  • Waived resort fees at MGM Resorts International properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades if available and requested
  • Free night offers (most likely these will be with Luxor or Excalibur but other properties are likely to give discounts as well)

The free parking and waived resort fees can help in Las Vegas and at other MGM properties. This used to allow you to match to Hyatt, but that is no longer possible since their partnership ended.

MGM and Marriott recently announced a partnership, but they have not announced any kind of matching yet. They have said they will announce this by October, so we have to wait and see.

MGM Gold card from Borgata Atlantic City
MGM Players Card

More Free Nights at MGM with MyVegas Apps

You can also download and play the MyVegas games to stack those on top of your other perks. If you play the MyVegas games, do not pay for coins or credits. You will get plenty of them for free and can just let the games autospin for the slots games in the background on your laptop or on your phone.

The reward credits you earn in MyVegas can get you free rooms and free food. In just a week and a half of playing, I had enough credits for a free night in the Bellagio for example.

The MyVegas games include the apps in the screenshot below and are MyVegas Slots, MyVegas Blackjack, MyVegas Bingo, MGM Slots Live, POP! Slots, and myKonami Slots. They each give free daily credits, free credits every 2 hours, and free credits from notifications and emails if you have them turned on.

I let the slots games autospin on the lowest bet until they max out, but the Bingo game is based on time the app is open. To max that one out, I will let it sit open or even fall asleep with it open. I don’t really play the Blackjack one since you have to be playing to get the credits.

MGM Gold to World of Hyatt Explorist

***This part of the match is no longer available as of July 2023 thanks to this partnership ending. This post will be updated if/when a status match is available in the new partnership with Marriott and MGM.

With the MGM Gold card, I can match that back to Hyatt Explorist status. While Explorist status is not a great status with Hyatt, it is better than nothing. We keep our World of Hyatt status through my husband (aka P2), so I did not have status.

Being Explorist does have a few perks, but it does not get you any closer to being Globalist when you are matching. Globalist is the top tier status that offers much better perks, but you’ll still have to fully earn your qualifying nights to get there.

The MGM Gold status can help with that thanks to cheaper rooms if you wanted to do a mattress run for a few nights to get status if you are already close to having enough. Because you don’t pay parking or resort fees, that keeps the discounted rooms actually discounted.

If you are staying in comped rooms at MGM, you might be able to still get qualifying nights, but it would depend. Data points suggest that paying for a room before or after your comped nights will allow you to earn qualifying nights for all nights stayed though.

Explorist perks include:

  • Free premium internet
  • Free daily bottled water
  • Free room upgrades when available but NOT to suites or rooms with club lounge access
  • 2 p.m. late checkout
  • Guaranteed availability for stays booked 72 hours or more in advance

Like I said, it’s not a great status, but it is better than nothing if you don’t have World of Hyatt status already. Because I can get it, I will even if I won’t use it because of my husband’s status.

Atlantic City Steel Pier and beach
Atlantic City Steel Pier

Where to Stay in Atlantic City

We stayed at Caesars Atlantic City because of the points we could earn. We did a Wyndham promotion where we earned 15,000 points for staying 3 consecutive nights. After all of our matching, we spend the rest of the time exploring the New Jersey boardwalks and beaches.

I also earned 8 points per dollar for paying with my Wyndham Business Earner card (2700 points) plus 3,300 points for the stay on my Wyndham rewards account. All of those points combined to be over 20,000 points which will get us one more Vacasa free night or possibly a few more Wyndham free nights.

While our room at Caesars was an oceanview room and very nice, there was a ton of construction going on in the lobby area. Several dining options were closed and one of the walkways into the building from the parking garage was closed.

Of the properties we visited, Ocean was our favorite. We are looking forward to our stay there because the lobby and casino were so clean and did not smell as strongly of smoke.

Caesars Atlantic City exterior
Caesars Atlantic City
Caesars Atlantic City interior
Caesars Atlantic City

Why You Need to Visit Philadelphia and What Casinos Status Match There

I did not know about the additional casino status match options in Philadelphia when we booked the trip. When I found out about them, we were already on the plane heading north. It worked out though because we had planned a week to road trip through New Jersey and Philadelphia as well as visit some friends and family.

There are two additional matches you can do in Philadelphia, but the first one can take a week or so which makes it more challenging if you don’t live nearby or have a cheap way to come back.

Hard Rock Royalty to Live! Casino Black Card

On Monday, once we got all of my players cards, we drove back from Atlantic City to Philadelphia. The drive took a little over an hour on the way there and about an hour on the way back. Watch for the tolls on the way to Philadelphia though if you have a rental.

Once we got to Philly Live!, I followed the same process as the others to start. I went to the rewards desk, but this time I had all four of my cards.

They do not do instant matches, so this is where it can get more complicated for planning. Instead, they take a picture of your ID and your cards and send it to their marketing department. The marketing department reviews it and decides on your status.

The person at the desk told me that my Hard Rock card alone was enough to match to Black usually, but he took a picture of all of them together just in case. He said Ocean Prime was my second strongest card of the group.

I had seen online data points of it taking 4 to 5 days to get the match. We flew home on Saturday. My match came through the following Monday.

Thankfully there are cheap flights on Frontier Airlines from Orlando to Philadelphia, so I flew back up for one day to do the last match.

I spoke to someone else who dropped of her card on Saturday and got her match on the same Monday. That goes to show that times may vary. I’m not sure if they were doing a catch up on Monday or only do them on Mondays or what.

Mine took 5 full business days. Hers took less than one. If you have a few days, drop them off as early as you can get them and get to Philadelphia. Otherwise, you may have to plan a trip back.

You can also skip this match and match straight from Caesars or MGM to Rivers Casino. The only difference is you get a balcony room with the Live! match and an oceanview room with a match from Caesars Diamond or MGM Gold.

The benefits from the Live! Black card include:

  • $300 dining credit in my birthday month
  • 3 night stay at the Hilton in Resorts World Las Vegas
  • 2 nights free when paying for 2 nights at Baha Mar in the Bahamas
  • $200 travel reimbursement with their partners including Baha Mar, Resorts World, Norwegian Cruise Line, and other Live! Casinos (the Live! Casinos give it to you in free play)
  • Free parking
  • Complimentary room upgrades when available and requested
Aerial photo of Ocean Casino Atlantic City and the Atlantic City beach
Atlantic City beach and Ocean Casino

Live! Black Card to Rivers Black Card (or Caesars Diamond or MGM Gold to Rivers Platinum Card)

This match is the other reason to take a trip to Atlantic City and Philadelphia since you get another free cruise with this one but an even better free cruise.

Rivers Casino has Rush rewards. Caesars Diamond or MGM Gold both match to Rivers rewards Platinum card. The Live! Casino Black Card matches to the higher tier level Rivers Black card.

Per the Rush Rewards website, the Black card comes with free valet parking, a 30% discount on dining (excluding Hugo’s), access to the TEN lounge, and an exclusive parking area among other benefits.

This one is reevaluated every six months, so this one will be harder to maintain without regular trips to Philadelphia. They also have the right to remove inactive members at any time.

The biggest benefit of this match is the 10 night free MSC cruise. With the Black card, you get a free 10 night cruise anywhere MSC sails in a balcony room. The website does not that this does not include China.

With the Platinum card without the match from Live!, you still get the same cruise by with an oceanview room.

There are some recent data points that this cruise is no longer offered to anyone who matches in and only to those who earn the status. Feel free to leave a comment with your experiences to add more data points.

They are also working on a partnership with The Venetian, but nothing has been published about that yet. Hopefully we will get updates here when that changes.

How to Get More Free Cruises from a Casino Status Match (Even Without a Trip to Atlantic City or Philadelphia)

I will update this section more as we go through the process, but we should be able to receive more free cruises through status or through matching offers.

As it stands right now, I can submit my Caesars Diamond or MGM Gold elite status to get a free cruise offer from Carnival. This is likely to be for a free cruise where I pay for port charges and fees. There is also a deposit you pay that you get back as onboard credit. You can use that for dining, in the casino, or for some services.

However, I’ve also read that I can wait until May and submit my free cruise offer (or my free cruise from Rivers once it loads) to get another truly free cruise. This happens when Carnival opens up their offer match.

That free cruise offer can then get me a free 5 night cruise with Royal Caribbean in the Caribbean with port charges and fees. Again, I’ve heard my free cruise offers will get a stronger offer, but I’m waiting to see.

Caesars Diamond or MGM Gold also can match to a free 12 night Holland America cruise, but I might also test submitting my free cruise offers to see what those get.

Celebrity Cruises often does a match a few times a year from MSC, so hopefully that will get us another free cruise offer.

There is also a website called UR Comped that lets you submit your casino players cards and any comp offers you have (must have your name and player number on it) to see if others want to match you for land based on cruise offers.

I submitted my cards and the offers I have so far, so we will see where that goes.

View of the Atlantic City beach from Caesars Atlantic City
View of the beach in Atlantic City from our hotel room at Caesars AC

Why is This Called the Casino Merry Go Round?

The casino status match carousel is also known as the casino merry go round because once you hop on, you can continue receiving benefits as you ride around each year.

There are change as matches start or end and as rules of different rewards programs change, but it can still be a great way to get a lot of free travel.

Additional Florida Casino Status Matches

Since we live in Florida, I wanted to see if any of our casinos here match. I have to start out with a trip to Tampa to the Hard Rock there to get on the Unity by Hard Rock program. My Caesars Diamond status should match to Hard Rock Icon there (also good in Vegas) which should come with a credit.

From there, I can match to other South Florida casinos mostly for free play credits. The other matching casinos I know of include Hialeah Park Casino, Casino Miami, and Gulfstream Park Triple Crown.

Casino Status Matching in Las Vegas

If you are on the west coast, a trip to Atlantic City may not be feasible or may cost more than it ends up being worth for you to fly over and stay.

You can still match Caesars Diamond to other casinos in Vegas including Resorts World and Hard Rock Unity, but it only directly matches to MGM Pearl in Las Vegas.

The best west coast status match option is to match your Caesars Diamond to Club Sycaun Elite in San Diego (must get physical Caesars card first). That can match to Club Barano Platinum which then matches to MGM Gold.

Those two elite status cards alone will get you free travel and can earn you free cruises as well.

Christmas decorations on the boardwalk in Atlantic City
Props for a Christmas movie filming in Atlantic City
Movie production on the boardwalk in Atlantic City
Filming a Christmas movie on the Atlantic City boardwalk

Want to Get Started in the Points and Miles World?

My favorite resources for learning about earning free travel are the 10X Travel free course, website and Facebook group. The Facebook group had a post on the casino merry go round which is where I learned a lot of this.

I also recently found Frequent Miler which has a podcast episode all about the free cruise part of this. They also have several blog posts related to actually booking these cruises and about the status match in even more detail than I’ve given here (they have a lot of data from their Facebook group to pull from as well with recent data points).

Have questions or recent experiences to share? Leave a comment below

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How to Casino Status Match for free travel without gambling


Monday 4th of September 2023

Hi Christine, thanks for chronicling your status matching in AC. This information is very helpful! I'm considering doing the same after having done the Vegas matches recently.

One question: when did you do your status matches for Philly casinos? A search for recent data points state that Philly status matches are largely dead as they've caught on ( Thanks in advance!

Christine Wheeler

Monday 18th of September 2023

Hey Dan - I did the match back in April, but the Rivers Casino cruise perk started having negative DPs right after I did the match. I haven't tried to book that one since some DPs in the Frequent Miler Facebook group showed that they were charging people a cancellation fee even though the cruise company cancelled it and not the customer. I didn't follow up to see if they were able to fight it to get the fees reversed or get them to honor the cruise. I would skip the Philly matches for now unless you'll be there anyways.