As my October trip approaches, my final casino offers for this time period have arrived and am left to make some final decisions.  As it stood, I booked a stay for the full duration of my trip at the Rio, as I am still being comped well through Total Rewards.  The Rio is the last Total Rewards joint in Vegas to have left 7/5 Bonus Poker at 25c.  Also they have 8/5 at the $1 level if I start to feel frisky.

This trip is different than most, as my wife and I will be flying in with her brother.  We will also be meeting my wife's sister and her husband out there.  My wife's other brother already lives in vegas.  I planned on booking all available comps to keep my options open as well as have a place to stay for my brother in law if he decides not to stay with his brother.  

I knew from the beginning, I wanted to stay my first night downtown, and was hoping with my increased BOYD play and staying at the DTG on the last trip I would have a couple comped options downtown.  Well my BOYD offers came first and only had the Gold Coast available to both me and the wife.  I booked those and figured being next to the Rio its 4 nights he can stay if he wants his own room.

Next we get our Downtown Grand offers.  Well, we didn't play as much here as we did MSS and Fremont, but since it was on my Wife's offer in April, we both played on her card hoping to get another comp.  Unfortunately we get a card in the mail that states rooms from $20/night.  Knowing that the Friday we fly in everywhere downtown is at least $100/night, I figured a discounted room is better than nothing, so I give a call to see the rate. 

"Im sorry it looks that date is blacked out for your offer".  Oh, you mean because its a Friday?  I'm sure thats the issue, of course the mailer doesn't state that.  So, for shits and giggles, I let her quote me her "best rate" for that night.  "It would be $119 for the room but we have a $19/night resort fee (when did that go up again?) and taxes bringing it to $153"  Wow, considering I can go to i4vegas.com and get a rate available to everyone for $18/night less, I passed on her generous offer.


 

I received 2 free nights at SLS for any nights in October so I booked that for Saturday and Sunday, mainly to check out the rooms, putting it in the middle of my stay lets me throw an overnight bay together, leaving the rest of my stuff at Rio if I decide to crash here.  But this still doesn't solve my downtown dilemma.  If I had to pay for 1 night somewhere, this wouldn't be the end of the world, but trying to stay true to the compedvegas name, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone.


I am the low maintenance type of gambler, I like to book my own rooms, I've only asked for a food comp once (playing $5 blackjack asked for a buffet comp at the Gold Coast and was shot down!) and have asked for $ off a hotel room at checkout a couple times but that has been my extent.  I look look for the best games, put through as much coin-in as my budget allows and then eagerly await the room offers in the mail to plan my next trip.  But this strategy didn't garner me a comped option for downtown so I had to put myself out there and try to contact a host.


I've tried this through email before, and have found this is the most ineffective means of getting things taken care of.  So, I picked up the phone and called the Fremont casino.  Now, I knew my play was the highest here from my April trip so figured it was my best bet.  Asked the front desk to transfer me to the Host on Duty and off I went.  A gravelly female voice sharply answered the phone, where I concisely stated my case: "I normally receive offers from the Gold Coast, I played a lot at the Fremont on my last trip and was hoping to get a comped room in October?  A short pause got my heart pumping, probably because I don't like to put myself out there, but I knew this was the only way.  She put me on hold to get her computer fired up, asked for my players card number, on hold for another minute or so, and then was asked, just the one night? I replied yes, gave her my date and one more short hold later she came back on the line.  "Can do 1 night, thats it".  Ok......so do I need a reservation number or anything?....Nope, just your last name, and that was it.  The whole experience, despite multiple holds took less than 5 minutes and I scored my free room!  At first I was put off by her quick, to the point responses, but later found it refreshing that she was able to look at my play and make a quick decision.


So, Fremont, Gold Coast, SLS and Rio with only 5 nights on the trip.  Hey, at least it will allow me to get a few more room reviews done!  I love the feeling after getting a room booked for Vegas.  It sends another level of anticipation and excitement.  This may be another reason I book so many damn rooms, I was able to get this feeling 4 different times!  Well, moral of the story, suck it up and just ask.   





 
 
So here I am driving to work, looking at the temp that my car now has the ability to track, tells me that it is -20 degrees outside!  Michigan at its finest.  So here I am getting ready for another week of sub zero temps, and I decide its time to plan my next vegas trip.  I did something wrong this past year as my tax refund is minuscule, but thats not going to crush my Vegas spirit!  My totalrewards site is telling me that I can get rooms comped at the Cromwell, that sounds interesting!  

Now, I have no desire to ever enter a vegas night/day club so that is not the appeal that I have to the Cromwell.  I am excited about the fact that the rooms are brand new, and this "boutique" hotel is in a great location.  Lets be honest, I also look at the fact that if I were to book this site with real money, I would be looking at $190/night, so knowing this helps me justify booking this room, and then when I lose money I can subtract what I "would have paid for this room" and I still come out even!  Crooked math I know, but hey it makes me feel better.

As with most of my Vegas trips, I will probably change my mind 5 more times before I fly out, but as of right now this sounds like a good place to stay.  I'm comped Sunday through Thursday but I want to fly out on a Saturday.  So the fun part comes in deciding where I want to spend my Saturday night.  Do I stay at the Gold Coast before those offers dry up?  What about the Riviera?  I seriously contemplated this, given that as of May 4th this hotel/casino will be shut down.  I even received a crummy direct mail offer from that time 2 years ago when I played $5 craps for an hour and broke even.  For only $49 for that Saturday and a mere $ 17 resort fee I can stay in one of the worst rooms on the strip!  But, It may include a 60th anniversary Riviera T-Shirt if they do not run out, and being able to say that I stayed at this iconic joint.  The problem is, I am on vacation, I have nothing that draws me to this casino, except for the fact that its closing, do I really want to waste a day here?  I think I will just visit, play some craps and take a $1 chip home for a souvenir.

One thing is for sure, I have to make it downtown this trip.  If you haven't listened to my most recent podcast on downtown vegas check it out here 

Nothing I have regretted more after returning from my New Years trip was the fact that I didn't get my Pizza Rock!  Right now I'm salivating over a pint from banger brewery, a vatos cigar and some great video poker options!  That's all for now, I think I'm gonna waste a couple hours on myvegas to scoop up some more monorail passes.  Although, SLS killed the great 25C full pay video poker options they had, so maybe I find a new stop on the rail.


 
 
Nothing makes you want to get back to vegas more than just ending a trip to Vegas, or so I thought... I have a severe case of Vegas Envy going on, much more severe than my usual post vegas blues.  This Vegas Envy is being caused by people around me visiting Las Vegas.....without me!  It' only been about a month since I've been to Vegas but already this severe condition is hitting me hard.  It started a couple weeks ago, my parents who introduced me to Vegas (and are ultimately to blame for this obsession I possess)  came back from Vegas last week.  I love how different someones Vegas experience can be from my own.  My parents are not gamblers, so this certainly left them a LOT more time to experience the city than I ever have.  They conquered a lot in the 5 days they spent out there.  They hit the RIO zipline, which they liked, they went to the Clark County Museum (they have a picture with a cardboard cutout of the beard of knowledge to prove it) got sucked into a sitcom viewing in MGM Grand, hiked in Red Rock Canyon, they had a great vacation.

They gave me back the coupon book I gave them with what they didn't use and gave me many more that they acquired.  It took a week or so, but I got over that.  I enjoyed talking to them about Vegas and reliving their vacation through my past memories, etc... Then my Vegas Envy began to flare up again.  My brother in law is visiting Vegas for 5 days.  He is going out to see his brother and it rehashed my Vegas Envy all over again.  Make sure you do this, have him take you here, and so it began.  You see, my brother in law is a Las Vegas Virgin.  It is hard to think back to a time before I visited this great city.  It helped that my parents brought me here to stay at the Excalibur before I was old enough to gamble.  I remember collecting the coin buckets from each casino, now they only exist downtown and a few off-strip joints.  

So, when do I visit Vegas again?  I have this new companion pass, should I try to visit somewhere besides Vegas?  It sounds like a great idea, until I realize that other places would require me to pay for my hotel!  3 out of 4 winning trips has jaded my view on Vegas and I'm sure if I lost all 4 trips in 2014 I would be happy as hell to pay for a hotel that didn't have a casino to stay at.  But, that is not the case, Royal Flushes came to me easily last year, and that makes it hard to make vacation plans outside of Nevada.  Southwest has a handful of flights outside of the United States now, maybe I should get a passport?  Nah, I can visit Paris, Egypt and Venice with a 4 hour flight to Vegas!