Thursday, June 5, 2014

Low-Rolling in Vegas for Not Quite Free - Part 3


An original photo, for a change:  our breakfast.

Breakfast at Harrie's

We forewent free breakfast and instead headed 3 minutes up Swenson to our other favorite restaurant in Las Vegas, Harrie's Bagelmania, located in a shopping strip on Twain Ave. that has seen better days.  Once inside, this place feels like old Miami Beach.  Correction, this is Broward County all the way.  You will be welcomed and the person sitting behind you (and it is always one particular person in a party of two or more) is talking so loudly you can hear his entire conversation whether you choose to or not. That, and their website doesn't even have its own domain name, looks like the owner did it herself in 1997 when someone said she needed to get herself a website, and features the disclaimer, "If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas please visit the restaurant."  I did, but I'm fairly certain it had no impact.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Low Rolling for Not Quite Free in Las Vegas: Summary of Accounts


Tips for shuttle drivers @ SAN and LAS $4
Expenses (excluding CVS purchases) for 2 people:
Burger and Yogurt in San Diego Airport : $23
Rental car (total for 3 days): $67
1am breakfast for 1 (incl. tip): $10
Plus 12,837 southwest points + $10 for flights
Plus 24,000 Hyatt points for room

Total cash spent: $114 (of which $6 was tip)

Low-Rolling in Vegas for Not Quite Free: Part 2


Woke up and exploited the Hyatt House Las Vegas's standard complimentary breakfast buffet:  fresh fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, cereals, scrambled eggs, sausages, breads/bagels.  The bagels were pretty hard but everything else was fine.

The Hyatt House had an interesting mix of clientele.  Being a small airport hotel with breakfast and airport shuttle service, it didn't have the anything-and-everything of a Strip resort.  Guests largely consisted of Southwest employees overnighting between flights, but there was also a sizeable contingent of people in their early 20s who looked like they had just come from the gym and seem to spend a lot of time there generally.  A bunch of dudes were preening around at the breakfast buffet in nothing but shorts, muscles, and attitude.  (Actually their attitude was fine, other than their violation of the implied dress code.)  It seemed peculiar, until I realized we were across the street from the Hard Rock hotel.  They were most likely  going to spend their weekend at the Rehab pool party, but were too cheap or too late to get a room at the Hard Rock itself.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Low-Rolling Winning in Vegas for Not Quite Free: Part 1

Our first trip without the kidz in 2 years - Memorial Day Weekend in Vegas.

A lot has happened since my last blog post: most significantly, relocating to San Diego.  And, of slightly lesser significance, I obtained 2 Chase Southwest credit cards in order to get a Companion Pass, which allows one other designated person to travel with me anytime I travel on Southwest, even on a rapid reward ticket. The Sister in Law and her husband racked up a bunch of credits with us for bringing their family out for their early summer vacation and staying here, and offering to keep our kids with her while we do some mostly-childlike stuff for grownups.


The Flight

With the companion pass we were able to get a round-trip flight from San Diego to Las Vegas for 12,837 points (equivalent to $183.38 using the 70:1 exchange rate), plus $5 TSA charge, and a second companion ticket for only the $5 TSA charge.  At that price it isn't really worth driving, especially on a heavy-traffic holiday weekend.

The flight was late, as seems to be Southwest custom.  Nancy bought a hamburger at the airport and I bought the world's most expensive yogurt cup for $6.  The last Friday Night flight from San Diego to Las Vegas was the usual party bus: a bachelor party right behind us, a bachelorette party a few rows behind them, everyone getting in the zone.  Used my Southwest coupons for the kickoff special: Bailey's and coffee, to get the buzz going while needing desperately to not fall asleep.

Ground Transportation

Arrived at McCarran airport on time, around 11pm, and hobbled to the rental car terminal as fast as possible, given my foot still slightly sore from a recent flareup of gout, the Disease of Kings, in fact, as it was once known, or the disease of Fat Old People as it might be known today.

Getting to the rental car terminal, we observed this at the Thrifty/Dollar counter:
(This actually wasn't my picture, it is posted on yelp.  But it looked the same.)
Each person waiting will spend about 10 minutes at the desk giving a reservation number, being upsold for a higher level car, a tank of gas they won't use, and all kinds of bizarre insurance products they don't understand, and giving a credit card number.  For 30 groups being handled by 4 clerks, that's about a 60 minute wait, maybe more.