I recently visited Atlantic City utilizing my Diamond Aspiration II privilege from Total Rewards. Diamond Aspiration II provides free airfare and 4 nights free stay at any Total Rewards Hotel. I chose Caesar’s Palace on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
Atlantic City – A Gambler’s Dream
Being a Las Vegas resident and typically being disappointed with any casino outside Las Vegas, I expected Atlantic City to trail Las Vegas in every way, but I was pleased to find Atlantic City surpassing Las Vegas in almost every way. The only area Atlantic City lacks is the weather and outdoors activities.
The Total Rewards casinos have good games as if they were a locals’ casino in Las Vegas, including 9/6 Jacks or Better and a Double Joker’s Wild machine that was over 100% payback when the royal progressive was slightly higher than its initial $2000.
The Diamond Lounges open earlier than their Las Vegas counterparts, stay open later, provide a wider selection of menu options, and the Caesar’s Palace lounge is well appointed with a view of the ocean.
Harrah’s and Caesar’s even have a Seven Stars’ lounge. Though only open during the weekends, it opens at 1pm and provides a full service menu for guests.
Traveling to Atlantic City
With the $750 airfare credit for the Diamond Aspiration II, there are plenty of options for traveling to Atlantic City. Spirit Airlines services Atlantic City airport and is the best budget conscience option. I decided to stop into New York for a couple nights so instead I flew into JFK. Then I took the subway to Times Square, stayed a couple nights at a Hampton Inn, and caught the Greyhound express bus to Atlantic City from the Port Authority.
Total Rewards doesn’t mind if you do this, so long as your flight arrives to a nearby airport. Be sure to provide the host with your Frequent Flyer #.
Caesar’s Palace or Harrah’s Atlantic City?
The two choices for using your Diamond Aspiration II are Harrah’s and Caesar’s Palace. Bally’s is available as well though I found it older and not as nice.
Choosing between the two is mainly a preference of being on the boardwalk or having a nice indoor pool. Caesar’s Palace is right on the boardwalk with views from many of the rooms and restaurants. Harrah’s is on the bay and though some nice views can be had, they don’t compare to being on the boardwalk. Harrah’s makes up for it with a large indoor pool appointed like an outdoor resort.
Both casinos have a Diamond Lounge and Seven Stars lounge, though Caesar’s Diamond Lounge seemed slightly less busy and nicer in terms of furniture and elegance, as well as a view of the boardwalk.
For gaming, Caesar’s would take the lead with more budget friendly options including 25 cent 9/6 Jacks and a 25 cent full pay Double Joker machine (make sure you study the strategy at wizardofodss.com). Table games were also cheaper at Caesar’s and both had similar rules typical of a Total Rewards property.
When including the Pier shops on the boardwalk attached to Caesar’s, I’d give a slight nod to Caesar’s for value and choice when it came to dining, though I’d give the edge to Harrah’s for its buffet (though more expensive). Both hotels had ample dining options, though, so I wouldn’t consider this a factor in deciding which to stay.
The spa at Caesar’s allows free access to Seven Stars members, but the fitness center at Harrah’s is much better appointed. The Red Door spa at Harrah’s is not part of the hotel folio and therefor doesn’t even provide discounts to Total Rewards members. Accordingly, I didn’t visit it.
For poker, the edge would be Harrah’s, with plenty of games on offer. It is also closer to the Borgata with its large poker room.
In the end, it doesn’t matter too much as a Total Rewards free shuttle runs throughout the day to ferry players back and forth between the two.
Atlantic City as an online player
During my stay in Atlantic City, I couldn’t help but think how convenient it would be to live near to one of the casinos as a New Jersey online poker player. I could literally eat for free lunch and dinner every day of the week in the Diamond Lounge or Seven Stars lounge. Atlantic City seems overall very generous to its players.