Seems everyone is always looking for a hotel deal in Las Vegas. But, how do you know you’ve got a good one?
Jon, Polrit’s brother called and said, “HEY! I’ve got tickets to see Elton John in Las Vegas. It’s also Mom’s birthday! Wanna go?!”
Now…I’ll be honest, I’m not a Vegas person. It’s just not my cup of tea. Gimmicky hotels, tourists…I’ll stop before I get myself in trouble. BUT, Mamma LOVES Vegas, so, what Mamma wants mamma gets!
As with any trip, logistics needed planned. Were we gonna fly? Where will we stay?
All important questions. Since it would be the 4 of us, and it wasn’t on the weekend, we decided to drive. Who doesn’t want to stop for a photo-op with the World’s Tallest Thermometer?! 😒
Next, we needed a hotel. Now, we all know there’s a MILLION ways to book a hotel in Vegas. There are SO many OTAs (online travel agents). Expedia.com, Trivago.com, the list is endless.
We started our search with hotels.com. It’s a pretty solid choice for finding a
cheap decent hotel room. My only requirement at this point was a hotel that is clean and doesn’t come with a complimentary side of Norovirus…🤮
We found, at first, what appeared to be a great deal! A hotel room at Bally’s for $35 a night!
But is it…?
The thing with Vegas is that pesky little thing known as “The Resort Fee”.
Ah, yes…The “resort fee”. IMO, this is pure bait and switch. The hotel puts a low price out to get you to bite and then BAM, you get hit with the resort fee.
BUT, I’m not a cheap man, I’m willing to pay a fee for nice things…So what does that resort fee include?
I’m paying a $35 fee for:
- Daily in-room high-speed internet access
- All local calls
- Fitness center access for two daily
If you haven’t been following the news, “resort fees” were just raised in Las Vegas for 2018 according to the LA Times, click here.
Basically, what most hotels in the rest of the world provide for free or build into the rate, they want me to cough up an additional $35.
But, wait, there’s more! Since we will be driving, we will need to park.
- Up to 60 minutes: Free
- 1 to 4 hours: $7.00
- 4 to 24 hours: $10.00
- Over 24 hours: $10 for each additional day or fraction thereof
- The LINQ Backlot: An additional $20 fee for oversized vehicles
I’ll be there for a little over a day and a half, so that’s an additional $20.
So, that NON-REFUNDABLE (BTW) $35 a night room, just turned into a $100 room with tax!
WTH?!?! All of that and we haven’t EVEN dropped some coins into the slots!
All of that was simply UNACCEPTABLE to me. Let’s be honest. Las Vegas is designed to EXTRACT every single dollar they can from you. You want to see a show? You pay. You need a drink of water? You pay. You want to sleep? You pay. You need air? You pay!
Las Vegas wants ALL your MONEY $$$. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, I’m a man on a mission to do what I can to beat the house!
At this point, I thought… Let me check my American Express Platinum Card…
Now, you’re probably saying, “How’s a credit card going to help me save money in Las Vegas?”
Great question and I’ve got your answer!
Honestly, seems more times than not, the rates on the FH&R page aren’t great. However, when you book through AmEx FH&R you get some very exclusive benefits.
When booking through AmEx FH&R I get an upgrade if available, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4pm checkout, noon check in when available, free WiFi and a unique property amenity.
While searching through the dates, the Las Vegas FH&R rates vary, wildly. I’ve found from $99 – $1,000 a night, CRAZY! But, it seems that lady luck was on our side. We found one night at the Bellagio for $159 (excluding tax, resort fee and resort tax). That can seem a bit steep, however, let’s dissect this a bit more.
We arrived at The Bellagio around 12:30pm after our 4 hour drive from LA. We were able to access the premium check in desk as Polrit is an M-Life Gold via status match from Hyatt. M-Life is the MGM Resorts International rewards program. It includes all the MGM properties in Las Vegas. You can read about that by clicking here.
At check-in we inquire about our “benefits with our AmEx Platinum card. We are given this paper.
Basically, we got free valet parking with our gold M-Life status, $60 breakfast credit (2x$30) a $100 F&B credit and credit back for the resort fee for the WiFi.
WOW! Now we are talking deal!
So, for those that are numbers folks, let’s break it down…
$100 Room, tax, resort fee and parking…Minimum. No food, nothing else. Taxes estimated.
$159 Room rate
$ 39 Resort Fee
$ $26.51 Room and Resort Taxes
$20 F&B Tipping
$70 Bellagio Dinner Buffet
$35 Lunch bill
$55 Breakfast bill
$30 Valet Parking
-$100 F&B credit
-$ 60 F&B Breakfast credit
-$ 5.67 refund for wifi resort credit
-$ 30 Valet Parking (M-Life Status)
Total paid $238.84
Our room at The Bellagio…
Breakfast for all of us!
We would have spent just as much if not more at Bally’s on F&B, however, we probably would have went out to eat. For $238 for two people we had lunch, dinner, breakfast and room. That was the “get us out the door” price. The Bellagio is a great property and right in the center of the Vegas strip.
The fact that we got all this for that price, is a steal! I can see how many other’s could pay a small fortune for a stay here. It is an attractive property.
Could we have done better on pricing at Bally’s? I think it would have been a wash, if not more. However, we wouldn’t have been able to check-in at noon, would have had to depart by noon AND paid for parking. After seeing the final bill from the Bellagio, I feel that the “estimate” I made for the “total” at Bally’s isn’t final. It’s missing some taxes and other fees.
Our stay at the Bellagio was great. Service was fantastic, food was actually delicious (higher quality buffet, sushi, seafood, etc) and the room was clean and comfortable. The slots are a different story!
Going into this, knowing how much I do NOT like Vegas, I have to say, it was a fun and quick two-day trip… Thanks to our guaranteed 4 P.M. check out, we could take a leisure morning before hopping in the car for our drive home.
Now, only 222 more miles back to LA…
Have you used the AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts package? Have you got a deal? Let us know in the comments.
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