How to Get a Comp with a Service Problem

How to Get a Comp with a Service Problem

Today I would like to discuss an important subject, how to handle problems with your travel booking, hotel stay, or other service issues. You might even benefit from a room upgrade, comped meal, or other free things by bringing something to a companies attention. This advice doesn’t only apply to  Las Vegas, and works well with any service industry.

The best way to handle a problem is to keep your cool and remember that the person you are dealing with most likely did not cause your problem in the first place. They are just trying to do their job the best they can and treating them with respect will take you further than you think.  You might even get a comp or something for free if you are nice enough.

When you have a problem with your hotel room, the best course of action is to visit them at the front desk.  They will know you are serious because your are down there instead of calling from your phone and because you are there in person it will be more difficult for them to send you away.  I’ve heard of great stories where there was something wrong with their room (broken safe, broken TV, plumbing issues) and when the person respectfully notified the front desk they were upgraded to a better room.  This is not a fool proof approach, especially on the weekends when there is much less vacancy, but it is always worth a shot.  At the very least you deserve a fully functional room.

I also ran into a situation where a restaurant had overcharged me.  I called them up and explained the situation calmly.  I was nice and they were understanding.  At the end of the call they gave me their email and said to let me know when I’ll be back so they can give me a comped meal.  I didn’t even ask, I just wanted the money that was owed me, but instead I got both.

Another way to handle service issues is through social media and one of the best parts about Vegas is how fast the establishments have adopted it. Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook and they will address many things you send to them. I recently booked a vacation package at Vdara that came with two free show tickets. I booked on the last day of the deal and the phone number they provided to order tickets was busy all day. Other people were having this issue and were flipping out on Facebook. I wrote a quick message explaining my problem and asked how I should handle the situation. MGM provided an alternate phone number for me to call. There was still a 10 minute hold time, but at least I got my tickets. The morale of the story is, send a polite message to the company on Facebook and Twitter requesting assistance and they will likely get back to you.

Of course if the company doesn’t get back to you, venting your frustration on Twitter may work well for you. I’ve seen angry customers claiming they will never go to The Bank at Bellagio again. Bellagio tweeted back, “What happened, is there anything we can do?” They realize that one person’s opinion can be shared with numerous other people and know you will say something nice about them if they comp you something.

Speaking of social media, follow me @VegasForCheap for the latest Las Vegas deals, discounts, sweepstakes, and opinion.

Free Gambling Money at Mandalay Bay

Free Gambling Money at Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay has an ongoing promotion where they will give you $10 for free if you give as long as you gamble with it and risk $20 of your own hard earned cash!  Plus they give you”win cards” to teach you best strategy. Win cards are essentially sliders that help you figure out what to bet for certain table games and what your odds are for each one. The cards aren’t all that great, but if you would like help when to hit or double down in blackjack you may find them useful. The best part is, every six months you can sign up for new win cards at the Mlife desk and if you pay the cashier $20 they will give you $30 in special chips.

You can take these chips to roulette, blackjack, or craps. The best thing to do is probably put the whole $30 on red and be done with it. Unfortunately if you win they pay you $30 in real chips and make you keep the $30 in fake chips, which you cannot cash in. That is what I ended up doing, hit red the first time, and lost my chips on black the next spin, so I walked away $10 up. Another great part is that to promote good tipping they give you a piece of paper that lets $1 ride along with your bet so if you win the dealer wins.

The process does take some time, but the Mlife desk at Mandalay Bay is rarely busy so you can usually do it in 10 minutes with minimal waiting in line.  First have your ID and Mlife card ready and ask for the “win cards” promotion.  They will fill out a piece of paper and give it to you.  You take that paper to the cashier with your ID and Mlife card again.  There they will give you your special chips for $20, which you can take immediately to the tables.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace Review

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace Review

One of my favorite Vegas activities is eating at buffets.  I wouldn’t say I can eat a ton of food, but I love having the option to get what I want, oftentimes at around the same price as one plate at a mid range restaurant.  My September trip I had the pleasure of trying Caesars brand new Bacchanal buffet twice for lunch.

When eating a buffet I always start with the Asian station.  Bacchanal takes the cake with theirs and they have the best sushi and potstickers I have had at any buffet.  The rest of the food in this category was fairly average, but it is really hard for every dish to be amazing.

The lasagna was delicious

Next, I moved to the pasta station.  There were 4 or 5 dishes, which I think is 1 or 2 more than most places.  The lasagna pictured above was so good I forgot to take a picture of it before eating half.  They took a nod from Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon here by giving individual dishes.  The thing they did not figure out was how to keep the food hot, but the dish safe to pick up.  This one in particular was super hot and I almost burned myself putting it on my plate.  I would suggest adding a wooden handle for these items.

Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Next for an amazing side dish, the sweet potato tater tots.  At first I thought there were too many in the container, but as soon as I ate one I realized why they have so many.  They simply taste amazing.  On a special side dish though I have to give Cosmopolitan the win here with their make your own mac and cheese.

Creme brulee… and chocolate creme brulee???

Last is dessert.  This is where Bacchanal shines above most of its competition.  Only Wynn’s buffet has better dessert and Bacchanal is far superior than Wicked Spoon’s most important course of the meal.  I am a sucker for creme brulee and they blew my mind with the chocolate variety.  They also have your typical cake pops that seem to be so popular now days as well as a gelato station and a make your own crepe station.  They supposedly had chocolate mousse, but it was in a pop form, so if any improvement could be made I would suggest making a mousse dish instead of just a cake pop.

To be fair, I have only been to Wicked Spoon at dinner time and only ate lunch at Bacchanal.  Before eating here I would say Wynn and Cosmopolitan share the top spot for my favorite buffets, With Bellagio and Rio in a close second, and the fact that a lunch buffet is in the running says something.  Because I only ate lunch I will still hold out for the dinner buffet but if you are looking for an all around great buffet in all courses this is the one for you.  It might not have the super shock and awe factor of you must try this item like Wicked Spoon but the number of quality dishes is ridiculous.  Bacchanal is also very large and has more options than any other buffet except the Rio and the atmosphere is a little chaotic with tables seeming to be in any order.  I enjoyed the atmosphere though  and the music is up beat and cool, which I’m sure keeps people moving fast.  If they sit you in the front, make sure you check out the back, it is almost like there are hidden rooms.  If you have been to Caesars Buffet in the past, this isn’t even a real comparison.  The buffet is at least 2 to 3 times bigger and the quality is beyond better.  As an added bonus if you show your total rewards card at dinner you get a few dollars less, which is normally $40.

 

Review of Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio

Review of Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio

Ever since I started working on this website, putting up restaurant reviews was always next on my to do list.  After all, eating is one of the most important activities in Las Vegas.  Seeing how this is my first official review, I figured I would start with my favorite location on the Strip, Olives at Bellagio.

Olives is my favorite restaurant on the Strip because of the whole package.  They have great food, wonderful service, and a perfect atmosphere to boot.  What can beat eating and drinking overlooking the Bellagio fountains going off?  Now you are certainly not guaranteed to sit outside on the patio, but I will go over tips to get the best seat below.  It is located on the Caesars Palace side of Bellagio so if you hit the casino you  have gone too far.

Don’t go to Olives if you are in a hurry.  Normally I do not like dinners that drag on to long, but enjoying everything is worth it here.  The night will start with  tap water or bottled water?  After that tough decision your server will stop by to ask you if you need help with the drink menu.  After you order drinks you will get a delicious basket of bread with crushed olives to spread on it.  I don’t really like olives so I stick to the green olive spread which tastes pretty close to solid olive oil.

Olives starter bread with crushed olives

After the bread and drinks, your server will come back for your order.  I have tried the short rib, veal pasta, rabbit, and the roast beef slides.  All the food was good to amazing.  My favorite so far is the veal pasta, but I would have to say the Foie Gras starter is the best food I have tasted in Vegas.  For context here is  little information about my tastes.  I will not eat expensive food just because it is expensive and I enjoy a great pasta dish over a great steak any day so I am not a traditional foodie.

Olives Veal & Fontina Fazzoletti

Now for the tricks about the patio because a reservation does not guarantee you eating outside.  Part of the experience is sitting outside and watching the fountains.  I am 4 for 4 sitting outside and if I wasn’t sitting outside I would most likely pick another restaurant as my favorite.  The best pointer is to eat at off times or at lunch.  Lunchtime is much less popular than dinner.  Of course it is hot and not dark, which takes the experience away a little bit but it is still a good time.  Just make sure to eat at noon or later because the fountains do not start until then.  The next option is to get an earlier reservation around 6 PM and ask to eat on the patio.  If they say they are full offer to wait for a table outside.  Last time I tried this I waited until 6:45, which was well worth it.  Lastly, even though they say they do not guarantee outside tables, if your party is big enough they seem to allow it.  If you have a group of 10 or larger and are celebrating something there is a good chance they will set you up outside.

Olives Ravioli

Prices start around $30 a plate and go up to about $55 a plate.  Considering the quality of food I think these prices are not unreasonable.  I can’t count how many $20 burgers there are in Vegas so plunking down $36 for some great pasta is not  a problem for  me.  There are more expensive restaurants too that I have not enjoyed as much as Olives so do yourself a favor and give it a try.

$29 Social Media Rates at Flamingo

$29 Social Media Rates at Flamingo

Deal Summary

Flamingo is offering special rates for their Twitter and Facebook followers.  Don’t worry, you do not actually need to follow them to get this deal, you just need to visit the link below.  The rates are pretty good and start at $29 per night.  Even the Saturday before Christmas is $29!  This deal has a very wide range of travel so you can book from now to April of next year.

Booking Details

Visit Flamingo’s website and book directly.  The promotional code will already be filled in automatically for you.  The best way to find cheapest rates is to check “Package Calendar” where you can scroll through many months and see the price day by day.

This deal expires on Tuesday April 30th, 2013

$45 Rates at Planet Hollywood

$45 Rates at Planet Hollywood

Deal Summary

Travelzoo is promoting a deal where you can get weekday rates at Planet Hollywood for $45-$65 and weekend rates $95-$144.  The cheap days are available on select dates November through February and October 17, 2012.  These prices are amazing.  I do not think I have seen rates even close to $45 a night. Plus Planet Hollywood does not charge resort fees, so what you see is what you pay.

Booking Details

Use this link, which will take you to Planet Hollywood’s website where you can choose different dates.  The promotion code will be automatically typed in for you.  If you want to see what exact dates are available you can visit Travelzoo.

This deal expires on Friday October 19th, 2012

Win a Free Stay at Hard Rock

Southwest Airlines through their magazine is giving away a free stay in Vegas.  It includes a 2-night stay at the Hard Rock, two tickets to see Guns N’Roses, dinner for 2 at Steaks & Martinis, and two spa packages.  The curious part is that flight does not appear to be included despite it being an airline running the sweepstakes.  Oh well, a free stay, concert tickets, and dinner is good enough for me to try.  To enter just visit Spirit Magazine’s website and answer some questions.

This deal expires on Wednesday October 31st, 2012

BOGO Room Rates at Treasure Island

BOGO Room Rates at Treasure Island

Deal Summary

Treasure Island has been advertising on Facebook and their website about BOGO rates.  I was having trouble having the prices reflect, but assuming that they do during your stay this is a great deal.  To claim the deal you just need to go to Treasure Islands Facebook page or use this link.  This deal is good through August 2013 and has a 3-night minimum stay for Thursday arrivals and a 3-night maximum stay for Wednesday arrivals. The free night(s) is only good for the room rate, which means you need to cough up the $25 resort fee even on free nights.

Booking Details

Use this link, which will take you directly to Treasure Island’s website.  Scroll down to the BOGO offer and click “Book Now” or call them directly.  Make sure to use the promotional code MBBOGO.

One Night Free at Wynn or Encore

Deal Summary

Southwest Vacations is offering one night free at Wynn or Encore, plus up to a $200 resort credit.  There are rules for each item so make sure you check those out before you book.  You can get a free night by staying two nights in most of November and December but to get a free night in January or February you need to stay at least 4 nights.  Similar rules apply to how much resort credit you get but in general the longer you stay the more money you get with 5 nights being $200 for most dates.

Booking Details

Click the banner below to book directly on Southwest Vacations website.  From there you can choose your dates.  After choosing your travel dates, make sure you choose a room type that mentions “Resort Credit!”  Otherwise you may not get the credit.


Wynn Sale!

This deal expires on Thursday October 18th, 2012

Drink(s) of My Trip

Drink(s) of My Trip

Choosing drinks in Vegas is always a fun activity for me.  Before I go, I like to look up interesting cocktails to order and I try to try at least something new every trip.  This trip, it was whipped cream vodka.  For all the naysayers who think it is too sweet… it isn’t.  The best part about it, is that it goes good with almost anything.  Orange soda, orange juice, root beer, and Mountain Dew are all amazing mixers.  I’m not entirely sure if the casino bars have it, but given the amount of brands in my local liquor store, I would think they might.  In this case, my buddy brought a bottle and when we ran out we walked to the liquor store behind bills.

Unfortunately I was also fighting a slight sore throat.  By no means did it ruin my trip, but I didn’t think all the alcohol was helping.  Naturally getting some drinks with OJ at least wouldn’t make anything worse right?  In the Venetian poker room I ordered 4 or 5 screwdrivers, which were pretty weak.  Wynn buffet was offering unlimited champagne for $12, so I figured why not, and filled up on mimosas.  Because of the unnecessary filler, I usually do not order alcohol at a buffet, but when you have time and are hanging out with your friends it usually works well.

That brings up the third drink of the trip, which is my default when I forget something crazy to order, or when I do not want hard liquor.  Heineken is almost always the first thing out of my mouth when I’m gambling.  Usually I’m distracted or at a point where I do not want to drink anything stronger, so it is a perfect beer to just keep things steady.   Plus it doesn’t fill you up as much like some other beers, which allows me to eat more later on.