Whether you’re new to visiting Las Vegas or you’re a veteran, there’s always more to learn. Being more savvy on your trips can mean saving money and stretching your budget farther. But it also means ensuring you’re not overpaying for things that are available at a discount. Here are some mistakes some visitors make and that you can avoid.
1. Pay Full Price for a Hotel Room
Even if you’re never been to Las Vegas before, chances are you have some sort of in to save on a room. You don’t have to be a gambler to get a discount on your hotel room, although if you are a gambler you’re likely to get a better rate. Just by signing up for a player’s card or an email list, many casino resorts will give you a discount off the full rate.
If you’re a member of a hotel loyalty program, you may be able to use that status or your earned points to get a discount or a free room in Las Vegas. Third party sites like vegas.com also many times offer discounted room rates. Games like MyVegas make it possible to earn room comps by playing a social casino app on your phone.
Sometimes your home casino may have a relationship to one or more casinos out in Las Vegas, which may mean special promotions or comps as well.
2. Don’t Use a Player’s Card
Regardless of whether you’re gambling, dining or shopping, be sure to use your players card. When it comes to gambling I’ll never stop evangelizing the importance of using a players card, but it goes beyond just putting the card in a slot or registering it during table play.
Many casinos will give discounts for shopping and/or give you credit for purchases, either by showing the card at the shop counter or by bringing receipts to the players club desk for credit. Those credits can help you earn status that can yield bigger discounts. You also can sometimes receive comp dollars as part of your spend, such as with MGM Rewards, which acts as a sort of rebate on your spend.
3. Pay Full Price for Show Tickets
Similar to hotel rooms, show tickets are sold in a variety of forums and forms. This means that there’s opportunities to find discounts on shows, similar to how you can find discounted tickets to some shows on Broadway in New York.
Some third party websites will sell show tickets in advance at a discount, while there are also venues on the Las Vegas strip itself that will offer discounted tickets as well. MyVEGAS also offers show ticket discounts among its offerings, and occasionally comped show tickets as well, so there’s plenty of opportunities to avoid paying the full ticket price.
4. Solely Rely on Uber or Lyft
In a market like Las Vegas, if you aren’t price comparing, you’re probably overpaying. Transportation is a great example. During a recent visit to Las Vegas, I checked the cost of Uber and found it to be higher than the flat rate taxi cab to my hotel on the strip.
Sometimes Uber can be more expensive than Lyft and vice versa. Sometimes both can be pricier than a cab, especially during surge times. Mass transit options like bus and monorail can be more affordable, if less convenient, at times. It helps to know what options are available to you to get from point A to point B.
5. Shopping Solely at Essentials Shops
The casino Essentials shops can be helpful if you’ve forgotten something, but increasingly their pricing is going off the charts expensive. They don’t even post price tags so they can shift the pricing at will without having to retag the facility, such as peak vs. off peak times.
Meanwhile, the strip and downtown have easy access to drugstores like CVS and Walgreens which, while generally not priced particularly cheap themselves, are still much more affordable by comparison to the casino gift shops. And many of the casinos, such as Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood and the Venetian, have drugstores basically in their property footprint, so you don’t have to travel far to find one either.
Best of all, if you save up points through programs like Walgreens’, you can redeem them out in Las Vegas, saving you even more money.
6. Don’t Gamble Off the Strip
Casinos throughout Nevada report their payback data to the state as part of the requirements of their operation. It may not be surprising to learn that the payback of strip casinos is often lower than downtown, and definitely lower than off-strip casinos.
While it is definitely easier and more efficient to gamble on the strip, going downtown or off strip can many times surface better gaming conditions, such as more frequent 3:2 blackjack payouts vs. the strip, lower minimums, better Video Poker pay tables and better slot paybacks.
Given it’s easier than ever to get around, it is worth finding places to play that give you a good value for your gambling dollar and take advantage. This is especially helpful if you’ve been taking a beating on the strip and need a break from those scenarios.
Are there mistakes you used to make when visiting Las Vegas that aren’t covered here? Share your thoughts in the comments!