Las Vegas Trip Report: October 2020
Disclaimer: Traveling during 2020 has changed and each person must decide what is best for them and make their own personal decisions. Please consult with your Dr. and make the decision that is best for you and your family. For me personally, I do check each area prior to booking as far as the latest health statistics as well as before I leave. I have also been selective in what locations I will travel to. I always mask up and sanitize at every chance possible along with washing hands frequently. Be safe!
The great thing about having points is be able to eliminate costs for an entire trip or at least part of a trip. Each person must decide on their own accord when to use points and when to use cash, but I usually mix and match when possible. I base this on the value of the points, the cost of the travel, and what my budget looks like.
This my second trip in just over a month. I booked this one in similar fashion to my last trip. I think for those considering travel to Las Vegas, this will provide some unique feedback and observations, as well as a tale of two trips. Typically, I prefer to do my trips on Sunday through Tuesday. However, for this trip, I went for an actual weekend for Friday through Sunday. If you want to see videos of what Vegas looks like these days, give our friends at Miles to Memories a follow on their YouTube channel.
Here is my breakdown on my points and cash spent as well as my take on travel for my trip to Las Vegas.
For this trip, I elected to use 24,00 SkyMiles for the roundtrip flight. I made this decision based on budget and the fact that I have a large amount of SkyMiles and am earning them quickly, especially with the recent Amex spending offers. Additionally, Las Vegas flights can be expensive on the weekends in addition to flight prices trending upward lately.
Points Spent: 24,000 SkyMiles +$11.20 (Taxes paid with Chase Sapphire Reserve)
Upgraded both ways with Delta Silver (Comfort Plus one leg and First class the other)
I was able to book a comp room at the Paris for the weekend. Comp nights can be earned via gambling history and status. I do have Diamond status with Caesars currently and the comp night calendar has been wide open. The casinos have been generous with complimentary nights. Be sure to view video of my Paris room from last month’s trip on YouTube. When I have comp nights, I tend to book for an extra night. Booking an extra night is beneficial for having a room until other one is ready, delayed flights, etc.
Once I had that room booked, I decided again that I wanted to do a pool day at Mandalay Bay. Last month, I stayed at Delano, which has Mandalay Bay pool access. This month, I elected to stay at Mandalay Bay, as it was significantly cheaper than Delano. Both were booked via the Luxury Hotel Resort Collection (LHRC). If you have not utilized this great Chase card benefit, I wrote about it recently. I booked my Saturday night stay and was set for my hotel stays.
I love the benefits that come with an LHRC booking. At times, you do need to put a little effort in at some properties to ensure you use those benefits as well as make sure your bill is correct. For my Saturday night I paid $200, but had $160 in credits. As Mandalay Bay is part of MLife, which has a partnership with Hyatt, I linked my Hyatt account to the stay and will earn nights and points there.
Points Spent: None
After last month's trip to Las Vegas, when the city wasn't crowded and social distancing was easy, I was shocked to see the amount of people that had descended on Las Vegas. I cannot be certain if this is normal or because there was a Raiders home game scheduled. I did observe a large number of away team fans. Some folks stated they kept the trip even though fans could no longer attend the game, due to COVID restrictions. In addition, bars had reopened in Las Vegas, which was not the case on my last trip. I found some things to be slipping or not as well enforced as the last trip.
First off, my room at the Paris was not sealed with the cleaning stickers, nor were any other rooms. The refrigerator was dirty with wine stains and the shower was not cleaned fully.
Regarding mask enforcement, I will say that the Caesars properties seem to be enforcing very well. With bars open again, you actually have to have a mask on at all times in a bar, unless you have food in front of you. However, at restaurants you are allowed to take your mask off upon being seated.
In my opinion, this rule makes people buy a food item from the bar. Not that I do not want to follow the rules, however, in my opinion, the rules contradict each other. I am socially distanced at both a bar and restaurant, I can have a mask off at my table in a restaurant but not a bar, even while seated at a table. If you do not have food, you have to have your mask on in between every drink you take. I also observed that at the LINQ, they made frequent announcements via loudspeaker at the bar, reminding people about masks.
Indoor casino enforcement was handled very well. I observed employees going around the casino reminding people of mask usage on a pretty consistent basis.
At Mandalay Bay, mask enforcement was very inconsistent at the pool. Last month, staff were going around and making sure you had masks on at all times, unless in the water. This trip, I found people were walking around pool areas with approximately 50% compliance. They would come around once in a while handing out masks or saying something, but it was very lax. I found a nice quiet corner in a pool to enjoy some beverages and keep my distance from everyone. They did state that they monitor the pool area for capacity and will stop allowing access for safety, if needed.
Casino and indoor enforcement seemed to be better, but not as well as at Caesars' properties.
As mentioned, I utilized LHRC to book my Mandalay Bay stay. It is important to note on these bookings, especially during COVID restrictions, some extra work may be needed on your part. I had a $100 food and beverage credit as well as a $60 breakfast credit ($30 per person). They give you a letter, which lists where those benefits can be used, but you may find many to still be closed. I seemed to get different answers from staff at times, regarding where it could be used. I was told that there is flexibility though and to contact them if I had any issues. In addition, the computer systems are not taking off the credits correctly, due to some dining options being closed.
This required me to make several trips to the front desk to sort out charges. I like to make sure I maximize those credits to the fullest extent possible. In the end, it was all handled correctly, but can seem tedious at times.
I really enjoy Las Vegas, however, I was reminded why I generally avoid weekends there. Crowds were a bit too much for me, therefore I did not explore as much. It has been reported that hotels may be increasing capacity on weekends and that seemed to be the case. Mask usage and alcohol consumption in Las Vegas does not match up well, unfortunately. Finally, I think properties are having a hard time keeping up with restrictions and may be slipping due to the increased crowds. Have you been to Las Vegas recently? Are you considering a trip? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know your thoughts.