Uber and Lyft Discount Tip

This is a great tip to save money during March Madness in Las Vegas, but can really be used for any group visit.

  1. Download both the Uber and Lyft apps before reaching Las Vegas. Download Uber here and Lyft here for iPhone.
  2. First-time users should use a free ride code before paying. Here’s a $5-$20 off Uber code and $20 off 10 Lyft rides ($2 off 10 rides).
  3. The first person in the group pays for a ride using one of the codes above.
  4. After the first ride, that person should share their code with the group so that the next ride will be free or discounted.
  5. The discount codes reciprocate so each time a friend uses a code, the person sending the code gets a discount code. It’s a circle of discounts that you can use all weekend long.
  6. Repeat as desired.
  7. Enjoy VEGAS BABY!

This should negate most travel costs if a group of four is in Las Vegas for a weekend.

Uber and Lyft are not only less expensive than taxis in Las Vegas but they’re more convenient. Lines for taxis can reach up to an hour-long during a busy weekend.

You typically won’t wait for a rideshare on the Vegas Strip. Picking up a rideshare is different from taxis. Here’s a list of where you can find the Uber and Lyft pickup locations at Vegas Strip casinos.

I use both services depending on which icon I see first. Uber is slightly less expensive. It will probably save a few dollars if you’re heading to downtown Las Vegas or off the Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Is The #1 Destination For U.S. Travelers

Surprise! Las Vegas Is The #1 Destination For U.S. Travelers…according to hotels.com. Here’s the Top 10 list.

Top10US

Here’s a little more info on this ranking:

Hotels.com released its 2015 Hotel Price Index today, and named Las Vegas as the #1 destination for U.S. travelers. Last year, travelers paid an average of $122 price per night, a 6% increase compared to $116 in 2014. “Sin City” competitively priced with rooms to suit every taste, budget and interest.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, over 42 million people visited Las Vegas in 2015 as the city was home to 21,306 conventions with total room night occupancy hitting 47,896,317.

Expect hotel room prices to continue to rise as more people visit Las Vegas. Here’s more information from the press release on the overall research by hotels.com.

Latest Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com Reveals Strong U.S Dollar Brings Increase in U.S. Traveler Confidence

· U.S Travelers Willing to Spend a Little More on Domestic Hotel Rooms, as North American Index beats its 2007 Peak for First Time After Steady Increases Since 2010

· Global Hotel Prices Paid by Travelers Worldwide Rose By 1% in 2015, According to Latest Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com

· Strength of the U.S. Dollar in 2015 Meant U.S. Travelers Paid Less for Hotels Abroad

Dallas, TX – March 3, 2016: Good news for travelers coming from the latest Hotels.com® Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®) with average prices paid per night for hotel accommodation up only 1% globally in 2015 as compared to 2014. The global Index sat at 114 for 2015 and is closing the gap on the previous peak seen in 2007, the year before the global economic crisis. North America drove the global increase as the only region to see hotel prices rise (up 3%) throughout 2015 with the Index hitting 119, exceeding its pre-recession high of 117 in 2007.

Travel in the U.S.A. – American travelers focused on domestic destinations in 2015 despite an increase in prices paid* for hotel stays.
· Las Vegas was the most popular destination for U.S. domestic travel, as visitors continued to flock to Sin City for leisure and conventions
· New York City was the #2 U.S. domestic location despite relatively high hotel prices, an increase in supply helped lower the average hotel prices paid per night
· Next on the list of the 30 Most Popular Domestic Destinations for American Travelers were Orlando (3rd), San Diego (4th) and Los Angeles (5th)
· According to the National Park Service, The Grand Canyon National Park surpassed 5 million annual recreation visits for the first time in 2015. The Index reported a 13% increase for the area with a $116 average price paid per night.
· The best value hotel rooms were in Reno, Albuquerque and Jacksonville with prices paid per night under $100.

More Poutine Please – Major sporting events, quick Midwestern trips up north and the weakness in the Canadian dollar gave American travelers more opportunities to explore Toronto and Montreal. Travelers received the best value in Toronto at $148 average price paid per night and an overall 5% decrease in 2015.

An American in…Mexico – The strength of the U.S. Dollar in 2015 meant that travelers paid less for hotel accommodations in 40 of the 50 Most Popular International Destinations. Los Cabos, Riviera Maya and Cancun had the highest prices paid in 2015 with rates $200+ (proof that Americans love all-inclusive resorts and endless margaritas!). Bogota, the capital of Colombia, experienced the steepest price paid decrease with a 21% change. Americans padded their savings with travels to Brazil as the Brazilian Real continued to slide against the U.S. Dollar. Rio de Janeiro saw a 30% decrease with an average price paid of $179.

European Vacation – London was the top international destination for Americans despite having the highest price paid of $257 when compared to other European cities. Popular German cities, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich saw more decreases as travelers paid $131 per night in Berlin. Backpackers and deal hunters rejoiced in Paris and Rome as the Index reported double digit changes for two of the most popular European destinations in 2015.

Stretching the Budget in Asia – American travelers visited Asia for lower hotel prices, Instagram-worthy beaches and excellent shopping. The HPI reported the lowest average prices paid per night in South Korea and Thailand where travelers paid an average of $91 in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Tourism in Japan is booming with numbers up more than 40% in 2015, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, which placed Tokyo as #7 on the popularity list for U.S. travelers. The average price paid per night in Tokyo was $177 with a 2% decrease from 2014.

About the HPI
The HPI is a regular report on hotel prices in major destinations across the world, tracking the movement in prices that people actually paid for their accommodation and providing valuable insight into the reasons behind these changes. The data is drawn from bookings made on the hundreds of thousands of hotels on the Hotels.com websites worldwide.

Please visit hpi.hotels.com/us-h22015/ for more information and to view reports in additional currencies.

*Average prices paid per night inclusive of taxes and fees.

Frequent Traveler University In Las Vegas

Frequent Traveler University Las Vegas

TheDMarquee

I used to travel a lot for work but that’s slowed down since I moved to Las Vegas. I know a lot of you still travel pretty often and I thought that this might be useful. Frequent Travel University (FTU) has a slew of speakers that will offer tips on how to maximize airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Getting the most out of these non-Vegas loyalty programs can help provide free or discounted visits to Vegas. That money is better used in the casino anyway. The Vegas edition of FTU takes place on April 29 and 30 in Downtown Vegas at The D.

You can find some details below and full details on the FTU website. The first 10 people to register with promo code edgeFTU will save $10. The code is good until March 26.

The Program

The all-day Manufactured Spend boot camp intensive is sold out, but fear not. For those with interest in MS, there are still sessions on the latest and greatest Manufactured Spend opportunities on both Saturday and Sunday that are included with the FTU Signature Event. Instead of spending the entire day on just one subject, there will be two 1 ½ hour sessions over two days and it also gives you the opportunity to attend a variety of the other sessions available during the weekend. There will be 3 sessions running concurrently during the day so attendees at the FTU Signature Event will be spoilt for choice. Plus, not every session is repeated at every FTU so there is bound to be something new for those who have attended FTU’s before. 

Sample sessions include:

— What is it like to live in hotels full time?

— Finding Cheap Premium Fares

— Introduction to Mileage Running: Costs and Benefits

— International Upgrade Methods and Strategies

— Using ExpertFlyer

— Live Award Bookings

— Advanced booking techniques for revenue tickets

— Non-traditional awards and miles

Optional Blackjack tournament – Travel Writers & Industry VIPs vs. Frequent Flyers

On Friday night after the cocktail reception, continue the fun by participating in the first ever FTU charity Blackjack Tournament: Industry VIPs and travel writers versus frequent travelers. This tournament is all about fun. Never played cards before in a casino environment? No worries. This tournament is a great opportunity to play blackjack in a friendly atmosphere. The dealers will be professional casino “Go-Go” dancer dealer/entertainers.  It also gives you the chance to compete against some of your favorite travel writers and industry VIPs. 

We have great prizes lined up that include up to 50K SPG points courtesy of Starwood Preferred Guest.

Expect lots of fun and some surprises. This is sure to be a must-do event! Tickets for the Blackjack tournament are $50, and all proceeds go towards the InsideFlyer Kiva charity Lending Team. Your ticket also includes $25 in match play coupons that can be used at The D Casino, which makes this not only an amazing opportunity for charity but also a fabulous “deal”. Tickets for the optional Blackjack tournament can be purchased here – https://ftuniversity.com/events/ftu-signature-las-vegas/

 

Vegas Hotel Rooms Up 15% From 2014, Highest Since 2007

SLS Las Vegas Carpet - Vegas Hotel Rooms
SLS Las Vegas Carpet

Prices for Vegas hotel rooms are booming.

..the month’s average daily room rate of $136.02, up 15.1 percent from a year ago, was at its highest level since the Great Recession.

Strip rates were up 13.1 percent to $145.80 while downtown rates climbed 2.8 percent to $64.62.

Furthermore

Visitation to Las Vegas inched up slightly in January…Monthly visitation hit 3.4 million, just 0.1 percent ahead of January 2014.

2014 had a record number of visitors to Las Vegas and that trend is expected to continue in 2015.

More visitors in Vegas and less rooms available (with Riviera closing) is a recipe for higher hotel prices. (don’t forget to add resort fees, here’s a good list).

Happy New Year!

The Average Hotel Room In Vegas Costs $134, Highest Since 2008

Las Vegas Hotel ADR & Occupancy Rate
Las Vegas ADR & Occupancy Rate

The average daily hotel room rate (ADR) in Las Vegas was $134 in March. 93.4% of hotel rooms available were occupied by people who paid or got the room for free from a players club offer. If you look at the chart there has been a huge spike in both occupancy and ADR this year.

Expect room rates to continue to soar in the short-term. Delano Las Vegas, SLS Las Vegas and The Cromwell can’t open their hotel rooms soon enough. Hopefully the flood of hotel rooms will keep room prices stable.

Photo: @MyResearcher

Wifi Is Most Important Amenity For Hotel Guests, Mini Bar Is Least

Mini Bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Mini Bar at Cosmopolitan

I love a good survey when done by a reputable company. Trip Advisor is a pretty good representation of the American traveler as their users include everyone from the person that travels weekly for work to the person that takes just one trip a year.

TripAdvisor just released a survey that looks at the hotel amenities travelers can and can’t do without.

Most Important Hotel Amenities for U.S. Travelers

1.      Free In-Room Wi-Fi (89%)
2.      Free Parking (89%)
3.      Free Breakfast (84%)
4.      Free Personal Care Items (72%)
5.      Free Lobby Wi-Fi (71%)

Least Important Hotel Amenities for U.S. Travelers

1.      Mini Bar (21%)
2.      Spa/Beauty Treatments (23%)
3.      Business Center (34%)
4.      Laundry Service (39%)
5.      Free Pool-Side Wi-Fi (42%)

I didn’t realize that so many hotels offer free breakfast that so many people would want that. I’ve never considered that an amenity, but of course I usually travel to casinos. Beyond breakfast I’m in line with much of this list.

I must be the last person that uses the mini-bar. Last week I had a Red Stripe in a can from the mini-bar at Cosmopolitan. I don’t know what I would have done if I had to wait 15 minutes for my friend without that beer 🙂

What amenities do you want in your hotel room?

Photo: Flickr

If You’re Coming To Vegas This Weekend Bring Moisturizer

Las Vegas Weather
Las Vegas Weather

It took me just one summer to get used to the Las Vegas heat. I still hate it but I can deal with it. Last night I was watching the channel 3 news and the weather man almost sounded as if he was panicking. He was so freaked out that I had to stop playing WinPoker and rewind to see what was going on. That’s when I snapped the picture above. It’s not just going to be hot for the next 2 weeks but he thinks it’s going to be record-breaking hot.

  1. Saturday – Las Vegas should break the record for hottest day (ever?).
  2. 10 Days – May be in the 110’s for a record number of days.

I picked a fine time to take a vacation in Vegas. Seriously. My hotel rooms will be as cold as a meat locker. I never make my house into a meat locker so this will be a nice treat.

Common sense should tell anyone that it’s hotter in the sun and that’s extreme in Las Vegas. You can add at least 15 degrees to the 117+ degree temperatures when you’re out in the sun. Let is be known that I’ll be hiding under the Fremont Street canopy on Saturday when I stay at The D. Sorry El Cortez. Sorry Mob Bar. OK, that’s probably a lie. Ain’t nothin gonna stop me.

The worst part of the heat is that it’s a dry heat. It dries out the skin more than you can imagine. I carry lip balm and I will be moisturizing all day and all night. I just hope that the casinos have enough moisturizer for me because I don’t need to get ashy. Yeah, I don’t like lizard skin.

Here are some hot weather tips for Vegas.

  1. Alternate water with your booze.
  2. Use lots of moisturizer on your skin.
  3. Use lip balm.
  4. Carry on.
  5. There’s nothing to see.

The heat stinks but if you’re in Vegas and you’re like me you’ll probably spend most of your time in a casino. My only real advice is to stay moist because this extreme dry heat can be annoying.

Las Vegas Is The Most Affordable Vacation In America

Aria Marquee At Night
Aria Marquee At Night

Last week Trip Advisor released their TripIndex list of the most affordable places to vacation in America and Las Vegas came in as the cheapest. How ’bout that?!

Among TripIndex Cities, Honolulu rings up the biggest tab as the most expensive U.S. destination with a TripIndex cost of $504.94, while Las Vegas offers the most affordable stay at $272.94.

Typically I find lists like this to be a waste for customers as they’re generated to sell something or gain traffic but Trip Advisor has been around long enough not to make me laugh at their lists. That’s not to say Trip Advisor isn’t using TripIndex to gain traffic but it’s generally the place everyone I know looks for travel reviews. Once you scrape through the 90% of reviews that are fake or people with an axe to grind there is useful information.

Prices for luxury hotels on the Vegas Strip and resort fees take the attention away from how affordable Vegas can still be for people if that’s what they want. I don’t always want a vacation on a budget but my hotel room at The D for my summer vacation is only $50 on a Saturday (My $40 room was pretty sweet). I’ll be using my fancy Platinum Total Rewards status to get free rooms at Flamingo for the rest of my time away. This will allow me to blow more money on steak and gambling. You can’t hate that!

Mid-range hotels in places like New York City, San Francisco and Hawaii will often cost a couple hundred dollars per night while the average daily cost for a room in Vegas is just over $100. Not too shabby.

The TripIndex list also has Miami and New Orleans on the cheapest places to vacation. I’m really not a fan of anywhere in Florida for vacation but I looooooove New Orleans and will always recommend that a place to visit. Beside great food, drink and culture they have casinos. Harrah’s is walking distance to just about every tourist area as well as Mother’s where you will get one of the best Po’ Boys in the city.

Best Airlines In America

Virgin America Airlines
Virgin America

When it came to travel I was lucky to be from New York City. I had my choice of three airports – LaGuardia, Newark and JFK. LaGuardia (LGA)was closest to me but I rarely flew from there because it was the hub for American Airlines and they didn’t fly direct everywhere I wanted. I only fly direct when possible. JFK (JFK) always felt so far away and even if it wasn’t that I didn’t bother heading that way.

Newark (EWR) was the airport I flew out of most. That made United (then Continental) my main airline because Newark airport is their hub. I had a love/hate relationship with Continental. The flights were generally bad (service, comfort, etc.) but they were so frequent and inexpensive that they were usually my choice. When the two airlines merged service when from bad to really bad. The last time I flew United is when I left the east coast.

United/Continental have dominated my air travel but I’ve dabbled with other airlines and when Consumer Reports released their Top 10 List of airlines in America I had to agree with all of it from experience and hearsay.

1. Virgin America, 89
2. Southwest Airlines, 85
3. JetBlue Airways, 85
4. Hawaiian Airlines, 82
5. Alaska Airlines, 81
6. Frontier Airlines, 78
7. Delta Air Lines, 71
8. US Airways, 66
9. American Airlines, 66
10. United Airlines, 63
(11. Spirit Airlines, 50)

I’ve flown the majority of these airlines and this list seems fairly accurate. I’d rank American higher but not sure I’d really argue much about shifting the bottom side of this list. I’ve never seen or heard a positive thing about Spirit Air and 50 out of 100 on this scale seems a bit high.

I flew Virgin America for the first time last year and found it to be the most pleasant flying experience I’ve ever had. Between wifi, great service, outlets for charging and comfortable seating the flight was amazing. Flying Virgin America is how all air travel should be. I just wish they flew direct everywhere.

Southwest from Las Vegas (LAS) may not be as nice as Virgin but my first experience with them was also fantastic. I’m IMing with a friend back east while I write this and think I’ve decided to fly Southwest back east on my next trip. I’d prefer Virgin America since I can wifi throughout the trip but Southwest is a fine second option.

It’s unfortunate that neither Virgin or Southwest airlines has many direct flights to Las Vegas from east coast cities because they are airlines that I know my friends would like and prefer to their “legacy carriers”, which you’ll notice are all on the bottom half of this list.

Have a favorite airline?

You Can’t Stay At A Gas Station In Vegas

Terribles Las Vegas
Terribles

A few years ago a couple of friends were talking to some girls and asked them where they were staying on their Vegas vacation. The girls answered “Terribles”.  Never hearing of Terribles Casino my friends asked the girls if they were staying in a gas station. Until that point the only Terribles my friends and I had ever seen or heard of were gas stations.

Well, those girls can no longer stay at Terribles Hotel and Casino. After undergoing a $7 million facelift the property is now called Silver Sevens.

Affinity’s decision to change the name comes after a $7 million, 18-month renovation that included an expanded bar, new sports book and upgraded rooms…

…“We went with Silver Sevens because it has that vintage feel,” said David Nolan, the property’s general manager. 

Not that names matter but I dig Silver Sevens. I’ve stayed at a hotel called The D last week. That name is pretty awful but who cares? The D hotel and casino are both great. Silver Sevens reminds me of slot machines. I like slot machines.

Terribles Silver Sevens is still an inexpensive hotel option just off the Vegas strip on Paradise. The renovations make Silver Sevens one of the better deals for a near strip hotel. Would you rather stay at The Orleans for $50 a night or a newly renovated Silver Sevens? I’d probably opt for the newer hotel rooms. For $10-$20 more you can get a recently renovated room at the Hard Rock. That’s probably the route I’d go.

Photo: Wikimedia