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Trimming daily expenses while in Vegas?

Discussion in 'Las Vegas for the Frugal (not Cheap)' started by notfromconcentrate, Oct 29, 2015.

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  1. notfromconcentrate

    notfromconcentrate Low-Roller

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    Hi, all! Long time lurker, recently decided to join this forum to participate in discussions pertaining to my favourite city in the world... Las Vegas!

    I absolutely love spending time in Las Vegas - not just as a hobbyist gambler, but also because there's always something interesting going on there. It's a great escape where people all seem to be merry and friendly, there's plenty of ways to relax and enjoy yourself, and best of all... it's in a part of the world where there's no bloody snow! (I'm from the north, eh?)

    I'm looking to make it more of a regular thing for myself. It seems that the average person views going to Las Vegas as either a one-time thing, or a true indulgence for big occasions such as bachelor parties, 40th birthdays, etc. Because of this, getting a $500 per night room at Caesar's and looking up reviews for the must-try restaurants are common practice for people to make the absolute most of their trip.

    I don't have this mentality. I'm not about staying somewhere fancy on the strip, having a sit-down meal three times a day, attending pricey tourist attractions, and "putting $100 in the slot machine and playing until it disappears". I like to think that I have a sense of how to "do Vegas" relatively inexpensively, between staying up in Fremont, having comped meals wherever I'm playing, and taking public transit to get places as opposed to taxis.

    However, I'm looking to really master the whole "doing it inexpensively" bit. Of course, the cost of the flight is a fixed thing that you can't really get around (though I've found that if I can get to Chicago, flights to Vegas well under $100 each way are actually very common). But what I'm looking to figure out is how to cut my daily expenses, so that I can spend more time in Vegas, with fewer fixed costs.

    I figure that the place to start is the hotel. I have heard of people getting comped rooms, but I haven't got a clue as to how to even start pursuing that. I mostly play blackjack/baccarat/roulette. Is there any general advice when it comes to the best way to get room comps, or the best properties at which to do so? I'm not picky at all when it comes to a room, just somewhere to crash, really.

    I'd appreciate any other insight when it comes to cutting daily expenses, such as how to get more comps for meals or show tickets.
     
  2. BayouBengal

    BayouBengal VIP Whale

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    The golden rule is not to play for COMPS. In the long run it's cheaper to buy the meals and pay for the rooms on your own. I look at the comps I get as a bonus or as an extra. Ok, enough with the preaching. The best way to get comps is to play where you stay or would like to stay and concentrate your play there. Playing a couple hours at Binion's then a couple more at The D and then some more at Golden Nugget isn't going to get you anywhere with any of those places. I'm not saying don't play at all at different places but prepare to dedicate your bankroll to a specific casino or family of casinos(Boyd, CET). If you have a significant other or travel partner that doesn't mind playing on your player's cards at machines, that's an easy way to bump up offers. A $10k coin in player is going to get more than two $5k players individually. I have seen this in action with my gf and myself.
     
  3. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Go to the comps forum and read up. All of your answers are there. The short answers is that you get comps by gambling. But 99% of gamblers lose more money gambling than it would cost to simply pay for the room, meal, or show tickets. But if you're planning to gamble anyway, might as well take advantage and get the comps also
     
  4. eaglejohn

    eaglejohn High-Roller

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    go downtown. Fremont MSS Cal and 4 Queens have no resort fee. Check calendars for cheapest time. Rates can vary daily depending on conventions and time of year. As Bayou said, concentrate your gambling at one group or individual casino. I do Boyds and am low roller. Both wife and I used my card while gambling and got 2 free nights and reduced rates for next trip in email before back from trip. Use ACG and LVA coupons. When playing BJ for a few hours ask for a buffet comp from pit boss. Worst he can say is no.
     
  5. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Four years ago I came out on Southwest and added my room through SW, ended up at the Riviera because I wanted to walk to the Convention Center. Very little play generated a few mailings each year for free or discounted rooms, so two years ago I booked three nights for $19 per night, no resort fee. During that stay I played a little blackjack at Circus Circus which generated a few offers, so last month I was comped two out of four nights, I had to pay resort fees though. During this stay, I played at Palace Station and Stratosphere and have already received offers for buy one/ get one free night at Palace Station and two free nights at Stratosphere.

    You already know about the bus pass, the RTC is cheap and easy to use. I also try to hit happy hours for discounted drinks and appetizers that make a light dinner. Don't forget $1 Michelobs at Casino Royale. One of the bars at Palace Station had all you could drink Bud or Bud Light for $15 during Sunday football games. Another bar had $.99 margaritas that gave me a brain freeze.

    As Bayou mentioned, don't play for comps. These will be expensive rooms. Check out the posts of VMB resident guru of frugal, Dewey.
     
  6. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    We are regulars to Vegas. We would never do $500 rooms. There are lots of options in the $100-$150 range depending on dates. We eat rather cheap most of the time, but will splurge. Of course our splurge is way less than some folks. I think your view of the party group only applies to some of the folks.

    As to getting rooms, check out the comp section. Harrahs/CET is the easiest.
     
  7. carolineno

    carolineno High-Roller

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    I am a micro-roller, and even I get the occasional comped room. I've noticed that often, I get comped from hotels where my only major interaction (and sometimes the ONLY interaction) was simply dining there and giving the server my rewards card. Comped at the Rio, at Cosmopolitan, and not comped but very good offers from Aria, all from my dining theory. I was with groups of 3 or 4 each time, so I'm sure that helped too.

    Also, the Social Rewards / Total Rewards program at CET properties is great. Points on your card, to be used for food, shows whatever. I don't usually accumulate enough for a show, so I use them for food. I was pretty dense about the whole thing but this thread showed me the light :angel: #10 from waverunner was especially helpful in getting it through my thick skull.

    http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?113870-Social-Rewards
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    lol

    We've stayed at most of the "swank" places in town and never ever got close to spending half-a-grand a night. I mean, sure, pick the "right" accommodation and start writing zeroes on the check, but that certainly isn't the mainline Vegas reality and you don't have to stay at Hooters to avoid it.

    Beware of going looking for "free" things as others have warned relative to comps. The best way to approach the comp thing is to honestly admit how much you are going to risk/gamble, on what games, and at what denominations, and you will have a rock-solid idea of what you can expect in return. I know there is a tendency for newbies to read everything here and think picking up comps is as easy as collecting sand on Huntington Beach.

    Folks end up finding their own Vegas equilibrium as only they know their tastes and the price thresholds are rather self-evident. There's no magic formula out there: Vegas has Denny's and Vegas has in-any-city high-end steakeries, and those prices are evident and fixed, for instance. Walking and the bus are free to cheap, and only involve time; and the occasional urine-soaked bus seat. Rentals are cheap and parking is free. The afternoon comedy show is pretty cheap and likely appears at one of the ticket outlets, that visiting headliner will be different. Any search engine will give an instantaneous cost reflection of what you are looking at room-wise. And think of where you end up bunking for X dollars and what it means in terms of getting other places, and maybe X+a little elsewhere makes more sense, and particularly if that hotel gives you an aesthetic or amenities more suited to your tastes and needs. Consider downtown. Consider locals' joints (access, again, here). Have a fridge brought in or keep a cooler of ice on hand and stock up on yogurt and fruit, get some granola ... voila, breakfast. Buyer a sixer of Coors at the market and don't order a Don Julio silver at the casino bar. Don't gamble ... that's the #1 way to have discretionary coin in Vegas.

    Someone above mentioned Dewey. Dewey is Cost-Minimization Guru 1-A so look him up.

    Mostly, just remember to have fun. It's sometimes easy to step over a dollar to pick up a dime if we're wound up too tight on trying to leverage everything. Plus, it's VACATION!
     
  9. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

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    Use players cards EVERYWHERE you play--you never know what it might get you.
    Get over resort fees, most places charge them. It is what it is.
    I bring protein bars for breakfast, eat early lunch & early dinner (happy hours!) to save $
    I know busses are cheap but I don't like to waste time in Vegas. We rent car if cheap, otherwise take cab to/from airport. Maybe WAX bus if going DT. We are staying DT this time. $45 each way for cab or $58 each way for Limo (4 of us)--TAKE THE LIMO.
    I scour sites for room deals if we aren't comped.
    Everything is cheaper DT--food, drinks, gambling. But I find one day is enough DT for me (have 4 nights next week...luckily a large fun group traveling together)
    I have used travelzoo, Groupon& living social for things I am going to do anyway; I got caught up in buying some things early...I still have an unused Groupon from Luxor from several years ago....
    Played MyVegas--not nearly as good a game as when it started, but worth a look.
    Pick up free coupon books at hotel, in cabs, from guys handing them out on the street.
    Sometimes buy Las Vegas Advisor coupons (only if going DT) & American Casino Guide . I look at coupons closely--I need to do more than potentially break even to make it worth my time.
    Some pick up liquor to make drinks in room; we are rarely in room. I belly up to video poker bar, pop in $20 & get a free drink! I do play...and watch others come up & pay $10 for a drink....
     
  10. garlock

    garlock Tourist

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    Yup is a waste of time picking up a bottle & bringing to room why would u do that? The room is only to sleep & shower in!! U can sit a vp & keno machine & drink all day for a buck a drink! Why would u want to sit in your room to drink??
     
  11. garlock

    garlock Tourist

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    Oh I always book my room through " I4Vegas" Can usually find rooms down town, $25- $65 a nite depending where u stay, I stay at the Plaza cuz rooms are quiet rooms on Fremont Street are pretty loud! Unless u can get one in the back!
     
  12. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    I honestly feel the area you can have the most control (besides gambling) is the food. I'm a coupon user and it makes a huge difference. I get both the ACG and the LVA and I get good use out of both of them. I also take advantage of meal deals. I have yet to get a bad meal in Vegas. Check out my signature.
     
  13. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Yep, don't need to feed the machines at all 'cause the casino loves to give folks free drinks for a buck tip.

    lol
     
  14. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I'm a low roller and hardly get any comps. If you are on a budget then I would suggest you stay downtown or away from the strip. Most strip hotels are pricey and higher than many downtown hotels. Plus the boyd hotels downtown do not charge a resort fee so you save even more on your nightly rate. Boyd also has shuttles that go between downtown, sam's town (on boulder highway) and harrahs on the strip so if you have the time you don't have to spend money to get around between the strip and downtown. There also is a shuttle to get you to the rio, another to get you to the Orleans and gold coast. There are other shuttles to get you to some of the outlying hotels like south point and green valley ranch.

    as others have mentioned, check your gambling budget because more often you will be gambling a lot more than if you paid for the room yourself (so don't gamble for comps unless you can afford it).

    Player's cards are great to get and use but usually you won't benefit from them on your current trip (unless you gamble a good amount). When you sign up for players cards they usually send you some offers for free or discounted nights to get you into their casino but once you get a card your gambling will determine if you get any comps or discounts. You may be able to sign up for player's cards online prior to your trip and hopefully they will send you some comped or discount stay offers.

    Saving money. You can start with meals, read threads here and look for bargains and advice on where to eat cheaply. Avoid eating on the strip as most restaurants are more expensive than downtown. There are the usual fast food places but even those prices are a little higher than downtown and off strip. Depending on your age there are some place that offer discounts for "seniors" over age 50. You can also ask around if they have 2 for 1 or discounted coupons from the acg and other sites. For breakfast McD's offer decent prices, usually under $5 for the food. Buy your drinks from ABC store or walgreens as they usually are cheaper than at the fast food places. If you really want to save there are some places with cheap hot dogs or cheap breakfasts or early bird dinners.

    Cheap hotel rates. I would use the third party sites like kayak (vegas.com i4vegas, booking.com) to check out rates for your time frame. Then I would log onto the particular hotel web sites to see if they offer you better rates. I usually get better rates directly from the hotel sites (using my player's card). Note that some strip hotels give you a price matching guarantee, if you find a cheaper rate elsewhere the hotel will match it - unfortunately I don't think the downtown hotels follow that price matching guarantee though.

    I'm pretty much a tightwad when it comes to expenses so I usually do a lot of the things I mentioned above.
     
  15. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    It is way cheaper to drink in the room. On my last visit to Bellagio, my free drinks cost me around $40 each. LOL!
     
  16. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    I'm also a big believer in little airplane bottles of booze in my purse and/or pockets...lol.
     
  17. BayouBengal

    BayouBengal VIP Whale

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    That's why I drink and play VP at Queue and Chandelier Bars. The drinks are usually $16 to $18 if paying cash. I'm basically SAVING money!:evillaugh

    And for the OP if you're going to be on the strip you could play the Facebook and mobile game MyVegas. It's a grind to get points to spend and over time the value of the points has decreased but you can cash them in for things like discounted rooms, free buffet, free margarita, etc....
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Amen.

    A few years back I was at the pre-opening for a new course, and walked/played with the designer, a guy who has won multiple times on the PGA Tour. On the first hole he asked if I'm "a drinking man," I say of course and he then opens the side pouch on his bag and it is STUFFED with airline bottles. That was a fine round indeed! Never underestimate the little bottle in large numbers.
     
  19. dfalk

    dfalk VIP Whale

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    I remember a flight to Vegas I filled up the quart sized baggies with as many bottles as I could fit in there, I think I got 8 in there. I drank most of them on the 2 hour flight and went I got off I was pretty hammered.
     
  20. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    You can't count on comps. Coupons and discount hunting can help as cheesy as it sounds. The lower tier shows and attractions regularly have coupons or are at discount booths and sites. It's easy to dismiss them but many are great shows. Some of the higher end ones even end up at the ticket booths. And there are tons of ways to save money on food. Restaurants run promos, run coupons in magazines and you can find many good ones offering Groupon, Living Social and Travelzoo deals. Ask at check in if there are fun books or specials for a restaurant at that hotel you may interested in.

    Another thing is to really plan your transportation. There are disadvantages to shuttles, buses and the monorail but they all offer huge savings over cabbing it. For my early trips, I almost never used a cab and it helped.

    As for hotels, if you don't have to sleep on the strip to be happy, don't. It's not just staying downtown. There are offstrip hotels in walking distance to the strip and a few others nearby that still offer shuttles.
     
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