PHOTO: New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (Photo via Flickr/Bernard Spragg. NZ)
Las Vegas hotel rates range from insanely cheap to borderline absurd depending on the type of property and room you book. If you dream of staying in an Augustus Spa Suite in Caesar’s Palace, for example, you’ll pay a premium. However, if you’re okay shacking up at Circus Circus or the Stratosphere, your room could easily cost less than $70 per night.
Well, let’s back up a little. You can get those cheap rates most of the time, but if there are a few conventions going on, special concerts, or world famous events, the cost of your hotel stay can easily surge.
I recently helped a family member search for a cheap Vegas stay near the beginning in March—a week when even a “cheap” hotel like the Excalibur costs more than $275 per night. Since they were counting on cheap hotel stays, this put a huge damper on their plans.
When events cause hotel rates to surge, you have a few options to consider:
#1: Stay “Off The Strip”
The first suggestion I made to my family member was to stay off the main drag of the Las Vegas Strip. If you can stay a few blocks away, you can easily save 50% on your hotel or more. There are also more low-end options right off than strip than directly on it. Think: small casino hotels, Super 8 Motel, and America’s Best Value Inn.
#2: Book a Hotel Downtown
Booking a hotel downtown can also help you save if you want to stay close to the action. Nightly rates at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino are often well below $50, and you can take a taxi or Uber to the strip for a change of scenery or special event.
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#3: Try a Timeshare Deal
Numerous Las Vegas hotels offer free or drastically discounted stays for consumers willing to sit through a 90-minute timeshare presentation. Options include everything from Hilton Grand Vacations Club to Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Resort Club, all the way to the off-strip Tahiti Village.
While many timeshare deals come with blackout dates, you should be fine if you hit Vegas outside of a major holiday.
#4: Experiment with Off-Brand Hotels.
Another way to save is to sacrifice with off-brand hotels. You may not know exactly what you’re getting, but you’ll save money by being flexible where you stay.
This is the strategy my family member finally chose. Instead of paying $300+ per night to stay at a mediocre hotel, she opted to book the Travelodge Center Strip for $106 per night. Not only does this hotel come with a prime location right across the street from Aria, but it comes with free breakfast and no resort fees to boot.
#5: Leverage Credit Card Rewards.
Finally, it’s always smart to consider cashing in your points and miles when Las Vegas rates are at their peak. If you book early enough, you may not have any problem finding the award availability you crave. Instead of dropping high dollar for a room you’ll barely stay in, you can redeem an average number of points for a reward night.
With the free night from your IHG Reward Select Credit Card, for example, you can book a free room at The Palazzo, The Venetian, or several other IHG-branded hotels on and near the strip.