Monday, September 29, 2014

MyVegas and our Las Vegas trip, round 2

Last weekend, my wife and I took a short road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I was there for an annual business conference and my wife joined me.  This was our first time driving to Las Vegas in a while and it wasn’t too bad.  Without traffic, the drive took us around 3 hours and 30 minutes.  I’m not convinced that we save a lot of time flying from Orange County to Las Vegas, especially if you factor in time to get to the airport, go through security, wait to board and exit the plane, and then take the shuttle bus to the Las Vegas airport car rental.  Driving just seemed like a lot less hassle this time.   

MyVegas is a Facebook app where users can earn Las Vegas rewards for playing casino games.  MyVegas is part of the MGM loyalty program, Mlife.  In Las Vegas, MGM owns Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York – New York, Luxor, and Excalibur.  I’ve written about my prior experience redeeming MyVegas rewards here.    

This trip, we redeemed the following rewards:
  • 2 free regular tickets to Jabbawockeez show at the Luxor ($121 value).  This show was very entertaining and a lot of fun to watch!
  • 2 premium seat tickets to Zumanity, the sensual cirque du soleil show at New York - New York ($231 value).  This show was very risqué – not what we were expecting at all!
  • 2 free entrance tickets to the Shark Reef exhibit at Mandalay Bay ($36 value). 

Sharks at Mandalay Bay

Redeeming these rewards from the MyVegas app gave us total value of  $388!  You can search for the MyVegas app on Facebook, or you can download the app onto your iPhone, android or kindle device here. 

Some tips for playing MyVegas:
  • The more you play, the more automation you can incorporate, such as setting the slot machine on “auto spin” for up to 200 spins. This allows you to do other things and have myVegas app running in the background, earning loyalty points.
  • There are a limited amount of rewards you can redeem per month, so choose your rewards carefully!
  • You max out at 2,000 loyalty points a day, playing more won't earn any more loyalty points
  • This program is constantly going through changes, including devaluations of rewards; so don't delay in redeeming rewards.  Last year we redeemed for 2 free passes to Bellagio Buffet.  This year the same reward could only be used Sunday through Thursday. 

Westin Las Vegas
We stayed at the Westin Las Vegas, a Starwood Preferred Guest category 5 property.  We enjoy staying at the Westin because it is a smaller hotel, but still very close to the action of the Las Vegas strip. 

Service at the Westin is top notch and the rates are very reasonable.  The atmosphere here is quiet and peaceful.  There is free wifi for all guests as well as free parking in a garage very close to the hotel entrance.  Happy hour at the Westin runs from 5:30 to 6:30pm, and offers unlimited free beer, wine and appetizers.  The Westin provides all guests with free bottled water, coffee, tea, and snacks.  It’s just a great place to unwind in Las Vegas.

Bed was extremely comfortable

We earn Starpoints by staying here and paying with our SPG credit card, which earns 2 Starpoints per dollar spent.  One great way to earn Starpoints is the “Make a Green Choice” promotion.  We can earn 500 Starpoints (or $5 property voucher) for each night that you decline housekeeping service for your room.  This is great because we don’t need someone cleaning our room after us every night.  We earned 1,000 extra Starpoints on our trip. 

Scored 1,000 Starpoints by refusing maid service

Raku Grill
The food at this off strip restaurant was incredible.  Yelp reviewers rate this restaurant a 4.5 stars out of 5.  We ordered special Japanese items such as: poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe, Agedashi Tofu, Kurobuta Pork Cheek, Yellowtail with glazed soy-based sauce, Enoki Mushroom wrapped with bacon and more!  Everything was perfectly prepared.  We will definitely be back.
Poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe
Perfect Agedashi Tofu

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace
The Caesar’s Bacchanal buffet was voted Best Buffet in Las Vegas by USA Today and it definitely lives up to the hype.  They offer unlimited Wagyu beef sliders, steamed warm king crab legs, prime rib, and a wide variety of foods from around the world.   At $65 per person, it is not cheap. If you’re looking for an amazing buffet in Las Vegas, this is the one to visit.  Read more yelp reviews here.
Fresh meats cut for you

Lobster Me
We enjoyed the Lobster rolls and fish tacos at Lobster Me (Venetian location) so much, that we came back here for lunch two days in a row!  Each Maine style lobster roll contains a whole 1lb lobster sandwiched between a piece of Texas toast and served with coleslaw and french fries on the side.  You can have the Maine roll, served cold with light mayo and spices.  You can have the Connecticut roll, with warm lobster tossed in melted butter.  You can also have your lobster roll spicy.  Read more yelp reviews here.   

Awesome lobster rolls

No gambling
We had a great time walking around Las Vegas, seeing the sites, and enjoying the tasty food.  What we completely avoided was gambling.  We are just not in the habit of throwing away money. 

We are looking forward to more trips to Las Vegas in the future!

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