With Diamond status, you earn 15,000 tier points and then you are diamond level for the remainder of the year it was earned, the next full calendar year and then 3 more months the following year. Reading message boards, I was under the assumption that since I earned diamond in 2014, this "reward dinner" would be eligible to me starting in 2015. The more I read, the more I found where people had been told it expired March 31st. So I had to find out for myself this trip, in case I wouldn't be back before March 31st.
I approach the counter and inquire about the $100 reward. "Yup, do you want it now?" I asked about the expiration and sure enough I was told 3/31/15. I asked for the certificate on 1/1/15. It seems kinda shitty that it wouldn't be valid for the whole year, but even shittier that you have to seek it out. But being a savvy gambler requires homework, at least that is what I tell myself.
Armed with my certificate and less than 24 hours left in vegas I scour the card the total rewards agent handed me to decide where to go. We were in Bally's at the time, so my first thought was BLT steak. Something that I love is when a restaurant will post the menu with prices outside the entrance to help decide if you want to commit. The prices were high but not Gordon Ramsey high. It bothered me that everything was separate. Steak: 60 bucks, want a side? 12 bucks, how about soup or salad? another 16 bucks. Forget the appetizer, I'm going to spend more on this meal out of pocket than we would have making a different dining choice, say....IN N OUT (this was the first trip in 3 years where we didn't eat IN N OUT Burger at least once). So we scratched that, we thought about Bacchanal buffet again, but we just had it 3 days prior and really wanted to try something new. We had been playing at planet hollywood earlier and saw how crazy BURGR was, probably due to the holiday so I decided against that as well. How about KGB? Pulled up the menu, it seemed decent, and we would have to work at getting to $100, thats the frugal way to do it I thought!
We jumped in the car, parked at Harrah's, walked through the newly renovated casino (which looks pretty nice) and passed the new cafeteria style food court. Along with maybe 4 other tables with people, we were quickly seated and handed menus. With $100 to burn we decided whatever burger we ordered, we would upgrade the pattys to KOBE beef and add bacon. We each ordered milk shakes. Give us fried pickles, mac N cheese sticks, oh and throw some popcorn shrimp on the order as well! Of course we wait for 15 minutes, then receive all of our app's and 3 minutes later our burgers show up!
So a quick rundown of what I thought of the food: mac N cheese sticks, very good worth an order. Deep fried pickles, I wish they wouldn't have used such large pickle spears, Ive had deep fried pickle chips at other places that are much more satisfying, so these, just OK. Popcorn shrimp, we actually took most of these with us as we filled up quickly. The dipping sauce was very good and the shrimp was fine, no tails to pull out, but these were not the reason to come to a "gourmet" burger joint. I had the KOBE burger with caramelized red onion jam, some kinda sweet tasting spread they call garlic aioli (throw an accent above the i) cherry tomatoes, and mixed greens. I added bacon just because (money to burn, remember?) and it was just OK. I've had those Waygu sliders from the Bacchanal buffet at Caesars and I guess I was expecting something like that. I honestly couldn't tell what made KOBE so special (maybe once you grind up premium meat it all tastes the same?) but I wasn't blown away. The sweet spread was interesting, but I didn't finish the burger.
Total bill came to $88 so I wasted $12 and still had to throw down a $20 tip for mediocre food. Now I guess If I look at it from the point of view of all the food I ate for $20 its not bad, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt my "reward dinner" was wasted. Vegas is about gambling first, and food second, and I hear they have shows as well. I love how many great dining options we have experienced and how many more we still have to try. Knowing that we wasted a dinner in vegas on that, when I could have put the $100 towards an amazing $200 meal, I feel I made the wrong choice. Would I have decided differently had I been up for the trip? Absolutely! Winners eat steak and lobster, losers eat shitty burgers.
We didn't hit In and Out, we didn't go downtown so no pizza rock, we let Vegas get the best of us and ate for convenience. Trying to plan your meals ahead of time is so hard in Vegas, but after the many food court sessions we had this trip I think I will be putting more effort into planning for the next one.