A Golden Trip Part 5 – What happens in Vegas…

I quickly transferred through the airport and was soon at the taxi rank. I decided to take a taxi rather than Uber as some were at the rank. The strip is split into zones, and the Tropicana is in Zone 1, meaning a flat $19 fare plus tip. It’s about $7 more than an Uber, but I think it’s worth the extra for the convenience.

I have always stayed at the Tropicana since my second trip to Vegas. I first stayed because it was cheap, close to the airport and got me a few nights towards a status challenge to Hilton Diamond. I last visited in 2019, and whilst my casino status has lapsed, I was still getting offers, so I took advantage. This time, MyChoice offered four nights of accommodation, $250 dining credits and $250 free play. Given that the room would have been about $400 inclusive of resort fees, this was a decent offer.

The Tropicana has a small casino floor, especially compared to some big hotels like Paris, MGM or the Bellagio. There is a beautiful glass ceiling over the tables. You can make out Tony and Mike at the Craps table who were superb for some early morning lessons in how to play the game. I’ll admit that I didn’t always know what was going on, but I definitely left the table with more money than I started; and I made sure to tip the dealers well too!

I had three nights in Las Vegas on this trip and enjoyed not having much to do. I had a friend who was in town for a work conference the evening I arrived, so we enjoyed a couple of beers at the hotel and New York, New York and MGM Grand for variety.

I enjoyed walking up and down the strip and had a late lunch at BeerPark in Paris, overlooking the Bellagio Fountains – it was hot! 

I also headed down to the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets for some shopping but was quite disappointed on this trip. Nothing took my fancy except a pair of dinosaur Converse for The Poppet, and the Uber down and back was about $30 in total. I ended up spending about $70 on taxis, including airport transfers, and it would have been over $100 if I had gotten up to Fremont Street. At this price point, hiring a car might have been a better idea, but I didn’t have plans to leave the city, so it was more convenient.

Overall, I spent about $300 in three days, covering transport, shopping, food and drink outside the hotel and tips. My food credit covered breakfast and dinner each day, including drinks. I gambled on the slots and tables, meaning more drinks were provided and came home with some cash which is always lovely!

Three nights was a reasonable amount of time, and I don’t think I’d want more on my own without breaking it up with another hotel or a journey outside the city as I have done in the last.

I checked out and took an Uber back to the airport, passing through the airport so quickly that I arrived at the Amex Centurion lounge precisely 3 hours before my flight. It was a nice place to spend time and catch up on some work. It has a reputation for being too crowded, but there were plenty of spaces when I was there. 

My flight to Phoenix was fine, and I had plenty of time to wait for my connection to LA, so I decided to visit all the lounges. The Admiral’s Clubs in each peninsula are much of a muchness, with their cubes of cheese, spring onion dip and pretzel sticks. There are a few free house drinks, and one can buy others. I did take some photos but can’t remember which ones are which! 

I flew over to LAX and went to the Qantas lounge again for dinner. I had the same fish I’d had on the way out, accompanied by a glass of Australian white wine – this time enjoying the moment so much I forgot to take a picture! The lounge closes at 2230, so I went to American’s Flagship First lounge to wait for the 2359 departure to New York. There was a Flagship Dining room at LAX, but that has not reopened since the pandemic, and rumour has it that it won’t.

I boarded the flight – making the faux pas of approaching the gate too soon. I had missed the announcement and went past a group of three travelling together who were blocking the way. I got to the podium, and the lady said she was only taking Concierge Key members. Despite no one else boarding, she waited until I was back out of the line before calling group 1; at this point, the three people rushed forward, muttering at me. All was restored when they walked down the plane into Economy, and I waved from 1A. The cabin crew came round to take meal orders, but I only wanted sleep. As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I was flat, covered in a blanket and asleep, waking well into the descent. 

American have announced plans to scrap the 3-class A321Ts that ply the transcontinental route, so that it may have been my last time on that aircraft. I’ve done it five times – always in First class – and I’ll be sad to see it go.

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