I’m always happy to save money in Las Vegas.
I’ve been there a lot over the years and every time it’s a little different. Regardless, of the trip though, I’m always all about “finding the best deals.”
We’re currently on our month-long road trip around the country and just spent a whopping 8 nights in Vegas! That’s the longest I’ve ever stayed there in one trip.
In that amount of time, we crammed in a lot of fun including walking the Strip, the Fremont Street Experience, taking in several shows, a smidge of gambling, and visiting family.
This time around though, I tried some new ways to save money in Las Vegas. We still spent a fair amount of money (8 nights is a long time to be there!) but we did pretty well overall.
Here are some of the methods we used on this trip that helped us save several hundred dollars on this trip.
Comped rooms… it’s not just for the big-time players!
First and foremost, we were able to save money in Las Vegas by booking comped rooms. If you’re not familiar, that just means the hotel/casino lets you stay for free because they’re hoping they’ll come out ahead from your continued gambling there.
Before you jump on the “that won’t work for me” train, there are a few important things to note here:
- You don’t need to be a high roller to get comped rooms.
- It’s easier to get free stays at the hotels that aren’t the trendiest places.
- Flexibility is important.
I’m not going to claim that these are the best resorts available but they’re still decent hotels on the Strip and a place to sleep. That’s the way I look at it.
I then logged into Lisa’s MGM Rewards account and saw that she had some similar choices (though not quite the same).
Because we had some flexibility on “the when” and “the where”, we were able to save money in Las Vegas by booking two back-to-back stays. We stayed three nights at Luxor and then three nights at Excalibur.
If you’re keeping track, that doesn’t quite add up to the 8 nights I mentioned that we stayed in Vegas. That’s because we got there early on our road trip (that’s a story for a different day!), so we ended up first staying at a cheap Days Inn off the Strip for a night and then Binion’s Hotel Apache on Fremont Street for one night.
Our comped stays at Luxor and Excalibur though helped us save money in Las Vegas. Don’t let them fool you though – you’re still responsible for the junk fees they like to call a “resort fee”, parking fees (which we needed since we drove there), taxes, and other goodies.
When all was said and done, we paid $201.46 for three nights at Luxor and $164.04 for three nights at Excalibur. That’s obviously not free by any means, but for almost a week on the Strip, $365.50 out the door is much better than it would have cost us otherwise. We could have easily expected to pay several hundred dollars more at these same hotels or much more at some of the “fancier” hotels.
What I want you to keep in mind is that we haven’t gambled much over the past few years using our cards. In fact, we played through only $20 each on our cards when we were in Vegas on another road trip two years ago. I also think I put $20 in a slot machine recently at an MGM-owned casino in Ohio during the Kentucky Derby.
Essentially, you don’t need to be a big spender to earn free comps. The key is to always sign up for loyalty cards as soon as you walk into any casino and then just put a few dollars in once in a while so you’re kept on their radar.
Comped rooms like this are an easy way to save money in Las Vegas… probably a few hundred dollars in this case!
Save money in Las Vegas with the myVEGAS apps
A few months ago, I stumbled on another way to save money in Las Vegas. Apparently, there are free apps you can install on your phone where you can play and earn real comps.
The main one of these is the myVEGAS Slots app:
myVEGAS is the official mobile and Facebook game of MGM Resorts and MGM Rewards. This free-to-play app offers an ever-expanding collection of slot and table games and gives you amazing rewards from your favorite MGM Resorts destinations. You can earn free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, and more.— MGM Resorts
It shocked me to find that this app has been around for about a decade and I had never heard of it.
A couple of caveats to be aware of:
- You don’t need to put any real money into the app (I didn’t put a penny into it!). That said, after you put in a little bit of money, more valuable rewards will open up. I’m not sure what that threshold is, but that can be worth some big $$$. For example, I’m told there are more free room stays and other valuable freebies.
- The Android app has the upper hand over the iPhone app. The reason why is that your loyalty points on the iPhone app are based on our bets. That’s against the Google Play Store terms though so on Android, your loyalty points accrue just for having the app open… you don’t even need to make any bets if you don’t want to!
And if you really want to get busy, there are actually several apps that will all earn you loyalty points to redeem on rewards:
Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of these apps until a couple of months ago. Regardless, Lisa and I both played myVegas Slots and my KONAMI Slots on our phones for about 40-45 days before we reached Vegas. Sometimes we’d just let it run on auto-spin on our phones while we were talking.
There were several rewards we didn’t care about like free drinks or shots – you can just go to the bar, put money in the machine, order your drink for free, and then cash out. We also somehow only ate out a handful of times while there so a lot of the food rewards weren’t that valuable to us. We didn’t need free rooms since we got our comped rooms directly through MGM. And we couldn’t use a bunch of the Free Play rewards since most require that you’re staying at the hotel in a non-comped room.
Here’s what we did use though:
- $25 off $50+ purchase at Vagabond (a restaurant in Excalibur). We managed to spend $52 just to make the cut and I at the best Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich I’d ever had! Our total for the three of us with tax and a nice tip… $42. That’s pretty good for any restaurant in Vegas!
- $25 in My KONAMI FREEPLAY (Jim) – as I mentioned, most of the Free Play rewards wouldn’t apply because our rooms were already comped. But there was a more expensive reward that gave you Free Play without all these stipulations. I failed though and didn’t win anything.
- $25 in My KONAMI FREEPLAY (Lisa) – Lisa did the same and ended up cashing out $30. $30 in free money!
It’s as easy as choosing the reward you want in the app and “purchasing” it. You then get a redemption code that you give to the MGM Rewards desk and they add the reward to your account to use… easy peasy!
So, if you’re looking to save money in Las Vegas, it’s worth checking out these apps. They’re free and actually kind of fun to play. We didn’t utilize them as much as we normally could because of our unique stay but you do have the potential to save some really good $$$ with them!
On another note, because we only cashed in a few rewards, we still have a lot of loyalty points left. I decided that I’m probably going to keep accruing these to earn a discounted Royal Caribbean or MSC cruise or a nice onboard credit.
Free show tickets… sort of
This one should raise some hell and drum up a lot of comments. To help save money in Las Vegas, we earned free show tickets by putting ourselves through torture.
That’s right, we did a timeshare presentation in return for tickets.
I know, I know – that’s some wasted time of high-pressure sales. Regardless, we were here for 8 nights with a little time on our hands and I was more curious than anything about how this would play out.
Also, please know that I have absolutely 0 interest in ever buying a timeshare… zero.
Here’s how it went…
We signed up for the presentation at one of the hotels we were staying at. At that time, we were able to choose the tickets to the show we wanted. I wanted to choose something more valuable on the list such as Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay. However, I had already bought tickets to that show through a Tix4Vegas booth (where I don’t feel I got a good enough deal).
Anyway, we opted for America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live at the Luxor. This isn’t the live recording of “America’s Got Talent” show on TV – this is a show of some of the best acts from the show over the years. It’s something that our daughter, Faith, really wanted to see and we thought it would be fun, too.
So, they promised us two free tickets to AGT (we paid their cost for the third seat), a $25 VISA gift card to help cover travel costs to the resort off the Strip, and a voucher for a 3-day, 2-night mini-vacation. The AGT tickets were valued at around $76 each – not counting all the junk fees that get tacked on.
Was sitting through a torturous 2-hour timeshare presentation for a few hundred dollars worth of incentives going to be worth it? Probably not.
So the next day, we had to show up at the resort they wanted to pitch. They registered us like cattle and then individual salespeople started picking us out of the waiting room one by one.
I was expecting to just sit in a room where we’d get hammered with a boring presentation. Instead, our salesman spent most of the time walking us through the resort and a nearby casino explaining all the benefits. This was a nice surprise but I made sure to make it clear from the beginning that we weren’t interested.
Nearing the two-hour mark, we were brought into a central room where the supervisor came over with a better offer… still not interested. He was as nice as the first guy and said “no problem.” Now we were brought down to get our tickets… so we thought.
We sat down with another lady who was boring us with other timeshare deals elsewhere. I interjected and made it clear again that we weren’t interested. She continued to talk though and after about 5 minutes, I became irritated. “Thanks,, but we’re not interested. We’d like to just get out tickets please”
She then said it was her job and we needed to hear this first. After another 5-10 minutes of her spewing crap, I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to get loud…
“Look, we agreed to give 2 hours of our time in exchange for the show tickets. It’s now going on 2 ½ hours… we’d like to get our tickets and leave now.”
I purposely got loud and started making a scene (which is very out of character for me). She just tried to continue on and Lisa (who was also frustrated) got up and left to go talk to a manager.
Between Lisa and I raising a stink, we were finally able to go get our tickets, gift card, and voucher. By the time we got out of there, probably around 3 hours had passed.
Faith was mortified by the scene I made but I explained that the situation called for it here.
We saw the “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” show the next night and it was fantastic.