This article supplements our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles
In January, Middle Age Miles spent a weekend at the beautiful Aria resort & casino in Las Vegas. We got a great deal, learned a ton of useful information, and shared that with our readers in How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)! We also reviewed our stay at the Aria in Hotel Review – Aria Las Vegas.
We recently went back to Las Vegas with friends, and again stayed at the Aria, booking our rooms through the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC). We took some of our lessons learned from last time and used them to again have a great stay in this gorgeous hotel. We also learned even more about how the Chase LHRC program works at MGM/MLife properties and the Aria in particular. Having two stays so close together allows us to confirm some data points with much more certainty than a one-time stay permits.
In this article, we’ll supplement our previous posts with more lessons learned (or confirmed) from our Aria stays using Chase LHRC. We’ll also plan a follow-up article with a review of the 920-square-foot corner suite we received as an upgrade. And we’ll add both of these articles to our previous Trip Report on Las Vegas, so people who come to Middle Age Miles later can find everything packaged in one place.
Scoring Great Deals in Vegas with the Chase LHRC Program
As we previously reported, you can score some great Vegas hotel deals using the Chase LHRC program. Let’s do a quick recap:
- You receive elite-type benefits on all Chase LHRC stays, including:
- Daily breakfast for two
- A Room Upgrade, if available
- Early Check-in and late Check-out, if available
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- A “special benefit unique to each property” – this may be a food & beverage credit, a spa credit, or welcome amenities such as champagne or fruit baskets
- You have access to the Chase LHRC program by holding certain Chase credit cards. Most Chase cards are eligible, including: (1) Sapphire Reserve; (2) Sapphire Preferred; (3) Freedom Unlimited; (4) Freedom; (5) Ink Preferred; (6) Ink Cash; (7) Ritz-Carlton Visa; (8) Marriott Bonvoy Boundless; (9) United MileagePlus Explorer; or (10) United MileagePlus Club.
- 15 Vegas hotels participate in Chase LHRC, including most of the large casino hotels on the Strip.
- If you stay at a MGM/MLife hotel (Aria, Bellagio, Delano, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Park MGM, Skylofts at MGM Grand, or The Signature at MGM Grand), you can earn MLife Tier Credits and World of Hyatt points and elite night credits on your stay.
- At some MGM/MLife hotels (Aria, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo)), you can get an additional 4% statement credit discount by paying with a Chase Ink Preferred or Chase Ink Cash card enrolled in the Visa SavingsEdge program.
The rate you’ll pay using Chase LHRC will probably be higher than a discounted rate you could find using a MLife discount or other MGM/MLife promotion. But most of the time, the benefits will easily justify the higher rate, and then some. At Caesars properties, the Chase LHRC deal may or may not be better than other discount avenues such as through Caesars Rewards.
At the Aria in particular, the benefits attached to a Chase LHRC stay include:
- Daily breakfast credit up to $60 per day ($30 per person)
- Food & beverage credit of $100 per stay
- A one-category upgrade, subject to availability at check-in (maximum upgrade is to a Corner Suite)
- Guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out
- Early check-in, as early as Noon, subject to availability at check-in
On our January visit to Aria, our 2-night stay cost us a total of $404.08, all-in. With that, we received $200 in F&B credits, $120 in breakfast credits, an upgrade to a Strip View room, a 4% statement credit through Visa SavingsEdge, 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points by paying with our CIP card; 5.5x Hyatt points (we were Discoverist at the time), and enough MLife tier credits to push us over the threshold for MLife Gold, which we then matched to Hyatt Explorist.
Data Points, Observations & Lessons Learned
With that background, let’s work our way through our data points, observations, lessons learned and strategies for Chase LHRC stays at MGM/MLife properties in general and at the Aria in particular:
Back-to-Back Reservations Alternating Between Two People Work to Get Multiple F&B “Per-Stay” Credits
As you can see from the benefits list, the $100 food & beverage credit is per stay, not per day. Thus, it seems an obvious strategy to try to line up back-to-back stays, alternating between two people. Our first Aria stay was for 2 nights. We booked one night under Philly’s name and one night under mine, and we indeed received the $100 food & beverage credit for each night. This time was more complicated, as we had a 4-night stay. We booked a 2-night stay under my name, then a 1-night stay under Philly’s name, and finally another 1-night stay under my name. [We had several reasons for doing it this way as opposed to four 1-night stays, one being that we arrived late on our first night and simply wouldn’t have any opportunity to use the F&B credit on night 1, so we weren’t really losing anything.]
Making these three back-to-back-to-back reservations worked to get three $100 F&B credits, one for each of our 3 “stays.”
Having the three back-to-back-to-back reservations also “worked” in the sense that the check-in agent was able to link the 3 reservations together so that we could stay in the same room for our entire stay. We didn’t have to go back down to the front desk to check-out/check-in each day, and we didn’t have to get new keys each day. This was very convenient.
Our Previous Agent’s “Pro Tip” Worked – By Booking a Deluxe Strip View Room, We Were Able to Get Upgraded to a Corner Suite
When we checked in for our January stay, our check-in agent helpfully gave us a “pro tip” for Chase LHRC bookings at the Aria. (Quick Note: At the Aria, they refer to Chase LHRC as the “Signature Travel” program) On that visit, we had booked the base-level Deluxe Room, and we were upgraded to a Deluxe Strip View Room. But, she said, the real play is to pay a few extra dollars to book one level up – that is, book the Deluxe Strip View Room – and the one-level upgrade will then move you into a 920-square-foot Corner Suite.
On this trip, we decided to go for it on this “pro tip” and indeed booked a Deluxe Strip View Room. It cost a little more – $20 for each of the first 3 nights, and an extra $50 for our last night. So, we paid an extra $110, which became about $125 all-in with taxes.
The “pro tip” worked. We were upgraded to a Corner Suite, with plenty of room to spread out. This was particularly helpful to us because our first full day in Vegas was really a work day. Philly and I were able to both have plenty of space to work. And it was fun to have all of the extra space for the entire long weekend. We’ll review the Corner Suite room in a follow-up article soon.
That said, remember that the room upgrade is subject to availability at check-in. If you’ll be staying on a really busy weekend, understand that the Corner Suites may be sold out and you’ll end up in the class of room that you actually booked.
An upgrade to a spacious Corner Suite and receiving three $100 food & beverages were great upsides to this stay. Now, let’s look at a few things that weren’t so positive:
Having 3 Back-to-Back-to-Back Stays Created a Long Delay at Check-In
When we checked in, the agent told us that the Aria/MGM system handled 2 back-to-back stays pretty easily, but it was difficult to get it to do 3 back-to-back-to-back stays. This resulted in a long delay at check-in, as it took her at least 15 minutes to get everything done.
As it turns out, having back-to-back stays (either 2 or 3) also causes other issues.
On Back-to-Back Stays, the System Automatically Checks You Out Too Early, Which Messes Up Breakfast Credits
This has been consistent across both of our stays, so we’re confident in reporting it as a solid data point. When you have back-to-back stays at the Aria (and perhaps at other MGM/MLife properties as well?), the system automatically checks you out of your previous night’s stay and charges your card. This is all well and good, in and of itself, as it allows you to keep the same room and not have to visit the front desk to check out and back in.
However, the auto-checkout happens too early. On our January stay, the auto-checkout occurred at 8:24 am. On this stay, our first auto-checkout occurred at 7:44 am, and the second one was about the same time (we actually didn’t receive an email about that one). If you eat breakfast after the auto-checkout time (which we did every day), the breakfast charge then goes onto the next day’s folio.
The result is that your first day’s folio won’t show any breakfast at all, while your last day’s will show two. This is obviously problematic. On both of our visits, we were able to sort through this at check-out, but it took a lot of time and seemed wholly unnecessary.
We really don’t have any insight on how to prevent this from occurring, aside from not booking back-to-back stays. But that would prevent us from getting multiple food & beverage credits and would cost us money. So, if you have back-to-back stays using Chase LHRC at the Aria (and probably at other MGM/MLife properties), we want you to be aware of this issue and be prepared to have to spend extra time at checkout to sort it out.
Food & Beverage Credits Didn’t Auto-Apply
On our recent Aria stay, the Chase LHRC/Signature Travel F&B credits didn’t automatically apply to any night of our stay. Thus, at check-out, we had to go through each of the three folios from each of our “stays” and have the check-out agent apply the credits. The check-out agent was able to manually apply the credits so that the final balance and charges were correct. This was nice. But as you might imagine, it took some time. And, this is surely a source of frustration for any hotel guests with the same issue.
This issue is exacerbated because of the way the MGM/MLife systems work with respect to F&B credits. You would expect the folio to show the full amount of the charge, and then show the credit. For example, if you have a $300 meal that uses a $100 F&B credit, you’d expect to see one line item for a $300 charge and a second line item showing a $100 credit. However, the way the MGM/MLife systems work, in this situation you would only see a $200 charge. This causes confusion for everyone at check-out. And of course, when we pointed out that our credits hadn’t been applied, the check-out agent’s first reaction was to say that we just couldn’t “see” the credits.
On our January stay, the F&B credits auto-applied to one of our back-to-back stays, but not the other. We think it’s safe to say that this is a recurring problem. Unfortunately, we’re not sure what could be done to deal with this issue in advance to help the credits auto-process correctly.
Thus, for now, our lesson learned and advice to you is to be sure to check your folios carefully to make sure credits are applied, and leave plenty of time at check-out to review the folio and get the agent to make any necessary corrections.
MLife and World of Hyatt Numbers Weren’t Properly Attached to Our Reservations
Based on past experience, I know that it’s a recurring problem at MGM/MLife hotels to get MLife and World of Hyatt numbers properly attached to reservations so that charges get auto-credited. We’re usually able to get our MLife number successfully attached. But on almost every single stay, Hyatt nights and credits don’t automatically process, and we have to request retroactive credits later.
This time, I thought I was ready. Before we arrived at the Aria, I prepared a single sheet of paper that listed each reservation, the dates, the confirmation number, the person whose name the reservation was under, and the MLife and World of Hyatt numbers for each person:
I handed this paper to the agent at the Invited Guest desk when we started the check-in process. And I asked 3 times during the 15-20 minute check-in process to make sure she had attached the MLife and Hyatt numbers to each stay. She confirmed that she had done this.
During our stay at the Aria, however, I noticed that my MLife tier credit balance wasn’t increasing. Despite my efforts, I was pretty sure that the numbers had not been attached.
At check-out, I asked the agent whether the numbers were attached – and as I suspected, they were not. We watched him manually enter the numbers into the record for each of our three “stays” (or at least that’s what he said he was doing; we couldn’t see the screen, but he orally described what he was doing and we could see him typing the numbers).
Three days later, we still don’t have any MLife tier credits from the stay, and we don’t have any Hyatt points or elite night credits. I called MLife Rewards customer service (866-761-7111). The rep there said that he would submit each of our 3 “stays” to Hyatt. Unfortunately, when we called, the MLife reservations system was down, so he asked that we email copies of our folios to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for manual credit.
Unfortunately, I know from prior experience that we face one more challenge with this. You don’t get MLife tier credits on amounts paid for taxes. But when the check-out agent manually adjusted our folios to apply F&B credits, the revised line items say that the remaining charges are for “tax.” For example, on one night, we had a restaurant charge totaling $239.59. After the agent manually applied our $100 F&B credit to that charge, it now shows up as “ARIA Restaurant Tax – $139.59.” I’ll flag this when I send my email to MLife Member Services, but I’m afraid there’s a good chance we won’t get the correct number of tier credits. Needless to say, I’m concerned we won’t get the proper amount of Hyatt points, either.
We take 2 lessons from this part of the experience:
- One, before your stay, you should take your reservation number from the Chase LHRC confirmation email, go into your online MLife account, and link the reservation to your MLife number. If that doesn’t work, call the hotel or MLife before your stay to get them to link the reservation to your MLife number. (With respect to the Hyatt number, there’s no place to do this online. I’m not sure if a phone agent could add a Hyatt number in advance, but it would be worth a try.)
- Two, keep trying at check-in. MLife numbers have almost always worked when we provided them at check-in, and Hyatt numbers have sometimes worked.
Visa SavingsEdge Credits Don’t Automatically Apply to Deposits
When you make a Chase LHRC reservation at a MGM/MLife property, the confirmation says you don’t pay anything in advance. It turns out, however, that the hotel charges you the first night’s room rate plus tax as a refundable deposit, when you make the reservation. At the Aria, the charge shows up as “ARIA – ADV SALES.” By contrast, when you check out, the additional charges show up as “ARIA – FRONT DESK.”
The “ARIA – ADV SALES” charges for the deposits did not automatically earn Visa SavingsEdge 4% statement credits.
By comparison, for check-out charges shown as “ARIA – FRONT DESK” from our January stay, we received Visa SavingsEdge 4% statement credits within 2-3 days after check-out. That said, we haven’t yet received the credits from our most recent stay, even though it’s now 5 days after we checked out of the hotel.
We’re going to have to reach out to Visa SavingsEdge to request the credits, at least for the deposits and perhaps for our entire recent stay. From the FAQs on the Visa SavingsEdge site, it looks like the way to do this is to call Visa Global Customer Care Services at 888-466-9227.
This will take even more time, and it seems entirely unnecessary. I suspect that Visa Global Customer Care Services doesn’t get many calls about missing Visa SavingsEdge credits, so I won’t be surprised if it’s a challenge to get the agent to even know what I’m talking about. It’s worth enough money to make the call, though, plus we want to get the data point to share with Middle Age Miles readers.
We don’t know of any way to proactively prevent this issue. All we can do is make you aware of it and let you know how to request the credits through Visa Global Customer Care Services.
We’ve really had great stays at the Aria, which is an absolute gem of a hotel. And we’ve gotten some outstanding deals there using the Chase LHRC program. It’s really unfortunate, though, that the MGM/MLife and Visa SavingsEdge systems don’t work correctly to automatically provide benefits that are promised.
We hope that we’ve shown you the excellent deals to be had using Chase LHRC at Vegas hotels, how to prepare as best you can, what to look out for, and how to follow up to actually receive all of the promised benefits.
What are your experiences with using Chase LHRC rates and benefits in Vegas? Do you have other tips or lessons that would help? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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