The Secret Code The Bellagio Hotel Uses To Identify Their Noir Elite ‘Whale Gambler’ Customers

Noir is MGM’s elite level for ‘whales’. My understanding years ago was that it took a $250,000 theoretical loss, and that official benefits included roundtrip airport limousine transfers. Noirs used to receive guaranteed best table in any restaurant without reservations. (It’s now merely guaranteed restaurant reservations with 24 hours notice.)

Of course the real benefits go beyond what’s published, and the Las Vegas-based chain wants to treat these customers very well. Michael from TravelZork shares that the Bellagio hotel now gives black plates and black napkins at the buffet to Noir members to identify them visually to staff for better treatment, as shared with him by Noir friend Ana. As she tells it,

The server gave us the black plates and the black napkin setup, they removed the white napkin setup. The white plate came from the cook that made me eggs. No one else got [black plates]..every table had a white napkin setup including ours but after we were seated they were removed then gave us the black plates and setup

This makes it easy to spot the best customers in a way that’s easy for every employee to understand.

Some people would prefer discretion rather than being visually identified as whales in the casino, though most customers won’t know what black plates mean at the Bellagio buffet.

When United Airlines first created its 1K level they ran a database query for all of their 100,000 mile flyers and wanted to offer them additional recognition. Specifically the ideas was that “if an employee was only going to smile once a day, it should be for them.” So they created a system tag to identify these customers to employees, and the space in the system had room for only 2 characters — it was meant as an internal tag, not to be public with customers, but it eventually stuck.

Now, sometimes you don’t want your guests treated differently. One hospital used special color blankets for patients the hospital believed to be potential major donors. They were doted on, and given every test, but that led to their receiving too many surgeries and worse health outcomes – so the practice was ended.

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