5 Easy Ways To Save Money in Vegas

Between the strong U.S. dollar and relatively more expensive flight, Las Vegas wasn't exactly at the top of the destination list. I mean, you can fly for $260 CAD to Iceland in the summer!

It wasn't until I got there that I realized you can actually have a LOT of fun in Sin City, especially as a girl, without breaking the bank too much. Here's how we managed to keep our four day, four night trip to Vegas under $900 CAD total.

1. Don't gamble (too much)

The casinos along the Strip have two objectives: 1) to make you spend money gambling and 2) keep most of that money. They pump oxygen into the casinos and got rid of all the clocks for a reason - to make you stay there and gamble.

An exception to this rule is to play slots, but don't bet too much. If the cocktail waitresses see you gambling, they will bring you over free drinks - but you don't need to gamble more than a few dollars in front of them to get complimentary alcohol.

Of course, if you're a professional poker player and good at your job, the opposite of this tip might apply to you, and you probably don't need the remainder of this list...for the rest of us, you will likely save the most money by avoiding slots, dice, and card games.

2. Play the myVegas Facebook Game

myVegas is a game that MGM Resorts International developed in partnership with Facebook to basically lure people to Vegas. The concept is fairly straightforward: you "spend" electronic chips on playing slots, and earn "loyalty points" directly proportional to the number of chips you spend. The game regularly sends you links for free chips, and of course you can win chips in the game itself. If you run out of chips, you can spend real money on chips, if you like - but I have personally never done it.

The game itself is quite time consuming, but you can structure it so that it runs in the background in a more automatic fashion. Once you earn enough loyalty points, you can redeem for some pretty great rewards. An example of rewards I redeemed last week are:
  • Free hotel night at Vdara (100,000 loyalty points, $39 USD resort fee not included)
  • Ticket to KA by Cirque du Soleil (40,000 loyalty points, $126 USD value)
  • Ticket to Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil (20,000 loyalty points, $93 USD value)
Sounds too good to be true? Well, myVegas rewards come with a ton of restrictions. First of all, you can only redeem 3 rewards in a rolling 30 day period. There are tons of blackout dates on most rewards. Hotel rooms are almost never available for weekend nights (think Friday and Saturday), and you can also only redeem 1 free night at 1 MGM property at a time.

At the same time, I wouldn't be recommend this tip if I didn't manage to save some money from it! The best strategy is to play with a significant other or friend, and which gets you at least 2 nights of free hotel, and then redeem for other food or entertainment rewards. Make sure you're planning around hotel blackout dates. The three awards above saved me around $307 USD, or about $405 CAD.

3. Become an Mlife Rewards Member

Most of the hotels on the Strip are owned by MGM Resorts International, which includes properties such as Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, New York New York, Vdara, Aria, and Bellagio, just to name a few.

Mlife is MGM's loyalty program, which is free to sign up for. As a member, you have access to special rates that seem to be lower than third party websites. As an example, we booked Vdara on Thursday night for $79 USD + $39 USD fee, before taxes. You will also be able to get deals on tickets, restaurants, and spas at various MGM properties as well.

4. Get in touch with a promoter

If you're female and/or have female friends, you can probably get into clubs for free by keeping in touch with a Vegas club promoter. Even as a guy, you should be able to get in as long as you have more girls than guys. Some clubs (such as Intrigue at Wynn) will offer one free drink with entry as well.

5. Walk around the Strip

As we were walking outside, we were handed tons of free tickets to night clubs and other shows by promoters. We also had a lot of leftover alcohol and ended up giving them to people who happened to pass by our room while we were checking out.

All that said, I do feel as though one shouldn't completely cheap out in Vegas. While I don't think you need to pay for absolutely everything (e.g.nightclub cover charges or hotels), I do think by selectively choosing what to ball out on (e.g. drinks or nice restaurants), you'll definitely have a fabulous time!