It’s getting to that time of the year again when my annual birthday trip to the USA is imminent. So this year we’re heading back to Las Vegas for our 6th visit. Over the years we’ve gained a wealth of tips on how to save money in Vegas but still live our best lives and of course, I want to share them with you. I’m working with Tandem Bank on a series of how to save money whilst travelling guides. Tandem Bank is an online bank regulated by the FCSC. Dedicated to helping people save money whilst living their best lives.
Their clever app also helps you save with a feature called ‘round-up’. And they offer credit cards with no fees overseas too. You can check how they can help you get in control of your finances on the Tandem Bank website. And you can check out the other travel money-saving tips in the series below;
- 50 travel tips to save you money that actually work
- How to get the most money from currency exchange
- Travel like a travel blogger in 2020
- How To Save Money On Flights And Hotels
- 9 Tips On How To Enjoy Christmas Markets And Save Money
Back to Sin City, if it’s your first time, you’re going to have the greatest time! If you’ve been before and you’re searching for tips…looks like you’ve got the bug too! Here are our tips to save money in Las Vegas. Take notes!
Plan your airport transfers
Firstly, it is so exciting when you arrive at McCarran Airport for the first time seeing the neon signs and hearing the sweet chimes of the slots. It can, therefore, be a little overwhelming as to how to get to your hotel. It’s not a long drive at all from the airport. In fact, it’s only 3 miles from the airport to the Bellagio in the centre of the strip. Here’s the thing, taxi drivers pray on Vegas newbies and take then the tunnel route which is an 8-mile journey. DO NOT GO THROUGH THE TUNNEL!!!
If you’re hopping in a taxi from the airport pretend you’ve visited before. And then ask to go VIA SWENSEN STREET. Write it down, remember the street name. It’s going to save you both time and money. This is the shortest route (as shown on the map)
Getting a round trip shuttle will cost you approximately $18 per person. A taxi will cost you around $12-$20 hotel depending so do work out if it will be more beneficial getting a taxi or shuttle for your party in advance.
|Cab fares from McCarran Airport to the South Strip Such as to the Mandalay Bay, MGM, NY-NY hotels||$12|
|Cab fares from the McCarran Airport to the Center Strip Such as to the Bellagio, Mirage, Paris hotels||$16|
|Cab fares from McCarran Airport to downtown Such as to the Golden Nugget||$24|
Don’t get taxis on the strip use Lyft and Uber
To be honest with you, you can walk pretty much everywhere on The Strip. As well as this you can make use of the monorail which runs behind the hotels from the MGM up to the Sahara. You can also make use of the Deuce bus which goes to Fremont Street all the way down the Strip. You can grab a 24-hour unlimited pass for $8.
On the other hand, if you must take a cab anywhere, don’t hope in one from the taxi rank. These are ridiculously priced compared to Lyft and Uber. All of the hotels now have dedicated Lyft and Uber ranks too. Making it super easy for you to catch a lift.
myVegas (and other reward games)
My favourite tip, before you head to Las Vegas download the following free games on both iOS and Android and collect the gold coins. The more gold coins you have the more rewards you can redeem in Vegas.
Over the years we’ve redeemed free buffets, cocktails, attraction tickets and more. On the myVegas slots, you can redeem three premium rewards in a 30 day period and unlimited regular rewards.
There are a couple of other games you can also play including Wynn Slots. Where you can redeem your points to book complimentary rooms and buffets. Do make sure if you have enough ‘gems’ for hotel stays you book them in one go. As the app doesn’t allow for further add ons.
I think there’s a Binions one a Four Queens one too. However, personally I’m not a fan of Fremont Street so don’t play these.
Groupons and Coupons
Americans love a coupon and a lot of them are stackable. Meaning that you can use multiple coupons at once (Google Extreme Couponing – WOW).
Almost every single popular paid attraction in Sin City offers a discount via a coupon. You just have to find them. Firstly, before you go check the Las Vegas Groupon. There are some incredible deals to be had. If you sign up to the Groupon newsletter you’ll also frequently receive a discount code too.
For example, we buy the Sugar Factory Groupon as we always make a visit. It is $28 for $50 credit plus we had a 20% code off so paid $22.40 for $50 worth of credit. Do note though if you’re buying from the US Groupon site you’ll have to make payment via PayPal. As they won’t accept a debit or credit card not registered in the US.
There are, of course, some other websites that offer great savings too. These are;
When travelling to Vegas have a look at your in-flight magazine as this sometimes contains a few coupons (more so on American based airlines). As well as in the transport from the Airport to the hotel as often cabs have coupon books for you to take.
Another great tip I’ve picked up if you’re really into your coupon books and are going to utilise them is to purchase the book below.
Sign up to Player’s Cards & Newsletters
Just like myVegas (which links up to your MLife cards), there are loyalty programmes for all of the casinos. Make sure you join these programmes in advance so you can start receiving offers ready to enjoy on your vacation. However, the biggest advantage of joining these programmes comes after your stay. You’ll receive offers almost immediately tempting you back.
Make sure that every time you gamble, eat or shop in any of the hotels you hand over your Player’s Card this will help track your spend. And a couple of days prior to leaving, you can head to the concierge (if you’ve spent over $1,500 overall) and ask if there’s anything they can ‘comp’ you for your loyalty. Some people have had free nights stays for their following trip comped, some people have had their resort fees waivered, free tickets etc. It all is dependant upon how much you’ve been spending in the resort and how much your card has tracked.
If you’re in a group, just use the same person’s card to sweep up to points unless gambling simultaneously.
Always use it when you are gambling too, hand your players card to the dealer at table games and be sure to insert it into the slot machine when you’re playing.
A lot of the time when you sign up to their newsletters too they send you additional savings to your inbox.
You can sign up to the programmes below;
- M Life (MGM Grand Resorts – myVegas game rewards)
- Total Rewards (Caesars Entertainment)
- Wynn Insider & Encore Red Card
- Grazie Loyalty Programme (Venetian & Palazzo)
- Trump Card
- Identity (Cosmopolitan Rewards)
- Station Casinos Boarding Pass (Palms, Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station and more…)
Ask for a free upgrade
When checking in at your hotel, ask if there are any free room upgrades available. If you’re celebrating something special, if it’s our first time in Vegas or you’re really nice you’ll be surprised as to how many hotels will upgrade your room free of charge.
Sometimes asking for free upgrades can be just as successful as the ‘$20 trick’ – this is putting $20 in each passport when you check-in for the receptionist to take as a tip for upgrading you free. This doesn’t always work but is worth trying. Sometimes they may even offer their suites at a very low upgrade fee.
Resort fee waiver
Almost all Vegas hotels charge a resort fee. This is for use of the facilities, spa and sometimes wifi. It can range from $20-$45 per night hotel depending. It isn’t included in the hotel price so you pay this when you arrive and check-in. There are a few hotels which don’t charge a resort fee these are;
- Alexis Park All Suite Resort
- Arizona Charlie’s Decatur
- Arizona Charlie’s Boulder Highway
- Casino Royale Best Western Plus
- Eastside Cannery
- Four Queens
- Fremont hotel and casino
- Lucky club
- M Resort
- Main Street Station
- Wyndham Grand Desert
If you’re staying at a hotel that does charge resort fees you can, however, ask them to waive the fee and on occasion, as with the free upgrades they sometimes honour this.
Brag about a special day
Birthday, anniversary, just married, hen or stag party, just divorced or whatever other reason brings you to Vegas. Whatever it is brag about it. Brag in the hotel, in restaurants, wherever you go as this sometimes gets you freebies and comps. Do try the casino service desks too as it has been known to get some free play credit for those celebrating a birthday.
Sign up to newsletters for places you’re going to visit as some places actually send you coupons for your birthday.
Drink for free
Service isn’t what it used to be, however, if you’re gambling in the casino the hosts come round (or you can press the call bell) and get you a drink whilst you’re playing. Give the waitress a decent tip ($5-$10) to begin with, depending on how long you’re planning to stay and she’ll keep coming back with whatever drinks you fancy. It is customary to tip $1 per drink, regardless of how long it takes for her to bring a drink back.
Don’t touch the minibar
Most hotel minibars are sensor operated so if anything is moved, they charge your room for it regardless if you’ve drunk it or not. Minibar prices are horrendously high so we recommend stocking up at CVS, Walgreens or one of the other convenience stores on or near the strip. If you’re just walking around, you can just take your drinks with you in and out of the hotels too.
- 3758 South Las Vegas Boulevard Las Vegas, NV 89109
- 3645 LAS VEGAS BLVD S LAS VEGAS, NV 89109
- 3300 S LAS VEGAS BLVD LAS VEGAS, NV 89109
- 3765 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
- 3339 LAS VEGAS BLVD S in Las Vegas NV 89109
- 101 LAS VEGAS BLVD S in Las Vegas NV 89109
- Showcase Mall, 3771 S Las Vegas Blvd # 130, Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Miracle Mile Shops, 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd #145, Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Fashion Show, 3200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Stay in the middle of the strip
Hotel prices will be a little higher (although there is a Travelodge with very reasonable room rates) but do always stay in the middle of the strip. It will in the long term save you more time and money as you’ll be in the middle of everything. Stay anywhere between Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood/Cosmopolitan for the main hub.
Staying in the middle will mean fewer taxis, more choice when it comes to dining and a much better overall experience.
Shop the outlets
I’m going to be bold here and say that shopping in Vegas is far superior to shopping in New York. There are two Premium Outlets, the North and the South (personally prefer the North). Allowing you to make huge savings on brands such as kate spade, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Boss, Coach, D&G and a whole host more.
Head to guest services for a coupon book before you start shopping as there are often lots of additional deals here too. You can take the bus to both Outlets however you’ll probably need an Uber or Lyft back with all the shopping you’ll be doing.
Be buffet smart
Buffets are much better value for money sometimes than a meal. Vegas buffets are also something else! I highly recommend The Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan and Cravings in The Mirage.
Lunch is obviously more expensive than breakfast and dinner more expensive than lunch. So there’s a great buffet hack that you can try, that was actually brought to my attention by my boyfriend and left me thinking why have I never thought of this before?!
- 1: Check to see if the buffet closes between meals. If they don’t we’re good to go!
- 2: Look at the different meal hours and show up thirty minutes before the end of breakfast or lunch (depending on if you’re going for lunch or dinner.
- 3: Spend some time perusing the buffet choices and snack for a little while until the later and more expensive items are served.
- 4: Fill up your plate at the earlier and cheaper meal price!
Eat like the locals
This is a tip I use everywhere I travel. Locals know best! If you are looking for great food on a local’s budget then you can bet the locals know where to eat. If you pick up a copy of the local newspaper, The Review Journal you can discover a lot of cool places to try. In addition follow Hungry in Vegas on Instagram, Ranae shares some great places as a local.
Ellis Island, Other Mama, Androin Sea and Steak, The Caviar Room, Lotus of Siam, Jamms and Eat are just a few that are recommended frequently by locals.
There are lots of well-known deals that you can get on food in Vegas like the $11.99 steak and lobster at Tony Roma’s on Fremont Street. Or the infamous Taco El Gordo. Depending on your taste, you can eat in Vegas for less than $20 per day. Most of the casinos and restaurants have specials they don’t advertise, however, asked they will gladly tell you about.
Make lunch your biggest meal
If you’re looking to save money on dining why not splurge at high-end restaurants for lunch instead of dinner. These restaurants often have a lunchtime special on that are a fraction of the cost of their dinner menu. They often have happy hour drink specials on too!
If you don’t want to go all out for lunch and want to make an occasion of the evening then why not share a meal? Vegas is certainly a haven of all things out there and excessive and food portions are that too! Sometimes it’s worth just sharing one meal for two people. Split your appetisers too! Watch the food being served around you prior to ordering so you have an idea of how much food there’ll be. If you’re still hungry you can always order more.
Going to clubs? Get a V card
The V Card is by far one of the best VIP experiences in Vegas. It gives you free VIP access to over 31 nightclubs, day clubs and strip clubs. Instead of either scouting the Strip for somebody to hand you a free club pass save yourself time and hassle with the V Card.
You’ll get a valid one time use free admission at these participating venues:
- Hyde Bellagio
- Voodoo Lounge
- Sapphire Pol
- Hustler Club
- ….and more
SPECIAL OFFER: Get 73% off the V Card pass here.
Or get free entry to clubs
You can walk through hotels and get free passes, take whatever free passes that are being handed to you. Sometimes you can get in free, skip the queue or even get free drinks.
You can also get on the guestlist. This is usually primarily for women which will give you access to separate club entry and will avoid the cover charge. You can get on the guestlist searching for #VegasGuestlist on both Instagram and Twitter or find people in the hotels and on the Strip who handle the guestlist (they’ll be wearing club t-shirts).
When you check-in at your hotel also ask if they can offer you any night club passes. If they don’t you can also ask the concierge to make a club reservation for you and ask what the reservation will provide. Marquee at Cosmopolitan has been known to have separate lines for hotel guests and faster entry. Depending on the night some have even waived the cover charge.
If you’re eating in the hotel’s restaurants and bars, talk to the servers and bartenders about the nightclub, they may be able to get you an entry or queue jump pass If you eat at Tao Bistro, for example, you’ll get a front-of-the-line pass for the nightclub.
Free attractions and street entertainment
Vegas is bustling with free street entertainment from people looking to be picked up for the next big Vegas show. They’re often acrobats, dancers or magicians and their free shows are absolutely mesmerising. They do however look for tips at the end, but some are really worthy. There is also the Viva Vision Light Show, down at Fremont Street. It is the largest LED canopy in the world. This is pretty spectacular if you’ve never seen it before, it shows on the half-hour nightly. Check out Fremont Street’s programme of events.
There are also plenty of free activities to get involved with, in Las Vegas both on the Strip and in the hotels. Just search ‘free attractions + your hotel’ to discover more. You can also search for any other hotel as you’re free to go in and out of them all at your leisure.
Avoid ATMs for cash
The Casino ATM machines usually charge high withdrawal fees, you’re better off using the local bank ATM.
You’ll find the Bank of America ATM at M&M World: 3785 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 and one right outside Freemont Street 300 S 4th St #200, Las Vegas, NV 89101.
Alternatively, take a no-fee credit card like the Tandem card designed for people travelling to pay for all of your purchases.
The Vegas Explorer Pass
PRO TIP: Buy the pass online to save time and hassle. To buy the Las Vegas Explorer pass, click here to go to the official website. The pass is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
How it works: The Las Vegas Explorer Pass is a multi-attraction card where you can choose to visit 3, 4, 5, or 7 top attractions all for ONE low price, including the High Roller, the Eiffel Tower, a Hoover Dam tour and more. You also have the option to include a free Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour to enjoy at your leisure. For those not renting a car, this is a great way to get around Las Vegas.
Getting your pass:
Step 1: Choose the pass which best suits your trip. You can visit 3, 4, 5 or 7 different attractions for one low price. Save up to 60% off vs. paying at the gate. You can click here to purchase your Vegas Pass from the official website.
Step 2: Download your pass instantly on any mobile device. Or you can print your pass at home.
Step 3: Simply show your pass at the attraction entrance and walk right in. Your pass is valid for 30 days after the first attraction you visit.
PRO TIP: Choose the 3 or 4 attraction pass if visiting for a couple of days. If staying 3 to 5 days, consider purchasing the 5 or 7 attraction pass.
Want more Vegas?
- Discover The Best Places To Eat Amazing Food In Vegas
- 50 things to in Las Vegas that don’t involve gambling
- How to spend 7 crazy nights in Vegas
- Restaurant – Sugar Factory, Fashion Show Mall
- The Neon Boneyard Museum
- Donny & Marie Osmond Show at The Flamingo (now closed)
- Tenors of Rock Show at Harrah’s
- Siegfried and Roy’s Dolphin Habitat & Secret Garden
- Essential Vegas Guide Part II
- Top 5 things to do in Las Vegas
Have you been to Vegas and got any tips that you’ve picked up that we’ve not covered? Let us know in the comments below.