Caesars Palace Expansion on hold

I just got the official press release from Harrah’s with confirmation that Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has put a hold on the construction of Octavious Tower.  Here’s the release in it’s entirety.

LAS VEGAS — Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. said it is delaying plans to open 665 new rooms at a sixth tower it has just built at Caesars Palace until there is stronger demand for hotel rooms.

The 23-story Octavius Tower was scheduled to open this summer as part of a $1 billion expansion at the casino resort.

Harrah’s said that other parts of the expansion will open on schedule, including 110,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded pool and garden area, and three 10,000-square-foot luxury villas. Strong advance bookings warranted finishing the new meeting space, Harrah’s said.

With the economy in the middle of a recession and room occupancy low, there really isn’t a reason to go forward with completion at this point.  It’s better than firing people.  The addition is just about complete so if there’s a need to increase capacity, they’ll be able to move quickly.

For details and pictures head over to Vegas Today and Tomorrow.

Comp chasing…good idea or bad idea

I was looking around for some gambling news while watching halftime of the Eagles @ Cardinals game and came across this story in the Hartford (CT) Courant about a couple who saved their comps at Foxwoods in Connecticut.  Unfortunately the husband passed away before the points were used and the widow was unable to use the rewards after he had passed on.

He accumulated a large number of points before  becoming ill and soon after, he died. He  liked to hoard his points, and at the end of his life had a total of 8500 points.

The casino agreed to transfer his points to my players card, however the maximum they would transfer was 5000.  That, the powers that be told me was the maximum they would transfer.

First thought is that we all should wish the best for the widow.  That aside, I do not operate this way.  This is a good example of hording your comps.  Things happen in life (or death in this case) and I would never want to lose a reward that I’ve earned.  I don’t use comps as I get them, but I don’t save them for a rainy day either.

I pretty much have a “reward plan” for all rewards or comps I receive.  For example, I will use my rewards to save on expenses that I can’t gain rewards on elsewhere.  I get multiple times rewards for certain credit card spending I’ll usually use casino comps on things I can’t get rewarded for elsewhere.  Additionally, I know how often I will be traveling in a given year and plan to use my rewards or miles for upgrades.

What do you do?

$20 Trick – Las Vegas

I was advised to take a look at Front Desk Tip after my last trip to Las Vegas.  The premise is simple.  Slip the front desk person $20 at check in and ask for an upgraded room.  We all like upgrades!

Here are instructions from the site:

Why tip $20 at the front desk?
This gives you an opportunity to get an upgraded room/suite for cheap. This has become a common practice at hotels across the world.

Any tips on tipping?
In general people seem to have a better success rate with males 25-35.
It’s also advised to go at a later time (~10pm) because hotels tend to overbook and by this time, they should know which rooms are available.

How should I tip?
There is no secret sign or password. You basically tip the front desk and ask for a complimentary upgrade.

1. When you go to the front desk to check into a hotel, they will ask for a credit card or driver’s license.
2. Put a $20 bill between or under your driver’s license and credit card.
3. Ask the clerk if there are any complimentary upgrades.
4. Most clerks will know to give you back the money if they cannot offer you the upgrade.

If it fails?
It can be embarrassing. You can come down later to talk to another clerk for a different room or just enjoy your time.

I’ve never done this because I haven’t had to, but it seems worth it.  The success rates seem pretty good, and if you don’t get the upgrade all you lose is $20 and a little pride.

I’m not sure if I’ll do this on my upcoming trip since I’m Diamond @ Caesars and use VIP check in.  I’ve never needed to bust out extra cash for a nice room.  Any advice would be great.  Below is a screenshot of Front Desk Tip.