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Trip Report: Mirage 12/26-12/30

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by WWGB, Apr 24, 2015.

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  1. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13

    My Trip Report

    This report is also late, but not as late as the last one. My goal was to get it posted before my next trip. I made it with just hours to spare.

    This was my tenth visit to Las Vegas. I was looking at solo trip for December, but then my dear wife (DW) was able to accompany me when her sisters graciously split babysitting duties for our children. This was DW's eighth trip and our fourth trip together.

    I mostly play quarter video poker (VP) and $5 blackjack (BJ), DW plays slots but did join me for a few hands of BJ.

    We briefly considered going for New Year's Eve (NYE), but opted instead to go right in between Christmas and NYE. That meant we could see Jerry Seinfeld at Caesars Palace. We had seen him perform in Minneapolis shortly after we were married, and he had lots of wedding material from his own experiences. Now we were looking forward to hearing his take on parenting. My parents bought us the tickets for Christmas, and an American Express card gave us access to more seating options.

    Though cheaper than New Year's Eve, this was still an expensive time to travel, especially for December. Luckily I had an offer from the Mirage for $95, $95, $47, and $57, respectively, for Friday through Monday nights. We splurged on accepting an email upgrade offer to the Resort Tower King rooms for an extra $21 a night.

    We used Sun Country points for a single one-way ticket, and we paid for the rest. They have a great rewards program that lets you buy one-way tickets, and you can pool points among family or friends.

    During Thanksgiving week, I received another Mlife offer for any two nights (including weekends) at Mirage, MGM Grand, and the less expensive hotels. This was limited to a few weeks in December, excluding NYE, but it worked perfectly for our dates. So we got Friday and Saturday free, Sunday and Monday at a Pearl tier discount, $25 resort credit, and $10 Free Play (FP). We lost the upgrade, but were able to pay for a guaranteed late check-out.

    I signed up for the Total Rewards (TR) Visa with plenty of time to earn the $100 in Rewards Credits. We also both had TR credits from Social Rewards.

    We cashed in MyVegas points for $50 FP and $25 FP at Mirage for each of us, breakfast buffet for two at the Mirage, and two tickets to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef.

    I also bought a pair of $25 FP cards for the Cosmopolitan, courtesy of a fellow VMBer.

    On my last trip, my brother had bought a copy of the American Casino Guide (ACG) but never used any of the coupons. We brought that along for DW, and I had a copy of the Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) booklet for me.
     
  2. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    December 26:

    We had an evening flight, picked up the rental car, and headed directly to the Mirage. There was a long, long line at the valet. I'd guess we waited around 30-40 minutes. When we checked in, I inquired about any complimentary upgrades, but they were full. In fact, we ended up with two queen beds instead of a king. Still, the room was nice, although the wear and tear is starting to show in little ways. For example, the knob for the light on the mirror was difficult to turn. Hey, I said "little."

    For dinner we went to Carnegie Deli, and spent the entire $25 resort credit on a pastrami and corned beef sandwich. We (obviously) shared the sandwich and added fries and soft drinks out of pocket. We'd had the same sandwich several years ago, but couldn't remember which we liked better: the pastrami or the corned beef? Now I'm writing it down. We like the pastrami better.

    We each redeemed our $75 in MyVegas FP, plus I had the $10 from the room offer. I turned it into $80 cash playing the quarter progressive 8/5 JOB VP machines near the deli. We later went across the street to dodge selfie sticks and buy some bottled water at Walgreens, and DW realized how cold it was. Luckily she found a very nice jacket at the Mirage gift shop, and it was a great reason to buy the first souvenir of the trip.

    I donated $100 back to the VP machines and went to bed.

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  3. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    December 27:

    Today was a spa day at the Mirage for DW and a coupon/gambling day for me, but first we walked across the street to the Linq (hotel). On a whim, I decided to pick up my new Platinum TR card first. I'm glad I did, because we got to zip past the line at Hash House a Go Go (HHGG). I had my usual corned beef hash, and DW ordered the bacon, avocado, onion, and Swiss farm scramble. After the massive sandwich the previous night, I wasn't ready for another onslaught of corned beef. I think DW made the better choice. We paid with TR credits.

    If I recall correctly, at the time I applied for the TR Visa, the free High Roller tickets were only good from noon to 6 PM. Once I picked them up, however, I was told I could get tickets for any time.

    We next checked out the Linq (promenade). Maybe to avoid confusion. they can rename the Linq (promenade) as the Quad. I hear that name's now available.

    The Polaroid Museum was cool, although I don't know if I would have been willing to pay to see it. I enjoyed reading about the history of the company, and it wasn't a huge time commitment.

    There was a minimal line at the High Roller. It's a very smooth and comfortable ride. Next time we'd like to go on it at night. I know the passenger traffic isn't what Caesars planned for, but I hope they find a way to make it successful.

    At this point we parted company, and DW went to the spa while I headed downtown. Some of my coupons expired today, and I was determined to use them. I turned a combined $40 in FP into $61.20, plus picked up a $33 VP win at the D and $33.50 BJ win at the Las Vegas Club. Soon it was time to head back for dinner.

    We walked over to Caesar's Palace for dinner at Old Homestead. We wanted steak somewhere close to the Colliseum and where we could pay with TR points. We shared a crab cake and orders of Brussels sprouts and tater tots with "fatboy" sauce (which I no longer see on the online menu). We each ordered a filet. I can't claim to be a crab cake connoisseur, but I've had many of them and this was one of my favorites. I could have one as an entree.

    The steak was good, too, but not as good as Vic and Anthony's. I have better Brussels sprouts at home (thanks DW!). The tots were good, without the aftertaste that mars the otherwise fine tots at Sonic. I think the fancy "fatboy" sauce was just sour cream.

    Our "primary" waiter seemed a bit too casual, although his "assistant" was much more formal. Some reviews have commented that there's too much noise from the casino, but we were seated in the center of the restaurant where it wasn't a problem.

    I still have some TR points and I want another crab cake. I'll be back.

    It was my first time in the Colosseum, but DW had seen Celine perform there. Mercifully, she went with her sister, for which I am eternally grateful. I think the warm-up act was funnier than Seinfeld. He had a great bit about Home Depot. As someone not terribly handy away from a computer keyboard, I could completely relate. Seinfeld, however, was ranting a bit, especially at the beginning of his act, and it took me a while to get used to him. As expected, though, he had some material about parenting which was funny and true. I think I like him better in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. He just seems more relaxed then. Maybe I'll wait until we're all grandparents, and go see him again.

    I made a quick trip back to the Mirage to change into sneakers. I'm not sure why I thought I needed nice shoes for dinner. We walked to the Cosmopolitan where we redeemed our $25 FP coupons, and I quickly blew through my FP. I know my original plan had been to play it through once on VP and cash out. I must have decided to try to have fun or something. Oops.

    We made a brief stop at the Cromwell on the way back. Swanky. Maybe Caesars will sell it off to someone who will upgrade the VP pay tables and then I can think about staying in one of the overpriced rooms that faces a wall that we all hope will continue to support the rooftop pool. Or maybe not.

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  4. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    December 28:

    Before leaving for Mass, we stopped by the hotel convenience store for juice and donut holes. There was a long wait at the valet, with many people checking out, but it gave us plenty of time to eat our mini-breakfast. Thanks to the wait for the car and a surprising amount of traffic, we were a bit late for Mass. To minimize the disruption, they only admit the latecomers in waves. I guess we weren't the only ones stuck in traffic.

    After Mass we went to the Egg and I for brunch. There is an Egg and I that we go to in Saint Paul, but I don't think there's any connection between the two restaurants. There was a long wait for a table, and no casino status would help us here. I had a breakfast burrito. They had 2 or 3 different types on the menu, and I think I ordered the "Original." The burrito was good, but I didn't like the salsa. It seemed more like taco sauce to me. DW says her biscuit with gravy was good, as well.

    After brunch we went to Orleans to redeem FP coupons (I turned mine into $10 cash) and, more importantly, to see the most recent Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 1. Somehow we missed it when it came out in November, so I was happy we had a chance to see it while it was still in the theaters, and at matinee prices, too! I like each Hunger Games movie less than the one before it, but I don't think DW shares my opinion.

    We next headed downtown and parked at Downtown Grand (DTG), where they had a promotion where if you brought a friend to sign up as a new member, you each got $10 in FP. I brought DW as my "friend," and ultimately cashed out $61 ahead.

    Dinner was at Pizza Rock, where we shared an order of meatballs and an award winning margherita pizza. DW claims it's the best pizza she's ever had. I'm not sure I agree, but is was tasty. I would agree that those are the best meatballs I've ever had. That's two great meals I've had there, and I hope to return soon. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that there are almost too many choices for pizzas. How am I supposed to know if I want my pizza cooked at 500, 550, 650, 700, or 900 degrees?

    After dinner, we wondered through Container Park. Sadly, most of the stores were closed, although DW was able to buy some beef jerky.

    My remaining coupons were unproductive. DW joined me for BJ at the Las Vegas Club. It was her first time playing, so I enjoyed her company even as I gave back my winnings from the day before. She finished $10 ahead, so I'm hopeful she'll play again.

    Back at the Mirage, I hit four 4OAKs in an hour before cashing out $100 ahead and calling it a night.

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  5. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    December 29:

    I woke up early and drove to Gold Coast to redeem a $10 FP coupon. As a fellow board member might say, I'm addicted to couponing, not gambling. I was playing nickel STP 8/5 JOB, 3 three lines. I wasn't doing well, so I bumped it up to 5 lines. That shouldn't have worked, but then I was dealt a four nine's, with a 4x multiplier. That was worth $125, my second best VP win (after my lone $200 royal flush a couple years back, playing nickels).

    Flush with cash, I returned to the Mirage where DW and I went to the buffet for breakfast, courtesy of MyVegas. My omelet was fine, but otherwise I was not impressed. I didn't see any dessert choices, and the breakfast pastries were not good. I had a chocolate frosted donut, and the texture of the chocolate was just - wrong. Bleah. I won't say I'll never go back, "cause, maybe, to save the world, I probably would,
    but that won't likely happen." Of the MGM buffets I've been to in recent years, I'd rank them from highest to lowest as Aria, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, and then MGM Grand.

    I have mixed feelings about the self-serve drinks. Service at buffets can be hit or miss, so I get to avoid a long wait by getting my own drink. But it involves extra trips and frankly I think buffets are a big enough germfest without having the customers handle the beverage dispensers, too.

    Today was Spa Day, Part Deux for DW. She used some of her winnings to pay for some treatment or other. I went across the street to the Tix4Tonight booth to get tickets to Murray Sawchuck, Celebrity Magician. I missed seeing him at the Tropicana, so I was excited that he started up again at Planet Hollywood in time for our trip. To no one's surprise, I remembered to print out the Tix4Tonight coupon to save a couple of bucks. No, I don't want to make dinner reservations. No, I don't want to see another show. Just the two tickets, please. Well, ticket vouchers, to be precise.

    Next up was a trip to the Luxor. Wow, the quarter VP progressive was up to $2,000. I hammered away at it for a couple of hours, cashing in $10 in Points Play along the way. I finished up $20 with about $2,000 coin-in, which really contradicts my assumption that I average about 400 hands an hour; I was playing at about twice that speed. I think I must have been motivated by the large progressive. As silly as it sounds, I was a little irritated when anyone new sat down to provide more competition. I probably would have kept playing, except I had a show to get to.

    Having read of long waits for the valet, I endured the self parking at the Miracle Mile shops and eventually found the theater in Planet Hollywood. I exchanged the vouchers for actual tickets and went downstairs for some more Super Times Pay fun. They had downgraded the machines near Planet Dailies (boo!), but at least I only lost $1.80.

    DW joined me at the theater. It took her a little longer to arrive than she expected due to some PH restaurant/PH hotel confusion. I enjoyed the show, but he's no Mac King. Better than Nathan Burton, though. DW thought the show overemphasized his assistant, Lefty. I thought Murray was a little less than enthusiastic to be posing for pictures afterwards.

    DW wanted to go to Gordon Ramsay BurGR for dinner. I wanted to go to Earl of Sandwich, but having eaten there once in September and twice at the Disney location in November, I didn't have a strong case. Unless, of course, you're as bugged by the spelling as I was. Anyhow, my new platinum card once again got us past the line. It's nice to be a big shot! And by big shot, I mean someone who simply had good enough credit to qualify for the card.

    I had some sort of chicken burGR (think ground chicken, not a chicken breast) that came with a hair. At least I thought it was a hair when I sent it back. The crack CSI staff in the kitchen discovered that it was actually a fiber from a bag of potatoes. Seriously! They made me a new burGR and didn't charge for it. We were paying with TR points anyhow, so it was doubly free. Or just a different kind of free. The 2nd sandwich was good, but I thought the truffle parmesan fries were just okay. I probably won't go back because (1) they have an Earl of Sandwich nearby and (2) I can't count on always finding a stray burlap sack fiber.

    Next up was a monorail ride to the end of the line at SLS. It (SLS, not the monorail) was quirky and fun and reminded me a bit of DTG. We each got $5 FP as new members and another $5 FP for showing our monorails passes which were, by the way, another freebie from MyVegas. I don't see a reference to it on vpFREE2, but I think I was playing nickel full pay (9/6) JOB VP, near the players club desk. I cashed out with $7.

    Determined to make up for a disappointing piece of cake at Carnegie Deli earlier in the trip, we took the monorail to Harrah's and its Fulton Street Food Hall. They had a good bakery selection. I had a cannoli; DW had a cupcake. Both were very good and very free thanks to our stash of TR credits.

    Now we said our goodbyes again as DW went to play slots at the Mirage, and I headed downtown for another round or two of BJ. This involved a monorail trip to Paris and then walking back to the Miracle Mile parking garage and then finally driving downtown, parking at DTG again. I broke even playing $5 BJ at Golden Gate, and finished up $4 playing the same at DTG. I liked playing BJ at DTG. I liked playing VP at DTG. I liked the one night I stayed there in 2013. If they'd send me a free or discounted offer when I could actually use it, I would like to stay there again.

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  6. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    December 30:

    We had an evening flight and paid extra for a late check-out (which I could only arrange online, and not through the VIP line), so we could enjoy a leisurely last day. We had reservations for Mon Ami Gabi for brunch. It turned out that one of DW's friends from high school was in town with her husband, so they joined us at the restaurant.

    I was worried that we had missed breakfast, but it turns out it's still available even after the 11:00 cutoff. I had a quiche and a side of hash browns. I still fondly think of the hash browns, but the quiche wasn't firm enough for my tastes. The coffee was outstanding, though, and instead of a bread basket, they hand out warm baguettes in paper sleeves. Yum! DW had French onion soup and a salad. Of course, we redeemed TR points at the TR desk for a voucher, so this meal was free, too. I like to think it was worth all of the clicking and posting in Social Rewards.

    On a previous trip DW discovered that she could use her TR Credits at the main gift shop at Paris, so she used up the rest of her credits buying a t-shirt for our daughter. Back at the Mirage, I picked up a hat for myself and a t-shirt for our son.

    Somehow we'd managed to blow through a big chunk of our "leisurely" day, so we quickly finished packing and retrieved our car. I didn't bother to check to see if anything could be taken off of our bill. With $5,000 to $6,000 coin-in, I was pretty sure I hadn't even covered the free nights.

    We drove to Mandalay Bar to visit the Shark Reef Aquarium and use our final MyVegas reward. The regular valet was full, as was the valet near the "Shoppes," so we had to self-park. We picked up our voucher at the Mlife desk and made the long walk to the aquarium. There were long lines both for tickets (where we would exchange our voucher) and to go into the aquarium. Between the lines and all of the children, DW had enough and we retreated to Starbucks where she could get a coffee while I pined for a Coke in the land of Pepsi. With the aquarium ruled out, we spent some time (and money) in MB's casino. I quickly lost $50 in the 9/5 JOB VP (50-play machine, but I was only playing one line). I'd had enough and suggested we heard over to Luxor's casino instead. The VP progressive was up to $2,500! I lost $80 in a valiant, last-ditch effort to win the progressive.

    That aquarium was looking better by the minute. In an hour, I had given back half of my winnings for the trip. DW pointed out that it was the universe's way of telling me it was time to go home. Darn right. I was ready to go.

    I had a very good chicken Caesar wrap at the Village Pub while DW had dinner from Pei Wei. While I prefer the dining choices at Terminal 1, that's not enough to lure me away from Sun Country. Besides, this was fine dining compared to the bag of Combos I'll often have when flying solo.

    It was a fun trip, and I'm glad we were able to travel together. Mirage remains one of our favorite hotels, so I'm sure we'll come back for another visit.

    4OAK30_1.jpg LuxorProgressive.jpg quiche.jpg soup.jpg salad.jpg
     
  7. VegasDawg

    VegasDawg Tourist

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the trip report...good job...my wife and I really like The Mirage and I've played and won at the same bank of VP machines just outside of Carnegie's Deli...again thanks for the report
     
  8. sporty8705

    sporty8705 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Sister and I went to get free play for our monorail passes and a new member sign up, and was told I could only do one or the other. So we got the 5 bucks that we spun for for the new member sign up.. I tried to go back for the monorail freeplay and they refused, saying one promo a month, and i pointed out we signed up in march and now it was April, no dice!
     
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