The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left Las Vegas unusually quiet, resulting in some of the best hotel discounts seen in years. Yet no matter how much you spend for a hotel room in Las Vegas, everyone wants to be treated like a VIP. So how do you get the most value for your money? We talked to a few travel experts and put together a list of tips to get the best bang for your buck while booking a hotel room in Sin City.
Booking Vegas Hotels Off-Season
The best weather in Las Vegas is usually in early spring or fall. Those weeks are also a little quieter on the Strip compared to summer, big sports events that draw gamblers, New Year’s Eve and other holiday periods. Winter and spring are traditionally busy periods for expos and trade shows, but most have been cancelled, postponed or revamped with virtual online formats during the pandemic. That means hotels are looking to sell off as many empty rooms as possible, often at great rates. If you can avoid weekends, even better.
Sign up for a Player Rewards Card
The big resort companies on the Strip all have a player’s club rewards card, so take advantage of those tier discounts. Mlife by MGM Resorts is generally better at suite discounts than Caesars Entertainment’s Total Rewards. Wynn Resorts runs some really good suite promotions as well. Plus you can technically combine say, a Memorial Day sale discount with your Red Card discount. A manager might have to approve it, but it’s been done before.
Tier matching helps too. For example, Caesars will match players club membership status at other resorts one time to Diamond level. If you’re staying downtown, the Plaza and Golden Nugget follow similar policies.
Be Aware of Who Charges for Parking
Paid parking was all the rage on the Strip a few years ago, Yet a swift backlash and ultimately, the pandemic caused virtually every resort company to rethink their policies. Research the latest information with a hotel directly if you’re planning to book a room. In recent months, Wynn and MGM Resorts have dropped their parking charges to boost visitation. Caesars Entertainment initially did the same, but quietly reintroduced paid parking for anyone without a Platinum-level Total Rewards card or Nevada state ID. Most other Strip resorts (including Sands properties like the Venetian and Palazzo) have retained a long-standing tradition to not charge for parking. Downtown hotels often charge a low fee to park, but usually offer validation. A notable exception is the new Circa resort on Fremont Street, which has the highest Downtown parking fees. For some, paid parking may not seem like a big deal, but every dollar spent at the garage is a dollar wasted on not upgrading your room.
Play the Waiting Game… and Check your Email
Book a regular room first. Then wait for an email offer from the hotel for a room upgrade at a discount price.
The “$20 Trick” — Does it Really Work?
It’s a tradition in Vegas. Fold a twenty-dollar bill in your palm and pass it along to the person working the check-in desk with the hopes of an upgrade. The $20 trick is a thing, but a lot of hotels are cracking down on it. Wynn, for example, isn’t going to give you a suite for $20, but will sell you a view upgrade for $25 a night or so. It’s often better to go in knowing the type of upgrade you want, asking the desk agent if the suite is available and if it’s possible to get an upgrade. They might give it to you for free — although unlikely — or you can try negotiating an upgrade charge. If they help you, definitely tip $20 or even $50. Tip for service, don’t bribe. It’s tacky.
Booking Hotels Direct
Hotels love it when you skip third-party websites and book directly with them. Going this route may or may not secure the lowest available price, but it does give you the best chance to get the room you booked or score a potential upgrade. Typically, with big hotel companies like MGM Resorts, priority goes to the whales (the big spenders and high-stakes gamblers), although they usually stay in larger suites and villas. Then comes guests who book direct, followed by those using comps or tier discounts and finally, bookings on third party websites.
The hotel has little reason to give the person who has the least connection to the property and paid the least for their room the best treatment. Direct hotel bookings will often allow rate adjustments should the price go down on a room and also have a fairly generous cancellation policy, usually with 72 hours notice. With third-party sites, you may not be able to cancel as easily, if at all.
If a hotel is overbooked, those who made a reservation on a third-party site are most likely to get walked to another hotel. Walking is a process in which a hotel like Caesars Palace might send overflow guests to another property within the company’s portfolio like the Rio. Hotels have less incentive to move a guest who paid full price.
To have your cake and eat it too, follow our direct hotel links and you’ll earn both a discount and the benefits of booking direct.
Take Advantage of Hotel Discounts
Resorts frequently offer discount codes and sales, although suites don’t usually get the same markdowns that regular rooms do. Sign up for online mailing lists directly with hotels before booking.