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Buddha's April Report -- VP, FP, MP's, and other coupons

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Las Vegas -- April 9 - 16 @ Main Street Station :

    We were definitely looking forward to this Spring trip to Las Vegas and some warm weather, as the month of March in the Chicago ‘burbs was colder and snowier than December and January. And, we had originally started planning this trip back in late August, when Southwest opened their fight schedules to April, which I jumped on the very first available day. I paid $177 for each of our tickets out to Vegas, knowing that I could always re-book when prices dropped later on … plus we secured the “Early Bird” boarding passes @ $10 each. We then used 21,240 SWA Reward points to purchase our return flights, and another $10 each for early-bird boarding. AND … as I had hoped … on Nov. 17, SWA had a sale, and both of our flights dropped to $130 each way. This resulted in a $94 credit for future use, plus 5640 RR points immediately returned to our SWA account.
    Gotta love Southwest Airlines. :)

    In setting up our room reservations, I eventually got my April offer from Main Street Station for 4 comped nights anytime, plus $35 free-play … followed by Nancy receiving her usual 3 comped nights (Sun. to Thurs.) at the California , plus two $20 dining coupons. However, in talking to my Host at MSS, she explained that if we wanted to stay all 7 nights in the room at MSS, instead of moving from the Cal to MSS, that she could book both of our offers right at MSS, since both places are sister properties. And, it would not even matter how much we played at either property, as it all goes in the same pot … so to speak.

    Next was the rental car for the week, and I search the Alamo reservations page, as our usual source for decent prices, along with RR promo points from SWA. As expected, my first search showed the compact cars at over $235 all-in for the week … I passed. About a month later, the all-in price dropped to $176, and I booked it, so we would have that if prices went back up. But then, in early March, the all-in price dropped to $152, and I cancelled and re-booked. This booking comes with 2400 RR points from SWA, plus being charged to our SWA-Visa card, this price will also yield 304 additional RR points.

    Our daily itinerary is planned, my dozens & dozens of ACG and LVA coupons are organized, our bags are packed, the early-bird boarding passes (# A-19 & A-20) are printed, and we are raring to go !!

    Tuesday - April 9 :
    As is our regular plan, we catch our local commuter train into downtown Chicago Union Station, and walk over to the elevated (the “L”) CTA transit trains, and board the Orange Line right to Midway Airport. TSA screening was quick & easy, except for a couple people who have not taken EVERYTHING out of their damn pockets, even though it is always announced over & over … and we are soon on our way to Gate B-26, at the furthest extreme end of the B-terminal … thank heavens for the moving walkways. It is approaching noon, and our plane departs at 1:50, so we grab a couple burgers & fries from the McDonald’s … as it will be at least 7 hours until we have dinner in Vegas.

    Our "early bird" boarding positions surprisingly do not get us the good seats that we were expecting, due to our plane coming from out east, and having about 40 people remaining on the plane when we boarded … and we ended up in row 10. Our plane departs just a few minutes late, but we are “promised” that we will still be about 15 minutes early arriving in Vegas, and 72 degrees … YES !! After take-off, and reaching cruising altitude, we enjoy a couple traditional free Bloody Mary’s along with the standard in-flight snacks, and settle back for the 3 hour 35 minute flight. Arrival in Vegas is indeed 20 minutes early, and we are soon off the plane with our carry-on bags, and onto the shuttle bus to the rental car facility. All of our paperwork is in order at Alamo, and we are up the escalator picking out our Hyundai Elantrea for our week in town.

    We head down Warm Springs Rd., across LV Blvd., to Dean Martin Way (Industrial Rd), and head to the Wal-Mart on Charleston, picking up a case of water, a few snacks, and some incidental toiletries. Unfortunately, it is now 4:30 pm, and it seems like everyone in Vegas stopped here at Wal-Mart as they headed home for work. It only took us 10 minutes to grab the few items we needed, but then another 20 minutes of standing in the LONG check-out lines.

    Back down east on Charleston to Main Street, head north, and we arrive at Main Street Station in short order. Our room at MSS (# 1001) is all set for us for the week, having been blocked out by our host. Room is clean, with a good view to the south, and at the extreme end (next to Main St.) away from the railroad tracks. We unpack our bags, as we await the delivery of a house coffee-pot to our room … and then it is off to the Four Queens for our usual arrival dinner at Magnolia’s. Using an LVA 2/1 coupon, we each order the spaghetti & meatballs with a side-salad … delicious and filling, at a final billing of just $8. We finish off the evening with some brief video poker at 4Q (-30), and free-play coupons at El Cortez, Las Vegas Club and the Plaza (+ 32), and match play coupons at LVC and the Plaza (+15). It’s been a long day, and we are bushed… more fun tomorrow … ZZZZZZ …….

    Wednesday / Thursday - April 10 & 11 :
    These two days of casino play will be spent mostly at the California (sister property of MSS), as Nancy’s comp offer came from them, even though we are staying at MSS. We both strictly play quarter 8/5 Bonus (99.17 % game) and 9/6 JOB (99.54 % game) … and there are plenty of those single-line games at the Cal, upstairs & downstairs. I prefer Triple-Play machines, but the Cal has none of those at “full-pay”. We will also periodically be doing several free-play coupons from the ACG book, and the Las Vegas Advisor rewards book, as well as Match-Play coupons from those books.

    Wednesday began with a breakfast buffet at MSS using one of Nancy’s free dining coupons. But then, our attention turned to the casino action, with us cycling about $5K at video poker at the Cal (-127), with additional LVA free play at the Gold Coast (+27) and the Orleans (+32). We also played MP coupons at the LVC (+10), the Plaza (+50), the Orleans (+10), and the Palms (+40).

    The evening was completed at the RIO, where we treated a Vegas friend of ours to a dinner buffet (ACG coupon for $15, plus $74 in CET points). *** NOTE …. If you have not been to any of the CET / Harrah’s properties lately, most all of their buffet prices have been increased by “about” $5 to $7. Upon returning to MSS, we stop by the player’s club, in order to pick up a comp voucher for the morning breakfast buffet, and then watch a little TV before ... ZZZZZZZZZ.

    Thursday morning began with an early VP session at the Cal (-100), each of us slightly handicapped with a Bloody Mary in one hand. We try not to eat too much at the morning buffet, but it’s the easiest comp to get at MSS, and we like the variety of offerings. Back to the Cal with a full tummy, we find the VP games more accommodating, as we are a bit more on the positive side (+46). Time for a road-trip break, doing free-play coupons at the Gold Coast (+26), Hooters (+20), and Ellis Island (+12). An assortment of MP’s yield an opposite result … Palms (-20), Orleans (+ 10), Ellis Island (-10), and Tuscany (-10).

    Back downtown, we elect to skip the buffet line for dinner, and opt for the Market Street Café at the Cal, using Nancy’s 2nd free dining coupon. Nancy enjoys a Teriyaki Burger platter, and I dive in to a hot open-faced turkey & gravy sandwich, with mashed potatoes. After our dinner, we stay at the Cal for one final VP session for the day, but no big hits … just a lot of small wins, and we close out the night VP at +2. Time for some TV ....

    Friday / Saturday / Sunday / Monday - April 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 :

    This Friday morning requires a brief trip to the hotel front desk, as we are checking Nancy out, and doing our connected “stay-over”, by checking me right back into our same room, under my 4-night reservation. We also left the sign on the door for Maid Service, in order to have the room freshened up.

    Not being real hungry this morning, we walk over to the Plaza, for some breakfast egg & sausage burritos, hash browns, and coffee at McDonald’s. While there at the Plaza, we play a couple MP’s (+10), followed by two more MP’s at Las Vegas Club (+20). Returning to MSS, we split the $35 free-play that came with my room offer (+43), before continuing on our separate machines … Nancy on the quarter 8/5 Bonus slant-tops, and me on my favorite Triple-Play 8/5 Bonus Poker. This lengthy session had more mixed results, but with each of us hitting a straight flush, for a +44 profit.

    We returned to the Four Queens for an early dinner at Magnolia’s, since there was no line at this earlier time, and we only had the McD’s at breakfast. Nancy opted for the Chicken Breast Melt sandwich, and I once again picked my favorite hot open-face Turkey & Gravy with mashed potatoes. Using an LVA 2/1 coupon, our meal was just $10.

    Back to MSS for one final evening VP session, and the swings were huge. Nancy had two quads, and while on my Triple Play machine, I was DEALT a “full-house”, quad 6’s, and quad 10’s, and we still LOST $41 !!! Hard to figure …. but we reward ourselves by stopping at the Player’s Club, and picking up a comp voucher for the Saturday morning brunch buffet.

    The MSS regular breakfast buffet is always good, and the Saturday brunch buffet is even better. In addition to the omelet station, there is also a carving table, plus Asian & Mexican choices on the far side counter, with other additional choices like eggs Benedict and salmon on the near side … and don’t forget those champagne mimosas. :)

    The rest of the morning was a disaster at the VP machines as I dropped $100+ at my Triple Play machine, while Nancy decided to play at the Cal , and lost $124 … time for a change of pace. MP’s at LVC (+20) & Plaza (+10) get us started, and then we get the car and head for Jerry’s Nugget (MP +5), Ellis Island (FSP +41), Tuscany (MP +20), and the Longhorn (MP -10).

    While out in the Boulder Hwy area, we decide to do our early dinner at the Sam’s Town buffet, using the LVA 2/1 coupon, except here they have you take the coupon directly to the buffet, and will only accept cash for the 2nd person. However, at MSS and the Fremont buffets, they have you bring the LVA 2/1 coupon to the Player’s Club for a voucher to take to the buffet, where they will also accept “points” for the 2nd person. I must also add that the Sam’s Town Saturday dinner buffet turned out to be the worst, compared to any of the other Coast or Boyd properties.

    After leaving Sam’s Town, we head back on Flamingo Rd., and up north on Paradise to the back entrance to the Riviera Hotel / Casino, where we parked on the 7th floor of the parking garage … the place was packed !! We are here at the Riviera for two reasons … the 8:30 Comedy Club (ACG - 2 free tickets), and to do MP coupons before and after the comedy show. The comedy was decent, but not as good as what we saw on Super Bowl weekend … but the MP’s were the worst part (-40) … Ouch !!!
    It is now about 10:00 pm, and we head back to MSS for some sleep ....

    We chose Sunday to be our “free day” away from Main Street Station … electing to take a road-trip out to Pahrump, NV. Nancy likes to do ‘sight-seeing” drives out to areas not usually visited, and we chose Pahrump due to the ACG coupons for the Nugget Casino. First of all, on page 485 of the ACG, there is a $25 free-play coupon for any one of 3 casinos in Pahrump (new members / non locals), but we thought the Nugget was the best of the three. We did our free-play on 7/5 Bonus Poker slant-tops, and we combined for a $36 profit. THEN, there is also a 2/1 coupon for the Café, which they let us use for the Sunday brunch buffet … total cost $8 + tax … and it was a good buffet, too.

    On the way home, we turned off Blue Diamond Rd., north onto Dean Martin Blvd (Industrial Rd.), and on the right side curve there is a small property with a big “CASINO” sign on the front. Does anyone know if that is the “Alamo Casino” for which coupon #1 in the LVA book can be used ???

    We next stopped at the Orleans to lose two MP’s (-20), and play a little VP (-39) … followed by a stop at the Palms for two MP’s (+10). From there, we decided on the Early Bird dinner at the Rampart Promenade Café … $5.99 for a choice of two entree offerings … I had fish, Nancy had turkey, both with mashed potatoes and green beans, choice of soup or salad, choice of dessert, with beverage included. Good deal … and I paid the $11.98 tab with my Rampart points.

    After a nice dinner, we moseyed over to our favorite Rampart VP machines … Nancy at a quarter slant-top with 8/5 Bonus, and me at my favorite 10-line nickel machine, with 9/6 JOB, 8/5 Bonus, and 16/10/4/4 Deuces, where I hit a nickel Royal on Super-Bowl week. We still had lots of good hands, but not enough. Nancy barely stayed above even, and I lost $34 with just not enough quads, but I put 2000 points back on my card.

    Getting back to Main Street Station, we play one more pair of MP’s at the LVC (+5), and the Plaza (+10) , and call it a night. It’s been a busy day ….. and we were asleep in about 3 minutes.

    Monday morning is a new day, and our last full day in Vegas, and we do some early VP at MSS (+35), with our complimentary Bloody Mary’s. At about 8:15, we drive down to Planet Hollywood for their breakfast buffet … using the LVA $10 off coupon (-20 for two people), and paying the balance with our Total Rewards points. Lots of good choices here, and well worth the drive down, as long as you can figure out the maze of the parking garage.

    Returning to MSS, I settle back in at my 8/5 Bonus Triple Play, and Nancy makes her way over to her slant-tops at the Cal. We play back and forth between properties through most of the afternoon, with two straight flushes, and several quads, turning a final day of profit (+105). Based on our day’s play, we make one more trip to the Player’s Club, and request, and receive, a comp to the MSS dinner buffet, and a very nice way to end our stay at MSS. We spend the rest of the evening watching some TV, and getting organized for our departure tomorrow,

    Tuesday - April 16 :
    Bags are packed, all paperwork organized for later, and we check out from our 7 nights at MSS … no charges. As it’s become sort of a tradition, we hop on the I-15 South, and head for the South Point Hotel / Casino, for a final breakfast buffet. We use a 2/1 voucher, from printing (once only) a member’s coupon from the LVA web-page. This buffet is better than MSS, and even better than the Orleans, due to the ownership of Michael Gaughan (Jackie’s son). And, after going through the cashier here, be sure to pick up your complimentary Bloody Mary … no need to order juice. :)

    After a great breakfast, there’s still time for a brief VP session, and South Point has a good selection. However, not many big hits here today, as we sadly drop $60. Leaving South Point, we gas up the rental car on LV Blvd, just south of Warm Springs Rd., and make the return to the “car barn” … $152.36 all in. Shuttle bus quickly delivers us to Terminal 1, print out our Early Bird boarding passes … A- 19 & A-20 again, and soon to be on our Southwest plane, for our 3 hour 10 min. gate-to-gate flight.

    Back through the Chicago transit system, and onto the suburban Metra commuter train, and we find our car sitting right where we left it a week ago ($10 for 8 days)...and we pull into our home garage 10 minutes later. Vegas trip # 48 is complete ... # 49 coming up in September ...

    Summary :

    >> 7 nights @ Main Street Station … all comped through mailer offers
    >> Alamo rental car - Hyundai Elantra --- $152.36 all-in total , and 2400 Rapid Rewards
    >> Meal costs, cash out-of-pocket --- $42.60
    >> 9 free meals (and 4 half-price), from room offers, comps, coupons, and player points
    >> Tips --- Maids, waiters, waitresses, bartenders, service personnel, shuttles --- $72
    >> Casino play : cycled & re-cycled about 35K
    >> Video Poker (including Free-Play) : Nancy -206 , Me -68
    >> MatchPlay coupons : + $ 110


    Hope you enjoyed the read (beware of typos). Questions & comments are always welcome.
    Next trip in September ... Viva Las Vegas !!!!

    Buddha
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  2. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Great report!:thumbsup: Nice that BP was able to keep you in the same room!

    I'm just sitting here waiting to do our SWA boarding passes for tomorrow and it is fricking snowing.:cry:

    It's not going to stick, but still...It's April 19th.

    Buddha, were you able to log-into the new "free" Fremont St WiFi, or was it password protected as others have reported?
     
    Christmas
  3. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    I only used my laptop from my MSS room, and could not get that signal strong enough to connect. I never took my laptop out onto Fremont St. to check the signal there.
     
  4. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    Very enjoyable report!

    Thanks!
     
  5. Slick

    Slick Tourist

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    Thanks for the report. Sounds like you had a great time. Just wondering, how did you play your matchplays?
     
  6. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    We played some MP's at Blackjack, but the high majority we did at the Roulette table.
     
  7. edinpa

    edinpa Tourist

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    Jim, another enjoyable read, too bad this one wasn't a winner!
     
  8. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Yeah, Ed .... we always hope to be a winner in the casino, but we are always realistic, as well.
    This is how I "rationalize" everything :
    >> Combining all of our VP and MP wins & losses, compared to how much we cycled & recycled, we had a 95+ % return on our play.
    >> The total of all "cash expenses" is more than covered by our comps of 7 free room nights and several free meals. Where else, but in Vegas !! :thumbsup:
     
  9. PeterNY

    PeterNY Newbie

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    Very nice! :nworthy:

    Looking forward to my June Vegas trip as well with lots of free stuff.
     
  10. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thanks, Peter ! The coupons always come in handy.
    As is my motto in Vegas ... "Never pay full price for anything." :thumbsup:
     
  11. PeterNY

    PeterNY Newbie

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    Excellent! My MO: "no coupon, no sale". :peace:
     
  12. theghost

    theghost Low-Roller

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    Great trip report Buddha, thank you for the read.

    My wife has been wanting to do what she calls a "coupon trip"
    Probably just to see how much "free" stuff we can get lol. Might have to just take her up on that after reading all these fun reports
     
  13. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thanks, Ghost .... glad you enjoyed the read.

    Yeah, we like getting outside for a couple hours, here & there, and going on a coupon road-trip. If you have the ACG and LVA coupon books, there are a LOT of free-play opportunities that you can have fun with.
     
  14. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Congrats on another successful trip (of course in the eyes of the beholder) but I can't find anything negative with those numbers
     
  15. Hawaiianmark

    Hawaiianmark Low-Roller

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    What he says!

    :cheers::cheers:
     
  16. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Hey Jinx .... Nice to see you are still around !!

    Thanks (and also to Mark) for your remarks. Our losses were definitely within range, seeing as how much we had comped. Just needed a couple more nice hits. :cry:
     
  17. wa8ckt

    wa8ckt Tourist

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    As usual, Great report Buddha. Enjoy the details (I never remember any). You sure do know your way around coupons! Even with your loses, 7 days in our mecca is still a great deal. No where else in the world can you enjoy the weather, food, entertainment, sights, drinks, gaming, and still have a chance to win it all, as you have done many times. The side trip to Pahrump does add to the trip. We almost bought property there but decided it was too close to Vegas and we would soon be living in a tent lol. We have SW coming to Flint (one hour from home) with direct flights and booked our Sept trip with them and prepaid the early boarding but don't know if your actual boarding position is decided at the airport or when checking in on line for boarding pass. In two weeks we will be going with Delta out of Saginaw, 1 hour drive with stop in Detroit. Seven days in Vegas can be a financial challenge but with your Vegas expertise you still make it economical. You can't make a profit every trip, lol. Well Done. John and Kathy in (now snowing) Caro
     
  18. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thanks, John ...
    I figured you would be taking advantage of that new SWA route out of Flint.

    *** Check your email ....
     
  19. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    As usual, another great report. With all the money you save, no wonder trip #49 is coming up!
     
  20. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thanks, LaRae ! Nice to "see you", again.
    Yes, Vegas is the place we love to go. Where else is there so much fun, at such a "low price", and only a small risk ? :thumbsup:
     
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