Posted by William Charles on October 26, 2016
Credit Card Review

Published on October 26th, 2016 | by William Charles

52

Total Rewards Visa Card Review – 10,000 Points + Three Free Night Bonus

Whenever I ask readers for suggestions on what credit cards to review the Total Rewards Visa card comes up, so I thought I’d finally write a review about it. The card itself is issued by Comenity Bank and according to reader Ted E the shopping cart trick still works to get this card without a hard pull.

Card Basics

  • No annual fee
  • Sign up bonus of 10,000 reward credits after $750 in spend within the first 90 days of account opening. Broken down as:
    • 5,000 credits after $250 in spend
    • Additional 5,000 credits after another $500 in spend
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 5x credits per $1 spent at Total Rewards resorts and casinos and on sport, concert, and show tickets through TR Live Events
    • 2x credits per $1 spent on airlines, gas and groceries
    • 1x credits per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Choose one:
    • Two free buffet passes Total Rewards destination
    • Two tickets to High Roller in Las Vegas
    • One night stay at Total Rewards destination
    • Two show tickets at Total Rewards destination
  • Receive Platinum status after your first purchase, keep Platinum  in subsequent year by spending $5,000 in the current calendar year
  • Credits don’t expire as long as you earn at least 1 credit per six month period

total-rewards-credit-card-review

Card Benefits

Let’s take a look at each of the card benefits in a little bit more detail.

Platinum Status

You’ll receive platinum tier status after your first purchase (although it does say it takes up to thirty days for this to process). If you spend $5,000 in the current calendar year you’ll receive Platinum status again the following calendar year. Platinum is Total Rewards second tier and usually it requires 5,000 Tier credits. Diamond & Seven Stars are both higher Tiers than Platinum. You can view the full benefits of Platinum and the other tiers by clicking here. Below is a few of the main features:

  • Get exclusive pre-sale access for select shows
  • Receive 15% discounts at  participating casino gift shops & spas
  • Gift up to 5,000 Reward Credits to a friend (limit of two transfers per year)
  • Preferred pricing at participating Total Rewards restaurants

Complimentary Trip To Atlantis In The Bahamas

You’re able to book one complimentary trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas if you have Platinum, Diamond or Seven Stars tier status.

Platinum members get the following trip:

  • Complimentary 2-night stay in the Beach Tower
  • Up to 2 additional nights at a Special Casino Rate
  • Atlantis Casino Experience Pass*
  • Access to Aquaventure, a one-of-a-kind 141-acre waterscape with 20 swimming areas and 11 pools

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Offer must be booked by January 31, 2017 and is valid for travel through February 28, 2017
  • Offer is not valid November 22-26, 2016 and December 26-January 2, 2017 and additional blackout dates may apply
  • Airfare, meals, taxes, resort fees and gratuities are not included unless specified
  • Offer cannot be combined with other offers

Hat tip to reader Mickey D

Choose One

You’re allowed to pick one of four benefits, these must be used within six months of the card being issued, cannot be transferred and must be used by primary cardholder. All of them are limited by availability and black out dates (can’t find any mention of what these are). Your choices and restrictions are:

  • Two free buffet passes Total Rewards destination
    • Excludes any taxes, both passes must be redeemed at same time. Upgrade fee applies to the Bacchanal® Buffet at Caesars Palace.Excludes the Buffet of Buffets®. Buffet passes can be picked up at any Total Rewards Center in Las Vegas. Harrah’s Philadelphia, ThistleDown Racino, Horseshoe Baltimore and Caesars Windsor are excluded from this offer.
  • Two tickets to High Roller in Las Vegas.
    • Valid only for the High Roller in Las Vegas. Both individual High Roller ride tickets must be redeemed at the same time. Rides must be taken between the hours of noon and 6 p.m
  • One night stay at Total Rewards destination
    • Valid for one night, Sunday – Thursday and excludes Caesars Windsor. Full list of available properties here. Must be 21 years or older (19 or older in Canada) rooms are also subject to a $9.95-$29 Resort fee
  • Two show tickets at Total Rewards destination
    • The following shows and venues are excluded from this offer: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Absinthe at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Palace Atlantic City, The Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, The Summer Concert Series at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, and residencies at Drai’s. Excludes shows at Caesars Windsor. List of excluded shows and venues is subject to change. A list of available shows can be found at caesars.com/trvisashows. Tickets cannot be resold

Rewards

Redeeming Rewards

When you redeem your Total Rewards credits into free play, the rate you receive is dependent on what tier you’re in.

  • Gold: 200 Rewards Credits = $1 (0.5¢)
  • Platinum: 200 Rewards Credits = $1 (0.5¢
  • Diamond: 175 Rewards Credits = $1 (0.57¢)
  • Seven Stars: 125 Rewards Credits = $1 (0.8¢)

This means with this card at most these points will be worth 0.5¢ per point for free play. You can also redeem for the following at 100 Rewards Credits = $1 regardless of your rewards tier.

  • Hotel
  • Dining
  • WSOP
  • Show Tickets
  • Shopping
  • Spa Golf

How Much Are Points Worth?

As you can see from above points are worth 0.5¢ if your redeeming for free play (and free play if you have gold or platinum status) and 1¢ per point if redeeming for anything else.

Earning Rewards

As we mentioned before this card earns at the following rates:

  • 5x credits per $1 spent at Total Rewards resorts and casinos and on sport, concert, and show tickets through TR Live Events
  • 2x credits per $1 spent on airlines, gas and groceries
  • 1x credits per $1 spent everywhere else

This basically means the card earns 5%/2%/1% cash back (although it isn’t as good as cash back due to the fact that you have to redeem at TR places).

There are far better options than 1% cash back everywhere. There are also better options for airline, gas and grocery store purchases. 5% is probably the best you’ll get for things in that category, but how much are you really going to spend in those categories?

Targeted Spending Bonuses

Not all cardholders will have received these, but just gives you an idea of what to possibly expect:

Our Verdict

Honestly this card is a lot better than I first thought, especially if you can make use of the two free nights at the Atlantis resort . Best case scenario you’d be getting $100 in TR credit and three free nights. Another upside is that you should be able to get it by using the shopping cart trick without a hard pull. Just keep in mind that hard pulls are not everything, this card would still count towards the Chase 5/24 rule for example and would still lower your average age of accounts.

Let me know if I’m missing anything about this card and if you think it’s a good option or not in the comments below.



52 Responses to Total Rewards Visa Card Review – 10,000 Points + Three Free Night Bonus

  1. Count Sling says:

    Doc,

    Have you looked into the crossover rewards between TR and SPG? If I’m reading them correctly, this could provide huge value. Let me lay out a potential scenario…

    1. I travel for work and spend ~$1,000/week at Starwood properties.
    2. I am Platinum at Starwood (naturally)
    3. I sign up for this card and automatically earn Platinum status with TR.
    4. According to this page (https://www.totalrewards.com/content/cet-tr/en/earn-and-redeem/with-tr-alliances/starwoods-preferred/FAQ.html) I should now earn 1 TR Reward Credit (worth 0.5 cents) for each dollar spent at Starwood.
    5. If this is true, in this situation I should earn ~50,000 TR Reward Credits simply by holding this card.

    Are you able to confirm if this is true? If so, it may be worth mentioning in the analysis. There are a select number of people that could benefit quite a bit from this.

    • Alex says:

      @count, that is probably ver lucrative for you, but you would be one of the extremely rare people able to take advantage. I doubt too many people spend $52,000 a year at SPG properties. Additionally, the free night benefit isn’t much of a benefit because they send out free night offers to me all the time after playing once there. What’s worth noting may be the two free nights at Atlantis you get as a platinum.

      • Count Sling says:

        Agreed, but I think you’d be surprised how many people spend quite a bit annually with Starwood because of work travel. I think if this card tweaked their marketing material and called out the benefit specifically as “Receive 0.5% back per dollar spent at Starwood properties” they would have deluge of signups. Again.. this is presuming that I am interpreting the perk correctly.

    • Looks true to me, thanks for pointing this out! I’ve added this to our post.

  2. Mickey D says:

    You’re also forgetting about the free nights at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas that Platinum members get.

    https://www.totalrewards.com/content/cet-tr/en/earn-and-redeem/with-tr-alliances/atlantis.html

  3. Jordan says:

    Any data points about having more than one total rewards credit card?

  4. Nick says:

    I dont have the credit card but i usally go to AC or even Vegas a few times a year and rack up total reports that way. I apply rewards points to my hotel bill, resturant, or any gift shop that is located in one of the total rewards casinos at a rate of 100 points per $1. So that would be your best option for redemption you just have to actually go there.

  5. Blaine says:

    The half cent redemption rate doesn’t seem right outside of free play. Credits earned thru normal play are worth $1 per $100 for hotel spend on food, etc. These should be those same credits.

  6. Mark O says:

    It is actually $100 to be used at the properties

  7. Mark O says:

    They just shut down my card for not using it for about a year and a half….just an fyi. They did send out a notice to use it within 3 months or they would close it.

  8. Royal says:

    TR Credits are typically worth $1 for 100 credits at most restaurants. There are some “partner” restaurants that require $1 for 200 credits.

    Overall this card is not great value, but for no annual fee it’s probably worth it if you hit a TR Resort with any regularity.

  9. We usually visit Vegas around 3 times a year. We just use our reward credits to pay for the hotel, food and beverage charges.

    Reward credits expire after 6 months so using the credit card is a way to extend your points if you don’t go to Vegas every six months.

    Also we seem to get frequent bonus offers. Just in the last few months we had two good ones. For a month we could pick two categories to earn 3x (I picked grocery stores and department stores). Another was extra bonus on the dining category (can’t remember if it is 3x or 5x for a few months).

    I agree this is not a good card for most people but it works well for us.

    • And you can use your platinum status to skip various lines at restaurants, shows and check ins. Not all places have special lines, but enough do to make this no fee card worth it.

    • Thanks for the info, good to know they send out bonus offers.

    • TMI says:

      Currently, for this week only, they have an offer that gives you 200 extra points per transaction. The fine print doesn’t indicate any minimum transaction amount, but there is a limit of 5,000 bonus points that can be earned.

      More bullet points:
      Nobody mentioned the VIP Pass that they will give you, if you spend $10,000 in one year. It gives you several of the Diamond level perks, but unfortunately doesn’t give you actual Diamond status. However, you will get complimentary beer and wine at Caesar’s buffet. (I believe that you will also get the VIP pass, if you are SPG Platinum.)

      When I applied last year, I attempted the shopping cart trick. It was instead a hard pull for me… but…
      Upon logging into your account, you can click on the “credit line increase” link!!!
      There is no hard pull for this!!!
      Here’s how well it worked for me…
      I believe my card originally had an $8,000 limit. Upon my very first login, I clicked the link, and my limit increased to $9,500 (as I recall). The second click brought me up to $21,000!!!
      Upon clicking a third time, I received a message, stating that I’d have to wait 3 months, before I could receive another increase.

      Since my experiences with staying in Total Rewards casinos have all been disappointing, i sure do wish that this was an MLife card instead 🙁
      However, it does seem to be a great card for building your credit.

  10. Alejandro says:

    If I were to get this card using the shopping cart trick, that would mean it wouldn’t count against me for 5/24?

  11. Kevin says:

    Pretty sure this card being a Visa does not allow the shopping cart trick i.e. you will receive a hard pull if you apply.

  12. dan says:

    about the Bacchanal Buffet, do folks know how much the upgrade fee is for 2? Or, would the buffet be comped after how long & much of casino play time? does the play time have to be at Caesar’s palace casino?

  13. Johnny says:

    If you were to get this card after January 31st how would you redeem the Atlantis bonus? Or is this a limited time promo?

    “Offer must be booked by January 31, 2017 and is valid for travel through February 28, 2017”

  14. Jeremy says:

    Your section on point value has become contradictory as you’ve updated. “Anything but free play” and “anything else” mean the same thing and can’t have different values. I think “anything but free play” is supposed to be just “free play”?

  15. lewnic says:

    Great information … although I don’t quite understand how shopping cart trick would work with a Visa card.

  16. Katina says:

    How does the SCT work with a non retail visa or mastercard?

  17. Gary says:

    FYI… The Total Rewards card also gives you 2X points for shopping at Costco.
    Here’s the wording of the email:
    “now you can get great merchandise at exceptional prices, plus enjoy 2X Reward Credits when you pay with your Total Rewards Visa Card at Costco!

    Costco is one of the world’s leading retailers dedicated to providing you with the best possible prices on quality, brand-name merchandise.”

  18. JCC1 says:

    It’s worth pointing out that you can also tie in your TR Visa card with the “Total Rewards Dining” program, which is one of the programs on Rewards Network (which handles all sorts of dining/scrip interactions).

    They’ve been running a 5x introductory promo from Oct 2016 – March 2017 which gives you 5x reward credits if you use your TR Visa (after registering it) at one of the locations. After March it drops down to 3x, but it’s still a good deal if you happen to have restaurants in the program in your vicinity.

    In my case, there are couple within a few blocks of my house that I was already going to a lot, so it’s a no-brainer value for me.

  19. Poker pro says:

    For the bonus points do you have to actually use the card for the spg stays or is just having the platinum status and/or having the TR card enough to get the bonus points?

  20. Poker pro says:

    I just got my total rewards Visa card in the mail today, activated it online, went to make a purchase and it said no authorized. I called cs and was told my card was cancelled YESTERDAY due to a risk report they received that said i had too many inquiries. Wtf. You guys ever see this before? Any way to get them to reverse this????

  21. Trey says:

    Still trying to figure this out. This site seems to have no pop-ups and the checkout process is way different. Instead of many different screens, most of the order/reservation information you input is on a single page (Therefore, you must enter all the pertinent information all at once) Am I doing this incorrectly, or is this card not susceptible to the SCT?

    Thanks

  22. James says:

    Can the bonus 10,000 reward credits earned from $750 TR VISA card spend be converted to free play?

  23. bruce winter says:

    My online account with the TR Visa card has been hacked twice. It is hard to believe that this company does not send alerts to your email on record whenever it gets changed. Twice someone was able to change the phone number and email on my account without me knowing (the second time I just happened to check and caught it with one $1100 pending purchase). If it happens again I will cancel. Fraud 101-send alerts to the email on record whenever major changes are made such as setting up new phone and email information. Seriously……they do not have this feature. Other than that I like the perks for TR.

  24. jill says:

    Has anyone did the SC TRICK? How and did it work?

  25. Montana says:

    How would you apply the shopping cart trick to get this card? i’m a little confused

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