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Paying for hotels

I do try my best to make sure it doesn’t happen too often any more, but now and again I still have to pay for a Las Vegas hotel room.

For this Christmas I’d already scored 5 nights for free at the Rio and several months ago I booked the remaining 6 nights at South Point - purely because I thought there was a chance it was mispriced.  Only New Year’s Eve was listed at a higher than usual rate (many hotels bump up the cost of December 30th as well) so it seemed unlikely back then that we’d get a better deal by waiting until nearer the time.

Sure there’d be some more comps to come, but those 6 nights include a Friday and Saturday as well as the most popular (and costly) night of the year.  A weekend comp is a possibility, but for New Year’s Eve it’s extremely unlikely.

We might get 2 or 3 nights somewhere else, but it would mean moving hotel at least twice in order to try to save a few quid and still have to land on a good deal for NYE.

That Rio comp began life as 4 nights free and a 5th which seemed worth paying for at $50 so that we didn’t have to move hotels on Christmas Day.  I booked it way back in April, just as soon as the Las Vegas offers started to appear on my Total Rewards account.

Then we gave Harrah’s some more Las Vegas action in the summer on their only good video poker machine in town (which, of course, has been removed now) and they decided they loved me more than ever.  The rate calendar showed the $50 night was now a COMP so I asked if I could still get this rate and they said "sure", because they seem to think I am some kind of high roller.

Then Las Vegas got desparate for tourists and the room rates fell.  The basic rate calendar says that those five comped nights which I had noted should have cost me $70, $70, $70, $90 and $110 are now listed at $60, $60, $60, $60 and $60.

Even paying full price, $60/night is a steal for an all-suite hotel, this would have been unheard of a year ago.  I guess off-strip hotels are the least recession-proof, with those that are still making the trip to Vegas wanting to be in the heart of the action.

In fact, I had a general mailer today (i.e. you can book the deal without even having a player club account) from Harrah’s that’s offering certain nights for October to December at the Rio for as little as $45.  Anybody can book that deal using this link: http://www.harrahs.com/halloween/

So with the Rio is slashing their rates, I thought it was worth checking what kind of deal we might get if we decided to stay on for the remaining 6 nights of our trip.  I’m glad I asked – here’s what they quoted:

12/21 – COMP
12/22 – COMP
12/23 – COMP
12/24 – COMP
12/25 – COMP
12/26 – $40.00
12/27 – $40.00
12/28 – $40.00
12/29 – $50.00
12/30 – $40.00
12/31 – $180.00

Sub-total – $390.00
Total with tax – $425.10

In total that worked out even cheaper than any of the rates I could see online (which I couldn’t use, because I was already getting staying too many nights for free) and even though NYE was a higher rate for that night, the total was only $30 more than the deal we’d already booked at South Point.

No brainer.

So yes, I’m paying for part of the trip but it’s still an immense discount.  If you were to book this same trip (the last 11 nights in December) via harrahs.com using the regular room rates – even now, with room rates at rock bottom - it would still cost $1300!

To complete the coup, all we need now is to hope for a strip-facing room for a view of the fireworks.  The room type I’ve booked does say "mountain view" but in June the same booking got me upgraded to an excellent Strip view.  You never know…