General note: Now that Hyatt and MGM have parted ways, the Wyndham to Caesars Diamond via the Barclays Wyndham Earner and matching in Atlantic City from Caesars to Hard Rock to Ocean Prime is all that seems to be left for now.
This is Step 2 and 4 below. Note that you CAN still get the free 10 day MSC cruise from Ocean Prime along with the free nights at Resorts World Las Vegas. But you MUST have Caesars Diamond and be able to go to Atlantic City in person.
I’ll be dialing into this in the coming weeks and rewriting this all for what is available as of fall 2023.
July 27th, 2023: MGM is no longer matching at all. There
is was a rather crazy MGM Status Challenge which expired Sept 30, 2023
July 14, 2023: As anticipated, the MGM and Hyatt Reciprocal match is dead. The links to match are gone.
July 11, 2023: Hyatt and MGM Cut Ties. Friday July 14th is your LAST DAY to match between Hyatt and MGM (either direction) if you haven’t already. You can still status match Ocean Prime in AC to MGM Gold through July 31st, however, you won’t be able to match that to Hyatt after July 31st and your status will still expire July 31st, rendering that useless, unless you have never had a Caesars card in which case it would be useful (for those two weeks) to get MGM Gold and match to Caesars Diamond which would be valid through Next January.
Once the dust settles in early August I’ll make some significant updates to this post (probably essentially rewrite it).
July 1, 2023: Ocean changes benefits for 2023 – new 10 Day MSC cruise and Resorts World LV stay – loses Wynn. Now requires 18 months of inactivity to re-match.
June 20th, 2023: MGM Extends current matches to July 31, 2023 from June 30th. Existing matches were extended, new matches still possible.
May 31, 2023: Wyndham Matches are BACK – but as a Challenge.
May 5th, 2023: Live! in Philly no longer matches anything in the Merry Go Round to Black. It’s now only Platinum.
May 1st, 2023: Removed Rivers in Philly; cruise no longer being offered.
Mar 23, 2023: Added the SoCal / Las Vegas “On Ramp” to the Status Match Merry Go Round™
Mar 16, 2023: Added in the LIVE! match in Philadephia
Feb 8, 2023: CAESARS Diamond to MGM Gold is now dead.
Do not follow anything below regarding Caesars to MGM Gold as they are only matching to Pearl. This change is as of Feb 1st, 2023.
Note there is one remaining route on the Merry Go Round if you are near Atlantic City and have/can get the Wyndham Business Earner card or complete the Wyndham Diamond status challenge which is:
- Atlantic City: Wyndham Business Earner Card (or Wyndham Diamond status challenge) >> Caesars Diamond >> Hard Rock Rock Royalty >> Ocean Prime
>> MGM Gold (in person, lasts til June 30, 2023) >> Hyatt Explorist (online). You do need to do this all in person after getting the Caesars match… (You do match Wyndham to Caesars online, though you need to get the card in person.)Note that MGM is now removed from the above circuit since it no longer matches and only does a Status Challenge
Jan 18, 2023: Updated South Florida casinos
Jan 12, 2023: MGM nationwide tier match extended
Oct 12, 2022: Updated the cruise offer section to include the MSC match and the Carnival match. See the Ocean Prime section and the following section.
Sept 14, 2022: Borgata no longer offers any perks with a match, even for first timers. You do still get Gold, though. Hard Rock no longer offers any perks if you have ever had a Hard Rock Wild Card before at any level, but you still get the match to Rock Royalty.
July 20, 2022: Ocean Prime no longer works for the Baha Mar match. That eliminates all Merry Go Round Options as Hard Rock Rock Royalty is no longer accepted either. H/T Reader EL in the comments.
July 1, 2022: MGM Nationwide Match Renewed through Dec 2022; Ocean Prime Match is Renewed.
March 31, 2022: Added a new “side match” for Bally’s in Atlantic City
Mar 15, 2022: Caesars has ended the practice of “matching and re-matching” meaning that if you matched from Wyndham to Caesars and back to Wyndham, they will not let you match back again. If you have the Wyndham Business Earner credit card, you can still re-match.
The first step has changed. While Wyndham matches had been paused they are now back as a status challenge.
If you can’t do the status challenge, you can still use the Wyndham Business Earner card on-ramp!
In this article
The Status Match Merry Go Round™
I’ve written a number of times in the past about what I call the Status Match Merry Go Round. For those that have never read any of my posts about this before, the Status Match Merry Go Round is a series of status matching opportunities that, by the time all is said and done, will have grant you status in half a dozen programs, many of which you’ll be able to keep year after year.
Here are a few of the posts I’ve written going all the way back to July of 2018:
- 5 Status Matches and 5 Free Hotel Nights in 1 Day: Atlantic City – Hard Rock and Ocean AC Resort
- Easy Status Match to Wyndham Diamond (and possibly Total Rewards Diamond, Hyatt Explorist and Mlife Gold)
- Status Match Merry Go Round: What to Do in January
Without question, these have been some of the most popular and widely shared articles I’ve written. In the MilesTalk Facebook group, I love when people post pictures of their various successes. Makes my day.
The phrase Status Match Merry Go Round™ comes from the fact that (at least as it stands now) you simply need to find a way onto the Merry Go Round and then, once there, it keeps going and going for you.
I’ve gotten some feedback that some people have lost track of how this all works, as my info has been spread across various posts. So, I’m bringing this “full circle” today with a start to finish guide.
Why Should You Care About the Status Match Merry Go Round?
In short, because it will confer a variety of statuses on you for relatively little effort and much is repeatable year after year once you get on the Merry Go Round.
I’ll summarize all the programs and tiers involved:
- Wyndham Diamond
- Caesars Diamond
MGM Rewards Gold
- Hyatt Explorist
- Hard Rock Atlantic City Rock Royalty
- Ocean Casino Prime (Atlantic City)
- Some bonus matches: South Florida and Resorts World Las Vegas, Turning Stone
What are the Primary Benefits of Each Status in the Status Match Merry Go Round?
Wyndham doesn’t really have a super exciting footprint nor program, but you will be entitled to early check in, late check out, and suite upgrades when you stay at a Wyndham property. I list this first, however, because it’s the primary “on ramp” to the Status Match Merry Go Round.
While some people report better room offers at Caesars casino properties, that’s not a reliable benefit. Nor are upgrades. But what is reliable is this:
– Free Parking at Caesars casinos/hotels
– Skip the Line at most restaurants (I’ve saved hours on line with this perk)
– A free four night stay at Atlantis (Also see:Free Atlantis Stay via Caesars Total Rewards Diamond: What To Expect with Room Fees, Food Costs, and More)
– A free $100 “Celebration Dinner” each year including status renewals (renewal dinner only if you have earned Wyndham Diamond status, which includes the Wyndham Earner Business card method).
– Free monthly show tickets.
– Waived resort fees
– Diamond Lounge access (requires $10 in comps per person)
– Taxi Queue line cut
MGM Rewards Gold
Free parking (including valet) at MGM resorts, priority checkin, priority buffet seating, potentially better room offers.
(No current match to MGM is available)
Priority access to beach chairs, Rock Royalty lounge access for a $10pp fee (in comp dollars), free self or valet parking, priority line at buffet. Priority checkin and 12pm check out. Free car wash once per month at Rocktane. Your first time new member match should include a free night as well. New members (that have never had any Hard Rock AC card also get two free nights, a buffet for two and $75 or $100 slot dollars).
Ocean Atlantic City Prime
Access to the Player’s Lounge ($10 comp dollars per person), free parking (including valet or specially reserved Prime self park spots). First time and 12 month inactive Ocean members also get 2 free nights Sun-Fri., a free one time pass to the lounge (valid for 72 hours) plus free nights at Resorts World Las Vegas and a free 10 day (anywhere but China) MSC Cruise each calendar year. Must be a new member or inactive for the last 18 months.
South Florida Casinos
These are pretty much pre “cash” plays – bonus slot dollars for matching.
Resorts World Las Vegas
This doesn’t provide too much, but it may possibly play into future offers.
One Thing to Note about the MLife Match:
You can do some of these matches online, but you will need to visit, in person, one of three MLife properties: The Borgata in Atlantic City MGM Springfield in Massachusetts MGM Properties in Las Vegas (Sometimes available, sometimes not. I mention it at the very top of this post when available. As of January 2023, we are probably back to Borgata and Springfield only.) That’s it.
How Does One Take The First Step in the Status Match Merry Go Round?
Right. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To find out how this all works.
When I did my first ride on the Status Match Merry Go Round, I did everything I’m sharing with one exception. Back then, a Founders Card membership was the easiest way. Not wanting to pay for Founders Card as I didn’t (and still don’t) see value in it, I won my Wyndham Diamond in a charity auction for about $250. It’s been well worth it.
But now, it’s so much easier, thanks to the Wyndham Business Earner.
Step 1: Wyndham Diamond
Once you have that Wyndham Business Earner card (or, worst case, a Founders Card which grants Caesars Diamond), you will be Wyndham Diamond automatically.
Step 2: Caesars Rewards
Now that you have a nice shiny Wyndham Diamond card, you are entitled to an automatic match to Caesars Rewards Diamond. You can do this online here. Wait for your account to update at Caesars. It could be the next day or it could take a week.
You’ll be automatically eligible for that Atlantis stay now and the $100 Celebration Dinner credit is in your account to redeem in person.
(Update: It seems not everyone is still getting the $100 Celebration Dinner unless they earned status or got it via the Wyndham Business Earner Card; YMMV)
You can use this status for Step 4 below now that Step 3 is dead.
Step 3: MGM Rewards
Step 3 is dead now that MGM is only matching Caesars Diamond to MGM Pearl. That is, UNLESS, you can do one of these two methods, location specific: Atlantic City: Wyndham Business Earner Card (or Wyndham Diamond status challenge) >> Caesars Diamond >> Hard Rock Rock Royalty >> Ocean Prime >> MGM Gold (in person, lasts til June 30, 2023) >> Hyatt Explorist (online). You do need to do this all in person after getting the Caesars match… (You do match Wyndham to Caesars online, though you need to get the card in person.) Follow this SoCal / Vegas method. It’s getting easier now, right?
You’ve got your Wyndham Diamond status and your Caesars Diamond status. But now, for the first time, you have to take a walk (or a drive or a train or a flight). You’ll need to get yourself to a Caesars Entertainment casino to pick up your Diamond card. No, they won’t mail it to you. And then you will need to take it to one of the Mlife casinos I mentioned before: The Borgata in Atlantic City MGM Springfield in Massachusetts MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Not year round; enquire first; see notes above; don’t rely on this one) NOTE: As of right now, through July 2023, you can match at any MGM casino in the country.
Step 4: Hard Rock to Ocean Prime – Atlantic City
If you can get to Atlantic City, you can ALSO and separately take your Caesars Diamond card to the Hard Rock Atlantic City for your Hard Rock Rock Royalty then to the Ocean Casino Resort for your Ocean Prime statuses. You have to match to Hard Rock first and then use that status at Ocean. As of July 2023, you’ll get Rock Royalty at Hard Rock and then Ocean Prime at Ocean. Currently, Ocean Prime comes with 2 yearly nights at Resorts World Las Vegas and a yearly free 10-night cruise (no extra fees) on MSC Cruises, valid anywhere but China. Requires just a $400 deposit pp given back to you as onboard credit.
This status will become ICON level when Hard Rock AC moves over to the Unity program.
I’ll repeat the benefits from above:
Priority access to beach chairs, Rock Royalty lounge access for a $10pp fee (in comp dollars), free self or valet parking, priority line at buffet. Priority check-in and 12pm check out. Free car wash once per month at Rocktane. Your first time new member match (never had a Hard Rock AC card) should include two free nights and $100 slot dollars as well.
Ocean Atlantic City Prime
Access to the Player’s Lounge ($10 comp dollars per person), free parking (including valet). First time Ocean members also get 2 free nights Sun-Fri. Also: Free nights at Resorts World Las Vegas and a free 10 day (anywhere but China) MSC Cruise each calendar year. Must be a new member or inactive for the last 18 months.
Bonus on this bonus! You can status match to MSC’s loyalty program before you book a cruise. Check this chart for what matches to what as of 2023. Hilton Diamond gets you top tier, for example.
And one more cruise bonus – on Carnival! You qualify in a way similar to the MSC status match, but in this case it’s more nebulous what will get you what. I’d probably upload the Ocean Prime since it’s the highest tier.
I’ll also take a moment here to mention that IF you plan to actually gamble for comps, your first trip to a casino plays heavily into the comps you’ll initially receive, so play wisely and read this article from TravelZork before you go…
Step 5: Hyatt Explorist
You now have hopefully, at least 4 statuses now. You have the one you started out with plus Wyndham Diamond, Caesars Diamond and MGM Gold. Now, my friend, you can match to Hyatt Explorist as well. And this is, happily, an online match as well. Just hit the OPT IN button here. Note, if that doesn’t work, try going to this page on the MGM Website and logging in. Look for the OPT-IN button on that page.
Hyatt and MGM parted ways in 2023, so this part no longer exists.
Step 6: Bonus Match to American Airlines AAdvantage Gold Status
Bonus Round: Thanks to the new Hyatt and American Airlines partnership, you can get a 3 month status trial and fast track challenge to AAdvantage Gold by linking those accounts.
Now also dead since you can’t get Hyatt status via the Merry Go Round anymore 🙁
Step 7: Bonus Match to South Florida Casinos
Step 7 isn’t part of the “round and round” part of the Merry Go Round the way that the earlier mentioned matches are, but now that you have status, you can have even more fun.
If you are going to be in or around South Florida, MilesTalk group member Winford K. penned this summary of matches he discovered himself in this post.
While these matches are pretty much one-off cash grabs rather than tools for future matches, they can really add up! Winford scored $800 in free play (between his wife and himself – $400 each) which they turned into over $1,000 cash!
Remember, if you have a spouse or partner on the Merry Go Round, you can do all of this X 2! But note that the Casino Miami is a two-step match requiring a trip to Gulfstream first.
Here are the steps:
$200 in Free Play using your Caesars Diamond card. (May just be $20 for new players now – need more DPs)
Match to Win Level using Hard Rock Unity (Caesars Diamond no longer works)- no reported perks
$150 in free play for matching from the Gulfstream Win card. Caesars Diamond would not have matched to anything.
No longer offering perks.
In case you are still not convinced about the above, Nick of Frequent Miler saw the post in the MilesTalk group and took his own detour to South Florida, confirming his findings.
Thanks to reader Luke for updated on these matches in Jan 2023.
Step 8: Bonus Match to Resorts World Las Vegas
Resorts World Las Vegas doesn’t publicize a Status Match, but they do have one. Two, actually. If you are a “real” gambler, they’ll match your offers (and status) – per Michael Trager of Travel Zork, but most of us on the Merry Go Round are more casual. So what about if you only have the “standard” cards the Merry Go Round offers? The answer will be your MLife Gold.
They’ve just changed their whole program over, so it’s not clear what matches to what now. Please report back! Note that it doesn’t seem like whatever MGM Gold matches to gives many perks.
Step 9: Bonus Match to Turning Stone Onyx
If you live in upstate NY, you’ve no doubt been to the Turning Stone Casino which is a tribal casino. They have a partnership with Caesars wherein you will be upgraded to the Onyx tier of Turning Stone Rewards with your Caesars Diamond.
Unfortunately, unlike most of the Merry Go Round, the terms state that this match will only last for the remainder of the 6 month status period. Per their website: Guests who receive a tier match to Ruby, Onyx, or Sapphire VIP card status will remain at that level for the duration of the six month program period, which renews on March 1st and September 1st. After the renewal period, card level will be determined by the level of Turning Stone play. Certain card level benefits, including complimentary hotel rooms and VIP lounge access will be subject to availability and qualifying Turning Stone casino play.
This tier comes with lounge access ($10 in comps pp), two half hours a month at the “dome” driving range, $0.10 off per gallon of SavOn gas each week, two free car washes per month, and complimentary valet parking.
You can match your status here.
Step 10: Match to
Black Platinum Level at LIVE! in Philadelphia
This was matching to Black level from Hard Rock Rock Royalty, which was then giving a free cruise and 3 nights at the Resorts World Hilton in Las Vegas and a BOGO on Baha Mar (Buy 2 nights, get 2 free).
That party is now over. You’d been MGM Platinum or Caesars 7-Stars to match to Black now.
You can decide for yourself if the Platinum benefits are worth the trip. Probably not for most.
Step 10A: Rivers Casino (Philadelphia)
Winford K. in the MilesTalk Facebook group discovered *another* Philly match that also gives a cruise!
Their Rush Rewards will match MGM Gold or Caesars Diamond to their mid-tier Platinum.
Updated: May 1, 2023 – This no longer results in a free cruise which the casino now states is only for earned status.
People are getting calls having the cruises cancelled 🙁
Step 11: Bally’s Atlantic City
*Not currently matching.
Officially they say:
We’ll match any AC casino offer plus tier status match or $25 Free Slot Play.
*New members or 12-month inactive members. Certain restrictions apply. Must be 21. See Players Club for complete details.
We have confirmed reports of people brining in emails of their $100 Celebration Dinner from caesars and getting $100 in Free Play. They may also match any offers you have from an Atlantic City casino. Seems they have quite a bit of discretion. Hat Tip to Justin V. on this addition.
If you have matched to Bally’s, let me know how you did!
Step 12: Want More Free Cruises?
You can take your highest status card and try for free cruises at both Carnival and Holland America. Different people get different deals. There is no roadmap of what matches to what but many are getting free cruises.
Step 13: Round and Round it Goes
(See caveat below)
In January and February, you have homework. Come January, your Wyndham will drop to Blue Level. But you have your Caesars Rewards Diamond that you matched online. Login and check your Caesars Rewards. Still Diamond, right?
Now go ahead and go back to the Wyndham page and match. This will re-up your Wyndham Diamond status.
Then make a note for a few days into February. Your Caesars status will lapse Feb 1. But you can go back to the Caesars page then and re-up for another year!
Sadly, as of 2022, this “match back” only works if you have the Wyndham Earner credit card or Founders Card – or get lucky! (some have)
See Why I call it the Status Match Merry Go Round™?
I’m sure you do… (although it used to be MUCH more of a full circle Merry Go Round than it is now after so many program changes that aimed to end it).
Did you do the Status Match Merry Go Round™?
MilesTalk Facebook group members love to post pics of all their new shiny cards and I’d love for you to let me know how it went for you as well. You can let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private group.
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.