This upcoming weekend, I am going to Las Vegas!
I haven’t been to Vegas since I went with my Parents in Highschool when I was still under 18, so needless to say, this experience should be vastly different.
We are going with a large group of Friends / Family from all over the Country, not to mention that it will be Super Bowl Weekend, so it should be a pretty pretttty good time!
For the flights to Vegas, as I talked about last year, I booked them on Southwest.
People love to hate on Southwest, but the value you can get out of Southwest Points is absolutely astonishing!
If you don’t already have a Southwest Card, I highly suggest getting one.
I got 100,000 Points by signing up for the Southwest Personal and Business Credit Cards. At a minimum, that will get me 6 free flights.
Unfortunately I messed up getting my Companion Pass, but if you do it properly, you can get a Companion Pass good for 2 YEARS and you can even use it with Points, which basically doubles the value of your Points!
For 2 Non-Stop flights to Vegas from Chicago, I paid 40,680 Southwest Points, or about 20,000 Points each.
Had I used United Miles or AA Miles for an Award Ticket, at a minimum it would have been 25,000 Miles each (50,000 Miles Total), so right off the bat I saved 10,000 Miles by going with Southwest.
If I didn’t have any Miles and had to pay out of pocket for the ticket, the cheapest Non-Stop Flight was on AA for a whopping $694. No thanks!
The best part about Southwest besides free checked bags, is that there are NO Close-In Ticketing Fees, or additional fees to change or cancel your ticket!
So we were all originally planning on going over Martin Luther King Weekend but our plans changed, so I just changed the tickets to this upcoming weekend and didn’t have to pay anything extra to make the changes!
Absolutely unreal since on any of the Legacy Carriers (United, AA, Delta), it would have been at least $150+ Change Fee PLUS $75 Close-In Ticketing Fee PER A TICKET!
Basically by signing up for just 1 Southwest Card (which got me 50,000 Southwest Points), it allowed me to burn 40,000 Southwest Points for 2 Award Tickets and saved me around $1,400 on Flights!
As I wrote about last year, there aren’t that many Chain Hotels on the Strip (Like Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, etc), so more than likely we would have had to pay out of pocket anyways.
For the Hotels, since we are splitting the 2 Hotel Rooms between 5 people and the flights are free, we decided to splurge a bit and stay at Vdara.
Vdara is located in City Center and is owned by the same Company that owns Aria. The only difference between the two properties is Vdara is supposedly all “Suites”.
We were originally going to use the awesome Virtuoso program because it was the same rate as the Hotel’s Website and you got added perks like Breakfast Credits, Resort Credit, Upgrades, etc.
In the end, my Cousin works for Expedia, so we booked the Rooms via his Corporate Discount which basically got us the Rooms at cost (what Expedia pays for the rooms).
For 2 Deluxe Suites at Vdara, we are paying around $900, but we are splitting it between 5 people, so it will be around $200 a person for 3 nights.
Had we booked via Vdara.com, it would have been $1,225, so we are saving around 25%.
Of course since it is Vegas, we will OBVIOUSLY make all our money back gambling ; )
Although Vdara is kind of pricey and somewhat goes against the spirit of this blog, I have never been to Vegas and probably won’t go back for a while, so I am willing to pay $200 for 3 nights in the pursuit of having fun.
$20 Sandwich Trick
Thanks to all these Frequent Flyer Conferences I have been attending over the past year, I have met quite a few new Friends and have learned a ton of new “tricks”. One of these tricks is called the “Sandwich Trick” and works especially well in Las Vegas.
More information can be found here, but basically when you Check-in, you slip a $20 in between your Credit Card and your ID, and ask if there are any “Complimentary Upgrades” available.
If there are, then you “should” get upgraded, if not, then they “should” return your money.
It seems this is a common practice in Vegas (not sure about anywhere else), so we will definitely be trying it out and hopefully get our Rooms upgraded.
Requests For Any Vegas Tips
As I stated earlier, I have never been to Vegas as an Adult. I know there are a lot of people who go to Vegas multiple times a year and are basically Las Vegas “Residents”, so if anyone has any insider tips or must see Places, Restaurants, Clubs, Shows, etc., please feel free to comment or email me! Thanks in advance!
While Miles & Points may not be applicable to every single vacation you take, at a minimum you should be able to cover at least one of the 2 major expenses (Flight & Hotel) involved in traveling.
In my case, I was only able to cover the Flights since there weren‘t too many Hotel Point options available. Since I don’t have to pay for the Flights, $200 for 3 nights in a Suite is not a bad deal.
The reason I write about the boring logistics of the trips I take is to try and show first hand how much money you can save if you plan in advance and actively accrue Miles & Points via Credit Cards even if you don’t have any immediate trips planned. I cannot stress this enough!
We only decided a couple months ago to go to Vegas. Luckily I had more than enough Points to cover the flights, but had I not, then we would have had to apply for a new Card, complete the Minimum Spend, hope the Points post on time, and then double hope that there was some last minute availability (which I just chcked and there isn’t).
Thankfully that didn’t happen, but say I didn’t have any Points or Miles and opted to pay out of pocket, not only would I be paying $200 for the Hotel, but also then another $700 for the Flight, totaling almost $1,000!
Since I didn’t have to spend $700 on the flight, now when we go to Vegas this weekend, I won’t feel terrible spending money on a nice Dinner, Show, or heaven forbid if I lose money gambling because in my book I am still up $700.
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