Maxing Out the Buffet of Buffets

Once in a while, an idea really hits the mark. The Harrah’s Buffet of Buffets all-day pass is one of them. It was launched in early 2010 and has now attracted more than 1 million customers. On this offer, you pay a single price for 24 hours of unlimited access to the buffets at Harrah’s, Flamingo, Imperial Palace, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Rio (Carnival World only).

Is it a deal? It was when it debuted in early 2010 for $29.99 ($34.99 if you didn’t show a Total Rewards card). Since then, the price has been raised a few times, and it’s now $44.99 with the TR card and $49.99 without. Your time begins when you purchase the deal and expires exactly 24 hours later. Use your Total Rewards card for admittance. It’s not a line pass, but you can visit any buffet as often as you like.

The question, of course, is how to get the optimal value on this offer. Not counting just going back in as often as you can and gorging yourself, here are a few options for arranging your 24 hours. (Note that almost all the buffets are open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.)

Eat the most expensive breakfast (Rio), lunch (Planet), and dinner (Paris). This would result in pulling $74.97 in value for the $44.99 fee.

Have dinner twice. Sign up at about 9 p.m. and have dinner. Then get breakfast or lunch the next day and an early dinner before your 24-hour expiration. Or even have breakfast, lunch and dinner the second day for a total of four meals and about $100 in value.

Customize. Simply choose the best combination of all three meals—Paris for breakfast, Rio for lunch and Planet for dinner, for example, gives you about $70 in value.

Graze. It’s not quite gorging, but you could walk from place to place and pick from the very best of each. Get a plate of crab legs at Planet Hollywood, Asian noodle soup at the Rio, Brazilian barbecue at Harrah’s, dessert at Paris, etc. This technique is probably the way to extract the most value, but it’s also more time-consuming.

Even though these are good ones, it’s still 24 hours of eating buffets, which can get tedious. But if that’s something you can handle, you have a pretty good chance of coming out ahead on this one.