6 Nights, 5 Hotels, A Few Bucks – My Whirlwind Trip to Vegas At A Massive Discount

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Las Vegas Hotels

Las Vegas Hotels

Las Vegas and I have an on-again, off-again relationship – mostly off.  I just completed my first Vegas trip in the last 12 years.  The recently MtM Diamond meetup was all the reason I needed to return.  In the months approaching the meetup, planning went from a quick, two night stay to an extended one.  A perfect storm of free nights, credits, and random points hotels brought me to a seemingly ridiculous six night Sin City stay.  Using some of these items with my family wasn’t an option for the foreseeable future, and it made sense to burn many of them on a preexisting trip in a location known for excellent hotels and dining.  I returned to Vegas full of curiosity and wonder.  Here are a few observations from my stays in Las Vegas hotels and how I cheaply booked the properties.

Night One: Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World

This experience didn’t start off on the right foot at check-in, but emailing with hotel management got things resolved.  Much about the Conrad was a Jekyll and Hyde experience for me.  In terms of service, excellent experiences were counterbalanced by randomly subpar ones.  Of all things, I think the service at the lobby bar was the peak for this first stay.  And that just involved the free sparkling wine as a welcome amenity!  There will be more on my stay in an upcoming review.

  • How I Booked: Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Platinum Credit
  • Cost: ~$180 (covered by above credit), ~$45 resort fee
  • Credits: $125 FHR Food/Beverage Credit, $66 FHR Breakfast Credit, $50 Diamond Food/Beverage Credit 
  • Totals: ~$45 out of pocket cost, $241 credits

Night Two: Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

I was familiar with the Wynn, but I hadn’t been through Encore since it opened.  Naturally, I felt this was overdue.  I had high hopes for this stay, and the Encore didn’t disappoint.  I experienced not one, but two check-ins for this property, and there’s a good reason I didn’t mind.  More on that in my upcoming review.  I was consistently wowed by the impeccable dining, service, and attention to detail at Encore.  It’s one thing to read or hear about it and completely different to experience first-hand.  While I have no definite plans to return to Vegas, it’ll definitely return here if that trip comes.

  • How I Booked: Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Platinum Credit
  • Cost: ~$253 ($200 covered by above credit), ~$45 resort fee
  • Credits: $100 FHR Spa Credit, $60 FHR Breakfast Credit, $25 Welcome Amenity Credit (redeemable for food/beverage)
  • Totals: ~$98 out of pocket cost, $185 credits

Las Vegas Hotels

Night Three:  The Palazzo at the Venetian

Moving from the intimate Encore to the colossal Palazzo was jarring.  Nonetheless, I’ve had Palazzo on my list ever since the days of uncapped free night certificates from my Chase IHG Select Mastercard.  Unfortunately, I never got around to using one here before the cap came in.  Still, I couldn’t shake my interest.  The all suite hotel claims to feature the largest standard room in Vegas at 720 square feet, and I was predictably blown away by this entry-level size and luxury.  This was probably the most useful room during my entire trip – a good mix of ample space for relaxation, working, and get-togethers.

  • How I Booked: Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Platinum Credit
  • Cost: ~$237 ($200 covered by above credit), ~$51 resort fee
  • Credits: $100 FHR Food/Beverage Credit, $65 FHR Breakfast Credit
  • Totals: ~$88 out of pocket cost, $165 credits

Las Vegas Hotels

Night Four: Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World

Yes, I returned.  Check-in was remarkably thorough this time around, reflecting the wide swath of agent skill levels at the front desk.  Brandon was simply excellent, smoothly addressing every angle of my stay.  Key cards at Resorts World continued to be tremendously persnickety.  I and other guests were consistently fumbling with our key cards within the elevator to hold them just right in order to select floors.  Of course, the elevators had their own schedule and took off.  I took several not-so-scenic routes up and down over those two days.  The hotel started to feel a bit more like Vegas this time around, with a vodka cart outside The Kitchen serving up favorites when I arrived for breakfast at 8:30 am.  I abstained – the view was enough.

  • How I Booked: Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Platinum Credit
  • Cost: ~$214 ($200 covered by above credit), ~$45 resort fee
  • Credits: $125 FHR Food/Beverage Credit, $66 FHR Breakfast Credit, $50 Diamond Food/Beverage Credit 
  • Totals: ~$59 out of pocket cost, $241 credits

Las Vegas Hotels
Resorts World Las Vegas (Photo Credit: Maverick Helicopters)

Night Five: Crockfords Las Vegas

I scooted next door to Crockfords for my final night at Resorts World.  I didn’t mind waiting for a few minutes check-in amidst the immaculate lobby.  Naturally, the process had all the frills, including a purple-blue tinted welcome tea which I somehow finished without tasting.  The front desk agent escorted me to the Crockfords elevators, and an enraged Crockfords guest was waiting.  Apparently, keys often not working is a thing at Crockfords, too.  I enjoyed the curtains automatically opening when I entered the room – a first of its kind experience for me.  Technology isn’t a panacea, however.

Despite the luxurious aspirations of this property, I experienced one of the more low-rent oversights in the hotel industry here.  The bolted-to-the-shower-wall soap dispenser was entirely empty.  I can’t currently think of a more inconvenient predicament while in a hotel room.  This seemingly small lack of attention to detail is magnified at a supposed ultra luxury property.  The Hilton Gold and Diamond daily food and beverage credit for Crockfords is the exact same as the Conrad.  I don’t plan to return.

  • How I Booked:  Hilton Free Night Certificate
  • Booking Alternatives:  95k points or ~$359 cash rate (plus resort fee)
  • Cost: $0, Resort Fee Waived
  • Credits: $50 Diamond Food/Beverage Credit

Las Vegas Hotels
Source: Treasure Island.

Night Six: Treasure Island

Planning for my final night started out as a goof.  In the BTS world everyone lived in over this Vegas weekend, points and cash rates were out of this world.  During my wider than usual search, I found that Treasure Island is bookable with Radisson points.  Lately, I haven’t had much use for this rewards currency, so I was mildly intrigued by the option.  I half-jokingly brought it up with Shawn, and he explained that TI is pretty solid.  I had expectations for average, and I wasn’t disappointed by the property.  Notably, TI has a room amenity that basic rooms at two of the other hotels I stayed in do not – a bar of soap!  I’ll let you guess which two properties I’m referring to – it should be fairly easy to figure out.

My room looked recently updated, and the light fixtures and TV were easily operable.  Those are basic requirements but are often not met.  Due to other commitments, I didn’t dine or spend much other time at TI beyond sleeping.  It did the job, and I can see myself returning.  There was one surprise, though – stay tuned for a future article.

  • How I Booked: 45k Radisson Rewards points, ~$44 Resort Fee
  • Booking Alternative: ~$280 Cash Rate, Plus Resort Fee
  • Cost: ~$44 Resort Fee

Overall Totals

All of the below numbers exclude gratuities.

  • Approximate Total Cost: ~$1,804
  • Actual Out of Pocket Cost:  ~$334
  • Total Credits: $882

Las Vegas Hotels – Conclusion

Of course, these stays weren’t completely free – I paid the room overages, nightly resort fees at each property, taxes on those items, and gratuities.  The one exception is that I avoided the resort fee at Crockfords since Hilton waives it on stays completely booked with rewards.  I know some put extra effort into plays to avoid resort fees, but as a Vegas non-expert and infrequent visitor, I don’t want to commit the time to pursue those (dwindling) options.

But as you can see above, the return I received via credits vastly outweighed my out of pocket cost – by over $500.  I’m happy to take a break from hopping properties nightly, though.  It’ll have to be another lucrative play in order for me to pursue again.  But this silly stunt was a fun return to Vegas.  What Las Vegas hotels have you enjoyed recently, and how did you do it cheaply?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like an utter waste of time to me but gad you had fun.

    We learned a while ago that changing hotels sucks……….even when we have a home base the entire trip and leave most of our stuff in the mail room………….

  2. I did the same with LHR during January and February 2021. Changed hotels about 20 times to get the daily credit, but worked out that Mandalay closed Monday-Thursday so alternated Mandalay and Delano. Mandalay guests got moved to Delano during the week. I never had to change rooms, but had to check out and check in every day for three weeks, threw in other hotels here and there on the weekend. I was paying like $70/night at both Mandalay and Park MGM to get $160 in F+B per day, plus Hyatt points. I think Delano was around $120, Bellagio was the full $160 and regular MGM was around $90. Those rates were resort fee inclusive. Tried every restaurant I wanted, that was open in the MGM empire.

  3. Glad to hear the props for Palazzo. 100% the best entry level room in the city. That said, Palazzo/Venetian is a city unto itself. I had dinner at Bouchon when I last stayed, and it was a 25 min walk door to door. Quite the commute! I also found it tricky to discern from the property which restaurants would accept the $100 Amex property credit, but once I got the list had no problems finding a good choice for lunch.

    • DKinVegas,
      More to come in a separate article, but probably my biggest quibble with my Palazzo stay was the FHR property credit limitations. Lots of restaurant options weren’t eligible. Again, I enjoyed my stay, and that’s a niche concern.

  4. Nice. I used 2 FHR credits last year at Conrad and Bellagio after not traveling to Vegas for 11 years. Enjoyed Conrad more. Feels like you kind of wasted your free night cert at Crockfords though. Surely you had a use for that somewhere better/higher priced?

    • Paul S,
      Indeed, Crockfords was a judgement call. I may have been able to get better use out of it elsewhere, but I had no other definite needs for it prior to expiration. I’d rather get it used too soon rather than lose it or force it into a redemption outside of my travel goals.

  5. To me, the spa credit at Wynn and Encore is basically worthless. When we went there were no appointments and looking at the menu, a personal training session would be the only option completely covered by the credit. If I remember, a massage still would have cost more than $100.

  6. I’m confused as Hilton is a 15 dollar per person HH daily credit to be used at The buffet or Suns out Buns out
    Crockfords is 25 per person Conrad the same 25 pp?
    Yet in the blog post it says all 3 hotels the same

    • Dwondermeant,
      I just updated the post for clarity. Crockfords and Conrad have the same Diamond food and beverage credit. You can read more about the Conrad and Crockfords benefits for Hilton Diamond elites here.

  7. Benjy
    Im doing something similar in 10 days. 4 nights 4 different hotels 2 amex plats Conrad, Nomad. Then free night cert with marriott residence and then use amex aspire for hilton resorts world..Any suggestions on getting waived resorts fees?

  8. Recently stayed 10 nights at the Palazzo and for all the reasons you cited, plus more, this is one of our favorite hotels/casinos. We used 3 comp nights and the remainder with points/rewards on my IHG card. It was a great stay!

    • Oc,
      I’m glad you had a great Palazzo experience. I can see myself returning there. More to come in my upcoming review!

  9. Sounds like a fun trip. I have an upcoming trip at Conrad booked with Amex Fine Hote and I have diamond status as well. When you stayed at Conrad, did they let you use the $125 Amex F/B credit combined with the Diamond $50 F/B credit all at once for $175 at a restaurant or do you have to use the $50 F/B separately? I heard reports that they are forcing you use the $50 F/B only at the kitchen now? and Do you know which restaurants can you use the $125 F/B credits?

    Thanks

    • ZachA,
      Since the Diamond $50 food and beverage credit is locked down to The Kitchen and Sun’s Out currently, you’d probably want to avoid using your $125 Amex credit in the same visit to either of those places. You can use the Amex credit at many restaurants within Resorts World with a few exceptions. I’ll dive more into that in a future article.

  10. Don’t mean to quibble, but if you used Amex Plat shouldn’t you include a bit of that yearly charge in the calculations? What did you do with the $100 Wynn Spa credit? When we were there the only thing under $100 was the Spa Perk Lip Treatment. No thank you.
    I bought some shampoo and conditioner for a lady who was checking out (came to just over $100).

    • Chatham Pete,
      The credits we used were from first year Platinums (new welcome offers or upgrade offers) where those points (redeemed via cashout) outweighed the annual fees. We obtained all of those cards before the FHR benefit existed.

  11. Ha, nice report! The most I’ve ever done is 3 nights/3 hotels.
    I stayed at the Wynn last August, while I loved it, I found it to be soo noisy at 3am, even though I was on the top floor. I’ll be heading to Conrad, Vdara, and the English Hotel in August.

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