Mini Vacation

If you haven’t heard, it’s been a terrible winter here in the Midwest. One of those winters where you walk outside in 30 degree weather and say “Nice! It’s actually warm out today!” Yep, it sucks. The cold, the wind, the snow. Winter is the perfect time for a little get away. And the boyfriend’s birthday on Sunday was the perfect reason to get out of town!

Of course, being on the path to getting myself out of debt, it isn’t the perfect time to spend a bunch of money on a trip. Luckily, the boyfriend has some rather interesting connections. Like an older buddy who can get us comped rooms at many of the Casino Resorts in state.

So last Saturday, we headed out of town for a few days of R&R. Alright, so it wasn’t a tropical getaway; We only went a few hours south, and had to drive through some crazy conditions to get there. High winds and drifting snow do not make for easy traveling! But once we were there, we never had to set foot outside until Monday when we packed up to head back home. We ate great food, and had a fabulous time, without ever having to deal with the weather. I consider that a win!

We’ve been on two of these little mini vacations before, but this was our first time together at this resort. The boyfriend is a black jack player, and the last couple of trips he’s been lucky enough to come out ahead, even after considering the cost of food and beverages. On our last trip I even played a little, and ended our trip ahead $80. Woo Hoo!

This time, luck was NOT on our side, at least not at the Casino. I’d taken some cash to play with, but after losing $20 on the first night, I decided I was done. Sure, it was a couple of hours worth of entertainment. I just wasn’t willing to lose any more of my hard-earned cash! The boyfriend is much more of a gambler. We still manage to spend a lot of time together on our trips, so I have no problem parting ways for a few hours here and there, so he can play, and I can relax. I’ve always seen him winning. But then I’ve always wondered what he’d do if he was not? And this time, he was not. And so, he quit playing.

Actually, he’s talked about being on unlucky trips before, and not playing after a certain point. He always goes in with an amount he’s willing to spend. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and he’s done playing for that trip. It was just really nice to see it in action. Especially since we still had a full 24 hours left of our trip!

I really liked the resort we stayed at. Unlike the other resort we’ve been to though, this resort made it very obvious how it treated people differently. I mentioned we got our room comped through a friend of his. The boyfriend had been to this resort with that friend previously. The friend happens to be a heavy gambler. When they went together, they each got a comped suite, with free sodas, bottled water, and internet. Our trip? A double room one night, and a King the next (which I liked, but it wasn’t a suite), $2.50 for each bottle of water, and $10 per day for internet. The vending machines are down the hall, if you want a soda.

Like many casinos, this one has a free membership card. But at this casino, they have different colored cards, with each color representing a different tier. Spending more time and money gambling works you up a tier.  There are special lounges and restaurants for only the top 3 levels. And you get priority seating, and don’t have to wait in lines anywhere if you’re on those top levels. I did some math on the card levels, and realized you’d have to gamble more than I make a year to be on those levels. Good Golly!

It’s obvious that this resort makes most of their money on the casino. They make sure the perks of being a “High Roller” are obvious to encourage people to spend more time in the casino. I was already aware that casinos keep tabs on their big gamers; After all, that’s how we got our room. It was just interesting to see it put out there so plainly. Actually, one of the employees told us that just signing up for a membership card gets you a free night or two every 3 months in a double room. They keep track of whether or not you use your free nights; if you do, they’ll continue sending you better and better perks. The idea is to get you through the door as often as possible.

The gaming world is definitely a different one! I look at it the way some people look at churning credits cards; it’s great, so long as you can use it responsibly. I see no problem with someone using a credit card for the reward points, and then paying it off in full each month. I see no problem with us taking advantage of free nights in a nice resort a couple of times a year. The credit card companies and casinos are both hoping to nab those people who spend more than they should. You just have to be careful not to become one of those people!

– Cindy W.

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