Thanks! That's all very helpful.
We're grad students, so the hope is to get as low in the 100's as possible. If we get into the $150/night range (plus taxes and resort fees on top of that) we're going to have to cut our trip down to only two nights. (Although I FULLY agree with you that $146 for the Wynn IS a GREAT value for that property - it's our favorite Vegas hotel; but at this stage of our lives, we're not in the value proposition world as much as student budget world, which we then are trying to balance with our champagne tastes and an asthmatic who likes breathing in his hotel rooms! haha).
We have classes on Friday, so it's going to be a late arrival on the 14th anyway, so we were thinking that we could consider booking Friday's hotel same day and taking whatever is cheapest for a higher end, even it's out a bit, like in Primm or Summerlin. And who knows, we may get lucky with some unsold rooms on the strip if we're patient enough to wait it out until we get close to Vegas. I can't imagine that even on Valentines Day, places like Primm would be fully sold out. So I'm thinking the smartest thing would be trying to get the best price we can for Saturday/Sunday night (depending on how brave/patient I can be with the waiting game gamble!), and holding off on Friday booking until that day and see how the cookie crumbles. I think you're right that there may be some people who just do the Valentines night overnight, so that's probably the most logical split, if we're going to split it.
We've talked about just arriving on Saturday and only having 2 nights to pay for, but we'd honestly like to avoid going to our Saturday night event after a 5 hour+ drive from Los Angeles. And I know after an all you can eat/drink bacchanal with UCLA grad students on Saturday night, that the last thing I'm going to want to do is drive back to LA on Sunday! Ideally we'd rather not have to change hotels, but since price is the big factor, we're open to it, and I think you're right that Friday might be the smartest one to break off from the other two.
Incidentally, I just ran a test for tonight (Saturday 2/8) on a same day check in, just to see what came up, and even most of the great 5 stars were below $100/night for a 2 night stay, if we were checking in tonight. So that's encouraging! But next weekend will likely not be that lucky, as it's both Valentines and President's day three day weekend; so my guess is that rooms will be a bit more in demand than they are this weekend. But if we decide to be REALLY brave and wait it out until Friday to book the entire weekend, we might be really happy we did. Or we may be ubering in from Primm or Summerlin because every available room is gone, or the prices are sky high!
Makes you wish you could know the psychology of the pricing departments. Do they anticipate that couples will end their Valentines night dates with the sudden decision to check into a hotel room? Or do they anticipate that those planning their Valentine's dates will be finalized on their sleeping arrangements before picking their date up for the night?
Ahh crystal ball! How I wish I had one! haha
I really really appreciate your feedback and help on this! You're always SO much help! Obviously, we'll do our booking through BB links and will of course share with you what we chose.