How to Get Big Travel With Small Money in Las Vegas Using Miles & Points

How to Get Big Travel With Small Money in Las Vegas Using Miles & Points

Million Mile SecretsHow to Get Big Travel With Small Money in Las Vegas Using Miles & PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Las Vegas is a favorite vacation spot for folks looking for a couples getaway, gambling weekend, or to see one of many terrific shows.  Or for foodies like me who like to try new restaurants.

Flights and hotels can be expensive, especially at peak times.  And if you gamble, you’ll have to factor that into your budget.

While I can’t guarantee you won’t lose money at the blackjack table, I can show you how to visit Las Vegas for almost free using miles & points.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
By Using Points and Miles to Pay for Your Trip, at Least You’ll Arrive in Vegas a Winner 😉

Here are ways to visit Las Vegas using Small Money!

Flights to Las Vegas

Link:   Best Ways to Use Airline Miles for Domestic Award Tickets

Most major US airlines fly to Las Vegas.  So you’ve got plenty of options for award flights!

If you’re considering transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points for your flights, read my post on how to choose the best airline transfer partner for North American flights first!

1.   Alaska Airlines

Link:   Alaska Airlines Award Chart

Alaska Airlines charges 10,000 to 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award ticket within the continental US (including Alaska).  The price of an award ticket depends on the distance flown.

If you’re a short flight from Las Vegas, booking award flights on Alaska Airlines can be an very good deal!  That said, I prefer using Alaska Airlines miles for expensive award flights on partners like Cathay Pacific.

And if you’re on the West Coast, paid flights to Las Vegas on Alaska Airlines are usually very cheap!  So you might want to save your miles for a different trip.

2.   American Airlines

Link:   Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

You’ll pay 25,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip, saver level coach ticket within the continental US.  However, if your flight to Las Vegas is 500 miles or less, you’ll pay just 15,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip coach ticket.

And if you have certain cards, it’s worth checking the current American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards list to see if Las Vegas is included.  With Reduced Mileage Awards, you can save up to 7,500 American Airlines miles on a round-trip coach ticket.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Save on Your Flight and Have More Money for Playing in Las Vegas!

And remember, if you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to American Airlines, you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus.

Spending 25,000 miles might make sense if you’re a long distance from Las Vegas.  But I’ll show you how to save miles & points if you’re a short flight away.

3.   British Airways

Link:   The Best Domestic Awards Using British Airways Avios Points

Link:   Wandering Aramean Avios Map – Las Vegas

You can use British Airways Avios points to book domestic award flights on partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.  And because they use a distance-based award chart, shorter flights cost fewer points.

For example, flights under 1,151 miles cost just 7,500 British Airways Avios points one-way.  Looking at Wandering Aramean’s Avios map, this includes flights between Las Vegas and:

  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

And flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles cost 10,000 British Airways Avios points one-way.  This includes flights between Las Vegas and:

  • Chicago (O’Hare)
  • Charlotte

Check out my post on all the ways to earn British Airways Avios points.  But the quick version is you can transfer points into the British Airways program from cards like:

4.   Delta

Link:   Delta

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, but low-level award flights within the US typically cost 25,000 Delta miles.

That said, sometimes Delta puts award flights on sale.  For example, I found award flights between Seattle and Las Vegas for 13,000 Delta miles round-trip in January 2017.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Check Flights From Your City on the Delta Website – You Could Find a Good Deal!

5.   JetBlue

Link:   JetBlue Award Flights

A Million Mile Secrets team member flew JetBlue from Long Beach to Las Vegas and had a terrific experience.  He was able to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on their complimentary entertainment system while enjoying free premium snacks.

You may already have lots of JetBlue points if you’ve opened a Barclaycard JetBlue Plus or Barclaycard JetBlue Business card.

Remember, the price of a JetBlue award flight depends on the cost of a paid ticket.  Folks in JetBlue focus cities may find JetBlue points particularly valuable.

6.   Southwest

Link:   How to Fly (Almost) Free for Two Years on Southwest

Did you know Las Vegas is Southwest’s 3rd busiest airport?  You’ll have plenty of convenient flight options!

The price of a Southwest award flight is tied to the cost of a paid ticket.  So when flights go on sale, award prices go down.

And if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll get to Las Vegas even more cheaply!  Because a friend or family member flies with you for almost free on paid and award tickets.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Bring a Pal Along to Vegas for Almost Free If You Have the Southwest Companion Pass

Because Southwest doesn’t charge change or cancellation fees, it’s worth booking your Southwest flights as early as possible.  If the price of a flight goes down, you can cancel and re-book at no cost.

You can earn Southwest points with their cards.  Or by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest from cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred.

7.   United Airlines

Link:   United Airlines Award Chart

Link:   All the Ways to Earn United Airlines Miles

There’s no shortage of ways to earn United Airlines miles.  Like transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines if you have the Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, or Chase Ink Plus or Ink Bold (no longer available) card.

If your home airport is 700 miles or less from Las Vegas, you’ll pay 20,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award ticket.  You can check Wandering Aramean’s 700 Mile Search Map to see which cities are within a 700 mile radius of Las Vegas!

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Folks Within 700 Miles of Las Vegas Can Save Miles When They Book United Airlines Award Flights

Otherwise, a round-trip coach award ticket on United Airlines costs 25,000 miles from anywhere in the US and Canada (except Hawaii and Alaska).

8.   Discount Airlines Like Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Spirit Airlines

Don’t forget to check discount airlines like Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.  They often have sales with very low fares.  If you can find a deal, you may be better off paying for your flight and saving your miles for a different trip.

But remember you’ll have a no-frills experience.  And these airlines charge extra fees for large carry-on bags, checked bags, seat selection, and more.  So be sure to pack light.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas?

You’re probably not going to Las Vegas for a little peace and quiet. 😉

Most folks prefer to stay on The Strip — that’s where all the action takes place.

Most major hotel chains have locations in Las Vegas, so you’ve got plenty of choices.  I like using Hotel Hustle, which shows available award nights and compares the price of a paid room.  Plus you can set alerts if award nights become available.

Or check AwardMapper, which shows hotels you can book with points.  Before I book any hotel, I always read TripAdvisor reviews.

If you’re looking for a quieter or more local experience, Airbnb is great for affordable stays.

That said, the best chains to consider if you want to stay in a glitzy casino hotel on the strip are Hyatt, IHG, and Starwood.

1.   Hyatt

Hyatt is partners with M Life, the loyalty program for MGM Resorts, which owns some of the largest and most iconic hotels in Las Vegas.  So you can use Hyatt points to stay at MGM hotels!

When you’re a member of both Hyatt Gold Passport member and a M life, you get the benefits of both hotel chains when you stay at Hyatt and at M Life hotels in Las Vegas.  Check out this post for instructions on how to match your Hyatt status to M Life.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Stay at The Bellagio in Las Vegas for 25,000 Hyatt Points per Night, and Enjoy the Famous Fountain Show

And if you have Discoverist status from the Chase Hyatt or United MileagePlus® Club Card, you can match your Hyatt status to M Life and get perks like free self-parking and discounts!

MGM Resorts include some of the best hotels on The Strip:

You’ll pay 12,000 to 25,000 Hyatt points per night for these hotels.  My friend usually stays at New York New York for 15,000 Hyatt points per night because he feels it’s the best value on The Strip.  The hotel is very open, airy and modern, and the rooms are always chic and clean.

Not to mention they have some great New York City dining options like Shake Shack and Gallagher’s Steakhouse.

If you want to save Hyatt points and don’t mind being off The Strip (or prefer a quieter experience), the Hyatt Place Las Vegas costs just 8,000 Hyatt points per night.

Note:   Always check the paid rate for these hotels before you book with points.  They’re often discounted, and you might be better off paying cash for your stay.

One of my favorite uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to Hyatt!  You can do that when you have cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred.

2.   IHG

IHG hotels have 2 locations on The Strip:

Both locations cost 60,000 IHG points per night, which is the highest level on IHG’s award chart.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
You Can Use IHG Points to Stay at the InterContinental The Palazzo, but It’s NOT Cheap

Depending on when you stay, you can often find rooms here for ~$250 to $300 per night.  I’d rather save my IHG points for more expensive hotels.  Or use them for discounted IHG PointBreaks nights at 5,000 IHG points per night.

But if a stay here is on your bucket list, you could consider using points.

3.   Starwood

Starwood has a handful of locations in Las Vegas, most of which are off The Strip.

They’ve opened a new, trendy hotel called SLS Las Vegas, which starts at 10,000 Starwood points per night.  My friend reports the hotel is a bit small, but the gorgeous design and upscale feel along with lots of celebrity-chef restaurants more than makes up for it.

How To Get Big Travel With Small Money In Las Vegas Using Miles Points
Enjoy the Best Sushi in Las Vegas at Katsuya, in Starwood’s SLS Las Vegas Hotel

However, if you didn’t mind not being right on The Strip (or in a casino), Four Points by Sheraton Las Vegas East Flamingo at 3,000 to 4,000 Starwood points per night is a great bargain.

Again, check the paid price before you book any Las Vegas hotel with points.

You can earn Starwood points with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

A Different Way to Earn Free Stays – MyVegas

Link:   MyVegas

MyVegas is a Facebook game affiliated with M Life where you earn loyalty coins for playing slot machines and table games — not unlike actual Las Vegas.

You can then redeem these loyalty coins for complimentary hotel rooms, show tickets, and food and beverage credits.  While they give you free points to play with, there are options to buy points (of course!).  And you could end up losing money.

A Million Mile Secrets team member redeemed 40,000 MyVegas loyalty coins for a free night at The Mirage (except the resort fee).  He said occasionally he’ll play the blackjack tables on his phone when he’s waiting around.  Over the last 3 years he’s redeemed over 5 free hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip for a few minutes a week of recreational play in his spare time.

This isn’t my cup of tea, but if you like Facebook games and have free time (and enough discipline to not spend money on the app), this could be a good way to get free stuff in Las Vegas.

What to Do in Las Vegas?

Here are Small Money tips so you can save some cash for the slots:

  • Fountains of Bellagio:  Watch this dazzling water show choreographed to classical and Broadway music.  The show is completely free and runs every 15 to 30 minutes in the afternoons and evenings.
  • Drink for free, kinda:  Casinos in the city offer complementary drinks to folks playing table games or slot machines.  Playing a penny slot on the minimum bet will get you a little entertainment and a drink of your choosing.
  • High Roller:  See stunning views of Vegas from the world’s tallest observation wheel.  Buy tickets online to save $5+ and consider riding during the day to save $10+.
  • The Ultimate Free Thing:  Take a picture with the sign!  It’s located in the median at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South.

Or check out Travel & Lesiure’s guide to 31 free things to do in Las Vegas.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of ways to get to (and stay in) Las Vegas to make your trip more affordable.  And save your money for slots, shows, and buffets!

Most major US airlines fly to Las Vegas, so it’s easy to fly there using airline miles.  But flights to Las Vegas are often on sale, so check the paid price before you book with points!

Hyatt hotels have great options on the strip through their partnership with MGM hotels.   Or consider IHG and Starwood for centrally-located hotels.

And folks who like online games can earn points with MyVegas, which only requires a Facebook account (and spare time) to rack-up loyalty points you can use for stays, shows, and other perks.

Let me know if you have Small Money Las Vegas tips to share!

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I live in LA and my husband and I "play" MyVegas for a couple minutes every day. It took us about 3 months of more steady playing to rack up enough loyalty coins for free nights, etc. but it's really no more time consuming than keeping track of credit card applications, miles, points, etc. We have never paid for chips. Just like a couple applying for separate credit cards, a couple can get an advantage of MyVegas. We go to Vegas using MyVegas twice per year and each time that's 2 free hotel nights (Minus resort and parking fees. It was Aria last time.), 2 free Cirque tickets, and two free buffets or fancy cocktails in one of the really nice bars. With MyVegas you don't need to waste SPG, Hyatt, etc points.