Sunday, April 13, 2008

$ave $ome Ca$h When You Travel by Shopping for Deals

We just got back from a 4 day/ 3 night trip to "Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada". By shopping prices online I was able to book a great deal on an air/hotel package through Expedia and earned a bunch of credit card in the process. Not only did I earn "Thank You" rewards points by using my Citi credit card, Expedia also awarded bonus thank you points for the trip. On top of that, the deal included a free room upgrade!

I knew we were getting a nice room at the Flamingo, but was blown away when we opened the door. The upgraded room included a 50" plasma tv with surround sound and a dvd player along with a walk-in shower with a TV built into the bathroom mirror! Everything was done in Flamingo Pink because we were of course staying at the Flamingo Hotel. It was a little over the top, but it was a welcome change from the standard hotel rooms we'd become accustomed to.

We took advantage of our AAA membership at one local mall which gave us a coupon booklet good for many 2for1/BoGo offers for food in the mall. Rather than eat at the pricey hotel buffets ($30 for dinner!) you're better off walking down the street and hitting some of the chain restaurants or the food courts in the hotel shopping malls. There's something to be said about consistency in food quality. One of the buffets we tried in the past was sorely disappointing, and we vowed never again. We were fortunate enough to win $100 on the slots our first day which pretty much covered our food costs for the next few days. (McDonald's/Burger King for breakfast, the food court for lunch and a decent dinner for under $20 at nearby restaurants)

While visiting the mall in the Venetian, the kind folks at Marriott were trying to get folks interested in their time-share properties in the Vegas area at the new Marriott Grand Chateux. So they were offering a 4 day three night stay at one of their properties for $149 (lodging only) but upon arrival and completion of a 2hr sales presentation they would give you a $75 visa gift card which brings the cost of the three nights down to $75, or just $25/night. If all I have to do is listen to a sales pitch for a couple of hours to save that much on a nice room, where do I sign? So we took the bait and look forward to our next trip. The offer is good for 18 months, and we planned to return in less than a year's time anyhow! Now all I have to do is find a killer deal on plane tickets and we're all set!

But wait! There's more! Pat, the lady from Marriot that we were talking to was super nice, and she hooked us up with free show tickets while we were there! We were given a pair of VIP tickets to see TOXIC AUDIO at the V Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. If you've never seen or heard of them, look them up on google, visit their website and check out some of the videos on You-Tube. It was one of the best live entertainment shows I've ever seen and I was truly impressed with their vocal talents.

All in all it was a great trip... Not only did we save a bunch of cash on our Air/Hotel, we received a free upgraded hotel room, our food was almost free thanks to our slot win, and we got (almost) free tickets to a Las Vegas show and an ultra cheap hotel stay at a nice property on our next visit! So the next time you're booking a trip, do your homework...

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