Hello, my friends! On this post, I’ll be recapping my recent trip to Las Vegas. A couple of weeks ago, I went on a last minute trip to Vegas with my mom and sisters. We’ve been wanting to go on a little trip away from the snow and cold in Vancouver, so we booked our tickets just a few weeks prior. Luckily we found great flight deals thru Swoop Airlines and our return ticket was just around $200 per person with taxes and fees included. Amazing!
If you’re following me on Instagram, I mentioned that I’ll be sharing how to get Vegas perks that are redeemable for free hotel accommodation, entertainment, food, and more on the next post! Throughout this post, I’ll be mentioning different locations where I redeemed my loyalty points so make sure to go read that next.
Swoop Airlines Impression
The best time to travel is usually during the beginning of the week, it tends to be less busy and flights are usually much cheaper. This was my first time flying through Swoop Airlines and we didn’t know what to expect.
Luckily we found great flight deals thru Swoop Airlines and our return ticket was just around $200 per person taxes and fees included. Amazing!
On the day of our departure, we received a couple of messages that the flight would be delayed by 2 hours, then an hour after that, they send us another message saying the delay was reduced to 1 hour. Needless to say, we were in panic mode because we thought we had plenty of time to have brunch but ended rushing our food so we can leave the restaurant right away.
When we arrived at the Abbotsford Airport, about a few minutes before the end of check-in time, there was no attendant at the front desk. We only had 1 luggage between 3 people because we weren’t bringing much, which by the way costs $48 each way, whether it’s a carry-on or luggage.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, there was still no one at the front desk. So, I decided to go straight thru to security and spoke to someone from the boarding gate. She tells me that they stop taking luggage 1hr before boarding and there are no exceptions. It was frustrating that they had no staff at the check-in desk even before that cut off time.
You would think someone would stay behind to answer any questions or wait for any late arrivals, but that wasn’t the case. Not only was the flight delayed a couple of hours and then changed again to an hour early, but not having any staff for the company to speak to unless you go past security was such a nightmare. I’m not sure if it’s just this airport or maybe their low in staff, it was just a poor experience and definitely not the greatest first impression.
The rest of my family ended up taking their luggage straight thru to security after waiting a while and not getting any help. We spoke to the staff by the boarding gate and asked them to take our luggage as we were there before the cut off time. After a while, they made an exception and took our luggage considering the multiple flight time changes. At this moment I thought to myself, “you get what you pay for”.
The seats are tight and I can just imagine how uncomfortable it would be for people with longer legs. I’m short (5″1 ft.) and the seat in front of me was probably 6 inches away. Luckily it was a short flight so it was bearable. Otherwise, I’d reconsider and take a different airline for longer flights. If you sat on the window seat and had to go washroom, you would have to ask people sitting beside you to get up or hop over their laps. There are no snacks or beverages included at all, and they only accept credit cards (no cash or debit).
So, let’s just say that my overall first impression of Swoop Airlines wasn’t too positive. I’ve previously used Allegiant Airlines to fly to Vegas in past years but there was that inconvenience of having to cross the border. Their planes are slightly roomier though.
Finally, once in Vegas, we took a Lyft ride to the Mirage Hotel where we stayed at for 3 nights for free. By the way, I highly recommend using Lyft for rides if it’s available in the city you’re going to. Definitely a lot cheaper than cab rides or renting a car. Download the Lyft app and try it out. The drivers and vehicles have been great so far from experience and we used their service plenty of times to get around during this trip. I also find it a bit cheaper than using Uber.
The Mirage Hotel is clean and was in a great location on the strip.
The rooms (pictured below) are pretty big, well maintained, nicely decorated, and our suite had an amazing view of the pool and nearby resorts. If you click on the hotel pics below to zoom in, you can see the strip on the left side. They have plenty of restaurants in the hotel, entertainment like comedy shows or The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil, attractions like Secret Garden or Shark Reef. There’s also the nightclub ‘1 OAK’ just downstairs. There are also nightly fireworks. So, you basically don’t need to leave the hotel, there’s plenty of things to do here. I would definitely stay at The Mirage again!
Night 1 – Fremont Street Vegas
Our first night, we got a Lyft ride to check out Fremont Street. It’s a famous street beside the Las Vegas Strip that has famous casinos that were shown in old movies and shows. It’s basically the original Vegas before all the new developments were built. Here you can find plenty of entertainment from ziplining, restaurants, outdoor shows, street entertainment and of course more gambling spots. It’s quite the happening place, lots of people strolling around and is just about a few blocks long.
We decided to have dinner at a nearby Shawarma place and head back to the hotel where I took advantage of my loyalty rewards and redeemed for a $50 free play at the slots. Unfortunately, I couldn’t turn it to millions! 🙁
Day 2 – Spa Day
Early in the day we met up with a family member and went for lunch at a buffet outside of the strip, located at The Palace Station Hotel & Casino called ‘Feast Buffet‘. This restaurant was huge, and if you like gambling, according to locals, this was apparently the place that had the best payouts. I played $21 and no luck so…moving on.
We hung out there for a few hours, relaxing and dipping into the hot and cold pools. It was a much-needed downtime!
Afterwards, we met up with our mom at the ‘Buffet at Aria‘. Once again, we got complimentary buffet passes here. Aria is a gorgeous, modern hotel and a lot of business people around in suits. Seems to be the place where most business conventions are held. The restaurant was beautiful, large and had a huge selection of food from different countries. Our server who provided us drinks and utensils was also excellent. The regular price for this dinner buffet is about $38 USD. I say it’s worth it and would definitely go here again. After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and checked out hotels on the way.
Day 3 – Shop and Eat
We had brunch at the Mirage restaurant called The Cravings Buffet, and of course, we used another one of our free passes. I think you get the pattern from this trip so far….buffet, buffet, buffet. And why not, it’s free! Otherwise, it can start to add up. The food here was very good and there was also a huge selection from different countries. The best part was the unlimited beverage which included beer, wine, hot chocolate, juices and coffee. Other buffets didn’t include beer or wine. The cost of the brunch buffet is about $24 USD per person.
After brunch, we walked around and took plenty of pictures from nearby resorts, played some more slots and checked out the Fashion Show Mall.
The food portions were unbelievably large so my sister and I shared meals and still had lots of leftovers.
Food was really, really good and there was a lot to choose from on the menu – waffles, burgers, chicken, salads, and more. The meals were stacked high and the plating was pretty fancy. It’s worth checking out if you love hearty meals. The price was decent and most meals are between $15-$20. I highly recommend sharing a meal so you have room for appetizers and desserts.
Day 4 – Premium Outlet Shopping
My aunt who lived in Vegas picked us up from our hotel and decided to take us to the nearest Filipino Restaurant called D’Pinoy Joint. We had a smorgasbord of dishes shared among us. Honestly, I felt like I never wanna eat again for a month after this trip.
Our flight back to Vancouver wasn’t until 5 pm so we decided to go shopping at the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets. Fortunately this time around, there were no issues or delays with our flight.
It’s been years since I’ve been to Vegas and it usually never disappoints. It would’ve been nice to see some shows or go on some tours but there wasn’t enough time. I’d say 3-5 days in Vegas next time would be enough.
Overall, it was a very inexpensive trip and I can’t wait to go back again! I had $200 USD cash on me during the trip and it was plenty enough to buy 2 pairs of shoes, pay for Lyft rides, meals at Hash House a Go Go, gratuities and gambling. All thanks to my loyalty reward points. Next time I’d love to redeem them to get freebies for shows like Cirque Du Soleil, Shark Reef, Las Vegas Tours via Greyhound or Helicopter. There are so many options and are absolutely worth it!
To find out how to get these perks, read my next post and start earning loyalty rewards now!
Rewards Claimed this Trip
On this trip I personally got to use my coins the following rewards:
-$50 Free Slot Play at The Mirage Hotel
-Complimentary Day Spa Pass at Mandalay Bay
-Free pass at The Cravings Mirage Buffet
-Free pass The Buffet at Aria