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Middle Age Miles

Using Signature Travel Benefits to Score Great Deals in Vegas

signature travel benefits las vegas hotel great deals aria mgm mlife chase lhrc luxury hotels resorts collection melanie doorley frosch vacations travel
Middle Age Miles used Signature Travel benefits to score some nice benefits over Labor Day weekend at the Aria!

Introduction

Some of our most popular articles on Middle Age Miles have been the ones about scoring good hotel deals in Las Vegas. We recently found another useful avenue to get nice benefits in Vegas that can result in a great deal – using Signature Travel through a travel agent. We used Signature Travel benefits for a stay at the Aria over Labor Day weekend and wanted to share our experience.

Background

We’ve previously written about using the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC) to score great deals in Vegas:

During check-in for the stays we covered in these articles, we found that the check-in agents consistently referred to the program we had booked as “Signature Travel,” not “LHRC.” Some follow-up research revealed that Chase LHRC bookings were actually using the Signature Travel Network. And, it turns out, the Signature Travel program includes 16 different hotels in Las Vegas (Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Delano, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, NoMad, Park MGM, Skylofts at MGM Grand, Cosmopolitan, Palazzo, Signature at MGM Grand, Venetian, Trump International, Waldorf Astoria, and Wynn/Encore).

Each hotel booking through Signature Travel Network, including a Chase LHRC booking, enjoys several valuable elite-type benefits:

  • Complimentary breakfast for 2 daily
  • An additional special complimentary benefit per stay
    • This benefit is hotel-specific – examples include a $100 dining credit, a lunch or dinner for two, spa or resort credit, or other privilege
  • A room upgrade on arrival, if available
  • Early check-in and late check-out, if available

You can learn more about the Signature Travel hotel benefits and search for participating hotels, including the exact benefits offered at each hotel, at these links:

Thus, as much as we extolled the virtues of using Chase LHRC to score great deals in Vegas, using Signature Travel benefits directly has some advantages. First, Signature Travel is more widely available – Chase LHRC is only accessible by people holding certain credit cards issued by Chase, whereas Signature Travel is available to anyone as long as you use a travel agent who has access to the program. Second, Signature Travel is more flexible – Chase LHRC bookings must be paid using a Chase-issued card, whereas you can use any credit card to pay for Signature Travel bookings (this was important to us, as you’ll read below).

A potential downside to using Signature Travel is that it’s less convenient for most people. Chase LHRC bookings can easily be made online using the Chase LHRC portal. But to make Signature Travel bookings, you’ll have to contact a qualified travel advisor and work through them, which can take longer (although the travel advisor can help you in other ways, of course). You can search for a Signature Travel qualified advisor at this link:

How We Did It – Our Signature Travel Reservation at Aria

For our Signature Travel reservation at Aria, we booked a 2-night stay in Aria’s base-level King Deluxe Room. Our Signature Travel benefits included:

  • Breakfast for 2 each day
    • At the Aria, this consists of $60 total credit (technically, $30/person for a maximum of 2 guests) for breakfast at either the Aria Cafe or the Buffet at Aria
    • The credit may cover taxes and gratuities
    • We had breakfast each morning at the Aria Cafe, which we prefer because we like ordering a la carte and we like the bright, open space in the Cafe
Aria Cafe, a huge and nicely-done space with big windows allowing for a lot of natural light
  • $100 Food & Beverage credit
    • The listed benefit says that it applies only at selected Aria food & beverage outlets; however, we noted that the credit was actually applied to charges from the La Pizza e La Pasta restaurant located in Eataly at the Park MGM
The popular Eataly complex at Park MGM Las Vegas has several good dining options, including our favorite, La Pizza e La Pasta
  • Invited Guest check-in
    • We used Invited Guest check-in, and we think it’s worth it – in general we have found the Invited Guest check-in agents to be skilled and helpful
Aria Invited Guest Check-In Desk
  • Room Upgrade (not including suites), subject to availability
    • For our stay, we were upgraded from the base room to a “Strip View” room
    • The Deluxe Strip View room is actually the same size as the base-level King Deluxe room, but it costs more to book
    • Aside from the view of the Strip (not the best from the Aria, but still nice), it’s helpful to have a Strip View room in the summer because it faces east (morning sun) rather than west (afternoon sun), which helps keep the room at a more comfortable temperature
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room
  • Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
    • We did not need or use this benefit on this stay

Our motivation to use Signature Travel rather than Chase LHRC for this particular reservation at Aria was threefold – One, we wanted to gain firsthand experience with the Signature Travel program in order to report to Middle Age Miles readers. Two, we wanted to establish a relationship with a travel advisor qualified with Signature Travel (as well as other premium hotel programs). And three, we wanted to use an Amex Offer for MGM hotels (now expired) that would give us a $100 statement credit when we spent $500+. Using that Offer, of course, required us to pay with an Amex card, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we booked through Chase LHRC.

One additional data point of interest for using Signature Travel at the Aria was that the hotel did not charge a one-night advance deposit, as is standard with reservations at MGM/MLife hotels. We’re not sure why this was not charged, but our travel advisor let us know this shortly after we made the reservation, and in fact we were never charged a deposit. All room rates, resort fees and taxes were charged at the hotel, upon check-out.

This data point is important for two reasons – One, if you’re trying to get a deposit charged before your stay in order to take advantage of an Amex Offer at MGM, that won’t happen with a Signature Travel reservation. And two, this will be worth a few extra dollars to you if you’re paying for a MGM hotel stay with a Chase-issued business Visa card that’s enrolled in the Visa SavingsEdge (VSE) program. At the Aria, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage and Park MGM hotels, if you pay with a card enrolled in VSE, you get a 4% statement credit. For some reason, the VSE credit doesn’t automatically apply to advance deposits; it only gets automatically applied to charges made directly at the hotel front desk. So, for example, if you’re booking a room at a base rate of $250/night, you’d get an extra $10 of credit by not having the deposit charged and instead paying this amount at the hotel. It’s a small point, but it could be worth a few dollars!

Finally, we would also note that our Signature Travel benefits – in particular, the F&B and breakfast credits, were automatically and correctly applied to our folio at check-out. We were very happy to see this, as our benefits have not been automatically applied correctly in our two previous stays at Aria when we booked through Chase LHRC.

Our Signature Travel-Qualified Travel Advisor

For our Signature Travel reservation at Aria, we used Melanie Doorley of FROSCH Travel. We did not have any pre-existing relationship with Melanie We found her using the Signature Travel Advisor Search web interface. Her profile caught our eye because she listed Las Vegas as a destination specialty, and she also listed some of our other favorite destinations such as France, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, London, Prague and Rome. We thought we’d get along well with her.

And, as it turns out, Melanie was a delight to work with. We’re quite pleased with our experience with her and look forward to working with her in the future. Aside from Signature Travel, Melanie has access to other specialty hotel benefit programs such as Hyatt Prive and Four Seasons Preferred Partner. In addition, she offers full-service planning and booking services for all land and sea vacations, including airfare.

Melanie was kind enough to allow us to share her contact information if you’re looking for a good Travel Consultant for Signature Travel or other bookings:

A Few Additional Observations

(1) In one of our previous Chase LHRC articles about staying at the Aria, we discussed the subject of making back-to-back reservations alternating between two people. The $100 F&B credit is given on a “per stay” basis and not per night. Thus, in theory, back-to-back reservations alternating between two people could allow you receive multiple F&B “per stay” credits. We did this successfully when we used the Chase LHRC program. The check-in agent was even able to link the rooms so that we didn’t have to check out and back in (note, however, that we had issues with the credits applying properly in this situation; we were able to fix everything at check-out, but it took about 20 minutes to do so). We believe that the same strategy will work with Signature Travel bookings, and in fact, we’re working on one with Melanie right now for a 3-night booking where the 1st and 3rd nights would be in my name, with the 2nd night would be in Philly’s name.

(2) Historically, MLife elite members have been offered discounts of up to 20-25% on room rates when booking direct with MGM/MLife. Recently, however, this changed so that MLife offers a maximum discount of 10% to all members regardless of elite status. (See our recent article here.) Signature Travel/Chase LHRC bookings seem to book consistently at the undiscounted rate. In the past, it could be a close call whether to book a 20-25% discounted MLife elite rate without benefits versus a Signature Travel/Chase LHRC rate including benefits. That is, were the benefits worth the additional cost (and the additional potential complications of ST/LHRC benefits applying correctly, back-to-back reservations, etc.)? Now, though, with a maximum MLife discount of 10%, it will almost always be the case that booking through Signature Travel/Chase LHRC will result in a better overall deal despite the slightly higher room rate.

(3) Signature Travel bookings at MGM/MLife hotels earn full MLife tier credits and World of Hyatt points and elite night credits (assuming that you’ve linked your Hyatt account). Be sure to provide your MLife number to your Signature Travel agent, and make sure at check-in that the agent can see your MLife and World of Hyatt numbers on the reservation.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our report on using Signature Travel benefits to score great deals in Vegas. With the $100 F&B credit and breakfast benefits, it can be an even more compelling deal when rates are really low, like we experienced during our visit in January. If rates are low enough, the value of the benefits plus the Hyatt points you can earn by staying at a MGM hotel can be almost as much as the room rate!

Do you have experience with using Signature Travel benefits at Aria or other Vegas locations? Do you have additional tips that would help? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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One thought on “Using Signature Travel Benefits to Score Great Deals in Vegas

  1. Pingback: MGM TEAMING UP WITH BUFFALO WILD WINGS? | OH Travel Dad

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