Middle Age Miles

Additional Tidbits from a Trip to Vegas

las vegas tips tidbits trip report signature travel aria mr chow social hour caesars palace caesars rewards diamond celebration dinner old homestead david perrico pop strings orchestra cleopatra's barge black tap cakeshake def leppard
Middle Age Miles always manages to have a good time in Vegas!


Middle Age Miles spent Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas with friends and had a great time. Earlier this afternoon, we posted a detailed article about using benefits through the Signature Travel program to score great hotel deals in Vegas. We wanted to follow up with a few additional tidbits from this weekend in Vegas that we thought you might enjoy.

1. Using Signature Travel for Hotel Reservations

We used a travel advisor affiliated with the Signature Travel program to make our Vegas hotel reservation at the Aria, and it worked out great. We received a $100 food & beverage credit, breakfast for 2 each day (max $30/person; $60 total), and an upgrade to a Strip View room. If you haven’t already read our detailed article, please check it out here:

2. We Love Staying at the Aria

We’ve experimented a lot with staying at different hotels in Vegas, and we believe we like the Aria best of all. It’s a 4,000-room hotel, but it doesn’t feel like it. The architecture, design and decorations are stunningly beautiful. The rooms, even the base-level rooms, are good-sized and functional. The fitness center is best-in-class. The sports book is nice. And the staff has generally been quite friendly toward us. It felt very comfortable to return there.

We’ve also had positive experiences at a lot of other hotels in Vegas. For now, we’ll spare you the details of why we don’t like them quite as much as the Aria. But honorable mention to the Delano, Waldorf Astoria, Caesars Palace, and Bellagio (fountain view room!).

To read our full reviews of the Aria, see these articles:

Middle Age Miles has consistently had great experiences at the Aria
(pictured: Christmas decorations in the lobby (not from this most recent trip!))

3. Social Hour at Mr. Chow is One of the Best Deals Around for Quality Drinks & Appetizers

Philly and I long scoffed at the idea of high-end Asian food, but our experiences at Mr. Chow have persuaded us otherwise. We first experienced Mr. Chow at its South Beach location during a stay at the W hotel there. We had a great meal, and since then we’ve made a point to go to other Mr. Chow locations. So far, we’ve made it to Beverly Hills, London and Las Vegas (we have 3 left – Malibu and the 2 in New York City). The food has always been great.

In Vegas, Mr. Chow is located inside Caesars Palace. The entry to Mr. Chow is on the main floor, kind of behind the casino (follow the signs or ask someone how to get there), and then you take a dedicated elevator up to the restaurant.

During our two most recent trips to Vegas, we discovered that Mr. Chow has a “Social Hour” happy hour in the bar from 5:00 to 7:00 pm each night that it’s open. We like it so much that this time, we did Social Hour not once but twice!

The Social Hour food menu consists of 6 appetizers – our favorites are the chicken sate (2 skewers with peanut sauce), mini ribs, and one of my very favorite foods in the world now, the glazed prawns with walnuts. The glazed prawns pair perfectly with Mr. Chow’s spicy chili sauce.

Mr. Chow Las Vegas – glazed prawns with walnuts
[image courtesy Yelp & Yelp user Maya M.]

On the drink side, Social Hour means that all cocktails, beer and glasses of wine that cost $40 or less are half-price. In the context of Vegas, this results in very good value for tasty and generously-poured drinks.

Dinner is great at Mr. Chow, too. And it’s a place where you can use your $100 annual celebration dinner credit if you’re a Caesars Rewards Diamond member. Beyond that, there’s a unique piece of ceiling art that puts on a show for you every 30 minutes, the view from the bar overlooking the Caesars pool is great, and general manager Philippe and manager/captain Victor have always been exceptionally nice to us.

View from the terrace of the Mr. Chow bar, overlooking the pool at Caesars Palace

4. The Caesars Rewards Diamond Celebration Dinner Benefit Works – Just Be Sure to Match to Diamond in Advance!

In one of our most popular articles on Middle Age Miles, we wrote about how many people, including those with Hilton Gold and up or Marriott Gold and up (which can be obtained by simply holding a credit card), can go through a status match process to eventually match to Caesars Rewards Diamond status. That opportunity is still alive, and here’s our article with the details:

One of the great benefits of Caesars Rewards Diamond status is the annual $100 celebration dinner credit (redeemable once during the one-year period running from Feb 1 through Jan 31). Diamond members may redeem the credit at many restaurants at Caesars properties in Vegas. You can view a list of the Las Vegas restaurants where you can redeem this benefit by clicking on the “LV Diamond Celebration Outlet List” here. Note that if there are multiple people in your dinner party with the benefit available, you can use more than one credit at a single dinner.

The important heads-up that we want to provide is that you need to make sure to complete your Caesars Diamond status match well in advance of your trip to Vegas. We’ve been told that it may take up to 30 days from the time of the match until the benefit becomes available (the reps usually say, “before the offer is loaded to your account”). We believe that the time frame is generally a bit shorter than this – but in any event, it’s not immediate. Get your match done ahead of time. Best practice would be to start the matching process at least 6 weeks before you arrive in Vegas.

5. The Old Homestead Steakhouse Was a Solid Celebration Dinner Redemption

On this most recent trip, our friends and we decided to redeem two celebration dinner credits for dinner at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in Caesars Palace. Within Caesars, the Old Homestead is located near the entrance to the Nobu hotel & restaurant and Cleopatra’s Barge. It’s hard to miss, as it has a big steer statue mounted above the entrance.

We worried a bit about the Old Homestead, because it wasn’t a known name to us. We’ve come to learn that it’s a legendary steakhouse in Manhattan, with its origins dating back more than 150 years. In any event, we thought the steaks there were very good, and this was a very nice redemption of Caesars Diamond celebration dinner credits to knock $200 off of our bill (the discount was even greater than this, as taxes were also reduced when the dinner credits were applied).

Old Homestead Steakhouse, inside Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
[image courtesy TripAdvisor]

6. We Really Enjoy the David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra

A recurring treat for Middle Age Miles’ visits to Las Vegas is to attend a performance by the David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra at Cleopatra’s Barge in Caesars Palace. The Orchestra performs at Cleopatra’s Barge at 10:00 pm each Friday & Saturday night, subject to an occasional conflicting engagement.

Here’s how the David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra describes itself on its website:

Currently in residency at world-famous Caesars Palace / Cleopatra’s Barge and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Pop Strings Orchestra is an exciting, sexy, unique, innovative, and dynamic 14-piece orchestra led by David Perrico’s powerful trumpet and stunning vocalists, featuring an all-female 7-piece acoustic string section playing Perrico’s electrifying arrangements of “All The Hits,” covering the genres of Pop, Club, Rock, Latin, Jazz, EDM, Classical, R&B, and original compositions. “From Beyonce to Beethoven,” Pop Strings is comprised of world-class Las Vegas musicians who also perform with Celine Dion, Beyonce, Rod Stewart, Terry Fator, Donny & Marie, Andrea Bocelli, Shania Twain, and Diana Ross.

Middle-agers who love pop music form the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s will really like the Orchestra. The entire group of musicians is terrific, and the lead female singer (Mrs. Perrico) can knock your socks off with her vocals.

And best of all, there’s no cover charge at all to see the Orchestra – just a 2-drink-per-person minimum. I don’t know how Caesars does it. See the Orchestra while you can – it’s a great treat.

David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra [image courtesy of the Orchestra]

7. Check Out the Delicious and Instagram-Worthy Milkshakes at Black Tap

Inside the Venetian casino, on the ground floor near the poker room, you’ll find Black Tap. Black Tap has 8 selections of over-the-top milkshakes. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful works of art. We tend to go for the CakeShake, which is topped with a huge piece of funfetti birthday cake, but we suspect all of the shakes are great. One milkshake costs $15-17, but it can easily satisfy 2-3 people.

On our visits to Black Tap, we’ve bellied up to the bar and just ordered a shake. But Black Tap has a full bar and menu of appetizers, burgers and salads too. Check it out. And if you eat a meal, leave room for dessert!

Middle Age Miles with Black Tap’s famous CakeShake – Philly says yum!!!

8. Def Leppard Can Still Rock the House

The famed UK rockers Def Leppard are finishing a short residency at Zappo’s Theater at Planet Hollywood this week. Unfortunately, the last show (at least of this series) is on Saturday (September 7). But we got to see them in concert on Sunday night. The band may have aged a bit, but they can still bring it.

I had actually forgotten how many huge hits Def Leppard had back in the day. To pick a few – Pour Some Sugar on Me; Love Bites; Rock of Ages; Photograph; Hysteria; Armageddon It; Foolin; and Animal. They certainly played all of their big singles in the 2-hour concert that started very promptly at its advertised start time of 8:00 pm.

If you like Def Leppard music (3 out of 4 of us did – and we apologize to Philly!), it’s worth seeing them play. Even the seats at the back of the house, like ours, were fine. We’re not sure if and when they’re returning to Vegas, though.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Vegas tidbits from our recent trip, and maybe you can experience some of them yourself on your next visit to Sin City!

Do you have experience with any of the things we’ve mentioned here, or other tips for Vegas? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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5 thoughts on “Additional Tidbits from a Trip to Vegas

  1. Grant

    Great Vegas tips in this post and the previous Using Signature Travel Benefits to Score Great Deals in Vegas post. I think Laura and I are going to Las Vegas in Dec/Jan, so I better get started on the Caesar status match now 🙂

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Thanks, Grant. For most of Dec/Jan in Vegas (except for NYE and for some reason this year, the first week of Dec), you can score benefits with Signature or Chase LHRC that are about as much as the room rate itself. Signature works best at MGM properties, or alternatively, get Diamond and stay at Caesars properties with no resort fees 🙂 It’s been fun to learn and write about these Vegas deals for sure! ~Craig

      1. Grant

        I’ve stayed at a handful of MGM properties, but I am leaning toward Aria (you review makes it look really nice) or a Caesar’s property (do you have any favorites?)

  2. JV13


    These are some great tips. Thanks for the article on the Caesar’s Rewards Diamond status match strategy. We recently used the tips and saved $200 on a dinner. I will also echo your comments on the David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra. Anyone that likes music from that era needs to check them out next time they go to Vegas. Before we book a trip to Vegas, we always like to make sure they are performing at Ceasars the weekend we are wanting to go. Keep posting these great tips for us!

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Thanks JV13! Glad you had a good time in Vegas and saved a bunch with the Caesars Diamond celebration dinner benefits! ~Craig

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