I Said Yes to Every Upgrade in Las Vegas. Here’s What It Cost.
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,613,207 (-0.60%)       Melbourne $969,484 (-0.54%)       Brisbane $991,125 (-0.15%)       Adelaide $906,278 (+1.12%)       Perth $892,773 (+0.03%)       Hobart $726,294 (-0.04%)       Darwin $657,141 (-1.18%)       Canberra $1,003,818 (-0.83%)       National $1,045,092 (-0.37%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,460 (+0.43%)       Melbourne $495,941 (+0.11%)       Brisbane $587,365 (+0.63%)       Adelaide $442,425 (-2.43%)       Perth $461,417 (+0.53%)       Hobart $511,031 (+0.36%)       Darwin $373,250 (+2.98%)       Canberra $492,184 (-1.10%)       National $537,029 (+0.15%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,787 (-116)       Melbourne 14,236 (+55)       Brisbane 8,139 (+64)       Adelaide 2,166 (-18)       Perth 5,782 (+59)       Hobart 1,221 (+5)       Darwin 279 (+4)       Canberra 924 (+36)       National 42,534 (+89)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,638 (-81)       Melbourne 8,327 (-30)       Brisbane 1,728 (-19)       Adelaide 415 (+10)       Perth 1,444 (+2)       Hobart 201 (-10)       Darwin 392 (-7)       Canberra 1,004 (-14)       National 22,149 (-149)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$5)       Adelaide $615 (+$5)       Perth $675 ($0)       Hobart $560 (+$10)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $670 (+$4)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $630 (+$5)       Adelaide $505 (-$5)       Perth $620 (-$10)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $580 (+$20)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (-$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,197 (+313)       Melbourne 6,580 (-5)       Brisbane 4,403 (-85)       Adelaide 1,545 (-44)       Perth 2,951 (+71)       Hobart 398 (-13)       Darwin 97 (+4)       Canberra 643 (+11)       National 22,814 (+252)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,884 (-22)       Melbourne 6,312 (0)       Brisbane 2,285 (-54)       Adelaide 357 (-14)       Perth 783 (-14)       Hobart 129 (-14)       Darwin 132 (+6)       Canberra 831 (+15)       National 21,713 (-97)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.64% (↑)      Melbourne 3.33% (↑)        Brisbane 3.31% (↓)       Adelaide 3.53% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 4.01% (↑)      Darwin 5.54% (↑)      Canberra 3.52% (↑)      National 3.34% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.17% (↓)       Melbourne 6.19% (↓)     Brisbane 5.58% (↑)      Adelaide 5.94% (↑)        Perth 6.99% (↓)       Hobart 4.68% (↓)     Darwin 8.08% (↑)      Canberra 5.81% (↑)        National 5.78% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 29.8 (↓)     Melbourne 31.7 (↑)      Brisbane 30.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.2 (↓)       Perth 35.2 (↓)     Hobart 35.1 (↑)      Darwin 44.2 (↑)        Canberra 31.5 (↓)     National 32.9 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.5 (↓)     Brisbane 27.8 (↑)        Adelaide 22.8 (↓)     Perth 38.4 (↑)        Hobart 37.5 (↓)       Darwin 37.3 (↓)       Canberra 40.5 (↓)       National 33.1 (↓)           
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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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Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

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The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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