Las Vegas Bookings: A Points Approach

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

Las Vegas is one of the few places where if you ask for a hotel recommendation, you might get 25 different ones. It’s a city with somewhere around 150,000 hotel rooms available and over 50 hotels between just the strip and downtown areas.

While typically not considered a points and miles location, points and miles can be used, as I have done recently. We all do Las Vegas differently, but here are some ways to use points and other methods as well as a glimpse of how I do Las Vegas. My method involves as little cash out of pocket as possible, so many of these methods work for me when needed but may not be best for you.

 

Chase (Pay Yourself Back)

Still an option through September 30, Chase Pay Yourself Back (PYB) allows you to essentially cash out your Chase Ultimate Rewards via your Chase Sapphire Reserve (1.5 cents per point) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (1.25 cpp). With the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s current all-time high sign-up bonus of 100,000 points, you would have $1,250 through PYB.

Another benefit of PYB is bypassing the Chase portal and booking directly with a hotel. This is beneficial in case you have to cancel or change your trip. Dealing with the hotel directly is much easier than with a third-party like Expedia, which runs the Ultimate Rewards portal. Also, booking direct guarantees you'll receive elite night credits and any eligible elite benefits from the hotel.

Chase's portal is also an option for using Chase Ultimate Rewards to book hotels in Vegas. But as discussed above, using URs through PYB is a better approach while PYB remains available.

Branded Hotel Options

The major hotel brands can not only have off-strip hotels when prices might be through the roof, but also provide some valuable partnerships with the strip hotels. When booking directly, remember to also go through shopping portals, like Rakuten. Using a shopping portal is still a direct booking and can earn you some extra cash back (or Amex Membership Rewards in the case of Rakuten).

Hyatt

Hyatt has a reciprocal partnership with M life which you can read about here.  My Hyatt status got me Mlife Gold. Not too much to gain from that, in my opinion. You can review all the M life benefits here.

Status Match Hyatt status to M life

The MGM Signature costs 20,000 Hyatt points per night. With cash rates often around $99 per night, it makes little sense to redeem points there. On an expensive weekend, you can maybe stretch you redemption rate above 1.5 cents per point. But that's still not a great use of Hyatt points in my view. You could be better off paying the cash rate via Pay Yourself Back or utilizing other methods mentioned.

A better points option is Hyatt Place, which has two locations off-strip that may be of value when cash prices are high. At just 8,000 Hyatt points per night and category based, this can be a great resource. I have stayed at the Hyatt Place near the Airport, which is also close to the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It is definitely the older of the two locations but easy location. I want to try the newer Hyatt Place Silverton Village. The Chase World of Hyatt card is my favorite hotel card for Hyatt-specific properties. Do not expect any status benefits at non-Hyatt properties such as M life. However, I can earn Hyatt points and nights at M life properties via FHR and LHRC, which are detailed below.

 

Hilton

Hilton has a large presence in Las Vegas. This was increased with the additions of Resorts World and Virgin Las Vegas. I was there for both openings. You  can read our reviews of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas or Resorts World. Hilton also has plenty of other properties, including timeshare resorts.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Using points or even a free night certificate may work if rates really jump and you need a room. Remember to take into account the value of Hilton points at about $0.005 per point (or half a cent per point). Using points with Hilton does have the added benefit of avoiding resort fees.

Finally, if you have Gold or Diamond status, you will also earn a food and beverage credit, which has replaced Hilton's breakfast perk in 2021. This credit can be used anywhere in the resort or hotel. Just bill the items to your room and as always verify bill at checkout. The Hilton Aspire card  earns you automatic Diamond status just for being a cardholder.

 

IHG

IHG has a partnership with the Venetian and the Palazzo. Rates for a midweek were running 35,000 points per night this week. The Holiday Inn Vacation Club has a convenient location just off the strip behind Harrah's on Koval Lane. I have stayed here and it can provide value especially for longer term stays of a week.

Holiday Inn Vacation Club

Marriott

Marriott's partnership with the Cosmopolitan is one of my favorites. While the points redemption usually does not make sense (85,000 per night), Marriott status can get you upgrades. Signing up for Cosmo emails may get you some great offers as well. I was able to score a $99 room with no resort fee on a recent stay. You can read my full review here. My good friend Bethany Walsh at Bougie Miles has some great info here on the relationship and the plays. The Westin near Bally's provides a location near the strip as an option as well. All of Marriott's other properties are off the strip.

Night views from Cosmopolitan

Best Western

Believe it or not, Best Western can be decent option for Las Vegas. Best Western is regularly on Rakuten and other shopping portals with some good rates. While not anywhere near the ToP of my list, Best Western shouldn't be completely ignored.

Best Western even has Las Vegas options

 

Credit Card Hotel Booking Programs

I try to get creative with the entire package of points, miles, and credit card benefits. There are programs at your disposal to get more out of a booking even if rates are higher. Several of the credit cards have programs that allow you to book hotels while receiving elite status like benefits. Las Vegas provides one of the sweetest spots know in these programs with favorable pricing much of the year.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

As we have previously written about, the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program allows you to book hotels but also gives you valuable benefits. If you have one of the American Express Platinum cards, you are eligible to book. Some these include possible upgrades, food and beverage or spa credits, and guaranteed late check out. I use this program frequently and it is always one of my first searches. This makes for a great use of your American Express Platinum $200 credit too.

Chase LHRC

Basically, the Chase version of FHR program. Sometimes, you will find availability in one and not the other program. Additionally if you do not mind hotel hopping, I will book FHR one night and Chase LHRC the next. You can read the review on that program here.  You can combine this with using Chase Pay Yourself Back to cover the costs. I did this recently on a $98 cash rate where I used Chase Pay Yourself Back for just 7800 points. That is great value for a hotel stay plus a $160 food and beverage credit.

Mastercard Travel Portal

The Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Travel site is another option. I have not dove into this program much, but I do search it and did attempt one booking but changed my mind. The program has many more cards than other programs that qualify you including the Citi Double Cash card.

Founders Card

Founders Card is worth mentioning as well. Founders Card is a paid membership card that targets businesses and elite travelers. It is a fan favorite of the Vegas travelers because it gives you Diamond status with Caesars.

Credit Card Offers

Do not forget that many credit cards have offers available on them. Chase regularly offers discounts on Hyatt stays (these are specifically for Hyatt, not M life properties) or Marriott. American Express offers some great Hilton ones and Mlife or Caesars resort specific offers and discounts. Amex offers have also included Hyatt, though less often that other hotel brands.

American Express offers can save you money

My Recent Booking

I have a Las Vegas trip coming up and prices were through the roof. This is not unheard of on a weekend, especially with several big events happening in town. While I continue to search and look at rebooking (as I do on most trips), I am happy with my booking for this trip. I had looked at other options, but the lowest I could get would have cost over $500 cash.

Night 1: Arrive and stay at Delano through Amex FHR booking. $125  plus taxes and fees. This ends up about $180 all in, but I will get $160 in food and beverage credits. Booking direct with no benefits would have cost $200. I had cashed out Amex points via my Charles Schwab platinum card, prior to the devaluation. So technically this is 14,400 MRs for a hotel stay plus $160 in food and beverage credits.

Nights 2 & 3: Waldorf Astoria. A new hotel for me in Las Vegas. I booked by redeeming one Hilton free night certificate (I have four currently) for one night, plus 80,000 for the second night. Paying cash here would have cost over $1250. I would never spend that cash, so this gives me a travel experience I would not be able to do otherwise. To make this redemption even better, Hilton does not charge resort fees for points bookings and I will enjoy the $50 food and beverage credit per day from my Diamond status. Pool drinks and food!

Final Thoughts

While Vegas is more known as a cash town, there can be creative ways to use points or other programs and still get great value. I am always trying to think outside the box or check several programs. This is especially true when prices are expensive on weekends.

From a credit card perspective, here are the ToP credit cards I use in Las Vegas. As always, if you are new or not familiar with rules like 5/24, feel free to ask for help in our Facebook group.

Have you booked in Las Vegas using points and miles or one of these approaches? Want to find out more? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know your thoughts.

 

 

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

Affiliates