Seven Stars Insider

Here is the new Seven Stars Insider newsletter for October and November.  This is a great source of information if you’re curious about the Harrah’s Total Rewards program.  It was started for the highest level gamblers (Seven Stars), but provides information that can be used for any level of player.

[NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.]

Question Of The Month

I heard that, as long as I confirm my travel plans on or before March 31, 2010, I can take my 2009-2010 Seven Stars trip after April 1, 2010.  Is this true? This used to be the policy, but it changed a couple years ago.  Now, it’s “use it or lose it” if you don’t complete your travel by March 31, 2010.

Do You Plan To “Renew” Your Seven Stars Status For 2010-2011?

According to our September informal survey, “if it happens, it happens.”  No one responding was actually working toward qualification, but if their play happens to get them to that level – or closer to the end of the year, if it appears to be possible, they might even increase their play just to maintain their status.  Nearly everyone who responded – especially “first-timers” – said that the benefits simply don’t justify the amount of money or time required to qualify.  Some came right out and said they would switch to another casino’s “VIP” status because they were disappointed in how they had been treated, and the benefits they received – or, more accurately, didn’t receive.

Special Seven Stars Self-Parking Benefits In Atlantic City

If you self-park at Caesars in Atlantic City, there is special Seven Stars dedicated parking on the seventh floor.  Be prepared to insert your card in order to access the area.  [Caesars Windsor has a similar dedicated parking area.]  Upon departure, each of the Harrah’s-owned properties – except Showboat, where you show your player’s card upon entry – has a special Seven Stars (and Diamond) express lane when you leave the self-parking lot.

New Orleans Updates*

The Fulton Street restaurants now take Rapid Rewards, so you no longer have to charge meals to your room or get a comp slip in advance.  The Grand Isle on Fulton has some very interesting local food, all very nicely done and not expensive.  Simply swipe your card there and pay 1:1 (as opposed to the French Quarter partner restaurants where it’s 2:1).  Mardi Gras World – a tour of which is one of the options available to Seven Stars members (the other two being a carriage ride through the Quarter or a paddlewheel ride down the Mississippi) – has moved to a warehouse on Convention Center Boulevard, so you don’t have to take the ferry over to Algiers.  It is probably a little more than a mile from the hotel, so you do need a cab or a car if you don’t like long walks.

Ak-Chin Updates*

Ak-Chin has turned Agave’s Restaurant into the Diamond Lounge.  No more of that small and cramped space off the lobby that used to serve as the lounge.  The food isn’t any better, but there is a little more room and, in addition to the questionable things they put out for free appetizers, they have a small Diamond menu with other selections.  [During breakfast and lunch it is still Agave’s, with simple, but edible food.  The Range Steakhouse is “hit and miss” and the kindest thing that you can say about the buffet in general is that it is edible.  The crab on Friday nights is decent.]

Harrah’s Uses Cash To Buy Securities

According to an October 30 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Harrah’s Entertainment has entered agreements to use $250 million in cash to buy some of its mortgage-backed securities for between 25 and 30 cents on the dollar.  Harrah’s has $6.5 billion in securities that mature in 2013 leveraged against several of the company’s operating assets, including the Rio, Flamingo and Harrah’s Las Vegas.  The company posted a $1 billion loss in the quarter, driven by a $1.33 billion write-down on the value of its assets in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Illinois and Indiana.  The company reported $19.3 billion in long-term debt through June 30, but has not adjusted the number for the third quarter.

“Local” Casinos Creating “Super-VIP” Status Programs

While they can’t begin to match the benefits of a Harrah’s Seven Stars Club, Trump’s Signature Card or Borgata’s Titanium card, casinos in Pennsylvania and Delaware (and possibly other states) are expanding their player’s card programs to include a new category above their current “premium” status.  Philadelphia Park has always had its “Ultra” card (and will temporarily extend Ultra benefits – mainly complimentary valet parking and premium brand cocktails – to current Seven Stars Club members).  Dover Downs in Delaware recently unveiled its “Elite” card (special turn-down service for hotel guests, expedited complimentary valet parking, special lines for check-in, and, on Fridays and Saturdays, exclusive access to a small player’s lounge on the ninth floor of the hotel).  Elite cardholders must earn 1,500 tier points in a 12-month period beginning November 1; its next lower card – Platinum – requires only 500.  Currently, Philadelphia Park does not have a player’s lounge, but the new casino – strangely named “Parx” and scheduled to open in December – is rumored to include a lounge.  What sort of amenities the club might have – food, complimentary cocktails, etc. – depends on what Pennsylvania’s strange set of regulations allow, or at least how they’re interpreted both by the casino and regulators.  Harrah’s Chester’s Diamond Lounge, for instance, has complimentary food, but offers only reduced-priced cocktails.  There also is a charge for cocktails on the casino floor, as well, unlike its neighbor to the north where Philadelphia Park offers complimentary cocktails on the floor.  Seven Stars members can get comped drinks by contacting a host – prior to ordering on the floor.

Did You Attend The Signature Event In Atlantic City?

So what did you think of the weekend activities in Atlantic City the first weekend in October?  If you choose to respond, please indicate whether Atlantic City is your “regular” venue, or if you made a special effort – and took the expense – to travel to the Jersey Shore.  For those of you who traveled more than a short drive, please indicate if you thought your travel time and expense were worth it.  Drop me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously – with everyone in a future newsletter.

~Darryl

P.S.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at http://sevenstarsinsider.googlepages.com.  You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at www.adobe.com.

*Thanks to my anonymous correspondents for providing this information!

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher

Seven Stars Insider

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Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.

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Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.