Seven Stars Insider – November Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of new and useful information in this edition (some of which I’m going to reference in future posts), so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – November 2010

Question Of the Month
My companion cardholder has misplaced her card.  It was issued in Las Vegas.  I’m based in California, but she is a Diamond cardholder who lives near, and plays in, Atlantic City.  How does she go about getting a replacement card?  Do I have to be present?  This shouldn’t be a problem and, no, you don’t have to be there.  Her record should indicate that she is your companion cardholder (and vice versa).  Don’t go to Total Rewards, though, for the reissue.  She will need to go to VIP check-in at one of the Harrah’s properties in Atlantic City.  If they give her a hard time, she should ask for a host on duty – assuming she doesn’t have her own.  He or she should be able to straighten this out.

Read the Fine Print I
You’ve really got to read the fine print when trying to redeem offers from Harrah’s.  Planning to use your 30 percent Seven Stars discount on an NCL cruise to Hawaii?  Forget it.  Check the bottom of the Web site (www.harrahs.com/NCL) and note in tiny letters: “Total Rewards Tier Discount is not valid for Hawaii cruises.”

Read the Fine Print II
Do you ever just pick up the phone to book an offer you received in the mail?  If it’s from Caesars Palace and involves a room reservation, you might want to think twice.  According to one offer I received, “[a] $10 surcharge may apply to reservations booked through our call center”.  Unlike the NCL Web page, however, there was no asterisk (*) directing me to this disclaimer.  It was in much smaller type than the offer and totally disassociated from the offer itself.  Other offers may carry this same fee, so read everything very carefully.  Oh, by the way, when’s the last time Hilton (or Marriott or Hyatt, etc.) charged you a fee to book a room at their hotels?  In this economy, most are grateful for your business.

Donny and Marie Heading To Broadway
Don’t plan to see Donny and Marie at the Flamingo in Las Vegas next month if you’ve scheduled a trip between December 9 and 19.  They’ll be playing Broadway at the Marriott Marquis Theater.  Currently, at least on the Flamingo Web site, no tickets are being sold past November 27.

Caesars Palace Updates
·         Texting Options – Check-out by sending a text message.  At the end of your stay, send a text message with your name and room number.  In return you’ll get an e-mail confirming all the details.  Another feature, “Text To Request,” allows you to request extra towels, housekeeping service, etc.
·         munchbar Happy Hours – My new favorite casual dining spot has dropped the entrée I enjoyed most (and wrote about in the September newsletter), the grilled tuna.  However, they now have a Happy Hour (4 to 7 p.m.) and Reverse Happy Hour (9 p.m. to midnight).  Draft beer and all appetizers are half-price.  The pizzadilla [$6.50] is a good choice if you’re by yourself, but don’t even think about ordering the nachos [also $6.50] unless there are two (or more!) of you – it’s gigantic (but delicious).  A Miller Lite cost $3, so, for less than $10, you can have an inexpensive – if not particularly nutritious – early evening or late night snack.
·         In-Room Coffeemakers – The Augustus and Palace Towers are testing in-room Keurig coffeemakers.  These single-serve systems are great, but they’re not cheap – $12 for a four-pack of individual “K-cups” (available through the minibar).  Consider bringing your own cups from home (they retail for approximately 50¢ each) – or, if you’re staying in the Augustus Tower, just take the elevator down to Seven Stars Registration after 8 a.m. and serve yourself from their complimentary coffee service.  You also can pick up a free copy of USA Today.
·         Total Connect – After you check-in be sure to see the concierge to get a Total Connect sticker for your room key card.  Throughout your stay you can check for special offers by swiping the TC sticker on specially designated signs throughout the casino.  After about 24 hours, all I had was $5 off a Café Lago buffet and a free dessert with the purchase of two entrées at the Augustus Café.
·         Seven Stars/Diamond Registration – If you arrive on Sunday through Thursday after 10 p.m., the Seven Stars and Diamond Registration desks will probably be closed.  If there is a huge line at the “regular” registration desk, look for the small “Diamond Registration” sign at the far left of the front desk, next to the concierge.

Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider – November Edition”

Seven Stars Insider – October Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – October 2010

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information 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.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online.

Donny and Marie To ‘Vacation’ In Atlantic City This Summer?
The rumor mill has it that Donny and Marie Osmond may bring their popular Las Vegas show from the Flamingo to Caesars Atlantic City this summer.  That may be just the ticket to help bolster the declining revenues that the city has been experiencing.  It wouldn’t be the first time Harrah’s has brought its West Coast “team” members to Atlantic City.  Magician Nathan Burton has performed several times, and Penn & Teller are scheduled for performances November 5 and 6 at Harrah’s.

Toll-Free Customer Service
For those of you who play in Atlantic City, here’s a useful number: (800) 542-7724.  Press 1 for account information (then 4 to talk to a “real” person; then 1 for Bally’s, 2 for Caesars, 3 for Harrah’s or 4 for Showboat).  Press 2 if you are having problems with receiving mail.  Press 3 if you want to provide some feedback regarding an experience you had.  Press 4 for a Win-Loss Statement.  The “live” service is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Question Of The Month
I got my Seven Stars card this summer and already earned about 50,000 more tier points by the beginning of September.  I went to [name of casino hotel withheld] for the Labor Day weekend and got treated like “dirt”.  I requested a suite, but was told there were none available.  Instead, my room had a broken lock, only a few towels, no drinking glasses, and every time I opened up the door I faced the area where the housekeeping cart was stored.  And, while I got complimentary tickets for a show that weekend, my seats were in the last row!  I thought my card was going to get me special treatment.  Well, yes, sort of.  Here’s the problem:  In my opinion, Harrah’s sets you (and others) up for such high expectations that many times it just won’t happen.  For example, your room situation.  You may have earned 150,000 tier points in eight months, but the hotel where you stayed has table game customers (who could care less about a Seven Stars card) who probably drop so much money there throughout the year that it’s nearly impossible to get a suite on a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend.  They’re basically all reserved ahead of time for those high rollers.  Same with show tickets and priority seating.  Unless you earned the bulk of your 150,000 points there, you’re not going to get the treatment you thought you deserved.  Another example:  Even someone who consistently earns 50,000 points every year with the bulk of his play at Caesars in Atlantic City is going to be treated better at Caesars (or Harrah’s, or Showboat, or Bally’s) than a Seven Stars who earned his points at Chester (or at a combination of properties).  It’s the same even if you play consistently in Atlantic City, but split your play among the four Harrah’s-owned properties.  You will not get treated nearly as well as someone who plays solely at one casino.  You might get offers for four gifts on a given weekend, but they won’t be as nice as the one gift you may have gotten at your primary property had you just played there.  In addition, you may get the same amount of free play offers, but you’ll have to run around to each casino to play them.  With Seven Stars, about the only things you can count on are the “national” benefits: trip, dinner, gift, etc.  And, depending on where you book your trip, don’t expect a suite or a lot of special treatment unless you’re already a rated player there and/or your host who sets up your trip has some connection at your destination.  (Even that’s not a guarantee because if one of your destination’s big customers comes in, you’ll get “bumped”.)  Of course, you’ll always get priority service with valet parking and use of dedicated lines, but even that has been watered down because so many lines are now “Diamond/Seven Stars”.  How are you supposed to know if the people in front of you are Diamond or maybe another Seven Stars?  Harrah’s puts the onus – and potential embarrassment – on you should you try to go to the head of the line, only to find out that the three people in front of you are also Seven Stars.  (It happened to me once at Bally’s coffee shop.)

Straight, No Chaser
I knew I was “skating on thin ice” when I offered an opinion about the a cappella group Straight, No Chaser.  Interestingly, of the e-mails I received, they were almost evenly divided among those who disagreed with me and those who agreed – and almost totally along “gender lines”.  The ladies loved them; the guys were, well, a little less enthusiastic.  I guess this just proves what we all knew anyway. . .you can’t please everyone.  Hey, thanks for writing. . .it’s nice to know someone’s out there reading the stuff I put out.

Gary Loveman Article
There is an interesting article about Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman online:

Nothing personal, Bally’s, but it’s ‘PERSONNEL’
Apparently spelling is not something taught at Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.’s Regional Employment and Training Center in Atlantic City.  This photo, taken on Indiana Avenue, is one of several warning signs posted at the entrances to a parking lot adjacent to the Center on Pacific Avenue.

At least they spelled “trespassing” correctly.

Flamingo Pool
The GO Pool at the Flamingo in Las Vegas is still for adults only – and, guys, it will cost you, but not the ladies, to get in – but, what was once a “tops-optional” pool, is making women stay fully covered.  Your only Harrah’s option in Las Vegas for a “European-style” experience is at Caesars Palace.

Harrah’s Wichita No Longer On The Table
Without citing any specific reason, Harrah’s Entertainment last month withdrew its proposal to develop and operate a state-owned casino in Mulvane, Kan., about 15 miles south of Wichita.  The plan included a 100-room hotel, several restaurants, a sports bar, retail space, and nearly 15,000 square feet of entertainment and meeting space.  Future plans could have included everything from a golf course and waterpark to a tennis facility, additional hotel rooms and an RV park.

Did You Know. . .
. . .I should have independently substantiated some information I erroneously published last month?  What was once the site of the Showboat bowling alley is now the Mardi Gras Buffet and Mansion Café (not the House of Blues), and it was the Howard Johnson’s Regency Motor Hotel that became the Boardwalk Regency Hotel Casino (which is now Caesars Atlantic City).  It was a Holiday Inn next door that became what is now Trump Plaza’s East Tower.  Here’s a new “historical” fact (courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer):  There once were child care centers in Harrah’s Resort and Trump Taj Mahal.  (They may have closed when management realized the possible negative PR it could cause by making it too easy for parents to gamble while someone else watched their kids.  Sounds like today’s situation at the Parx Casino outside Philadelphia where at least seven adults were found to have left children in parked cars while they went into gamble – some late into the night, many for several hours at a time, and sometimes in 90+ degree temperatures.)

‘Did you attend the Signature Event in Las Vegas last month?’
What were your impressions of the fall Signature Event in Las Vegas?  How did it compare with others you’ve attended?  If you didn’t attend, why?  Send me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com ) and I’ll share your information – anonymously, of course.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider