I Said Yes to Every Upgrade in Las Vegas. Here’s What It Cost.
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
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I Said Yes to Every Upgrade in Las Vegas. Here’s What It Cost.

By DAWN GILBERTSON
Thu, Feb 8, 2024 8:45amGrey Clock 4 min

LAS VEGAS—Few places vacuum money from you like this glittering gambling and entertainment playground.  That’s true for the visitors in town for Sunday’s Super Bowl —official motto: Excessive Celebration Encouraged. And it’s true for visitors any time, with the $US200 seats at the pool and the $US800 bottle service at nightclubs. All before you step onto the casino floor.  You can fly here for as little as $US50 if you play your cards right. But people come to Vegas to spend, and the businesses here know it. This place hits travellers with potential upgrades every few steps. So I flew in for an experiment, a real-life version of the Jim Carrey comedy “Yes Man” (or “Yes Day” if you’re a Jennifer Garner fan). I said yes to every upgrade and VIP package to see just how much you get for your money, and what can be skipped. I had parameters. The $US3,999 helicopter ride to the top of Valley of Fire State Park for yoga was out. As was the $US4,000-a-night upgrade offer to a three-bedroom presidential suite at my hotel.  Still, I cut lines, got a massage in the reserved seats at the Aria sportsbook during an NFL wild-card game, relaxed in a private lounge before a show at the Sphere , and drank a French 75 from a prime window seat at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. In all, I spent $US976 to upgrade my Vegas visit.  Was every upcharge worth it? Absolutely not. But a few are worth your money.

Yes, yes and yes

The offers began minutes after I booked a room for two nights at the luxury all-suite Palazzo resort. The price: $US480 before taxes and fees for two nights, a relative bargain on a holiday weekend in January. How much for a room booked last-minute for Super Bowl weekend? $US1,700 a night. I landed two upgrades after an email prompt gauged my interest: $US75 for early check-in and $US57 a night for a city view, the cheapest room category upgrade. Early check-in fees irk me , but this was worth it after my early flight. I was in the room by 11 a.m.  The room was swank. The view of Treasure Island and the Mirage was nothing special.

A city view room at the Palazzo resort, where travel columnist Dawn Gilbertson paid an extra $57 a night plus taxes to upgrade the view. PHOTO: DAWN GILBERTSON/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

I headed to Area15, an arts and entertainment complex. First stop: Meow Wolf ’s Omega Mart, a popular immersive art experience that takes visitors into a bizarro grocery store that links to an alternate dimension. Admission is $US54; upgrading to a $US99 VIP package promised to “enhance my experience”   but bought me a souvenir pin, VIP lanyard, a cocktail and a 15% discount I didn’t use at the gift shop. Maybe the good stuff comes with the $US129 scavenger hunt package. (As I perused products like cans of faux La Croix in mashed-potato flavour and wandered a dizzying hall of mirrors, I wondered how many visitors upgraded with a trip to a local dispensary beforehand.) Admission to stroll around the rest of Area15 is free, but I upgraded to a $US35 pass, which included five attractions, the best of which was the outdoor Liftoff ride with great views of the Strip.

Cutting lines for crab legs

Many resorts here gave up the buffet business for good during the pandemic . The Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas still packs them in. Saturday brunch had an hourlong wait during my visit. VIP line to the rescue! $US35 gets you a head start on the $US62 all-you-can-eat feast of snow crab legs, sushi and slow-roasted strip loin. The best part: The manager overseeing the line comped the fee because she said she enjoyed talking to me and a friend while we waited. (I never identify myself to employees as a Wall Street Journal reporter on these types of assignments.) Suddenly playing with house money, I sprang for the unlimited mimosa package for $US33 after tax and tip, to go with the brunch base price. There is a 90-minute limit, but I had places to be.

One movie, $US245

My colleague Jason Gay calls the Sphere, the giant orb that sits behind the Venetian, a “beach ball peaking on acid.” He paid $US539 to see U2 at the new venue.  In the biggest single splurge on my trip, I paid $US245 to see a 50-minute movie there. The Director’s Seat package promised VIP entry, pre show lounge access with free beer, wine and snacks and a souvenir Sphere T-shirt. The VIP entry was the best perk, letting me skip the clogged Regular Joe lines. I was one of the first people in the atrium, where a humanoid robot named Aura chatted with me and a couple from Arkansas who also took the VIP plunge. The robot asked them the secret to their 55-year marriage. We met again in the nearly empty lounge before the Darren Aronofsky show “Postcard From Earth.”

Delta Sky Club this ain’t: The small food spread included soft pretzels with cheese and mustard. The bartender did dig out a great local IPA, Atomic Duck, and pointed me to the popcorn that VIP guests could take into the movie. The package promises premium seating for the show, a trip around the globe in which seats rattled when elephants or a jumbo jet rumbled across the giant screen. My seat was good, albeit one row up and an aisle over from my friends who paid $US79 for their standard tickets.  The final Yes Day in Vegas is a spendy blur: $US190 to watch the Lions and Rams duke it out in an NFL playoff nail-biter from a high-top table with food and alcohol included in a roped-off section at Aria Resort & Casino. The rest of the sportsbook was standing room only. Then there was the $US40-a-person fee for the window seat at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant overlooking the dancing Bellagio fountains. The couple celebrating their anniversary one table back couldn’t believe I paid the fee.  I left Vegas a little spoiled and out of sorts. When Southwest Airlines offered a $US50 upgrade to jump to the front of its boarding line on my flight home, I clicked buy. Can’t wait to explain that one to the folks in Expense Accounting.



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Call to cut corporate carbon footprints is loudest from inside organizations, outweighing demand from customers and regulators, survey finds

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The pressure on companies to cut their carbon footprint is coming more from within the organisations themselves than from customers and regulators, according to a new report.

Three-quarters of business leaders from across the Group of 20 nations said the push to invest in renewable energy is being driven mainly by their own corporate boards, with 77% of U.S. business leaders saying the pressure was extreme or significant, according to a new survey conducted by law firm Ashurst.

The corporate call to decarbonise is intensifying, Ashurst said, with 30% of business leaders saying the pressure from their own boards was extreme, up from 25% in 2022.

“We’re seeing that the energy transition is an area that is firmly embedded in the thinking of investors, corporates, governments and others, so there is a real emphasis on setting and acting on these plans now,” said Michael Burns, global co-head of energy at Ashurst. “That said, the pace of transition and the stage of the journey very much depends from business to business.”

The shift in sentiment comes as companies ramp up investment in renewable spending to meet their net-zero goals. Ashurst found that 71% of the more than 2,000 respondents to its survey had committed to a net-zero target, while 26% of respondents said their targets were under development.

Ashurst also found that solar was the most popular method to decarbonise, with 72% of respondents currently investing in or committed to investing in the clean energy technology. The law firm also found that companies tended to be the most active when it comes to renewable investments, with 52% of the respondents falling into this category. The average turnover of those companies was $15.1 billion.

Meanwhile, 81% of energy-sector respondents to the survey said they see investment in renewables as essential to the organisation’s strategic growth.

Burns said the 2030 timeline to reach net zero was very important to the companies it surveyed. “We are increasingly seeing corporate and other stakeholders actively setting and embracing trajectories to achieve net zero. However, greater clarity and transparency on the standards for measuring and managing these net-zero commitments is needed to ensure consistency in approach and, importantly, outcome,” he said.

Legal battles over climate change and renewable investing are also likely to rise, with 68% of respondents saying they expect to see an increase in legal disputes over the next five years, while only 16% anticipate a decrease, the report said.

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