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The Pencil: Latest Vegas Vacation Packages From Southwest & United

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 5th March 2010 3:14pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 5


Two interestingly similar vacation package deals were sent to us by Southwest and United airlines' vacation sales folks earlier today. Both tout savings on air/hotel packages plus a pair of free show tickets tossed in for good measure.

Lets get out the pencil and do a little comparison... mkay?

The deals as sent to us verbatim:

United: Receive up to 2 tickets to select Las Vegas shows with a 3-night vacation, plus save 20% on your stay. Hurry, this offer ends 3/22!

Southwest: Book flight + hotel to Las Vegas and receive up to 2 show tickets plus, save up to $200 on your vacation package! Book 3/1 - 3/22.

Clicking through to both landing pages reveals that this package is sponsored by MGM Mirage and valid for any MGM Mirage property and a wide swath of their ongoing shows, primarily Cirque du Soleil. The participating shows on both pages are identical right down to the omnipresence of trademark registry marks for nearly every third word listed and the order which the participating hotels are listed.

The rules for both are similar as well... booking must be completed by March 22, with travel between March 7th and June 30th, 2010.

For comparison sake, we selected a roundtrip flight from Chicago ORD to Las Vegas LAS, arriving on Thursday April 8th, Departing Tuesday April 12, 2010 for two adults.

Below is a screenshot of the results returned, United on the left, Southwest on the right. Full size

Allow me to be the first to raise their Spock brow and say "fascinating."

Even a cursory look at the pricing reveals that Southwest's low airfare rates give them a huge advantage. If you don't mind the cattle call at the airport, the lack of reserved seating, food and baggage fees to save a coupla hundred bucks you've got your deal right here.

The second point, and one I find truly amazing, is how a deal such as this - designed and built and sold to two travel retailers by MGM Mirage FOR MGM Mirage properties - would encourage me to pass on the show tickets and take the better resort experience for even less money!

I don't care how many Criss Angel tickets you throw at me... choosing Encore over Luxor for an additional $50 spread over four nights is a no brainer.

Its also interesting to note that on the Southwest side, Venetian's package rate is higher than ARIA, Encore and Wynn. Ha!



Comments & Discussion:

DING! you are now free to move about the strip.

The Encore package isn't actually more expensive than the Luxor. Luxor has a $12.95 tax per day resort fee that the Encore does not.

Be aware that all Southwest vacation packages require paper tickets! This is a major inconvenience in receiving the tickets and there is no online checkin (which is critical on Southwest to board in the A or B groups). Last summer I found the Southwest deals were the best way to stay at Encore or Wynn.

We have been able to check in online with Southwest Vacations. The package we got in the mail with the tickets includes an itenerairy page, this has a confirmation number printed near the top. Use that number on the Southwest website to check in as normal and print the boarding passes when checking luggage. We have checked in as a B only once.

Does the Southwest package include the Kevin Smith seat?

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