Hotel loyalty programs can be a safety net for those rare times when it makes sense to spend your hard-earned  points to avoid having to pay out of pocket for a hotel stay and a recent two-night escape to Las Vegas was one such case as I was able to avoid a hefty hotel bill by blowing some banked Starwood Preferred Guest points for the Four Points by Sheraton Las Vegas East Flamingo, a moderate hotel off Las Vegas Boulevard aka “The Strip”.

Scanning the online reviews in the months leading up to my stay had me a little concerned as the picture many  painted was of, well, a dump in an unsafe neighborhood but happily can report those reviewers were a long Vegas block off the mark as the 129- room hotel deserves to be seen for what it is rather than what it isn’t. Yes, this hotel is a mile off the strip and yes, it’s an older, moderate hotel and yes, I did notice some transients nearby but if that’s all that makes some people consider an area unsafe the same could be said for many, many urban hotels throughout the U.S. and Canada. The walk from the hotel to The Strip on a warm October Saturday afternoon was a casual 25-minutes but guests not feel like walking there’s always Uber which arrives quickly and costs around $6 for a one-way ride so it isn’t so isolated a location as to be even a small problem.

My “Traditional Room” #343 overlooks the small pool and whirlpool and features a king bed, flat screen TV with DirectTV instead of cable, laptop-friendly safe in the closet and a white noise generating machine in the form of an old AC unit below the window.

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One small upside to the noisy AC unit that runs constantly is that it helps block out the road noise from the busy East Flamingo Road that is a few hundred feet from the hotel.

Despite the warm weather there wasn’t a single swimmer in sight on the pool deck.

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The room was comfortable and the typical chain hotel furniture however lacked a mini-fridge which given how hot Vegas can become in Summer seems an odd omission however there is free bottled water in every room.

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The bathroom was a pleasant surprise and easily the best thing about the room as gone is the dinky short and shallow tub & shower combination found in almost every chain hotel room to be replaced with a large shower stall which I very much prefer.

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Water pressure and availability of hot waster is good and despite the standard shower head I enjoyed having enough elbow room to enjoy a refreshing shower without stepping into a small tub and having the shower curtain clinging to me. Mounted to the wall was a user-friendly rack with hair and body wash products in easy to use dispensers.

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Buffet breakfast is served in PJ’s Bar and Grill from 6:30 – 10AM weekdays and 6:30 – 11AM on weekends. The breakfast is pretty standard fare with hot sausages, scrambled eggs, choice of cereals, bread and pastries, coffee, tea & juice was augmented by a waffle maker for those intrepid morning diners.

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As I was staying on a hotel loyalty award assumed that  breakfast was included in the room rate however after I was already half way through my meal found out it wasn’t after giving the waiter my room number. After a moment checking with the front desk manager the waiter said they would comp. me the breakfast that morning, a generous goodwill gesture I very much appreciated.

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To one side of the restaurant area is Best Brews, a small lobby bar meant to highlight the many local breweries best beers however I discovered only one local beer on tap, an excellent Porter style dark beer from Henderson, Nevada’s Joseph James Brewing Company.  The large pillar in the middle of the bar is an odd design feature but it’s a comfy enough space to down a point or two while winding down watching some sports on the big screens after a long day in Vegas.

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The hotel has a sort of modern Rec. room décor with leather chairs on the guest room floors and in the lobby.

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The lobby features two PC’s for guest use for online airline check in or checking emails but having a laptop I connected to the in-room Wi-Fi to check-in for my Air Canada flight home and select a seat. Just to one side of the front desk is “The Pantry” with sodas and snack food but beware the cost of convenience as a can of Coke and small bag of chips cost $6 much to my dismay which is easily double what the pair would cost off-site.

As I had a very limited amount of free time during my two-night stay I didn’t use the hotel’s fitness facility which features a pair of treadmills, elliptical and stationary bike along with free weights and yoga mats.

The hotel staff helped make my stay a little warmer with a really positive attitude and friendly approachability.

For a moderate hotel that really didn’t stand out as being outstanding in any one area, the Four Points by Sheraton East Flamingo did enough of the little things right and delivered a comfortable enough stay that I would return but probably only under the right set of conditions where it was enough of a value compared to more luxurious accommodation on The Strip.

One of those conditions changed after I confirmed my Starwood Preferred Guest, or SPG for short, hotel loyalty program award stay and this Four Points became less of a value as it had been classed as a category 2 hotel for award redemption requiring only 3,000 points per night for a standard room but has been upgraded to a category 3 hotel which now requires a minimum of 7,000 points per night for a standard room award stay. As with many things in Las Vegas good timing never hurts and in that respect my SPG award redemption timing was in hindsight excellent because I might not chose to spend coveted SPG points if paying out of pocket to stay elsewhere becomes a better bet.