In less than 12 hours I will be eating breakfast at the airport waiting for my flight to Las Vegas! This trip is with 7 other guys in their upper 20s for a bachelor party. We will be flying in on Saturday morning (8/1/15) from California, Illinois and Texas and staying until Tuesday afternoon (8/4/15). Saturday night we will be downtown on Fremont Street and Sunday and Monday night we will be staying on The Strip. I am writing this trip report for a few reasons. The first reason is so my parents and girlfriend back home can follow the shenanigans (sounds like a bad idea, right?!). The second is so I can surprise the bachelor after the trip with a place to relive the experience. Lastly, I wanted to give back to the Vegas Message Board community for all the trips I have read! These forums really are the best place on the interweb for real-time Vegas information and happenings beyond brief twitter posts. Before I get into the details of what we have planned, I wanted to note that I will try my best to make this a live trip report. The regular updates will be made using Tapatalk from an iPhone and will include pictures with short descriptions of the food, gambling, scenery, and any other casual observations I wish to share. I will also try to provide more detailed updates in the mornings when I have my laptop. I won't be using real names and likely won’t include pictures of anyone in our group. Instead of just listing what we have planned chronologically I am going to categorically outline the trip. This should also serve as a nice reference for me when I am trying to remember a restaurant I wanted to try or a coupon I wanted to redeem. Lodging: Saturday 4 Queens Deluxe Room (2 Queens) (x3) -- $294 ($126, $84, $84) After some discussion among the group we decided that we wanted to spend a night on Fremont St. The inconvenience of having to change hotels in the middle of the trip as well as the less flashy and more trashy feel of downtown were considerations. On the other hand, cheaper rooms, lower table minimums, better payback percentages on slots, and the fact we would likely have ended up finding ourselves downtown for a few hours one night anyway outweighed the negatives. I also liked the idea of starting our trip out downtown because I think we will be more likely to stick together as a group and this camaraderie will hopefully come with us to The Strip on Sunday. The first two nights we will have 8 people, so with six total queen beds two people will be sharing beds. It should be noted the group is covering the bachelors airfare/transportation, hotels, a nice meal or two, random drinks, and pretty much everything except gambling and souvenirs for his fiancé. Basically, we want him to have the best time he can without having to worry about anything. So $294/7 comes out to $42 a person Saturday night. Not a bad Saturday night room rate in Vegas if you have a couple people that don't mind sharing a bed. Oh, and 4 Queens doesn’t have a resort fee, just taxes! Sunday Cosmopolitan Wraparound Terrace Suite (1 King + 1 sofa/pull out) -- $429 Aria Deluxe Room (2 Queens) -- $COMP; ~$37 resort fee+tax Planet Hollywood Resort Room (2 Queens) -- $COMP; ~$32 resort fee+tax Sunday morning we will be checking out of the 4 Queen’s and heading down to The Stip. The lodging situation for the rest of the trip is a bit convoluted. Originally, we reserved one wraparound terrace suite and two terrace one bedroom rooms at The Cosmopolitan. Each of these were 1 king bed rooms with a pull out and a couch in the suite. The total cost for Sunday night would have been ~$921 (the terrace one bedrooms were booked for $259 and $233 each). The advantage to this setup was that we could have potentially got adjoining rooms and at the very least been centrally located. Again, I like the idea of the group staying together as much as possible for the best experience for the bachelor. A couple of weeks ago I logged into my M life and Caesars Entertainment Group Total Rewards accounts. I was surprised to see offers for 3 compensated nights (Sunday-Thursday) at various properties under both rewards program. For M life I chose Aria because of its proximity to The Cosmopolitan. For Total Rewards I chose Planet Hollywood (was considering Paris) because of the bridge that connects it to The Cosmopolitan. For Aria I had to call because the online reservation system would not allow me to use the COMP but for Planet Hollywood I was able to reserve the room online. Aria did not ask for a credit card and simply emailed me a .pdf confirming my reservation; Planet Hollywood needed a credit card and showed me upfront the resort fee and taxes. The question at this point was whether we keep one or both of the terrace one bedroom rooms at Cosmo or beef up our bankrolls and share beds like we are on Saturday night. Needless to say, we canceled the two terrace one bedroom rooms at Cosmo (which we originally had booked Monday night as well). This makes our total hotel bill for Sunday night ~$569 instead of ~$1061. Of course, we wouldn’t have needed the compensated rooms if we kept all 3 Cosmo rooms. Either way, we saved about $80 a person on lodging Sunday night. The first win of the trip! The caveat to this setup is we will need to check into 3 hotel rooms on Sunday and decide who sleeps where. Obviously the bachelor will get the king bed in the Cosmo suite, but I will have to bounce around checking in to the other two rooms. Personally, I like the idea of getting to see three different properties so I may sleep at Aria one night and Planet Hollywood another. I have stayed at the Aria and it was pretty nice and I know The Cosmo is also nice. Planet Hollywood won’t be as glamorous, but certainly worth the money saved. All we need is a nice pad to make our headquarters where we can setup a nice wet bar and that will definitely be The Cosmo Sunday night. Monday Aria Deluxe Room (2 Queens) -- $COMP; ~$37 resort fee+tax Planet Hollywood Resort Room (2 Queens) -- $COMP; ~$32 resort fee+tax On Monday two guys will be flying out, so the reaming 6 will only be using the two COMP rooms. This is where it will be a little weird as a few of the people who spent the night at Cosmo will have to split up into the Aria and Planet Hollywood rooms. Even if the two people leaving Monday spend the night at Cosmo on Sunday, a couple of people will need to switch rooms. We have all known each other for at least 15 years so this won’t be an issue, just logistically a little complicated. The bachelor has already claimed a bed at Aria… go figure! There are a couple other notes to make about the hotels. First, the Aria offer includes $75 free play and $100 resort credit (food/spa); I forget if there was any free play at Planet Hollywood but the offer did not involve resort credit. As far as why I was offered these COMPS, it was likely from my slot play last year. My last trip to Las Vegas was August 2014 and I spent most of my time playing penny slots ($2-6 bets) and bubble craps/Shoot To Win ($20-150 bets). My total coin-in was about $7500. This is much more than I usually gamble, and in fact my bankroll was only $500 for that trip. I managed to hit some nice slot wins and had some good runs on bubble craps to find myself up $2000 rather quickly. The up-and-downs from the winnings resulted in the $7500 total bet. As far as Total Rewards, I gambled much less at CET properties. Maybe $500-1000 coin in between Planet Hollywood and Caesars. Luckily, I was able to keep most of my winnings and go home up $1500 (including all expenses except airfare). I do not plan to use the $20 trick at any of the properties, but I always ask if there are any complimentary upgrades, a corner room, a floor I prefer, etc. Gambling: I am not going to get into the bankroll each of us are bringing because, well, I don’t know or really care to know what everyone else is wagering. I will say out of the eight of us, 3 don’t really gamble (including the bachelor), 1 plays craps, 1 plays slots, 1 plays poker (Texas hold-‘em), 1 plays blackjack, and I play slots, craps (table and bubble), roulette, video poker (mainly for free drinks at bar tops, so don't expect too much video poker unless I get a lucky hand) and sports books. With that being said, you can expect pictures of some nice slot wins and hopefully some winning stories from table games and sports bets. For years I have heard about the American Casino Guide and knew it was a great value, but I always figured I wouldn’t make it to enough places on my 2-3 day drips to get good value out of the coupons. The first mistake I made was not looking up how much the book cost. At just ~$13 on Amazon, even if you only use one or two of the coupons you will probably make the investment worthwhile. The other thing I overlooked was the shear number of coupons in the book. Sure, most of them are downtown and some are only for new members of the players club’s, but overall a great value nonetheless. Last week I looked over the list of coupons I plan to and may use and made a more concise list of them. There are plenty more coupons in the Vegas area, I only listed those at places I will probably find myself. American Casino Guide 2015 Coupons: -- One's I could use (bold I plan to use; may use some 2-for-1 drinks but if gambling they are already free) -- Downtown/Fremont: Food: 4 Queens -- 2-for-1 entree at Magnolia's Binion’s -- 2-for-1 hamburger at Binion's cafe California -- 250 points for free Breakfast/Lunch/Brunch buffet Fremont -- 250 points for free Breakfast/Lunch/Brunch buffet Golden Nugget -- 2-for-1 drink at RUSH; 2-for-1 Breakfast/Lunch buffet (Mon-Fri) Las Vegas Club -- 2-for-1 draft beer Plaza -- 2-for-1 drinks at any casino bar Casino: 4 Queens -- Double players club points (up to 500) Binion’s – Double players club points (up to 500) The D -- Push a 22 up to 25$ in BJ; $5 free play for every 50 points (up to $100) Grand – $10 match play table game Golden Gate – $25 free play for 200 or $5 free play for 50 points new member; $25 match play new members Golden Nugget – $60 in poker chips for $50 Las Vegas Club – $5 match play table game; $5 free play Plaza – $5 free play; 2-for-1 rainbow (small Bingo packet) Other: Grand – Free deck of cards Golden Gate – Free 2015 calendar The Strip: Food: Ellis Island -- 200 points for free entree Excalibur -- 20% off food at Dick's Last Resort Fat Burger – 2-for-1 well drink/beer Hooters -- buy 10 wings, get 10 free Planet Hollywood -- 2-for-1 drinks at Extra Bar or Playing Field Lounge Venetian -- buy one menu item get one free at Bella Panini; buy one menu item get one free at San Genaro Grill Casino: Ellis Island – play $10 get up to $100 in free play; $5 match play table game Hooters -- play $10 get $10 free play; $10 match play table game Other: NYNY -- 2-for-1 roller coaster admission Paris -- 2-for-1 Eiffel Tower admission Stratosphere -- 2-for-1 tower admission -- One's I can't use because I am not a new member but others in our group who bought the book may use -- Downtown/Fremont: Casino: The D -- $25 match play for new members Fremont -- play $25 get $10 free play for new members Golden Nugget -- $10 free play for new members This doesn’t really go under ‘Gambling’, but neither do the food coupons listed above. A couple weeks ago I installed the myVEGAS Slots App on my iPhone, but haven’t spent much time on there. I am currently sitting at ~6000 loyalty points. Some options I have for how to use them are listed below: Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Admission (4000 LP) Complimentary Dessert at Café Bellagio (6000 LP) 2-for-1 Appetizer at VICE VERSA (Vdara) (5500 LP) Complimentary Margarita at HECHO en Vegas (MGM) (6000 LP) Free Draft Beer at TAP (MGM) (6000 LP) 2-for-1 Alcohol-Infused Shake at BLVD Creamery (Monte Carlo) (4000 LP) – My top choice! Free Scoop of Ice Cream at BLVD Creamery (Monte Carlo) (2000 LP) 2-for-1 Roller Coaster (NYNY) (2500 LP) 2-for-1 Starbucks Drink (NYNY) (3000 LP) 2-for-1 Beer at Tom’s Urban (NYNY) (3000 LP) Free JELL-O Shot at Big Chill (NYNY) (6000 LP) 2-for-1 Crepe at 48th and Crepe (NYNY) (5000 LP) Food: If it were up to the bachelor and he were a billionaire, he would spend most of his bachelor party eating good food. He loves fancy restaurants and good street food alike. He watches cooking shows, knows how to pair wine with food, and so on. He also realizes there is a lot more to do in Vegas than spend his entire budget on caviar, foie gras, and ridiculously overpriced bottles of wine. Because of this and the fact he knows the rest of us don’t want to spend $200 a day on food, he decided to make a reservation for only one fine dining experience. Originally, he was going to make a reservation at the French small-plates restaurant L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand but they wanted a $500 non-refundable deposit and the entire party would be asked to order the $168 prix fixe menu. Alternatively, many of the same people from this trip went to Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse CUT at the Palazzo for another bachelor party in February 2012. We all loved the experience, and while the bachelor ordered wagyu beef from three farms around the world (NY, Australia and Japan/Kobe if I remember correctly) for ~$150, the rest of us were able to get a nice cut of meat for $50-80 or even a non-beef entrée for less than $50. A better experience than a prix fixe menu when not everyone is interested in foie gras 5 ways no matter how much it costs. As you may have guessed, the bachelor went with CUT and we will have a table waiting for us Sunday evening. Besides CUT, we have a list of other eating establishments we would like to visit while in Vegas. Downtown on Saturday we plan to eat dinner at Hash House a go go. There is a hot dog place called Cheffinis in Downtown Container Park that I would like to try for lunch or a late night snack (open until 1 am on the weekends). The bachelor wants to visit at least one buffet on the trip and this will likely be brunch at the Wicked Spoon at Cosmo on Sunday morning so he can get his foie gras and bone marrow fix. Also on the agenda will be a trip to Secret Pizza at Cosmo and Shake Shack at NYNY. The rest will be played by ear, but wherever we end up I will be sure to post pictures and descriptions. Entertainment: See “Gambling” above. No, but really gambling is the only entertainment I need in Vegas. This is not the case for the group as a whole so there are some other activities on the agenda. One of the guys who was invited but wasn't able to make it put us on a guest list for two pool/day club parties. One of these is for DJ Snake at the Encore Beach Club on Saturday, but I doubt any of us will make it to The Strip on Saturday. The other is for Porter Robinson on Sunday at Marquee Dayclub at Cosmo. While I will not be joining the ‘bro brah’ party, I will be sure to ask a couple of the guys to snap a couple pictures so I can at least document their experience. Thankfully, the bachelor is not interested in night/strip clubs or any form of adult entertainment for that matter. I also have not heard any mention of going to a show. I am not sure you would consider it entertainment, but there are a bunch of points of interest I would like to visit during the trip. These include but are not limited to the following: Downtown Container Park – galleries, playground (adults only at night!), Chiffinis Hot Dogs Fremont Street Experience – perhaps from our window at 4 Queens World’s Largest Gold Nugget on Display – I always get lost in Golden Nugget looking for it! NYNY Roller Coaster – only if the line isn't long; really just for the picture you can buy, plus I have the ACG and myVEGAS 2-for-1 coupons Bellagio Fountains – want to see what new music they have Koi Pond at The Wynn Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens I also have a mental bucket list of a bunch of other things I want to do and places I want to go. But the above list are ones I actually plan on doing. And you know if you plan anything more than where you are staying in Vegas that you probably won’t do it. One of these years I need to stay an extra day and get a rental car to go check out Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and other recreational areas in the Las Vegas vicinity. Anyway, I should probably stop typing before my post becomes so lengthy that anyone who quotes it breaks the forums. We are going to miss the few who couldn’t make it, hopefully they are able to follow along on here. I hope the rest of you join us on our journey down the rabbit hole that is Sin City. Hopefully we come out the other side with some newfound wealth, a full belly and most importantly some laughs and memories before a life of boredom for the bachelor (JK, the bride is anything but short of fun)!