Vegas, how you disappoint me.

las-vegas-sign460x300For my husband and I, Las Vegas used to be a wonderful playground.  First and foremost, it was where we met.  It was also where we got married a year later.  Mostly though, it was the only place we could really afford to take a vacation.
When we were young and stupid it was three day weekends, several times a year.  We lived in Phoenix at the time so it was just a five hour drive to our paradise.  We could pay $25.00 a night for a crackerbox of a hotel room at the 4 Queens in downtown Las Vegas, and get drunk and fed for very little money.  4 Queens used to have a late night room service deal where you could get four different full on dinners for five bucks each.  It was our favorite.As we got older and it wasn’t so much about the drink and the gamble, it was still the most affordable place to vacation for us.  The hotel rooms were cheap compared to other “vacation” options as were the food and entertainment options.  We weren’t really into seeing premium shows, so it worked for us.
Since we have moved to California, our Vegas trips have dwindled to once a year.  However, instead of several short visits, we usually stay a week and a half or so.
As prices have increased, we have stuck to downtown.  Primarily at the El Cortez.  We find the tower rooms quite roomy for the prices and we like a lot of the food options around there.
I should mention, that I have also run the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon four times and our last few visits have corresponded with that.
In the past couple of years a disturbing trend has occurred.  The dreaded Resort Fee.  If you are unfamiliar with this, let me explain.  It started with the high end casinos.  They started charging a nightly fee alongside their room rates.  They called it a “resort fee” and it was said to cover access to certain things.  The most popular that I have seen are wifi, water bottles in the room, the ability to go to the fitness center.  Basically things that should already be amenities included in the price of the room, in my opinion.
We scoffed when we saw that and stuck with downtown, until slowly but surely it began to creep into our beloved ghetto haven.  Not only were room rates increasing as they tried to improve the downtown vibe, but now they were tacking on the resort fee as well.  Not nearly as expensive of a fee as their strip counterparts, but still there nonetheless.
The first times I did the marathon we stayed actually stayed in Jean because the prices were so high due to the marathon itself.  My husband dropped me off and then picked me up at the finish near Mandalay Bay.  The second time were were staying at the El Cortez and I figured I would take a cab home…along with EVERYONE else.  Rob ended up picking me up again at Mandalay Bay after I called him crying about how the taxi line was literally a mile long.
The next year they changed the finish line to exit near The Flamingo.  We booked early enough to get a discounted rate that was good enough to forgive the resort fee.  All we wanted at that point, was a place to stay where I could catch the monorail to the start of the race and not be too far from home at the finish line.  It worked perfectly.  The rest of the trip was spent at the El Cortez.
By the next year, I had discovered a little Facebook game called MyVegas.  It was a game that you played that actually paid you our with rewards at MGM hotels and casinos.  It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen!  Back in those days the winnings were plentiful and the rewards were amazing.  I wound up getting three comped nights at the MGM Grand minus the resort fees.  We had never stayed there because it was just not in our budget, but at 21 dollars a night, it was suddenly on the table.  The room they offered was a tiny little room but by sheer luck, we got upgraded to a regular room at check in because it was available sooner and it was closer.
That year we also booked one night at The Flamingo so that we had a place near the finish line.  The MGM was near the start and the Flamingo was near the finish.  It worked out very well for me that year, because I hadn’t trained much and I was in a LOT of pain.  🙂  In case there was a question, we stayed downtown at El Cortez the beginning of the trip.
Last year, I didn’t participate in the marathon, but my husband did the 10 K.  In the previous year, I had signed up for the Total Rewards Visa card.  It has an offer that if you spent a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time you got a huge chunk of rewards points.  So I started using it like my debit card, paying for everything.  At the end of the month I payed it off with my debit card, no harm, no foul, no interest fee.  By the time Vegas rolled around that year, I had enough to pay for three nights at The Flamingo as well as some food and shopping comps.  The rest of the time we stayed at El Cortez.  Are you sensing a theme?
That brings us to planning this years trip.  We don’t have our dates hammered out yet, but given the time off I could possibly have left after Korea this year, it will be towards late November, early December and frankly, I’m just discouraged.  Without doing the marathon this year, we had nothing tying us to any certain hotels so we thought we would look at the non strip variety like Orleans and Station Casinos.  Nope, every damn one of them has succumbed to the resort fee as well as “renting” fridges and internet.
So I decided to hit up my myvegas game where I still have many points that I just haven’t used in a couple years, only to find they have changed too.  They no longer offer consecutive comped nights.  In fact you can only be comped one night at any of the casinos they offer per trip, and the comps they do offer are few and far between.  They have come down hard with regulations on the game that make it not even worth it to play on a regular basis.  I have 200,000 worth of reward points that I will likely never use now because it is too complicated to bother any more.
I understand that Vegas hotels are business’ and must adjust themselves to the changing times, but I think this is a mistake.  But I guess people like Rob and I aren’t the majority, and as long as people are willing to pay the high prices, resort fees and whatever else, they will continue to thrive.  It makes me sad though.  Vegas was the one tradition we had left and I hate to leave it behind.
Having said that, anyone know what Reno’s policies for resort fees are??

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About Me


I am a 40 something married woman living in California.
I enjoy knitting and crocheting, watching crap movies, snuggling with my two adorable dogs and trying to be a good person.

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