February 2009
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Just think of all the free soap

It’s better to have a hotel room and not need one, than to need a room and not have one.

Or something like that.

I thought it would be difficult to get room offers from Harrah’s this year, now that they should have started to realise I make every effort to not lose any money to them.

My plan was to make sure I booked up as much as possible as early as possible for maximum value, so before last year was over I’d already nabbed 27 free nights.  Then when January came around I was amazed to find I could still make comped reservations for Christmas, which took the total to 35.

I even decided to book a couple of weeks during the World Series of Poker, which I probably won’t use, but you never know.  The Rio was up for grabs, so it seemed daft not to – just in case.

However, it seems I needn’t have bothered being quite so eager.  Harrah’s are apparently so desparate to fill their hotels at the moment that they are giving away rooms to almost anyone.

We’d heard they had become more generous, so Claire decided to check her Total Rewards account and see what rates she was being offered.

I should point out that her players card is not linked to mine, and that all our play over the past year has been concentrated solely on my account.  Claire’s total action amounts to about $12 of poker comp from Imperial Palace (which wasn’t even earned on that card, it was transferred over to Total Rewards from the IP’s old poker system) and literally a handful of spins on Megabucks – just enough to earn a base reward credit and keep the comp dollars from expiring.

So there is no reason that the top secret magic marketing formula would assign Claire any value at all for the casino.

Nevertheless, she can currently book five nights free, almost any time of the year!

So she has.  Six times.  Anything less would have just been insulting.

An extra 30 nights added onto my number makes our combined total comp booked for 2009 (so far) an astounding 74 nights.

Of course most of the stays overlap, but that’s the beauty of it.

The maximum free stay you can ever book is 5 nights.  You can check out and back in again but there has to be a 2 day gap between trips. 

For example, I had booked the Rio – for free – for 8 nights at the start and end of a 10 night trip in December, and Claire booked Imperial Palace for five nights in the middle.

So we have to move hotels twice – but when we actually do that is pretty flexible.  There’ll be no check out before 11am, then check in after 3pm hassles.  Although with the middle hotel being Imperial Palace, I can’t imagine we’ll stay there much longer than we have to.

It is a Luv Tub room though at least.  I could have had one of these when I stayed there last year, it just seemed a little creepy to have one to myself.

The IP is only involved at all because the nights we needed to overlap had to include a weekend.  Neither of us were offered much for Friday or Saturday nights elsewhere, otherwise our comp dates were almost identical.

Apart from one option to stay at Paris, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the room offers which one of us cycled $110,000 through their casinos last year, and which one gave them action to the tune of $30.

So suddenly I don’t feel quite so special, but I’ll cope.  You know what?  Free stuff is always good, even if it truly is more hotel rooms than we could ever possibly use.  We’ll have a damn good go at using it, and I’ll expand my soap collection considerably.

Anyhow, if you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas this year and you already have a Total Rewards card, go check your rates.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much you’ve played there lately, there’s a good chance you’re in for some freebies.

Ignore that the web site will probably say "You have 0 offers".  The offers don’t matter.  After logging in, select "reservations", then "Las Vegas" and find the availability calendar.  There are bargains to be had.

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