How We Won 1,000,000 SPG Points…Almost

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A few months ago I posted about what I thought to be a tremendous SPG redemption opportunity….15,000 SPG points for you and a guest to spend the weekend in Vegas celebrating the new partnership between Caesar’s Hotel group and the Starwood Preferred Guest program.  You had to be a SPG Platinum member to participate, and for 15,000 SPG points you received:

Friday and Saturday night stay at one of these Caesars hotels:

  • Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
  • Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
  • Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Arrival events Friday:

  • Taste of Caesars evening reception, showcasing Caesars’ culinary delights
  • Nobu after-hours reception

Saturday Afternoon events:

  • Blackjack tournament at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino with a grand prize of one million Starpoints
  • You and your guest can both participate

Saturday Evening events:

  • Britney: Piece of Me show at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
  • Jersey Boys performance at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
  • Celine Dion show in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino

Sunday events:

  • Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

This was an opportunity way too good for us to pass up, so we quickly redeemed the 15k points from my husband’s account (since he is the Platinum member) and then looked forward to our fun Vegas weekend that just concluded.  I was tweeting some about the event over the weekend, and since several folks wanted more info about the SPG and Caesar’s weekend, here is a quick recap of the events and how we almost won 1 million SPG points!

Taste of Caesars evening reception:

Shortly after we got to the hotel, we headed outside into the pool area for an outdoor “Taste of Caesars” party.  I thought an evening pool party in February was a little brave in terms of weather, but it turned out to be the perfect night to be outdoors.



As soon as you arrived, they offered you some sangria, and that was just the start of the food and drink offerings.  Since a big part of this party was to showcase different foods, there were many different food stations set up with things like truffle mac and cheese, ribeye, a huge seafood tower, and almost endless desserts.

The food I tried was pretty good, and being able to sample lots of different little plates was a bunch of fun.  There was also an open bar so I’m sure nobody went thirsty!  Because we are massively boring, and were pretty tired after an hour or so at the party (dang two hour time difference from Texas to Vegas), I don’t know if there were any formal remarks from anyone later on in the event, but while we were there it was just a bunch of mingling and no formal statements from SPG or Caesar’s.  That felt a little strange, but wasn’t stopping folks from having a good time!
What I found the most interesting at the celebration were the only-in-Vegas touches like the feathered fire dancers or the ballerinas on pedestals.  Those unique additions combined with the ambiance of a a private event at the Caesars pools made me think more than once that again miles and points have brought us down a rabbit hole,and into a situation that is so far removed from our normal everyday lives.  I mean what business did we have at a private Vegas event with fire dancers?!  It is a fun, but also very strange feeling when points open such interesting doors…or maybe that feeling was due to eating too many shrimp off the seafood tower.
All in all the party was very well done, and reminded me a lot of the event that Hyatt and MLife put on to celebrate their partnership.  There was an after-party at Nobu, but we were well asleep by the time that event occurred.  I heard from some folks that did go there wasn’t any Nobu food available, so I’m glad we didn’t stay up hoping for a free nibble of delicious food.
Blackjack Tournament to Win 1 Million SPG Points:
A big draw of the weekend had to be the blackjack tournament where 1,000,000 SPG points were on the line!  I’ve played blackjack many times before, but never in a tournament.  We read up a tiny bit about tournament play beforehand and learned that you had to beat your table.  This isn’t like normal blackjack where the table is often rooting for each other, but instead you need to end with the highest number of chips at your table to advance to the next round.  They had several different opening round sessions to accommodate the 300 or so people that were playing. It was immediately clear this was a very “serious” and well run event complete with lots of staff from Planet Hollywood, a professional announcer, an open bar, free food, and real dealers.  Heck, the event even had its own sign.
I had a bunch of fun, but didn’t make it past the first round.  However, my husband did.  Then he made it passed the next round.  And then the next round.  Then he was playing in the final round against five other people for the grand prize of a million SPG points.  I seriously could barely get my head around how many trips that could fund, not just for our family, but for our extended family as well.  Sure, you would have to pay taxes on the prize, but it is ONE MILLION SPG POINTS.  I did my best not to let my points craziness stress out my husband who was playing for the prize, so instead just kept myself busy chatting with some of the other awesome points crazed folks there who were just as excited as I was (and their more normal spouses).  Final table photo below thanks to @ZachHonig.
In the end, we didn’t win the points.  My husband went all-in on one of the last hands to try and catch up to the chip leader.  While he was dealt a 20, the dealer sadly was dealt a blackjack.  Had he won that hand, we would have had a real shot at being the chip leader and the 1,000,000 points.  Instead he busted out and we got to watch a very excited guy who had never played blackjack before win the grand prize!  The second and third prize winners also got prizes (trip to Tahoe and Vegas, respectively).  We didn’t win anything other than the right to dream about a ton of SPG points all day, but it was fun to try.
As soon as the tournament was over we headed back to Lotus of Siam to enjoy some delicious food.  I had been before, but it was my husband’s first time.  We didn’t have a reservation, but lucked out of the one hour wait thanks to being a party of two as they had one small table available.  This restaurant in a strip mall off the Strip may not look like much, but it has quite the following.  This wasn’t a part of the official SPG weekend, but it was still a culinary highlight!
Britney Spears Show:
I wasn’t sure we would have enough energy to stay up for the 9PM Britney Spears show, but the food was just spicy enough to wake us up and provide the energy to return to Planet Hollywood in time to see the show.
Neither of us are huge Britney Spears fans, but I was still excited to see her.  There were many folks in the audience dressed as Britney who ran like they were racing the bulls when they opened the stage-front pits.  Apparently you can get a wristband to stand right in front of the stage just as if you were at a normal concert.  Being older and more boring (and sans Britney costumes), we set in the seats given to us and via the SPG weekend and waited for the show to start.
However, once the show starts, no one sits in their seats.  Everyone is up and dancing with the music (or at least standing up watching the show).  Britney did a good job.  She isn’t quite the crazy dancer she was a decade ago, but hey I can’t do some things I did a decade ago either!  Most, if not all, of the show is not her singing live, but it is a big Vegas style show that was fun to see, and the audience seemed thrilled to see Britney do her thing.
Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi:
On the final morning there was a brunch to conclude the weekend of “VIP Events”.  As much as I would have loved enjoying the perfect weather during an outdoor brunch at Mon Ami Gabi, we took an early flight to get home to our little one so missed this event.  Mon Ami Gabi has been on my list of brunch spots to hit in Vegas though, so hopefully we will be able to try this spot at Paris out on another trip.
Overall Impressions:
This weekend looked to be a fantastic redemption when it was announced, and indeed it was. It sold out very quickly, so I’m glad we moved as fast as we did.  The theme for all the couples I talked to that weekend is one of them booked it as soon as they saw it available, and then told their partner about it later… Most of the time I like to use my hotel points for regular hotel award stays, but sometimes the SPG Moments program makes some other pretty fantastic opportunities available.  I’ll continue to share the opportunities I know about as I find them.  We didn’t win the 1,000,000 SPG points, but still had a great weekend in Vegas thanks to 15k SPG points!  I’ll do a full report on our first stay at Caesars soon.

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  1. Sounds like an awesome weekend in Vegas. I can’t image playing in a Blackjack Tournament, I can barely beat the dealer normally. It’s amazing that the guy who won had never played Blackjack before, such luck!

  2. Wow – I agree with what you said about the awesomeness of miles and points being able to give you (and your family) not only free travel but the kinds of experiences that just don’t exist back in the “real” world

  3. It was nice running into you and meeting your husband. Glad you made it to Lotus od Siam and Brittney. The outdoor brunch at Mon Ami Gabi was nice and quick. In general, a bargain weekend thanks to SPG and Total Rewards!

  4. I was at the event as well. I thought they did a great job. I wish that e would have gotten Seven Stars status like Hyatt guests at the similar event got Noir. No luck here either.

  5. What an awesome trip report! I love Vegas. We go atleast twice a year and it is probably my favorite place. I would have been so excited to be involved in a blackjack tournament. We are not SPG platinum though but if we were, I would have jumped on that.

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