PTT In Las Vegas: A Trip Report


Bellagio Fountain 2

A few weeks ago I booked my wife and I a last minute trip to Las Vegas over Presidents Day weekend.  I booked this trip, in part so the kids can get used to us being away over night since we have a bigger trip to Europe planned this summer, but also because my wife is a stay at home mom deserved a weekend without kids and responsibility. 

We left Saturday and returned on Monday and had a great time, so I thought I would share some of my experiences here.  The best part about this trip is that my out of pocket expenses for hotel and airfare was $30.  I used Southwest points for us to fly to Las Vegas and used our IHG free nights for a room at the Palazzo for two nights.

Palazzo Room

My typical travel habit is that I don’t give a rip about the hotel I stay at because I am not traveling for the hotel.  I have to admit though that Vegas is an exception.  The hotels are the destination so I was excited to have two nights for free at a 5 star hotel.

I debated about whether I should try the $20 trick or just ask nice at check in for an upgrade.  In the end I decided I would just ask and pass on the cheesy $20 trick. Additionally, as an IHG platinum (thanks to my IHG credit card) I am entitled to a free upgrade anyway.  I had also read online that at the Palazzo the $20 trick only gets you upgraded to a view room.   With my IHG status I was pretty sure I was going to get a view upgrade just by asking.  As it turns out that is exactly what I got so I am glad I saved my $20.  And the view was sweet.

Palazzo View

While in vegas we went to one Cirque Du Soleil show, Ka, and pretty much took it easy the rest of the trip.  I was able to save about a $150 on our cirque tickets thanks to a silly facebook game called, MyVegas.  Through this game I was able to earn points that I redeemed for coupons to Ka and a buffet at the Mirage.  All told the coupons saved me about $200.

I thought Ka was pretty good but I am glad I did not pay full price.  Without the coupon our tickets would have cost $220.  I would have felt ripped off at that price.  At $75 for two, I felt like we got out money’s worth.  I do want to see another cirque show just to compare my experiences.  Any suggestions for next time?

I made two discoveries this trip that I want to pass along.  First, is Ellis Island Casino and Brewery.  Ellis Island is a casino/brewery a block off the strip.  They serve good food for cheap and have great table games.  After 3:00 pm they have happy hour craps – meaning $3 minimum bet.  Good luck finding that on the strip.

Ellis Island also has $5 blackjack that pays 3/2.  These tables no longer exist on the strip. You have to go downtown to find a blackjack table with a $5 minimum that pays 3/2 on a blackjack.  These days if you find a $5 table it pays 6/5 on a blackjack which should be a crime.  Hell, I even saw a $10 table that pays 6/5.  I couldn’t believe it.

The second discovery that I was quite pleased with was the bar in The Quad.  The Imperial Palace hotel was remodeled and renamed as The Quad.  At the bar in the casino, you can plug $20 into a video poker machine at the bar and play $.25 video blackjack. They pour decent booze, the cocktails are stiff, they have good beer on tap, and it is all comped so long as you got some cash in the machine.  Play slow and you can get a good buzz on for very little cash.  Between the two us we had about 8 cocktails for under $10 in gaming losses.  Not too shabby.

All in all, it was a great trip.  I love Las Vegas and this was my wife’s firs trip.  She had a good time too so I hope this will become an annual trip for us each winter.   Oh and on Sunday while it was raining cats and dogs in Portland we enjoyed sunshine and 81 degrees.


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