The Ultimate Guide to Casino Loyalty & VIP Schemes
To stand out, online operators have to offer more in today’s crowded casino market. Gone are the days online sites offered a welcome bonus and attracted thousands of loyal players. Players want more benefits if they’re to choose one casino from the rest. Enter the loyalty scheme.
A Loyalty scheme, in its essence, aims to attract more repeat customers by offering free stuff, just like a bonus promotion. The problem, however, is that offering a simple loyalty program doesn’t cut it anymore. Casinos these days have to beef up their loyalty programs by giving out more gifts and rewards, introducing ”VIP” statuses, and offering more invites to players.
In this guide we’ll be demystifying Loyalty and VIP programs, so you can understand how they work, and how to take advantage of them. By the end of this article, you’ll learn:
- The difference between Loyalty and VIP schemes
- How to sign up for a loyalty program
- How loyalty programs work
- Types of Loyalty Rewards
- How to choose the most suitable loyalty scheme
- Tips on becoming a VIP
Let’s dive in.
Are Loyalty and VIP Schemes Different?
Recently, there’s been an increase in the number of VIP casinos. New UK casinos launch with specialized VIP programs, promising to reward players with more bonuses as soon as they make their first deposits. But are these relatively new ”VIP” programs different from the well-known loyalty schemes? Well, they’re almost the same.
In fact, the two terms can be used interchangeably as they share a lot of similarities. For one, both feature a ranking system. As we’ll see later, players rise the ranks as they make more deposits and wagers. Once they get to higher levels, they earn exciting bonuses and rewards. Each new level comes with its extra benefits, and you can unlock some valuable stuff when you climb to the very top.
The beginner levels offer standard birthday gifts and casino anniversary presents. On top of that, you get some extra points to redeem later. While you might not receive some life-changing cash amounts, the personal, tangible rewards you get may keep you hooked to the scheme.
Most UK sites clearly outline the requirements for becoming a VIP member. Others, though, only induct their most prized players – who have wagered the most or deposited large amounts of money.
What you should realize, however, is that some sites magnify the benefits of their VIP programs in advertisements. While it can be fairly easy to join the big leagues and become an exclusive member, you might not receive the big rewards immediately. It takes time to earn huge benefits like invites to casino events and exclusive account managers. High rollers generally get to the top faster, but they also have to be patient.
How to Sign up for a Loyalty Program
Enrolling to a VIP scheme is easy. Most sites instantly invite you to their programs once you complete your first deposit or your first bet. Note that you have to deposit and wager real money and not bonus money.
In other casinos, invitations aren’t automatically given out to entry-level gamblers. They don’t have automated systems to accept beginners to their VIP schemes. With such an operator, you need to prove yourself worthy of a place in the VIP league. To do so, you have to deposit relatively large amounts of cash or make many wagers, until the operator notices you.
Depositing large amounts of money might not be possible for most players, though. So another route to the VIP would be to contact the customer care. While your chances are minimal with this route, you can always try your luck and maybe you might get invited. Talking to an agent and explaining to them why you’re a valuable customer is certainly better than sitting still and waiting for an invite.
That said, most well-known UK sites feature automated systems that invite you, so you don’t have to jump through tall hoops. The most straightforward way of becoming a VIP member is depositing a lot of money. Funding your account with about £5000 might get you the VIP status almost instantly.
As explained, joining a loyalty program should be straightforward and free. If you’re forced to pay for access, then it’s best to look elsewhere. Search for another casino that offers free access and is easy to join.
How Loyalty Programs Work
Generally, loyalty programs work similarly in many UK casino sites. The idea is the same: Players work their way to the top by depositing large sums of money and making more wagers. On reaching the higher ranks, they receive attractive rewards and gifts. These gifts keep players going, enticing them to deposit even larger sums of money.
Both the players and operators benefit from loyalty programs. For players, they play their favourite casino games, having fun and potentially winning some cash. To top it off, they earn exclusive rewards such as birthday gifts for being VIP members. The excitement that comes with gradually climbing the VIP ladder gets them to play more games, reaping more rewards in the process.
For operators, they draw in newer players and retain loyal ones through loyalty schemes. Even if they lose some money by giving out free stuff, they earn more profit through repeat customers. The reward is greater than the risk for new UK sites. That’s why more and more casinos are coming up with exclusive VIP programs.
That said, loyalty schemes can come in three types: cashback, casino points, and loyalty levels. All three differ slightly in terms of rewarding players. Before choosing a casino’s loyalty, it’s worth learning the differences so you can make the most use of loyalty programs.
Loyalty levels feature heavily in casino promotions and are one of the most popular avenues for rewarding players. One of the go-to promotional models for UK sites, they’re both simple and effective. So how do they work?
Every player, once they’ve signed up, start with an empty experience bar. For each bet they make, they earn some experience, filling the bar bit by bit. After making enough bets and the bar is completely filled, players move to the next level. Completing a level unlocks exciting, new rewards like bonus money and extra free spins.
As they climb the tiers, players receive even more valuable rewards. For example, if they received 30 free spins in level 1, they get 50 free spins in level 3, 80 free spins in level 5, and so on. Often, after getting enough experience and reaching the highest levels, players receive invites to exclusive VIP programs.
Getting an invite, however, depends on your casino. Some casinos rank you as a VIP member once you sign up. On the other hand, other casinos make you work for the VIP status. Naturally, the latter have more prestigious VIP schemes and reward you better.
You can still retain your loyalty level even though you’re inactive in some UK sites. This means that a casino can’t relegate you to a lower level – you earn your level, and you can’t go down. This model, however, is implemented by the less prestigious VIP programs.
Another popular type of loyalty program is loyalty points. In this type, casinos reward you with points for completing certain actions. These actions, depending on the site, can be as simple as registering your new account or as difficult as depositing £1000.
Nevertheless, most casinos give out points after you wager a specific amount of money. For example, if you wager £10, you receive a point for your efforts. These points can then accumulate and later be used to unlock gifts ranging from bonus money, additional spins, to exclusive tournament invites.
The journey to accumulating enough points can be tiring and may take a toll on you. Most players never get to the point of redeeming their points for valuable stuff. But if you strategize your approach, loyalty points can help you land free bets and earn some real money.
Different casino games reward you with different points. For instance, slots have one of the best conversion rates among casino games. For every bet you make using your money, slots give you more points. This is because, compared to other games, slots have one of the most unfavourable odds.
Contrarily, Blackjack boasts of some of the most favorable odds in the market. So what does this mean for you? If you’re playing games to get more loyalty points, then Slots are more suitable than Blackjack.
Casinos convert points to favour the games with more difficult odds. If you’re spending History of gambling £3 on slots to earn a point, then you’ll need to spend about £6 on Blackjack to earn the same point. Playing Blackjack gives you an advantage, so casinos tip the balance in their favour.
But this doesn’t mean you should only play casino games with poor odds. If you’re good at games like Blackjack and Poker, then you should leverage on them. Even if you’ll earn points at a slower rate, you’re still better off than a Slots player losing all their bets.
As much as they’re valuable, loyalty points shouldn’t be the only reason why you’re playing specific games. Remember, any game can earn you points and, in return, attractive rewards.
In loyalty schemes, many players overlook cashbacks. This is mainly because these rewards are activated by losing money. If you’re like most players, then you probably detest losing streaks. Luckily, if you’re dealt a bad hand, cashbacks can at least help you relieve the pain. Cashbacks give you some money returns on your losses, easing the effects of your losing run.
As cashbacks have grown in popularity, UK casino sites have increasingly adopted the concept. In fact, some sites have cut off their welcome bonuses to implement more cashback bonuses.
For most loyalty programs, the money you wager determines the cashback amounts you receive. Once you start accumulating cashbacks, the casino keeps the amount in a separate cashback account. And in some cases, you can receive this amount as a form of credit, so you can play more games.
Naturally, casinos reward high rollers with more cashbacks because of their lavish spending habits. Compared to the average customer who wagers occasionally, high rollers can even get higher percentages.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t receive attractive cashbacks when wagering less money. You can find sites that offer cashbacks as high as 20% if you research properly. But as an unwritten rule, UK casinos offering heftier cashbacks normally require you to wager more money to earn some cashbacks.
With that being said, most cashbacks differ to some extent. Reading the Ts and Cs gives you an idea of how a loyalty scheme works, so you can take advantage of cashbacks fully. Also, it enlightens you on the games considered for cashbacks. For example, in some slot sites, Blackjack doesn’t have any cashbacks.
Just like with loyalty points, if you’re looking to make more money, then the games you choose should at least offer a good return to your investment, either in cashbacks or larger wins. Before choosing any loyalty scheme, calculate the amount you need to wager to get a sizable cashback. After calculating, decide whether the reward justifies your investment.
Likewise, spending large amounts of money on a single game to get cashbacks is ill-advisable. Remember to consider other factors like the overall design, number of games, and game developers.
Types of Loyalty Rewards
UK casinos offer different types of rewards to players. These rewards vary according to player preferences. Knowing the types of rewards available helps you leverage on loyalty schemes better. Also, each reward has its terms and conditions — it’s important to understand them.
The most popular type of loyalty rewards, casino bonuses can either be in the form of free play, bonus promotions, or free money. Casinos give out these bonuses once you rise to a higher loyalty level. Often, the bonus money you receive is subject to wagering requirements.
In some rare occasions, online casinos can reward their loyal players by giving them physical prizes. A player can either redeem their points for such gifts, or a casino may award them at its discretion. Real-life gifts can range from phones to PCs, to sponsored trips to certain countries.
Nothing creates the impression of a VIP as much as a personal account manager. To most casino players, having an account manager is their end goal whenever they join any VIP schemes. Typically, casinos award this special gift to the select few – even experienced VIPs sometimes never get an account manager.
Casinos reserve exclusive tables for their VIP members, rewarding them with higher payouts and increased maximum bets. To get in these tables, you have to be a loyal customer – a high roller who makes large bets regularly. And if you’re lucky, you can get a high-end live casino experience and some friendly dealers.
Players at the highest VIP levels can receive free entries to both virtual and live VIP tournaments. As they climb the tiers, they receive invites to even more exclusive casino parties. Usually, these free tickets can be very rewarding, as once you’re in there, you can win large cash amounts and jackpots.
Some operators link their loyalty schemes to reward stores. Gamblers can exchange their loyalty points for virtual gifts or receive discounts to new products, in these stores. Saving up to buy any reward you want makes the loyalty scheme even more exciting, as you’re not just receiving random prizes.
Favourable Withdrawal Terms
If you’re a high roller, nothing can be as frustrating as withdrawal limits. You can have a huge bankroll that you can’t get your hands on because the casino only allows you to withdraw small amounts of money.
Luckily, some operators offer their VIP players better withdrawal terms, allowing them to cash out more money at a time. To top it off, they also provide faster withdrawal processing times so players can get their money faster.
In some online sites, you have to wait for hours to get in touch with customer support. This can be discouraging, especially if you’re having an urgent issue. VIP members in other sites, on the hand, enjoy short response times, getting supportive customer care agents who are willing to help as much as they can. On top of that, they also receive access to unlocked support channels like the live chat.
How to Choose the Most Suitable Loyalty Scheme
To join the right loyalty scheme, you should first determine your playing level and your preferred rewarding system.
If you’re a high roller, then a points-based program is probably your best option. This scheme should allow you to rise the ranks until you get to the VIP.
If you’re a casual player, then a mission-based loyalty program probably suits you best. In this program, you should complete missions while having fun in the process.
Other factors to look into include:
- The number of points you receive for a wager
- Different games and the points they gain
- The rate of conversion of loyalty points and real-world prizes
- Types of casino prizes
That said, no rule of thumb directs you to the best type of loyalty scheme. Chose the program that’ll provide better benefits for you in the long run. After all, to unlock the most valuable prizes you have to remain loyal to one company for a long time.
Also, consider other factors like customer support, gaming catalogue, and available payment options before deciding on a particular casino’s loyalty program. While the scheme might attract you now, it’s these factors that determine whether you’ll remain committed to a casino.
Tips for becoming a VIP
- Deposit and wager regularly. You don’t always have to deposit large amounts of money. Operators normally reward their committed players, regardless of their spending habits. For instance, a gambler depositing £500 every month and plays regularly is better positioned to reach VIP status than someone who deposits £2000 once, and bets once in a while.
- Try and get a recommendation from another VIP. Although the operator will look into your account history, you’re more likely to become a VIP this way, rather than waiting for an invitation.
- Contact customer care and explain to them why you’re an ideal VIP candidate.