Vegas is quickly shedding its reputation as a value destination due, in part, to the proliferation of new “creative” fees that are butting their way into more and more transactions.
Although I’d argue that Las Vegas is still comparatively cheap, I also recognize that attractions, lodging, etc. have gotten more expensive over time.
Fortunately, I love finding new ways to save money almost as much as I love visiting Las Vegas.
Below, I’ll leverage my expertise gained over countless trips to help you stretch your budget.
Take my suggestions with a grain of salt and fit them in where applicable. I 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!
See Also: Las Vegas packing list – Items that are commonly overlooked.
How to Save Money in Las Vegas
Sign up for a Players Card: Loyalty programs allow the casino to track your gambling activity and spending at the resort. They will in turn offer you discounted or comped hotel rooms, shows, parking, etc. based on your activity.
If you’re new to Vegas, you can even sign up for programs like Caesars Rewards and MGM Rewards online from home. You’ll receive a small discount on hotel bookings for being a part of the program even though you have yet to visit.
After you get some casino play under your belt, you’ll likely receive deeper discounts, or even free rooms, depending on your level of play. More on earning comps in Vegas, here. Of course, I never recommend “chasing comps” by gambling more than you’re comfortable with. That’s a losing proposition.
Shop Around for Tickets: If you’re looking to book a show or attraction in advance, ensure you’re shopping around to get the best price. I typically check with the attraction directly, Groupon, and Vegas.com before pulling the trigger.
If you’re on the hunt for concert tickets, shopping peer-to-peer ticketing websites like VividSeats can often score you a discount over the box office as well.
Leverage Deals at Tix4Vegas: If you don’t mind waiting until the last minute to buy show tickets, I’d recommend swinging by a Tix4Vegas kiosk along the Strip. There, you’ll find deeply discounted tickets for shows *that night* that have yet to sell out.
This isn’t a great option for those that have a specific show in mind, however, could be a great fit for those that aren’t picky and don’t mind winging it.
Vegas Bite Card: I recently dove into the Vegas Bite Card, a discount card that unlocks deals good for food & drink, shows, attractions, and more. As long as you’re pleased with the restaurant options, this could be a big money saver.
Book Direct: Booking directly with the property you plan to stay with is often the cheapest route, many offering “lowest rate” guarantees. More on why I recommend booking directly with the property in Vegas.
Always be Re-Booking: Most Las 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.
Whatever you do, don’t lock yourself into a non-refundable booking, as you won’t be able to hunt out opportunities to save as your travel dates approach.
Take Advantage of Affiliation Discounts: Most resorts and chains offer discounts for members of the military, first responders, educators, AARP, AAA, etc. You name it, there is a discount for it. Take advantage.
I’ve put together a list of resorts offering the following affiliation discounts:
Take Advantage of Hotel Discount Codes, Offers, and Deals: In addition to occupation and affiliation discounts, all Las Vegas resorts offer frequent sales, discount codes, and deals. See current hotel deals, and discount codes here, which are broken down by resort.
Book a Cheap Hotel: I priced out every hotel on the Strip and Fremont Street to determine the cheapest hotels in Las Vegas. These hotels will usually be your most budget-friendly option, even if you don’t have a discount code, sale, or relationship with a loyalty program to exploit.
They aren’t going to be the most luxurious rooms in Vegas, but if you “won’t be in the room much anyway”, then who cares.
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 tend to be the cheapest time to visit Las Vegas.
Avoid Weekends: It goes without saying, but hotel rooms are less expensive on weeknights when there is less demand. Holidays and long weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, and the 4th of July are all to be avoided.
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.
I’ve also had success finding cheap flights quickly with Google Flights, as they quickly summarize offers from all carriers.
Related: How much should you budget for Vegas? I dig into average budget amounts for gambling, shopping, and dining.
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’re 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.
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 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, I’m also a jackpot-chasing degenerate. I 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.
I’ve also put together a comprehensive list of 95+ free activities in Vegas – Check it out!
Entertain Yourself Inexpensively: I’ve created a directory of the cheapest things to do in Las Vegas (under $25), to help you stretch your budget. Options range from a spin on the high roller to virtual reality!
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.
Gorge Yourself at a Cheap Buffet: On the topic of buffets, cheap buffets are a great opportunity to fill up for less. I keep an updated breakdown of the cheapest buffets in Las Vegas that details budget options on the Strip and Downtown.
On the Strip, your cheapest option is the Buffet at Circus Circus.
On Fremont Street, you’ll want to check out the Garden Court Buffet at Main Street Station.
Eat a HUGE Breakfast: Grab an oversized (and fantastic) breakfast at Peppermill across the street from Resorts World and you’ll be able to skip lunch.
A second big-breakfast option that I’ve enjoyed is Hash House a Go Go which can be found both at Linq on the Strip and Plaza downtown.
Eat Cheap: Among my favorite ways to save money in Las Vegas is eating cheap for breakfast and lunch, then splurging for something more upscale for dinner.
If that sounds like a savings strategy you could adopt, check out my guides to eating cheap on the Strip and cheap eats on Fremont Street which lists inexpensive meal options by property.
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 under one roof.
Related: Fast Food in Las Vegas on the Strip – A resort by resort breakdown of options.
Leverage Yelp Offers: If you download the Yelp app on your phone, you can view restaurants and then filter to see ones “offering a deal”. You’ll 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: While they no longer publish a physical coupon book, the folks at American Casino Guide have posted a number of Las Vegas coupons that can be printed for free off their website. The deals are mostly good for food & drink.
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, I don’t recommend giving up hours of your Vegas vacation unless you are desperate to save. Just know that it is an option.
Related: Is buying a timeshare in Vegas something to consider?
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 on a machine. While a bottle of beer at casino bars can cost upwards of $9, rest assured that there are cheaper options. I keep an updated list of drink deals on both the Strip and downtown Las Vegas happy hours for your reference.
My favorite deals include $2.50 craft beers at Ellis Island located behind Horseshoe, $3 bottled beer at Casino Royale, $1 Michelobs at Stage Door Casino, and $3 Heinekens at Fremont.
All you can Drink Deals: If your goal is to quickly elevate your BAC, several bars offer all-you-can-drink deals good for beer, cocktails, and wine.
For hangover nursing, many restaurants also offer bottomless mimosas and bloody marys over brunch.
Leverage Public Transportation: A great way to save, The Deuce bus route runs up and down the Strip and connects to Fremont Street. 24-hour passes can be purchased for $8, while a 2-hour fare costs $6.
While the Deuce is cheap, it isn’t the fastest or least crowded option out there. The Deuce is for those that are willing to sacrifice speed and comfort.
You can also take the CX route from the airport to your Fremont Street hotel for a measly $2 one-way. In this case, public transportation represents 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, Circa, Pawn Plaza, the Arts District, and even Strat at the north end of the Strip. Check here for a full list of Downtown Loop Shuttle stops.
Use the Las Vegas Monorail: While the elevated tram only runs up and down the east side of the Strip, the Las Vegas 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.
The Monorail is especially useful if you’re traveling north to Sahara or Westgate, as it’ll be a less expensive option than a cab or ride-share.
Leverage Free Airport Shuttles: Airport transportation is expensive, often costing upwards of $15-$30 one way. I maintain an updated list of hotels that provide free shuttles to and from the airport.
Save on Your Rental Car: If you determine that a rental car is a necessity, but still want to save money, try pricing out your same car at a neighborhood or city location as opposed to an airport pickup. Oftentimes, the savings will justify the hassle of needing to take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to chase your car down. More on how to save on rental cars in Vegas, here.
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 my favorites include Winnie and Buck at Harrah’s, Bellagio’s Conservatory, and the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
Ask for a Complimentary Upgrade at Check-in: There is constant 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. I 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 around $10 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 instant coffee.
An alternative option would be to buy a cheap coffee brewer at Target, Wal-Mart, etc. for use in your room with the intent to leave it behind.
Avoid 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.
Price Shop Rideshare Options: I was reminded of this recently when an Uber was going to cost upwards of $30 for a trip that Lyft was offering for $14. Have both apps installed on your phone and ensure you comparison shop!
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. I maintain a breakdown of where to find free parking on the Strip. 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.
Book a Room with a Kitchen: While hotel rooms in Las Vegas with a kitchen cost a bit more upfront, cooking a few meals in the room vs. eating out can save you a significant amount of money.
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 at home. Skip the overpriced hotel gift shop and stock up on drinks, snacks, and any other supplies you need for your room!
Earn Freebies Through Phone Apps: Download and play apps like MyVEGAS, Pop! Slots, Wynn Slots, or Binion’s Casino. Although the time investment is typically heavy, you can earn free meals, rooms, and tickets to activities all from the comfort of your own home.
Stay Downtown vs. The Strip: If Fremont Street’s grimier, vintage vibe appeals to you, then I recommend saving money by staying there.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority, an average room night on the Strip costs $145.45 in 2021 vs. $94.86 downtown. Read more on staying downtown vs. the Strip here.
Upgrade Your Pool Experience for Free: There are a few pools in Las Vegas that anyone can use, either for free or for a small fee.
A unique pool that can be used by anyone for free is the 2-story option at Topgolf, which comes complete with a swim-up bar.
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.
Avoid Resort Fees: While the vast majority of Las Vegas hotels charge a nightly resort fee, there are a few that don’t – Your main options are Casino Royale on the Strip, and Binion’s/4Queens downtown.
TI also allows you to opt out of their Resort Fee, but you need to book a specific deal.
Hopefully, my rundown of ideas focused on how to save money in Las Vegas was helpful! If you know of additional ways to save money in Vegas, ensure you drop them in the comments!
See Also: Family-Friendly Activities in Las Vegas – A complete list.
Feature Image Credit: ©czgur/123RF
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.
Tuesday 28th of July 2020
Get a players card... at the end of your stay, speak to a casino host to negotiate your final bill. If you plan to gamble a decent amount, charge everything to your room. Meals, snacks, drinks when you're not gambling. The host will take into account your play possibly removing part or all of your charges. Very important to always use your players card for the best offers and discounts. Make sure you pick a hotel/casino you really like, you'll get wonderful offers for future visits.
Monday 29th of June 2020
I think you touched on the best tip I can think of; if possible, get off the strip. The food is cheaper, the games are cheaper, and the vibe tends to be more personal and friendly. Ellis Island and Orleans are two spots we love to go for the less expensive but similar quality food, and the lower limit games. Neither place is very far from the strip but prices can be as much as 50% less. Definitely worth checking out.