Vegas is quickly shedding its reputation as a value destination due primarily to the proliferation of new fees. Although we recently argued that Las Vegas is still comparatively cheap, we realize there are services and attractions that have gotten more expensive over time.
Fortunately, we love finding new ways to save money almost as much as we love visiting Las Vegas. We’ll leverage our expertise gained over countless trips to help you stretch your budget.
Take our suggestions with a grain of salt and fit them in where applicable. We certainly don’t advocate a bare-bones trip to Vegas where you fear splurging on anything. If your only focus in Vegas is saving cash, it’ll likely be a pretty depressing trip.
If you have a favorite cost cutting measure, make sure to drop it in the comments below!
Sign up for a Players Card: Loyalty program cards allow the casino to track your gambling activity and spend on property. They will in turn offer you discounted or comped hotel rooms, shows, parking, etc. based on your activity.
If you are new to Vegas, you can even sign up for programs like Caesars Rewards and Mlife online from home. You will receive a small discount on hotel bookings for being a part of the program even though you have yet to visit.
Book Direct: Booking direct with the property is often the cheapest route, many offering “lowest rate” guarantees. More on why booking direct makes sense here.
Always be Re-Booking: Most Vegas resorts allow free cancellation up to 72 hours before your trip. This gives you the opportunity to check back early and often for cheaper rates, or for deals at other properties. I rarely settle for my first booking.
Take Advantage of Discounts: Most resorts and chains offer discounts for military, first responders, educators, AARP, AAA, etc. You name it, there is a discount for it. Take advantage. We have put together a list of resorts offering military discounts, AAA Discounts, Senior/AARP Discounts, and even Government Employee Discounts.
Avoid Conventions: Vegas has a booming convention business and shows can attract tens, if not hundreds of thousands of visitors which drive up rates. Cross-reference your travel dates vs. the convention calendar.
Visit During “Off-Peak” Season: Along the lines of avoiding conventions, you can also visit Vegas at less popular times when room rates are depressed. Not surprisingly, the colder months of November, December, January, and February attract the fewest visitors and have the lowest average nightly room rates.
Avoid Weekends: It goes without saying, but hotel rooms are less expensive on weeknights when there is less demand.
Flight Dates Matter: Even if weekends are unavoidable, fly in and out when others are not. For instance, avoid flying in on Friday and out on Sunday when everyone else is. Instead, opt for a Saturday flight in, and fly out Monday or Tuesday after the crowds have already cleared out.
Skip Checking a Bag: Save $70-$100 round trip by cramming your belongings into a backpack that flies for free under the seat in front of you. Obviously, if you are planning on fancy dinners, shows, etc. then this may not be feasible. But if lounging around the sportsbook and craps table is more your speed, this is a great way to save.
Leverage Deals at Tix4Tonight: Score discounted tickets to shows and attractions the day of the event at the numerous Tix4Tonight stands that line the Strip. Also, take advantage of the discounted restaurant options via the 7-day dining card which costs $13 dollars and provides discounts to countless restaurants and buffets.
Gamble Away From the Strip: Table minimums are more affordable, rules more player-friendly, and slots more apt to pay out when you venture downtown, to the Boulder Strip, or even North Las Vegas.
Play Higher Denominations: Commonly, slot players will play upwards of $3 a pull on the penny slots, however, according to data from the Nevada Gaming Commission, penny slots are among the tightest in Vegas. As a general rule of thumb, slots get looser at higher denominations. Play the same bet, but on a higher denomination machine.
Avoid Table Games With Player Unfriendly Rules: More and more casinos, mostly on the Strip, are rolling out 6-5 blackjack and triple zero roulette games. These games are designed to drain your funds at a faster clip. Instead, find a blackjack game that pays 3-2 or a roulette wheel with 2 zeros (or even 1 if possible).
Avoid Table Game Side Bets: Most table games like Pai Gow Poker and Blackjack offer enticing side bets, often associated with big payouts. These bets typically have a large house edge. At the end of the day though, we’re jackpot chasing degenerates too. We won’t judge your action.
Avoid Parlays: While sports betting is known to have notoriously low hold rates of around 5% on straight bets, parlay cards are big winners for the house with holds hovering in the mid 20% range.
Take Advantage of Freebies: Especially if it’s your first time in Vegas, save money by taking in free shows. The Bellagio fountains, Bellagio Conservatory, and Mirage Volcano are all options on the Strip. Downtown, there is nightly live music and light shows on the recently upgraded canopy. We put together a comprehensive list of free things to do and see in Vegas here.
Budget, High Quality Buffets: While buffets like Wynn, Bacchanal, Wicked Spoon, and Aria are top tier from a quality perspective, they also carry an inflated price point. Save yourself $25 bucks a person and get similar quality at Studio B at the M Resort. Put your savings to use in the casino, which offers better table game rules and looser slots than casinos on the Strip. All around value.
Time Your Buffet Right: Do your research. Plan your trip right before the transition from lunch to dinner. Not only will you save money, but you’ll score fresh food as the buffet transitions.
Buffet Day Passes: Some buffets offer day passes that allow unlimited visits within a 1 day or 24 hour period. These packages are offered at a discount to what it would cost if you purchased each meal separately. The most popular option is Caesars Entertainment’s “Buffet of Buffets” granting guests access to 5 different resorts’ offerings.
Eat a HUGE Breakfast: Grab an over sized (and fantastic) breakfast at Peppermill across the street from Resorts World and you’ll be able to skip lunch.
Eat Cheap: Among our favorite ways to save money in Las Vegas is eating cheap for breakfast and lunch, them splurging for something more upscale for diner. If that sounds like a savings strategy you could adopt, we would recommend reviewing our guide to eating cheap on the Strip which lists inexpensive meal options by property. If staying downtown, we also put together a guide to eating cheap on Fremont Street.
A couple of my favorite options on the Strip include the Halal Guys (hearty Gyro Bowls) in the Caesars Palace food court and Chipotle next door to Harrah’s. Downtown, check out the International Eatery which is a diverse food court offering Mexican, Mediterranean, and Chinese options.
Groupon Deals: Always check Groupon for deals on entertainment, food, and drink. There are commonly deals offering a % off, credit to the establishment at a discount, or 2 for 1 admission.
Leverage Yelp Offers: If you download the Yelp app on your phone, you can view restaurants and then filter to see ones “offering deals”. You will then see which options are offering a certain dollar amount or percentage off. Not only an easy way to save but also a way to find new spots you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
American Casino Guide: Don’t leave home without it. Whether gambling, dining, or drinking in Vegas, the ACG coupon book will pay for itself with 2 for 1, percentage off, and free play offers downtown and on the Strip. You can snag the coupon book on Amazon Prime here.
Timeshare Presentations: Deals, such as show tickets and free tours can be had by sitting through a timeshare presentation. Even if you don’t intend to purchase a timeshare, we don’t recommend giving up hours of your Vegas vacation unless you are desperate to save. Just know that it is an option.
Drink Cheap: Obviously, drinks are free when you are gambling, but many like to grab a beer or cocktail while not pecking the spin button as well. While a bottled beer at your typical casino bar on the strip can run upwards of $7 each, there are cheaper options. We keep an updated list of drink deals on both the Strip and downtown for your reference. Our favorite deals though are $2.50 craft beers at Ellis Island located behind Bally’s, $1 Michelobs at Stage Door Casino, $2 Vodka Drinks nearly all day at Cromwell, and the Happy Hour at 107 Skylounge perched in Strat’s Skypod.
Get to the top of Strat’s Tower for Free: Strat’s Skypod observation deck offers a fantastic view of Las Vegas. Typically, an elevator ride to the top costs $20, but you can gain free access by stopping at 107 Skylounge first for drinks. Simply check-in at the 107 Skylounge specific elevator, take the free ride up, grab a drink or 8, then walk right out to the observation deck. Happy hour runs from 4-7 pm daily and that is a perfect time to stop in.
All you can Drink Deals: If your goal is to quickly elevate your BAC, several bars offer all you can drink deals. For hangover nursing, many restaurants also offer all you can drink mimosas and bloody marys. We maintain a full list of all you can drink beer, bloodies, and mimosas here.
Public Transportation: A great way to save, Las Vegas has an easy to use bus system that runs between downtown and the Strip. 24-hour passes can be purchased for $8.
You can also take the WAX route from the airport to your Fremont Street hotel for a measly $2 one way. A significant savings over a $20-$25 Uber.
Free Trams: Although sparse, there are a few free trams that can move you from place to place on the Strip. Free tram options that can be used to save time and money are noted below:
- TI and Mirage are connected via tram.
- Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay are connected via free tram.
- Aria, Bellagio, Vdara, Park MGM, and the Shops at Crystals are all connected via free tram.
Use the Downtown Loop Shuttle: Completely free, the hop-on / hop-off shuttle offers stops at notable locations like Fremont East, the Mob Museum, Cicra, Pawn Plaza, the Arts District, and even Strat at the north end of the Strip. For a full list of Downtown Loop Shuttle stops, click here.
The Monorail Can be a Cost-Saving Option: While only running up and down the East side of the Strip, the Monorail can be an effective and inexpensive way to get to and from your destination. A one-way ride is $5 and a day pass is $13. Especially if traveling north to Sahara or Westgate, the Monorail is significantly cheaper than a cab. Unfortunately though, if your destination is on the west side of the strip the Monorail is likely an inconvenient option.
Stock Your Room With Snacks and Drinks: Convenience stores like CVS and Walgreen’s are rarely further than a block away, and prices are not much higher than you’re used to back home. Skip the overpriced hotel gift shop and stock up on drinks, snacks, and any other supplies you need for your room!
Chase Down Free Photo Ops: While everything in Vegas is seemingly photogenic, there are a few specific photo opportunities that tend to be popular with visitors. A few of our favorites include Winnie and Buck at Harrah’s, Crazy Girls at Planet Hollywood (formerly Riviera), Binion’s Million Dollar Display, and the “Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
Ask for a Complimentary Upgrade at Check-in: There is consistently chatter on social media surrounding the $20 dollar trick, how to do it, and if it works to score a room upgrade. Save the $20 bucks and simply ask politely for an upgrade when checking in. If it works, feel free to tip for great service. We don’t recommend blindly passing $20 blindly to the front desk though hoping for something that may not happen.
Avoid the ATM: On the Strip, you will likely pay between $10-$15 to access your own money. Save by bringing cash. If you do need to use an ATM, try to leverage one that is cheap. The cheapest ATMs in Vegas can be found at CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Casino Royale.
Bring coffee: If you’re anything like me, a significant amount of coffee is needed to break the cobwebs every morning. Unfortunately, most rooms in Vegas don’t offer a coffee brewer. Save yourself a few bucks, and a significant walk across the resort by packing an instant coffee like Starbucks Via. Not only is Via light and easy to pack, but it’s also pretty damn good for an instant coffee.
No Taxis: Ride-Share options like Uber and Lyft are simply cheaper. Not to mention, Las Vegas Taxis have gotten a bad reputation for taking the scenic route or long hauling to drive up fares.
Park for Free: While many resorts have rolled out paid parking, you can save money by parking at one of the few that have not. We maintain an updated list of casinos that offer free parking. While most downtown casinos also charge for parking, you can often get your ticket validated by the pit boss or restaurant as long as you are gambling/spending on site.
Stay Near Areas of Interest: Stay in a hotel near the attractions you want to see to save on transportation.
Earn Freebies Through Phone Apps: Download and play apps like MyVEGAS, Pop! Slots, Wynn Slots, or Binion’s Casino. You can earn free meals, rooms, and tickets to activities all from the comfort of your own home.
Leverage Free Strip Shuttles: Take advantage of cheaper room rates off the beaten path at these hotels that offer a free shuttle to the Strip. Guests staying on the Strip can also leverage these shuttles to access hotels off the Strip that typically offer cheaper food, drink, and better gambling odds.
Leverage Free Airport Shuttles: Airport transportation is expensive, often costing upwards of $15-$30 one way. We maintain an updated list of hotels that provide free shuttles to and from the airport.
Stay Downtown vs. The Strip: If Fremont Street’s grimier, vintage vibe appeals to you, then we recommend saving money by staying there. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority, an average room night on the Strip cost $148.08 in 2019 vs. $78.29 downtown. Read more on staying downtown vs. the Strip here.
Upgrade Your Pool Experience for Free: Some resorts allow guests not staying on the property to access their pool for free, or a small fee. Free pool options that may be worth checking out include Planet Hollywood’s rooftop pool, Linq’s Influence pool deck, and the 2 story pool at Topgolf of all places.
Refill that Drink Poolside: Many poolside bars offer a discount for refilling your drink when you bring your original cup, typically in the range of 20-25%. Pay full price once at the beginning of your trip, and bring the same cup back day after day.
Hopefully, we helped you discover a few money-saving ideas for your next Las Vegas trip. Is there anything we missed? Make sure you drop your money-saving tips in the comments!