We’re going to Vegas! ( With our toddler. For Thanksgiving. For nearly FREE.)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know by now that my husband is working in California while my two year old and I fly from the east coast to west coast on the regular. So far, we’ve been able to get mostly free flights with our JetBlue Plus credit card sky miles or cheap flights through airlines like Frontier. (If you haven’t heard of Frontier’s Kids Fly Free program, you need to check it out!)

As we are getting closer to the holiday season, flights are getting much more expensive. It would cost us roughly $4500 for three of us to fly round trip to be home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. NOT going to happen! We decided that Christmas was more important to us so we will stay on the west coast for Thanksgiving and fly home for Christmas.

That’s when I got the idea — why don’t we do something outside of the box for Thanksgiving? What about Vegas?! It’s only a 3 1/2 hour drive for us and there will be plenty of places serving Thanksgiving dinner. Surprisingly there are a lot of things for children to do in Las Vegas so entertainment isn't an issue. Since we’re on a budget, I needed to find a way to get our trip for cheap.

I have been playing a game called myVegas Slots off and on sporadically for about a year. It’s a completely free app you can download on your phone or play on Facebook. It’s a virtual slot machine game -- but you don't need to gamble any of your money. Instead of earning points that are worthless, myVEGAS Slots lets you rack up points you can redeem for all kinds of free things. Here’s a quick rundown on how myVEGAS Slots works:

  1. Each day, you log in to myVEGAS Slots, “spin your wheel,” and visit “your strip” to pick up myVEGAS chips. You then use those chips to play any myVEGAS game of your choosing. I highly reccomend doing the "Journey" as I feel chips add up quicker.

  2. As you play, you’ll earn Loyalty Points. Those are the points you can redeem for free stuff.

  3. Once you play for several weeks, you’ll begin to progress through the game and “build your strip.” As you build more casinos, you’ll earn more and more chips to play with.

  4. As you play more often, the game will let you set it on “auto.” That way, you can let it play in the background while you do something else.

When I play on a regular basis, I can easily accumulate a couple million chips and a couple hundred Loyalty Points per day. (My biggest winnings yet is 42 million chips on one spin). The number of coins you earn depends on what level you are at and how much you’re betting per spin. I promise — it is NOT time consuming. I always use the auto spin feature so I really don't need to give it any attention. Doing laundry? Have your app on auto spin. Working out? Auto spin. Sitting at work? Auto spin.

myVegas Slots is an MGM based game so you earn rewards for MGM properties. In Vegas this includes Belagio, MGM Grand, Aria, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Vdara, NY NY, Excalibur, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus. Your rewards can earn you free drinks, discounted meals, show tickets, and free rooms. You can also redeem you coins for excursions like a helicopter tour of the Vegas strip or a tour of the Grand Canyon.

Vegas not your scene? They also offer rewards at other MGM properties in several cities throughout the US. You can also earn rewards towards Royal Caribbean Cruise lines.

You’re allowed to use 3 rewards per visit. For our trip in November, I used my rewards points towards 2 free nights at MGM Grand (we’re only responsible for taxes and fees which is roughly $20 per night) and a 2 for 1 buffet at MGM. I’m still undecided on what we will choose for our third reward. We're thinking of the Tournament of Kings show or maybe if I can rack up enough points, a helicopter tour of the strip.

The possibilities are endless.