This past January, I travel hacked Las Vegas. I spent two nights in Las Vegas…
One of the easiest cities to travel hack is Las Vegas. Travel hacking Las Vegas is simple to do but not always necessary.
Las Vegas is one of those destinations that you can do on the cheap by staying at off strip hotels or inexpensive strip hotels. Or you can live it up and splurge on huge suites and fancy meals. If you’re a high roller or have elite status with a casino, you can get comped rooms and meals.
Pro-tip: You can get elite status with a casino without spending a lot of money.
Although, Vegas is a cheap place to visit. There are times when it’s very expensive, such as when CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and other conventions.
By travel hacking Las Vegas, the money you save means more money for other trips.
There are many ways to travel hack Las Vegas. From free or very cheap flights to free hotel rooms so that you start your trip in the black.
Living in San Diego, I’ve been to Vegas many times. I’ve even gotten kicked out of a casino. 🙁 I usually go when hotel rooms are insanely cheap, like $19 a night. So it’s worth paying cash instead of using points.
But when big conventions are in town and hotel rooms start at $240 a night, it makes more sense to travel hack. Here’s how I hacked my most recent trip to Vegas: three days for $63.
How to Travel Hack Las Vegas
This is part 1 of a multi-part series on travel hacking Las Vegas:
- How to Travel Hack Las Vegas
- Review: Gambling on Frontier Airlines to Las Vegas
- The Palazzo Las Vegas Review: All Suite Elegant Luxury
- Canyon Ranch Spa Las Vegas Review: Serene Oasis on the Strip
- The Las Vegas Hotel With Free Breakfast, Free Wi-Fi, Free Airport Shuttle, and No Resort Fees
- Where to Take a Shower at the Las Vegas Airport
I flew roundtrip from San Diego to Las Vegas for a three-day trip, stayed in a luxury suite the first night, and one of the best resort-free hotels in Vegas for $63.
You can too and even do it for cheaper. Keep reading to find out how.
|Cost if We Paid Cash||What I Paid (Actual Cost)||Miles or Points Used|
|Roundtrip coach ticket on Spirit Airlines||$37.98||$37.98|
|1 night at the Palazzo Las Vegas (Luxury 2 Queen Suite Select View)||$464.01||$25.51 (half of the resort fees of $51.02)||IHG Free night certificate|
|1 night at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas||$270.98||$0.00||8,000 Hyatt points|
Because flights from San Diego to Las Vegas are cheap, I didn’t have to use miles or points. If you’re flying from further away, depending on the cost of the ticket, it can make more sense to use miles and points.
Pro-tip: Las Vegas is a great city to use your Southwest Companion Pass.
With prices that low it was cheaper to pay cash than redeem airline miles or travel rewards points.
Plan ahead and it’s easy to get cheap flights to Vegas. Don’t feel like flying? It’s a five-hour drive from San Diego or four and a half from Los Angeles.
Another option is to take Megabus, Greyhound, or FlixBus. If you book early enough, you can get $1 tickets on Megabus.
Many hotels charge for parking so factor in the daily cost to park your car vs how much an airline ticket would cost. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly than driving and having to pay for parking.
Pro-tip: M-life hotels offer free self-parking for Pearl, Gold, Platinum and NOIR members. Caesar’s hotels offer free self-parking for Platinum, Diamond and Seven Stars members.
On the way to Las Vegas, I used my Business Platinum Card from American Express to get the San Diego Airspace Lounge for free. It also includes a $10 per person credit for food and drinks.
The Airspace Lounge is in Terminal 2 and Frontier Airlines flies out of Terminal 1. It’s a short walk between terminals or you can take the free inter-terminal bus.
Flying home from Vegas, my American Express Business Platinum card got us into the Centurion Lounge.
Pro-tip: The Centurion Lounge has a shower.
Read how to get free access to airport lounges with your credit card.
I stayed at two hotels during this three day trip to Las Vegas.
The Palazzo Las Vegas
The first night I stayed at The Palazzo Las Vegas in a suite. I was traveling with a friend and she used her free night certificate from the IHG card. IHG free award nights have changed. You can redeem them for a room that cost up to 40,000 points per night. I paid $25.51 (half of the resort fees of $51.02).
We spent the day at the Canyon Ranch Spa.
Pro-tip: Resort fees weren’t covered with free night certificates.
Read my review of The Palazzo Las Vegas.
Hyatt Place Las Vegas
On the second night, we stayed at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas. It’s one of my favorite no-fee hotels in Vegas. Parking, airport shuttle, and transportation to the strip are free. I used 8,000 Hyatt points for the two queen room. Here’s when you should use points and when to pay cash for hotels.
Read my review of the Hyatt Place Las Vegas.
How to Earn the Miles and Points
The fastest and easiest way to earn miles and points to travel hack Las Vegas is through credit card signup bonuses.
Twenty-nine airlines fly to Las Vegas, many offer mileage earning credit cards. Some cards are a better fit depending on where you live and how often you fly.
This table includes those cards and the best travel rewards cards you can use to travel hack a trip to Las Vegas.
|Signup Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements||Annual Fee||How to Use These Miles and Points|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card||80,000 points: 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months; 30,000 points after spending a total of $10,000 in the first 9 months||$99||Use points for flights. You get free flights for up to two years when you earn the Southwest Companion Pass.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account||$95||Use points for flights, hotel rooms, and activities. When redeemed through the Chase travel portal, points are worth 1.25 cents.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account||$550||Use points for flights, hotel rooms, and activities. Points are worth 1.5 cents when used on the Chase travel portal.|
|World of Hyatt||50,000 points: 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Earn another 25,000 points when you spend $6,000 (total) in the first 6 months||$95||Use points for free hotel nights. Each year after you earn a free night award.|
|IHG Rewards Club Premier Card||140,000 points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months||$89||Use points for free hotel nights. Each year after you earn a free night award.|
|IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card||60,000 points when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||$0||Use points for hotels. Get the fourth night free when you use points.|
It’s easy to travel hack Las Vegas. My most recent trip to Vegas should have cost $773 but I only paid $63.
Las Vegas is a cheap place to visit so sometimes it makes more sense to pay cash than to redeem miles and points. Especially if you want to save those points and miles for a trip to Australia, Hong Kong, or Europe.
For those times when hotel prices are high, the quickest way to earn miles and points to get a free trip to Las Vegas is through travel rewards credit cards.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series: flights to Las Vegas.
What are your favorite how-tos when you travel hack Las Vegas?
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