It's assumed that most Vegas visitors have their own list of cost or time saving factors that they personally enjoy and favor..as it should be. Here's ours.. (and we reserve the right to change these as our experiences and Vegas itself continues to evolve.)
1. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES AS AIR CARRIER :
In our experience, you can't beat this airline for average lowest fares to Vegas. Sign up for their e-mail and "Ding" services for online special offers. ( link)
2. ALWAYS RENT A CAR :
Even though presently car rental rates are trending upwards (perhaps partially due to reduced fuel prices) , we still feel that car rental provides for greater flexibility and freedom while in Sin City. With a modicum of research time and effort, it's possible to
find a decent deal in spite of the exorbitant taxes and fees associated with on-airport rentals (it can represent as much as 30 -
50% of overall rental costs). There are some off-airport sites that can potentially offer reduced daily rates but renters have to consider the added headaches of some of these options ; additionally, some off-airport rates ( eg strip motel site rentals) are actually higher than what can be obtained at the McCarran airport facility. When comparing car rental costs vs fees for taxis and shuttles, most times you'll find that you'll be ahead with the car , particularly if you consider the value and freedom to make spontaneous dashes somewhere when you want.
3. ELLIS ISLAND STEAK SPECIAL (OFF - STRIP) :
This is still a bargain at $6.95 (recently increased from $4.95). It's not on the menu..just request it. Ellis Island is located on
Koval Lane which parallels the strip a few blocks to the east.
4. SHRIMP COCKTAIL AT GOLDEN GATE (DOWNTOWN) :
Still just 99 cents for player's club members ( $1.99 for nonmembers) . My wife considers this a must ..so I tag along (worth it).
5. COUPON USE :
There's bunches of available free coupons and a few excellent purchasable bulk coupon sources for use in Vegas (refer to
Jan. 11, 2009 post here). These collectively can make a huge difference in your Vegas savings quest with a little invested
time and effort . We always purchase at least two bulk coupon sets from both the Las Vegas Advisor (now the Members Rewards Book, formerly Pocketbook Of Values) and the American Casino Guide . Two orders of each of these sources saves / produces about 4 -6 times their cost on average for us.
6. PLAYING THE COMP GAME :
If you literally "play your cards right" (or play high-payback slots / VP properly and with sound money management) , comp accrual can add very real dollars to your Vegas budget. I play $5 - $25 minimum blackjack (only those with good rule sets!)
and both the wife and I play high-payback slots / VP at 40 cents - $2.00 per spin denominations. We haven't paid for a room in Vegas for more than 2 years (8 trips lasting 4 - 9 days each ). There are ways to work the system (refer to articles
regarding gambling comps and some Las Vegas casinos offering recent player favorable blackjack rule sets
for 6 deck shoe and 2 deck pitch games with 3 : 2 natural payoffs.
7. VEGAS BUFFETS :
These obviously vary in price, service, culinary variety, and quality . We try to hit the upper end buffets (eg Bellagio's) at a shift / meal type changeover ; ie we buy in toward the end of the lunch buffet price at 30 -45 minutes before they switch to the
dinner offerings and sample both which results in a cost -savings of about 16 bucks. You have to identify the buffet locales
that do not close between shifts (some do ; refer to info regarding Vegas buffets that stay open between meal type changeovers) . We also load up at some of the cheaper buffets such as Terrible's
(mediocre quality) and Orleans (very good) and also utilize many 2 for 1 buffet coupons to save bucks at several off-strip
locales. We seldom experience more than one buffet a day while in Vegas but we take full advantage of it . If you load up properly (and actually survive it) , the calorie intake can sustain you for most of the day.
8. MGM MIRAGE PLAYER'S CLUB** :
Hands down, this club has provided us with the best overall comp rewards (mostly reflected in free room offers). Harrah's TR
club hasn't come close and we've given them ample play and opportunity. Additionally , there are generally better blackjack
games (player-favorable rule sets at $25 minimums) at MGM properties vs Harrah's. ( link )
**POST UPDATE 2/1/09 : I have to give Harrah's Total Rewards player's program some credit / kudos for the recent onslaught
of comp offers for us personally. It's completely unprecedented and great..I give them their due. See above post dated today
entitled "Harrah's Total Rewards 'Hot Deals ' Tip ". And then check their website yourself. :)
9. PLAYER'S CLUB AND HOTEL - CASINO E-MAIL LIST MEMBERSHIPS :
Particularly now (due to economic situation) , the value of this effort can't be overemphasized. Classic no-brainer value here.
10. FAB FOUR MANIA BEATLE'S IMPERSONATION SHOW :
We've always located discount tickets for this show (eg @ Goldstar , Tix4Tonight ,etc.) and found it to be comparatively worth the full price ticket. These guys have the Beatle's vocals, music, and mannerisms nailed ; it's a good show for fans of their
music ..or not.
11. STRATOSPHERE FREE FUNBOOK :
This funbook has had a good relative reputation in Vegas for years. There's some great gambling and dining goodies here.
You can pick it up for free at the Stratosphere player's club desk .
12. THE FREE STRIP SPECTACLE AT NIGHT ;
Bellagio's fountains, Mirage's Volcano, Luxor's pyramid beam, the visual of several converged casinos at the corner of
Tropicana Ave. and Las Vegas Boulevard (New York New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur, etc) , The Eiffel Tower at Paris, and the melded, skewed, and occasionally drunken, entertaining behavior of humans and a few monkeys along this iconic locale.
13. VEGAS OPTIONS :
The choices are truly endless. There's value in this fact as long as your cash and ability to remain standing hold out.
14. POINT MULTIPLIER / OTHER CASINO GAMBLING PROMOTIONS:
Take advantage of accumulating player's club points during 2 - 10X point multiplier days at many of the off-strip locales .
Refer to the Vegas Values Report at the American Casino Guide website for weekly updated casino promotion offers prior to your trip.
15. TRIP PLANNING WITH UPDATED RESEARCH :
This factor pays off multiplicatively at times. Car rental rates, airfare, room offer deals..like Vegas they change often. Visitors can accomplish this without turning it into a PhD level academic research event. If you enjoy Vegas, you'll enjoy spending time
planning / updating your cost-savings efforts at trip preparation ; it can provide a means to placate your daily routines until you can get there in person. *quivers*
The Grand Canyon Tour
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