Travel Hacking Las Vegas

Marriott passed along this infographic about saving money in Las Vegas. I like it because it actually has some good tips and fits this blog’s mission better than most. I know summer is the off-season for Las Vegas, but it’s my favorite time to go because I want the heat. Take a look if you’re thinking of visiting sometime soon. Read my comments at the end of the post for more elaboration.

Marriott actually has several hotels in Vegas, including some near the Strip. On my last trip to Las Vegas, I stayed at an airport hotel, and it was one of my favorite visits to the city. You clearly do not need to splurge on the typical resort. However, the Cosmopolitan is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection and is near the new City Center complex, which I quite like.

Marriott_travel hacking vegas

My follow up advice:

Yes, sign up for everything. You might get some spam, but Vegas is all about hunting for deals. Like anything to do with travel, stay flexible. I’ve usually saved some good money at Tix-4-Tonite, and signing up for a casino players’ club once earned me $40 off $5 of free slot play. I’ve written before that Costco sells $100 gift cards for booking hotels and shows at Vegas.com for only $80 — a 20% discount. But I’ve also read some recent reports that these may be starting to disappear. Check your local Costco if you think you might use them.

My favorite thing to do in Las Vegas is to lounge by the pool during the day and walk the Strip at night. It’s practically free entertainment. Don’t pay for expensive shuttle services; a taxi is just as good and probably cheaper as long as you aren’t being scammed. Look up your preferred route in advance and don’t let him drive you down Las Vegas Boulevard. Upon reflection, I realize that the last few times I had a “confused new guy” he was probably just trying to get an extra $20 out of me. But once you’re on the Strip, the Deuce bus is definitely the cheapest (and a good) way to get to Fremont Street.

Finally, watch out for overpriced booze. I like to drink as much as the next guy, but I often find cocktails are ludicrously expensive and poorly made. One bartender claimed he used to work at the Four Seasons but didn’t know how to mix a Negroni. Beer can be $10 a bottle at the pool. So if you plan to set the bar low, make sure you pay low. If you want something nice, find a decent bar in a restaurant away from the casino floor. Those drinking on the casino floor do get drinks for free, but definitely tip your waitress if you want her to come back. Love it or hate it, Vegas runs on tips.

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • Phil

    Tropicana is newly renovated as a Hilton property. Points probably aren’t worth a redemption at most times, but the hotel itself is decent, location is ok, and you can earn points there. since the Tropicana is new to Hilton 1/1/13, there are some good deals as it’s still has a crappy rep

  • http://twitter.com/palmerlaw Mark C. Palmer

    Marriott GCs may be purchased at Staples (5x URs) and are accepted by Cosmo.
    (One error in Marriott’s infographic is that the Rio Show in the Sky is closed.)

    • Scottrick

      Good tip!

  • Jimgotkp

    The Lion Habitat was taken out of MGM Grand early last year.

    • Scottrick

      Yeah, I think what’s more relevant is that free shows exist, not which specific runs are still running. Vegas changes so much.

      • http://www.guyswhotravel.com/ Brad @ guyswhotravel.com

        A few other out of date things on that poster:

        - Rio’s “Show In the Sky” is no more as of last month
        - Casino Royale no longer has $1 frozen margaritas

  • http://www.first2board.com/foodwineandmiles Food Wine and Miles

    Was just at Cosmopolitan this past weekend – it’s great!

  • thetravelplaybook

    Check out some of the casino loyalty program sign-ups. I’ve gotten discounts on food, free drinks, and discounts on some of the casino hotels. Hotwire.com is a great booking tool, too, if you want some of the five-star resorts on the strip but don’t want to pay the rate on the website. I used this so much in college that I know which hotels are which (I am an addict…)

  • Fanfoot

    Being a regular at a hotel and signing up for their loyalty program (with an email address!) can save you quite a lot on hotel rooms. We regularly see emails for $29-$39 per night rooms at the Mirage for example. Sure you may spend $100 on dinner that night, but regardless, you still saved money on the hotel.

  • Miriam

    There is also a bus from the airport that stops near the MGM Grand / Tropicana and continues on to downtown. It only runs once an hour but is the cheap way into town if the schedule works for you.

  • http://printflix.net/ MarkFinkel

    Great information there, I have always wondered the right way to go about this, thanks for showing me! Some of them points are really straight forward but all too often you will over look them. vegas signs | digital insite printing