Use Costco to Save in Las Vegas

I’m sure this Costco discount opportunity can be found in most locations, and it’s pretty simple. Pay $80 to get a $100 gift card for This can be used for a variety of Las Vegas services, including air and hotel packages, hotel-only reservations, show tickets, and more. Vegas is incredibly expensive in my opinion for what you get. Where else do you pay $12 for a Bud Light or $180 for a show ticket (I would love to see “O” but have trouble convincing my wallet to open). The hotels are nice, but most are not worth the $150-300 they like to charge. Oh, wait, this is beginning to sound like New York… 😉

picture of gift cardAlthough I would normally discourage booking hotels through a third party, there aren’t a lot of good hotel options on the strip if you want to collect or redeem points. Most of the properties are owned by Caesar’s Entertainment or MGM Resorts, although The Venetian and Palazzo are affiliates with InterContinental Hotels and Priority Club. You can get credit with your casino players’ club, which might comp you for your hotel, but that isn’t something most people can or should take advantage of. I have never been able to sit at a table long enough to build up a bank of points. And, frankly, earning and redeeming travel points is a lot less risky than gambling. The casinos know the odds are in their favor.

So, given that there are a limited number of chain hotels and most are off-strip, you might as well book through if you can find a good deal. Similarly, you can wait for discounts on the day of and buy your show at Tix-4-Tonite, but if there is something you really want to see you should probably book in advance online. I don’t think you can actually book and pre-pay for a restaurant online (it seems to be reservations only) but if you could do that, I know there are lots of good meals to be had there. I would love to get 20% off at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. Activities like Grand Canyon tours can also be booked at

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Vegas Insider VIP card. In exchange for your email address, they’ll send you a list of coupons you can use during your visit. I wish they’d just lower their prices to begin with, but… this is Las Vegas! featured specials screenshot

We have a stay coming up at The Venetian booked on points when rooms were briefly half-off (only 25K Priority Club points per night!). Last time we stayed at The Mirage across the street, which was also nice, but frankly I enjoyed visiting The Venetian much more. I will probably find an excuse to head back to Bouchon, and Megan really wants to see a Cirque du Soleil show (never been). Mystere was the first one on the strip and one of the cheaper options–it’s also conveniently across the street at Treasure Island! I’ve been to Vegas often enough that roaming up and down the street no longer appeals to me, so anything close is good.

Any other advice? I am a big foodie and need some decent restaurant suggestions. I really want to do an Ethel M factory tour, which I keep passing on. I just need to pay up for the cab ride. I will probably also have to follow up on this NY Times article about top Vegas restaurant critics.

Related Links:

$5 Airport Parking Thanks to Costco and AAA
Links Disappearing for UA Club and UA Explorer Visa
  • Guest from YUL

    Here’s a bit of reading that might be of intersted to you, Scottrick.

    Bon appétit!

  • Pointsforthepeople

    Lotus of Siam is an off-strip Thai restaurant.  I lived in Thailand for three years, so I’m always looking for great Thai restaurants, and this is the best, most comprehensive menu I have seen so far in the US.  I love the regional cuisine, like northern curries and Isaan fare.

    • Jimmy @TravelByPoints

      Pointsforthepeople, next time you are in town, you might want to check out Weera Thai. The owner moved from Chiangmai and owns the original Weera Thai there. The restaurant has been open for a year or so, and offers free guest pickup service from the strip. We love the Northern/Isaan food there.

  • Jimmy @TravelByPoints

    Scott, you might want to look into getting a rental car. You will avoid the wait at the taxi line, and parking in Vegas (outside the downtown area) is always free. Outside the Ethel M factory, there is also a desert garden, which puts on a Christmas lighting show every year.

    As for food, save your money and dine where locals go (we will give you plenty of tips if you want them) – another advantage for having a rental car.

    Both TravelWhimsy and I think “O” is overrated. She has seen all the Cirque shows except Elvis, and still thinks Mystere is better. We also think Le Reve at Wynn is better than “O.” Let me know what you ultimately decide on, and I can check on locals’ discounts for you. My favorite show is actually Terry Fator at the Mirage.

    Looking forward to your visit!

  • Jim Newhouse

    I agree that O stands for Overated and Overpriced.  We saw Love and thought it was really good.  I’m not a huge Beattles fan but really enjoyed the music.

  • Sandeep Babu

    Dont forget that the Cosmopolitan is part of the Marriott chain and is an amazing property. The views from the rooms are incredible, and yes while food is expensive, you do get what you pay for. Some of the restaurants are pretty damn good! Skip the buffet…while some of them are really good, the lines are long and it is expensive. Save your money on booze by drinking at the table or buying it at a grocery store.

  • purplnurpl

    A rental car in vegas is foolish.  The lines for a taxi can be subverted relatively cheaply ($20) if you really, really need to.  The walk to the parking lot/garage from the casino/hotel is going to suck, and you’ll have to suffer for 10 minute before the AC kicks in.  Add that in as well as the time finding a parking spot/lot and you’re wasting precious time.  Don’t forget DUI costs.  Ignore the monorail, it sucks.

    As a long time drinking and eating Vegas visitor, a taxi is really the only way to go.

  • Joben

    Does anyone know if Costco is still selling the giftcards?

    • Scottrick

      I haven’t checked recently. Many travel discounts are seasonal, so if they aren’t there right now, it doesn’t mean they’re gone for good.