I was recently in Vegas for a conference. I arrived about an hour before my meeting and I needed to keep my myself busy in order to avoid the allure of the blackjack tables. I decided I would update the address on my Total Reward Points Card I am far from a high roller but I collect the points because hey why not. While at the booth I noticed an advertisement for a credit card and my attention was instantly piqued. The card was a Total Rewards Credit Card and it includes a 10,000 point sign up bonus. The card does not have a annual fee and the 10,000 point signup bonus is equivalent to $100. For a no annual fee credit card $100 is not great when compared the Chase Freedom Unlimited's $150 sign up bonus and about half of what you can get by signing BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card which both offer 20,000 point sign up bonus which translates to about a $200.
At first glance the card seemed to be a bit of a rip off especially when you consider the points can only be redeemed when booking a room or dining or shopping at a Caesars property. However the $100 sign up bonus is not the only benefit that you get as you also get a yearly choice of:
- Two (2) buffet passes at any Total Rewards destination
- Two (2) tickets for the High Roller® in Las Vegas
- One (1) night stay at a Total Rewards destination
- Two (2) show tickets at any Total Rewards destination
The bonus that really jumps out to me is the free hotel room which is valid at any Caesars property, though getting a couple free buffet passes is hard to pass on. Vegas hotel prices vary a lot based on occupancy Caesars is typically the most expensive place to book right now but when I checked right now and PH was actually higher. You can only use the free night stay Sunday-Thursday but if you are booking a room in the summer time this can still be a $110-$240 saving. For the other benefits there is quite a bit a fine print to review so you might want to go here if you think this card can get you free tickets to see Britney
You might think this card is worth signing up for just to take advantage of the free room but you might also be thinking that the point of this post was to learn how to use credit card reward points for my bachelor party. Well my fellow party boy I shall get to the point right now.
The card gives 5x points at any Caesars owned property which includes bottle service purchases at Drais and Omnia and Chateau. Note the bar or club needs to owned by Caesars in order for you to get the 5x points. make sure to 2x your statement credit and assure you received the 5x points for the bottle service purchases.
The other Caesars hotels do not have a club inside of them.
5x points essentially works out to 5% cash back, but remember that cash back can only be spent at a Caesars resort. 5% cash back is better than anything you can get from any card on the market when spending on bottle service sure from time to Chase Freedom offers 5% back on things like gas- but no card offers 5% cash back on a necessity like bottle service.
Here is how I would organize a weekend in Vagas to maximize credit card rewards. First some tips I have learned after over 10+ party boy trips to Vegas.
- The more money you spend the more fun you have. The folks that set pricing in Vegas are truly geniuses. I have never seen a better calculation of money spent to utility- sorry guys there are no deals. One time we thought we got a deal on a booth, but after about 45 mins our 10 person booth was split and 5 more dudes got squished in.
- You will never pace yourself so get all of the "memorable" stuff out of the way upfront. Do the big steak dinner the first night you land, do any games or other stupid stuff that you think makes you unique on the first night. You will be shells by the time you leave.
- Don't chase the dragon- go for less expensive bottle service options if it is your first time, then next time you go back pay a little more- you will have more fun. Doing the same thing you did the year before and expecting the same level of fun will only leave you disappointed.
- Skip the strip club
Itinerary to maximize points-
- Get the Chase Southwest Companion Pass. Remember you can change the name on the pass three times so get the pass then tell everyone that you paid for the bachelor's flight and then get out of chipping in for his bottle service or the steak dinner.
- Fly in for a Friday night and leave on Monday morning. Make sure to use your free hotel night on the Sunday
- Hopefully you land around 5pm then go for a steak dinner. There are tons of great places to eat in Vegas. My recco is drive over to Bally's (Caesar's hotel so you can get the cash back). BLT steak is a good old school steak spot so put your pointy shoes on and go get some Steak and Cab then throw it all up later on.
- Do Omnia on Friday night if you are doing your bachelor party during the summer months it is going to be pricey on a Friday night. Calvin Harris plays Friday nights so again prices are massive. Below is a pricing chart I was sent for Fridays (2016) at Omnia
Main Room Featuring – Calvin Harris
Dance Floor (15ppl) - $12,500-$15,000
2nd Tier (15ppl) - $10,000
3rd Tier (12ppl) - $7,500 (We ended up getting one of these booths for $6,500 all in on a Saturday. If you are stressed about the money reverse my recommendation for Friday and Saturday night. Saturday at Omnia was amazing and I recommend it. I could careless about what DJ is playing but the bigger the DJ the better the party.)
Skybox (20ppl) - $8,000-$10,000
Large Balcony (12ppl) - $7,000
Small Balcony (10ppl) - $6,500
Heart of Omnia Featuring – OB-One
Owners Tables (12ppl) - $4,000-$5,000
Dance Floor (12ppl) - $3,500
2nd Tier (10ppl) - $2,500
2nd Tier (12ppl) - $4,000
Cabanas (10ppl) - $3,000
Strip View (8ppl) - $2,000
These prices do not include tax or gratuity. All bottle services will add on a 8% service tax and gratuity which varies from club but is usually around 20%. If you have 10 guys and you want bottle service at a major club assume 8k+ all in You can go to smaller clubs and pay less but super clubs Omnia, HakkasXS,
4. Pool parties are the main reason why I recommend Vegas over other locals for a bachelor party. Saturday morning 11am get out of bed and head to Drais. Prices are much less for pool parties. A group of 10 will be able to get a Cabana in a rather poor location for $1,200-$1,800 dependent on how good of a DJ they have. The top Cabana's at Drais cost around $3-5k for a Saturday for a group of 10. If you get a cheaper poor location cabana you benefit from having a central location for you to store your stuff but will be far away from the pool and will be somewhat isolated- which is no fun. Going in the pool is really gross, but pretty fun so if you have a cabana away from the pool you won't spend as much time hanging by your cabana. My recco if this is your first Vegas trip get the cheap cabana then upgrade each trip.
5. Sat night not everyone will make it out so take it a little easier and try checking out Chateau which could be fun, cheaper and more chill. You will at max have about 6 guys make it out and will be able to get a table for $1,800 all in or $300 per person (reach out early and talk to a table service person and see what type of deal they will work for you- best to do this in person and see if you get a vibe that the place is busy and the type of crowd, this place could be very hit or miss, but I still recommend getting bottle service). Remember drinks with tip are close to $20 each so one round is $120+$40 for a general admission ticket so you are the hook for $160. If you end up buying drinks for another group of friends then it doesn't take much to add up to $300. At least with table service you have a place to chill away from everyone. Now as I said earlier Chateau has kind of lost it luster- it used to be a really great back in the day - the venue is still really cool and is a cheaper alternative to the super clubs (XS, Hakkasan, Marquee) so give it a try.
6. Sunday forget the points because let's face it right now you are brain dead and there is no way you will be able to understand anything more than simple commands so,
- Sunday morning go to a pool party- Rehab at Hard Rock or Marquee at Cosmo
-Sunday night go to Nightswim at XS which is located in the Wynne.
Ok so if you are organized and get everyone to pre pay a single card holder before the trip you can place all of these expenses on a single card and benefit from the points. Here is how much money you can get back
$1000 for the steak dinner ($100 per person) = $50 cash back
$8,000 for bottle service at Omnia ($800 person) = $400 cash back
$1,500 for bottle service at Drai's pool party ($150 per person) = $75
$1,800 for bottle service at Chateau ($300 per Zombie) = $90
Sunday- no points for this day but expect to pay $400 between the two clubs per person. You could get a Discover it Miles card and get at the end of the year receive 3% cashback - and free wifi for your flight home!
By simply organizing your bachelor party ahead of time you can earn $615 in money that can be used to buy hotel rooms for your next bachelor party trip. Here are some points to consider if you are planning on doing this. Make sure to call ahead and get the whole group to "buy" into you bottle service itinerary. Get them to pre pay you for Omnia which is the most expensive night. Make sure you trust all the guys in your group- if you don't, make sure they pre pay if they want in on the bottle service.
Agreeing to split up the $615- make sure you have a solid group of guys that are part of the original bachelor party and will most likely be in multiple wedding parties together. Your buddies weird soon to be brother-in-law should just be happy he is allowed to come on the trip and tell him to take a hike if he asks about the credit card points. Use these points to book rooms for the next bachelor party and repeat steps above switching up the clubs as new ones open up.
As I think of more ways to use the card I will add to this post. Disagree- please comment below!