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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Why I am a Planning Fool

The Triumphant Return to Vegas trip planning is complete - except for a place to stay. And I screwed this up, badly.

Sure, I've got flights and trains booked at minimal out of pocket cost. But when it came time to book rooms, I was shocked.

Vegas is not the same Vegas Vegas used to be when I was King of Vegas.

I began planning mode, which for me, is a spreadsheet. Gamblin' McGoo would be proud, although I don't go into half-hour blocks of time in my plan. I go days.

My sheet has the dates across and I put in where I'm staying. I gather info about room offers and comps and figure out the optimal use of resources. This is particularly important if I want to use a comp twice, where you have to have x number of days between comped stays. MGM Resorts needs 3 days between. Boyd properties want 7 days, something that is new, and ridiculous.

MGM Resorts still offering me with love.

There's nothing more exciting than starting a fresh clean Vegas planning spreadsheet!

After two and a half long years, I would be back in my favorite places. I just needed to piece together all my comps and offers. I felt tingly wingly and frightful delightful. I felt sappy happy and thrilly willy. And then I checked The Cal. Something was wrong.

My room offers were... none. I had no room comps at Boyd at all. I was relegated to the B Connected Best Rate.

Well now. I love the Cal. I adore the Cal. I have to, must stay at the Cal. I'd just pay the discounted rate for my Triumphant Return.

Not only was the total with tax $372.90, it got worse. There was a $28.24 resort fee charge per night to be added on top of that.

Grand total for three nights at the Cal: $457.62

I knew that arriving on a Saturday night was not a good thing but I had to have that first class plane ticket! This was not looking good.

Well, I'd just go through my offers and see what else I could cobble together.

MGM Resorts, despite downgrading me from Gold to Cardboard or whatever the lowest tier is, was still offering me various numbers of free nights and various amounts of freeplay and resort credit, depending on the Vegas property. Typically, at Luxor, I'd been offered a Tower Suite and no resort fee, plus $50/$100.

This has changed, I would now have to pay that resort fee, and the suite was only sporadically available. It greatly depended on the dates.

I did find two stretches of dates where the suite was comped and I'd pay just the resort fee and I'd get $25/$100. Not bad.

Next, I looked at Wynn, through the Wynn Slots app. I've been sitting on 35,000 gems since I cancelled our March 2020 trip, which caused one third of ZZ Top to die, because I had tickets to see all of ZZ Top, and of course, that jinxed everything. I apologize to Dusty Hill.

I was hoping to maybe get two stretches of nights for my gems. But things have changed there too. After a stay, you can't rebook until after checkout, and you have to wait 3 days before you can stay on the second booking. Not only that, but the gem costs per room are sky high.

With the cost of rooms, I could only count on one stay and it would cost out of pocket dollars to get even that.

I filed that info away in my spreadsheet and kept looking. Property by property, I checked my old haunts to see what comps I had.

Everywhere I looked, the story was the same.

It was as if I'd been wiped clean off of Vegas' slate, except for MGM Resorts.

I checked with Plaza. They wanted some $350.

El Cortez. No comps.

Downtown Grand. Nothing.

Tropicana. No comp offers at all.

Even Caesars' / El Dorado properties weren't offering me anything but crappy rates with sky high resort fees piled on top.

The D had some low level BOGO offer, and I think I have the same at the Four Queens. (My mailers are in Canada and I'm not, right now.) I was typically at BOGO on Sunday through Thursday nights, and I was about to consider taking them up on it, because no resort fee.

I guess I could understand having most of my comps dry up, not having visited for so long. But why were room rates so ridiculous?

I called Jimmy Poon back in Flusherville. He'd just gotten off shift at Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, where he spends his day pooping out size 7 grommets, slaving it out for The Man.

"Jimmy Poon, I have no comps! I can't book anything! It's all so expensive! I... I... won't even have a place to say! I'm not sure -"

"Royal, are you... are you crying?"

"No -" I replied, snuffling a bit. I muted the phone so I could blow my nose.

"Royal, are you there?..."

"I'm here. I was on mute. Chippy was barfing."

"Royal, what are your dates?"

I told him, and I could just make out the sounds of intelligence coming across the line as he researched.

"Royal, for starters, the NFL draft is in Vegas, April 28, 29, and 30th, the night you arrive. That's why Saturday is so expensive. Next, Sunday May 8th is Mother's Day. Plus, you've got Cinco de Mayo."

"What's the date of that, Jimmy Poon?"

"Royal. May 5th."


I felt faint. No wonder both weekends were screwed.

That was research that I should have done before ever booking my flight, proving that sometimes I'm savvy, and sometimes I'm a fucking idiot fool.

It was time to do something I hated to do. Bend over and beg.

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