When I was growing up, one of my favorite songs was “Float On” by the Floaters.
In case you aren’t familiar with this smooth selection, the group (Ralph, Charles, Paul, and Larry) state their astrological signs (Aquarius, Libra, Leo, and Cancer) and then go on to describe some of their personal qualities and what they are looking for in a lady. My favorite (by far) is Larry:
Awesome, right? Who wouldn’t love Larry?!?
Personally, I’m a Virgo.
If you believe in astrology, you’ll know that Virgos are described as neat, super-organized, detail-minded and precise. Yep. I have an intense rivalry going with my friend Virgo Twin. We’re vying for the title of Most Supreme Virgo Of Them All. (She won in the “bed making” category when she made her bed so perfectly that she decided it was “museum quality” and couldn’t bring herself to sleep on it, so she slept in her daughter’s bed. I’m still in awe over this). Our other friends think we’re insane.
Anyway, Virgo Twin and I are headed to Vegas (watch out, Vegas!). We’re planning action-packed days filled with hotel room straightening and slot machine sanitizing. Just kidding. Maybe.
Since I’ve had quite a few readers ask for more posts about the nuts and bolts of trip planning, luxury-bargain-style, I thought I would use this trip as an example. I’m going to walk you through my process.
First, I’m thinking about style.
Since this is a girlfriend getaway, we’re going for glitz and glam. My choices don’t need to be kid-friendly. In fact, I’ll be avoiding kids on this vacation.
I’ve narrowed our hotel choices down to three, based on dazzle factor: the Cosmopolitan, the Bellagio, and Wynn.
Next, I’m thinking about budget.
Using all the tips and tricks I know, I’m going to determine which hotel would be least expensive. Today, I’ll be looking at the Cosmopolitan. In upcoming posts, I will review the Bellagio and Wynn.
Currently the Cosmo is pricing out at $250/night for our dates in February.
To get the cost down, here are the steps I’m going to take:
1. Try to find a “Look No Further” rate.
Because this is a Marriott hotel, if I can find a better rate than Marriott has posted on their site, Marriott will match the lower rate and beat it by 25%. If I find an LNF, this is an alluring option; even if the better rate hovered close to $250, we would save at least $60/night, bringing our cost down to $185/night.
You can read about my past success with LNF rates here.
2. Use TripBAM to track the price of the room.
If the price drops, I’ll know, and I can make decisions or take further action based on this information.
3. Consider purchasing Marriott gift cards from either Southwest or United, then using them to pay for my stay.
$250 worth of gift cards would net me 3,000 Southwest miles, which is worth approximately $50. Not bad.
4. Keep an eye out for Marriott promos.
Marriott has been running a frequent promo that offers a free stay after every two stays. If this trend continues, then my night at the Cosmopolitan will get me halfway to a free stay at a category 1-5 Marriott.
5. If I find a rate I like, I will book each night as a separate reservation, because this will provide maximum flexibility.
For example, I might decide to hotel-hop in order to take advantage of a better rate or a promo at a different hotel on one or more nights of our stay.
I’m excited to plan this trip to Vegas, and I’m especially excited to save a bunch of money while I’m there. Have any of you ever been to the Cosmopolitan? I’d love to know if you have any tips to share.