Free Vegas Trip: Live Blogging From The Road!

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Trip Notes: Cleveland -> Las Vegas -> Los Angeles -> Cleveland (03/23/09)

Airfare: $0
Bellagio: $0
Cirque du Soleil: $0
There are some things you don’t need money to buy…That’s why I founded!

Live notes from our free trip to Vegas!  I’ll update this post as time permits!

Update 4:
-9:00am: Checked out from the Bellagio. We had moved things around the motion-sensitive minibar to put food in there and then replaced the items before we checked out. I expected to have to have them remove the automated minibar charges but interestingly it was already taken off.
The internet and dinner charges were removed as well, so I got an awesome $0 final invoice!
-9:15am: We walked right across the street to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the Miracle Mile mall and picked up some of their parve, pas yisroel, everything bagels at $2 a pop for the trip home. They were actually pretty good! They also had some overpriced parve, pas yisroel, prepackaged sandwiches from LA.
Beware in the Venetian! There are 2 Coffee Bean locations here. The first one we saw had bagels for $3 each. We walked a little further to the food court location and there they were $2 each!
-If you’re looking for affordable blackjack tables the Bellagio always has 2 $5 blackjack tables. One when you enter and one near the back. The dealers here are great and will always tell you what your best move will be so that you can maximize your odds on winning (You can buy a $1 pocked strategy card at souvenir shops on the strip). At $5 a hand playing a game where the odds of winning are as close to 50% as you can get in a casino you can be entertained for hours without ever losing (or winning) more than you’d pay for a night of entertainment at any other venue in the city.  And hey, you drink for free while you play as well!
-9:45am: I put a $4 of gas in the Infiniti right at the airport and bring it back to Avis who brought us straight to the terminal in the car.
-10:00am: So much for the busiest travel day of the year. We’re already at the gate! There was not one person in line at security. Again we just picked a line with a traditional metal detector and never had to worry about the x-ray or pat down on the entire trip.
-There’s no way to go to the awesome Continental Presidents club with its great Strip views (or the rest of the D concourse) in LAS from the USAir gates without going out of security. What a poorly designed airport!
-Couldn’t pull off an upgrade as a Continental Platinum but we got even better row 7 bulkhead seats on the 752. More legroom than Zydrunas Ilgauskas would know what to do with! There wer screens on the plane, but no entertainment played at all.
-The tailwinds were so strong that we made it from Las Vegas to Charlotte in just over 3 hours! The flight attendant said it was the fastest she ever flew for that route.
-We arrived so early that there were 2 flight options back to Pittsburgh before our flight. Now on most airlines they would just let you standby at the connecting airport for an earlier flight for free. But this is USeless we’re talking about. Their official policy is that if there are seats available it would be $50 per person. Rather than spend $100 on a trip that was nearly completely free I went to check out a few of the clubs and again had no problems getting in with my AMEX Plat card.
-The B club was dingy and dark. The TV is apparently owned by CNN so there’s no was to change the channel! The only free alcoholic drink was Bud or Bud light, a far cry from the dozens of varieties of free drinks at a Continental or Delta club. The C club was much brighter and nicer at least.
-USAir agents are by leaps and bounds the worst of any airline I’ve ever flown. The vast majority are extremely bitter and will treat you like garbage even if you approach them with a smile and friendly greeting. Flying them reminds me why I prefer Continental so strongly. It’s uncommon at Continental to run into a really bad agent that will ruin your trip. At USeless Air it seems that nearly all of them take pride in making your trip as uncomfortable as possible. Even the club agents can be downright rude and cold. Their planes are very dirty and poorly maintained. Honestly, avoid them if you can!
Well, that’s all folks. We took the trip, flew for free, parked for free, stayed for free, watched cirque for free, surfed the web for free, and even ate for free at times. That’s the way to do it! Hope you all have a great time as well!

7C is a great US752(v2) seat if you can’t get into Envoy.

Time to update the airline logo maybe?

The airy CLT term. C club.

$1 Mai-Tais on US that will evoke Hawaii memories, just watch out for $7 rum!

Update 4:
-10:00am: I booked the Bellagio under 2 separate reservations so that each night would be completely free. Unfortunately they gave away our room to someone else for the 2nd day even though they had told us that it would be OK. After spending nearly an hour sorting things out I was no longer a happy camper.
After a manager agreed to waive my internet fees ($17/day) and to buy us kosher dinners delivered to our room I was quite a happy camper again!
-Definitely try to get a room on floors 29-36 in the Bellagio. These floors are newly renovated and are light-years ahead of the rooms on the lower floors. The new rooms are simply incredible while the older ones are slightly dated.
-1:00pm: I recalled from a previous trip that the soft-serve Ice Cream from Adar Pizza was very good.  The place is ridiculously overpriced, by far the most expensive pizza shop I’ve ever been to and the service comes with an attitude and tip expected.  Last time I was here we were given 2 pitchers of water that had a number of gross floating stuff in them and although they said they’d be happy to give us bottled water they still unapologetically charged us $4 for it! At any rate I called beforehand to confirm what flavors of Ice Cream they had and was told that there was Vanilla and Chocolate.  So we drove over there and lo and behold the Ice Cream machine was broken and hadn’t even been working in some time!  It’s just BAD business practice to lie to a customer just to draw them in and as expected from this establishment, no apology was offered when I asked why they didn’t just say that it was out of order when I called earlier!
-1:30pm: I’ve already been to Panini Cafe (who said that they still honor GC’s as long as you follow the rules on them) where the food is generally quite good so we went to Sababa. Sababa had a falefel special ($6.95 for a felafel and a sode) and a shwarma special ($8.95) going on. The Shwarma was very good and the felafel was delicious and loaded with felafel balls and tons of great salads! Their homemade baba ganoush was very good as well and was great in the sandwiches. The fries were fine, nothing to write home about, and the weird off-brand of ketchup the serve sure could desperately use an upgrade to Heinz!!!
-There’s really no need to pay for shows in Vegas. Just walk down the strip, take in all of the great free outdoor shows offered by many hotels, and check out all of the awesome themed hotels!
-Valet parking is free at the hotel casinos along the strip. It’s definitely worth using them!
-9:30pm: We knew that Haifa restaurant does not have the best reviews, but it was the only place that had steaks and the like and it was recommended by the Bellagio (who paid for the meal after all) as it’s the only kosher meat restaurant on the Strip. It’s shockingly overpriced for barely edible food. Nothing is seasoned at all. The lamb chops ($42) and rib-eye ($35 although their online menu says $32) were way overcooked and completely bland. The chicken shishlik ($22) was equally bland and dry. The best thing may have been the marinara penne pasta which came as a side dish. Delivery took an hour and was $15. Had I paid all that I of my pocket I would have been very disappointed!
– It’s such a shame that Village Steakhouse closed since I was last in Las Vegas…now that place was excellent in every way!
-For now I can recommend Panini Cafe, Sababa, and Big Dragon Chinese for dining out in Vegas. They are all 10-25 minutes from the Strip, depending on the volume of traffic. You will need a rental car to get to these restaurants.
-There are also tons of Coffe Beans And Tea Leaf stores all over the strip. They seem to all have a kosher certificate that everything is kosher dairy, cholov stam. However the bagels and kosher parve and pas yisroel.

Haifa food…not worth it unless you get it comped like I did!

New York, New York

Coke Store!

Bellagio Hallway

Daytime view from our room.

Update 3:
5:30pm: My refund just posted to my credit card…this trip is now officially free!
Don’t worry if your refund didn’t post yet. Give it at least a week to process depending on the card you used.
-6:45pm: We are able to trade in our 9:30pm Cirque tickets (for the Beatles version at the Mirage) for the 7pm showing are are upgraded to category 1 seating in the 3rd row!
The show is cool for about 15 minutes, but honestly at about 95 minutes it’s too long. The plot is flimsy and very hard to follow. A few sequences are very cool but most feel like filler.  Be sure to hold onto your respective head coverings during the weird part where a massive sheet covers the entire crowd!  Maybe it’s just not my thing and I’m missing something? I truly felt sorry for the folks seated next to me who had paid $160/ticket for their entire families (complete with bored and kvetchy kids) to attend.
I took a few pictures and they tried to confiscate my camera. We compromised and they just deleted every picture of the show.
At $0 I guess I can’t complain too much though…
-9:15pm: We went to the brand new Big Dragon Chinese restaurant. It is run and owned by a very affable young Asian man and the Chabad mashgiach was on site the entire time. The restaurant is well decorated in a streamlined modern and minimalistic way, in a word: classy.
The egg rolls (2 nice sized ones for $3) and Sesame Chicken ($15.95 for a good portion) were both very good. Rice is extra (.50 for steamed and you have to buy a $9 meal for fried rice).
-11pm: The Bellagio fountain show is simply breathtaking, I can’t get over how beautiful it is! The show runs every 15 minutes at night and changes every time…I could watch it all night long!
The fountains can shoot water as high as our room on the 32nd floor!

View from the room

Update 2:
-11:00am: USAir wouldn’t upgrade us despite my Continental Platinum/Star Alliance Gold status. We did get great bulkhead seats for the PIT-PHX segment and exit-row seats for the PHX-LAS segment.
-Despite the 5 hour flight time from PIT-PHX there was no entertainment whatsoever offered on the flight. That’s what you get for flying USeless!
-2:20pm MST: Never fun arriving 20 minutes late when your connection is only 45 minutes long in the first place! But a little jog from one end of the airport to the other was good enough. A delay on the PHX-LAS flight didn’t hurt either.
-2:45pm: I plugged my phone into my laptop to use it as a modem and the flight attendant came by and demanded that I turn it off immediately. After I stalled for a minute she came back and said she would wait to tell us about the exit-row regulations until it was powered off. After I asked if the aircraft door was closed she got really angry and said that she makes the rules on this flight and I can cooperate or get off.
The aircraft doors wouldn’t close for another 20 minutes due to the delay.
Apparently the FA was afraid of something as she suddenly became all friendly and comped me 2 Stirrings Mai-Tai mixes (OU!) later in the flight…bizarre!
-3:00pm PST: Avis is giving me an Inifiniti G37x for the price of a midsize…nice!
-3:30pm: Valet parking is free at the Bellagio! Gotta love all this free stuff!
-3:45pm: The $20 Vegas Suite upgrade tip (discreetly sandwich a $20 bill between your credit card and drivers license) is alive and well at the Bellagio 🙂 We have a sick room with a perfect view of the Bellagio fountains, the Eiffel Tower, and the strip!  Seeing the fountain show from your room is just awesome!

Update 1:
-7am EST: Leaving the house for a free trip to Vegas.
-7:10am: Picking up some delicious fresh boiled and baked Jalapeno and Garlic Bagels from The Bagel Shoppe in Cleveland.
-7:15am: Driving to Pittsburgh to catch the flight. Unfortunately flights from Cleveland were too expensive to be free after $300 savings.
-9:05am: Drop off the car in a free parking lot and take a shuttle to the airport.
-9:45am: Just got in the USAir club with my AMEX Platinum card. No ID or boarding pass is required at the USAir club.
They give us free wi-fi passes. While beer and alcoholic beverages are free in most USAir clubs, apparently there’s some PA state law that requires them to charge $1 for a drink here. No matter, it’s too early anyway…
I’ve picked up a few newspapers and an Economist from the club and am ready for the flight!
As a Continental Platinum member I’ll pick up 4,628 Continental miles for the one-way flight!

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88 Comments On "Free Vegas Trip: Live Blogging From The Road!"

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Post pics of the trip!


How did you get the Bellagio and Cirque du Soleil for free? Was the Bellagio part of the $300 off or did you use miles for it?


how did u get free cirque de soleil


G-d speed and have a safe flight


Hope you convinced them to upgrade you. Often, US will do that for free for CO Plats


actually, should have first asked, what airline are you flying?




Thanks for blogging!

Are you in first class, business, or coach (nevoch)?


i am in tears of joy

also at the bellagio!

See ya there!


I got a partial credit back from expedia for the hotel, but haven’t seen the flight portion refund yet- has anyone else seen full refund yet?



how can u be a continental plat if you only fly on miles?


Hi dan, thanks so much for posting the expedia deal, I got a trip to vegas for 6 nights from la and paying just 90 bucks. Anyhow if you end up visiting the wynn hotel, they have kosher protein bars at their snack shops!!!


Thanks Dan, keep it coming please. Will be there in 3 weeks, would love to hear if there any updates from the last time you were there.


can we enter the USAir club even we dont have any flight

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There are no comments because everyone is jealous


Nicely done, Dan



There are no comments coz Dan was in the air and couldn’t moderate them 😉


Why does it take all day to get there?


Or because the comments are moderated and Dan was busy enjoying the trip.


That comment was really @mendy:


i got credit for the flights from expedia on my amex card before the charges from delta even showed up


This deal worked very well to N with a hostel to stay 🙂 My total on most tickets incl. supershuttle to Manhattan from EWR or LGA was $298. It was posted like 2 hours before shabbos on East coast on FT.
The only downside – you have to finish travel before 12/31. Otherwise I would buy hundreds of tickets. 🙂


@#65: I have the charge from Delta, but NO credit from Expedia, nor does my boyfriend. On the expedia site it says $189 for tickets and a $143 refund, but I don’t see any refund- only a $0.00 charge from expedia on my bank statement. I’m freaking out. I knew there would be a charge- as my package was over 300, but it should have been no more than $40 Canadian.

Any suggestions????

I would love to see the charge & credit on my bank statement & expedia…..



“Any suggestions????”

Sure. Make sure not to check your credit card activity for 7 days. Otherwise, you would need some sleeping pills. 🙂
Everything will post in few days. It’s not the first price mistake and not first price mistake with Expedia either.


im going with my wife in a couple of weeks(thanks for the link) can you please post the places for davening & kosher food?


Dan, where did you park for free by the airport in Pittsburgh?


Does anyone know how long it takes to get the 300 refund?


how do you have the time to do all of these trips and excursions??? Do you not have a steady job?



Also, why did you cancel the AMEX Platinum Card?



Dan how did you get the HUGE upgrade with avis?


What is all this talk about a refund posting? I was just charged the discounted rate. Should I be concerned?


I am going to Vegas FREE soon and want to do a helicopter to the Grand Canyon. Any suggestions and discounts please?


In ritz NYC for $9, 5*.


I booked a ticket to Vegas with four nights in a hotel. I paid $158 since I wanted a nicer hotel.
The dates didn’t work out for me, and when I called expedia (after waiting 45 minutes on hold!) they told me that I can cancel the hotel for free, and I can get $355 JetBlue dollars for my ticket with a $100 booking fee when I use them.

Bottom line: I got $355 JetBlue dollars for $100!


This get even better… After Expedia cancelling my flight and giving me more of a refund then I originally paid (see above post), they also refunded me for my hotel – $217!
So if you can’t go on your trip, or just want to make money, call expedia and cancel!


Hi dan!

Did you opt out from the xray screening? And opt for a pat down…. We should close down the tsa!


Will do!

They were free with separate $300 off bookings.

No beans.

Thanks for posting the deal Aussie!


The good ole status match.


Looks like I have only a refund and no charges on my AMEX as well!

Hostel? Meh.
Folks on the forums and in the comments made bookings for free at the Ritz and the Andaz in Manhattan.

I have a very steady job that lets me work from anywhere!

It’s an old canceled card.

Chairman status.

Nope, that’s great!


There was a line with the xray scanner that lots of sheep want to.
We went to the regular metal detector line and had no problems.


@Dan/Ctownbochur: i guess i shoulda thought of that on my own, although i do need lion king tickets in NY and they r really expensive, any ideas now that i have the hotel in Manhattan but no tix?



I’m unable to take my trip JFK->LAS Sat night through Tuesday night.

I called Expedia first thing Sunday morning to reschedule, but they said I’d have to pay $150/tkt rescheduling fee.

I’m having to forfeit the entire thing, and although it (hopefully!) didn’t ”cost’ me anything, we really want to go!

Can you explain in more detail how you got a credit?

The flight was with Delta.


FYI:I am pretty sure all hotels have free parking. They do that bc they want you to come spend money at their casino.

You can buy tickets to shows at tickets4less. It is a booth right across the street from the Wynn, at the entrance of the mall. They post daily tickets to shows for almost half price.

There is a kosher coffee bean at the Bellagio, as a matter of fact 2 of them, where i am pretty sure everything is kosher but maybe double check with them (at least when we were there about a year ago it was all kosher.)

There is a fabulous shopping mall about ten minutes from the strip. I believe it was an outlet mall. And it was outdoors so really nice place to walk around.

There is a shul right next door to tyhe pizza store that is about ten minites away from the strip as well. I cant remember the pizza stores name though, but it was owned by lubavitch ppl.

If you did not rent a car, restaraunts to deliver for a fee… But call early bc i remember one restaraunts last delivery was at about 6:00pm.

Everyone enjoy your stay, vegas is lotsa fun!!

Dan's mom

I think most hotels there have free valet parking so you will come and gamble you can check out all the hotels using it. just a few bucks for tips.


My refund was already proccesed.


Kosher under who`s Hashgocha?



“Hostel? Meh.
Folks on the forums and in the comments made bookings for free at the Ritz and the Andaz in Manhattan.”

Do you think I really stayed there? 🙂
You book flights you need with a hostel, then you book cheap flights from BOS or DCA with a nice hotel.


@tt: NICE! You could have booked out the Ritz for the whole month….would make a nice office space for I-Volunteer


Most restaurants are under chabad of LV.

Yup, I got the free Cirque tickets and the free Bellagio rooms via LGB-LAS and BUR-LAS.


Do you know if the hotels in vegas go on sale on black friday/ cyber monday, my wife and I are going to Vegas in late December, but couldn’t get in on this deal and am wondering if it’s worth it to hold off with booking the hotel.



nice, i didnt think of it, why didnt u post that idea


@Dan/Ctownbochur: so how many flights did you end up booking for yourself??? every night a different show?


@tt: Also, if you brought the kids, the Ritz will give them each an FAO Schwartz teddy bear most of the time…although I dont know if thats kosher 🙂


hi dan , how would i get a status like that? would you know how to get status with hertz ? i already have #1 club gold but that doesnt give me much


just curious, how did you get the cirque de soleil tickets, when i put it in my cart, it didnt let me add the voucher, and when i did it with a flight, i couldnt find the tickets?


@shelley: What hotel you have? I’m going would like to switch hotels…


I have sat night @ excalibur and sunday night @ mgm

Currently dealing with expedia’s AWFUL customer service re changing the dates.

Has anyone has any success with this?


you can search kosher restaurants on this website


i cant go, but my total was 298, any idea if i can get back money for my trip


@shelley: Beggars cant be choosers. Dont complain for when you’re given a free gift…

Yakov L

@ zev – you can purchase platinum from hertz for $1200 pr year


Dan, thanks a lot for the time spent on this site all year, and of course the last few days.
I enjoy your writing and info

Vegas bound

Dan, check out Jerusalem Grill which is on Decatur and Flamingo



While I do generally agree with your point entirely, not with this case.



I booked the venetian for $129 a day. Check out the las vegas master thread on


And that was for late December…12/26-12/29

hey dan!

Adar pizza is the best!! Im sad to hear you had such a bad experience!!!


Penini says on their website that they no longer accept coupons. 🙁


Try calling them and telling them that you already bought a GC and see what they say.


never mind, just called them and got confirmation that they will accept the coupons!!!!


I have called them and got confirmation that they will accept them!!!


@hey dan!: any poor soul i know that tried them had only bad to say


Wow, as I read this I am getting more and more excited about my FREE vacation! Thanks Dan!!


Dan if u didn’t use that sd card of the camara to take new pics, you have a very big chance of recovering the deleted pictures of the show with one of the free picture recovery softwares


Will the charge from American Airlines count toward the money I need to spend to get my 75000 AA miles even though it was refunded?


dan hope your enjoying some nice thanksgiving dinner free!! oh wait its a shame you cant buy turkey with miles! just out of curiousity where do you find all these deals? also thanks for the vegas info im goin this sunday how do i hook up the g37 with avis?
thanks in advance


Hey Dan I am on the flight right now they gave free Internet as well. We have 40 Jewish people that got this for free on this flight. This flight was the example dates you had posted in the first ad. It’s truly amazing everyone is having a great time. Thank you. Delta is bugging out to much for them to handle. We almost had to make a stop in London to drop off a few trouble makers. Dan reply if you read this please


am on the plane now with like 50 other frum people! dan you rock! are you still in LS? anyway fifty of your fans can get a glimpse of your royal self?


Wow, cool, live updates from the plane! Isn’t wi-fi in the air awesome!!!

I’m home already, so no chance of seeing me in Vegas now 🙂

Hysterical that when I post sample dates everyone goes and books those exact dates…it would’ve been cool if I went on that flight.

Hope you guys have fun and keep on posting your own updates!


Hi Dan, your trip looks amazing, i am sure u had a great time!
I will going 12/5-12/6 during chanukah just staying 1 night, taking overnight flight back to NY 12/6, do you have any idea where i could light the menorah 12/6, if i will already be checked out of the hotel?
Can’t wait to go!

Avid Reader

Very entertaining. Thanks Dan!


Anyone know of any shabbos minyanim (besides the YI) in LV on 12/25?


Thanks dan for this post
Bez”h I’m going tomorrow to vegas -free flight – I booked some different hotels for different nights but I realized that many hotels charge a resort fee of $20 per day do u know how to avoid those fees?
Thanks dan


Expedia said that the Bellagio would have a $20 resort fee but they never charged it!


will there be a charge if i cancel?


Vegas was great, room upgrade at the MGM Grand to celebrity suite since we mistakenly booked 2 rooms, Chinese Dragon Cuisine-great food (btw ur a celebrity there already), Sababa and Panini Cafe good food as well. Thanx again for an amazingly free trip!

eli bank

so i dont quite understand how did you get a free trip to vegas again?

trollish moron

Dan, did you have to get insurance on that Infiniti? I know my credit card insurance typically excludes luxury cars, I’m not sure about my auto insurance policy at home so I usually get up to a full size Impala or whatever and avoid the luxury cars. Of course, I don’t get free cars anyway….