This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!
So far in our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!, we’ve given you a ton of great information about how to score great deals with paid rates in Vegas that come with benefits such as free breakfast and other food & beverage credits.
- We showed you the incredible deals that you can get with the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program: How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)!
- We also reviewed the Delano, Waldorf Astoria and Bellagio hotels, where we used rates and benefits in the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program to get great deals (unfortunately, Amex FHR is a mess right now, but we’re hoping the program will sort out its issues and good benefits will return).
We’ve also shown you how to score elite status in the MLife and Caesars Rewards programs:
- How to Easily Status Match to Caesars Rewards Diamond Status – New Opportunity
- Vegas Prep and Tips – Maximizing Mlife and World of Hyatt Benefits
- How to Use MGM’s MLife Program to Generate Explorist Status with Hyatt – and for Now, 8 Club Lounge Access Awards!
Your status in these programs can also get you good discounts off hotel rooms at the Caesars and MGM/MLife properties. At Caesars, we even see a decent number of comped-room offers. These seem to be for stays on Sunday through Thursday nights and not at the top-of-the-line Caesars hotels, but hey, free is free (especially if you have Diamond status with resort fees waived!).
And, while most of the “hotel sale” emails we receive are utterly useless, we’ve found that the MGM/MLife emails are actually very good and often come with their own food & beverage credits. We’ve even given the MGM/MLife offer codes to the Citi Prestige concierge and stacked them with 4th-night-free benefits!
But, you say, at the end of the day these are all paid rates (save for the comped rooms at Caesars). And isn’t this a points-and-miles blog? How about some information about where I can use my hotel program points to stay on the Vegas Strip?
Today, you’ve come to the right place. In the rest of this article, we’ll review the places where you can use major hotel loyalty program points on the Vegas Strip.
Stay on the Vegas Strip Using Major Hotel Loyalty Program Points
We’ll break this down by the different major hotel loyalty programs. Here’s where you can stay for “free” on the Vegas Strip using points in each program (and we put “free” in quotes because we still have to deal with those very annoying resort fees):
1. Hyatt – Use World of Hyatt Points to Stay at MGM/MLife Properties
You can use World of Hyatt points for rooms at MGM/MLife properties on the Strip. In our list below, we’ll also include the Hyatt Category for each hotel, the number of Hyatt points needed per night, and the “cost” of the redemption at our baseline value of 1.5 cents per Hyatt point.
The MGM/MLife properties where you can redeem Hyatt points include:
- Aria – Hyatt Category 6 – 25,000 points/night ($375)
- Bellagio – Hyatt Category 6 – 25,000 points/night ($375)
- Delano – Hyatt Category 6 – 25,000 points/night ($375)
- Mandalay Bay -Hyatt Category 5 – 20,000 points/night ($300)
- The Mirage – Hyatt Category 5 – 20,000 points/night ($300)
- The Signature at MGM Grand – Hyatt Category 5 – 20,000 points/night ($300)
- Vdara – Hyatt Category 5 – 20,000 points/night ($300)
- MGM Grand – Hyatt Category 4 – 15,000 points/night ($225)
- New York-New York – Hyatt Category 4 – 15,000 points/night ($225)
- Park MGM – Hyatt Category 4 – 15,000 points/night ($225)
- Excalibur – Hyatt Category 3 – 12,000 points/night ($180)
As will be the case with many of the hotel points redemptions in Vegas, you’ll almost always be able to do “better” with a paid rate (comparing the points “cost” to a paid rate). But that said, for nights with high demand like major conventions, holidays and mega boxing matches, a points rate may be better. And besides, for some points-and-miles hobbyists, cents-per-point doesn’t matter so much – just being able to use points to stay for “free” is the major attraction.
Here are a few other observations for using Hyatt points at MGM/MLife properties:
- Most of the properties seemed to be generally available on points for most nights.
- A notable exception was the Bellagio, which was unavailable on points for several nights we checked.
- For some reason, the Luxor didn’t show any award availability for any night we checked.
- All of the redemption rates were for standard, base-level rooms.
- We do not know of any way to get resort fees waived on MGM/MLife award stays, regardless of your Hyatt status. The World of Hyatt terms and conditions expressly exclude MGM/MLife properties from the benefit which waives resort fees for some stays at Hyatt properties.
And finally, a Pro Tip and story – Do not, under any circumstances, stay at the MGM Grand on an award redemption. Award redemptions at the MGM Grand book into a “West Wing” room. We actually tried this once, and a West Wing room at the MGM Grand is literally the only hotel room that we wouldn’t stay in because the room was dingy and horribly depressing. We should have known when we checked in and the front desk agent said, “Oh, that’s one of the rooms that hasn’t been renovated.” Things didn’t get any better when we walked down the semi-hidden corridor to the West Wing and the hallways were dark and not-so-nice. And when we entered the room, the prevailing aura was “Soviet-style prison” with concrete walls and one very small window, and the carpet and bedding were very old with multiple stains. We quickly reversed course and paid for a Grand King room for the rest of our stay. It is still (and will always be, I suspect) a running joke for us as the worst room we’ve ever had.
2. Wyndham Rewards – Use Points at Caesars Properties
You can use Wyndham Rewards points for rooms at the hotels on the Strip that are part of the Caesars Entertainment group. One very interesting aspect to these redemptions is that Wyndham charges a flat 15,000 points per night for its “Go Free” redemptions, which means that the top-end Caesars properties can be very good values on high-priced nights.
Our baseline value for Wyndham Rewards points is 0.9 cents per point, so the points “cost” of any “Go Free” redemption is about $135.
The Caesars properties on the Strip where you can redeem Wyndham Rewards points include:
- Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace
- Caesars Palace
- The Cromwell
- Planet Hollywood
- The LINQ
Of these, the first three – Nobu, Caesars Palace, and The Cromwell – are the most interesting, because they are the highest-priced. On most nights, you’ll be able to get rooms for less at the other properties.
Here are a few other observations about using Wyndham Rewards points at Caesars properties:
- Based on our spot-searches, availability didn’t seem to be as good for Caesars properties using Wyndham points, compared to using Hyatt points at MGM/MLife properties
- And not surprisingly, days like holidays, big events and Saturdays – when prices would be higher – seemed to be the days with less points availability
- We’re wondering if Caesars Rewards Diamond members can get resort fees waived on award redemptions made through Wyndham Rewards. We couldn’t find the answer to this in our research.
- It seems like this would be possible. One of the benefits of Caesars Diamond status is waived resort fees, and we’re not aware of any exclusions to this benefit in Vegas.
- All of the redemptions seemed to be for standard, base-level rooms, even at the less expensive hotels like Flamingo, The LINQ, and Harrah’s.
- We thought we might find availability for higher-level rooms at the less-expensive properties, as it’s not unusual to find higher-level rooms on points at Wyndham’s own hotels.
- Nobu and The Cromwell might be really nice options to redeem points, given that even the base level rooms there will be nice and have relatively high paid rates.
3. Hilton Honors – Use Points at the Waldorf Astoria, Tropicana, and Hilton Grand Vacations Properties
There are a few options to redeem Hilton points for Vegas Strip hotels, even though Hilton isn’t affiliated with any of the major casino programs. You can redeem Hilton points at:
- Waldorf Astoria – standard redemption 80,000 Hilton points ($400)
- Tropicana (a DoubleTree hotel) – standard redemption 50,000 Hilton points ($250)
- Hilton Grand Vacations at the Flamingo – premium room rewards only (see below)
- Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations – premium room rewards only (see below)
Honestly, there would almost never be a situation where a Hilton points redemption at any of these properties would be “better” than a paid rate. The only situation where you might do better would have to be an extremely high-priced night at the Waldorf Astoria. We’ve actually never seen a night where we couldn’t get a base-level room at the Tropicana for less than $250.
Here are some other observations on the Hilton Honors-bookable properties:
- Many nights at the Tropicana and some at the Waldorf have standard rooms available for fewer points than the standard redemption rate.
- On these nights, given how Hilton prices its redemptions, you’re always going to get less than our baseline value of 0.5 cents per Hilton point.
- The Waldorf would actually be in the mix as a candidate for using the Hilton Free Weekend Night certificates that we get from our Amex Hilton cards. It would be possible to have a weekend night with standard rooms available for points redemptions, where the room rate would be $300, $400 or more. That’s a good situation for using a certificate.
- At the Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) Flamingo property, there are no standard room rewards, only “premium room rewards.” The lowest pricing varies depending on the season, sometimes 56k points, sometimes 70k, other times 75k. Given how Hilton prices premium room rewards, you’re always going to get less than 0.5 cents per Hilton point for these redemptions. In addition, the HGV Flamingo property seems to black out every Saturday night from award redemptions.
- The Elara by HGV is similar – no standard room rewards, only premium. Lowest pricing varies, sometimes 67k points, other times 77k points. As with the HGV Flamingo, you’re always going to get less than 0.5 cents per Hilton point with these redemptions. And finally, every Friday and Saturday night at the Elara is either unavailable or very high-priced (think 140k points or more).
- We aren’t aware of any way to get resort fees waived at these properties.
4. IHG – Use Points at the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels
IHG Rewards Club points can be used at the sister hotels, The Venetian and The Palazzo. Those hotels fall under the InterContinental – Alliance Resorts umbrella. Redemption rates are:
- The Venetian – 60,000 IHG points ($300)
- The Palazzo – 60,000 IHG points ($300)
At our baseline value of 0.5 cents per IHG point, award redemptions at The Venetian and The Palazzo are interesting and can present good value compared to paid rates. We often see paid rates at these hotels of $300 or more per night. We also don’t know of any great tricks to get discounted rates at these hotels – the AAA rate is about the best we can do – and the emails we receive from Venetian/Palazzo never blow us away with value. Thus, any time room prices are relatively high in Vegas, an award redemption at The Venetian or The Palazzo could be an option.
- The rooms at The Venetian and The Palazzo are all suites, even standard rooms available for points redemption.
- Points redemptions at The Venetian book into either a Luxury Suite with 1 king bed and 650 square feet, or a Bella Suite with 2 queen beds and 700 square feet.
- Points redemptions at The Palazzo book into either a Luxury Suite with 1 king bed and 720 square feet, or a Bella Suite with 2 queen beds and 720 square feet.
- And these rooms are very nice – it’s been a while since Middle Age Miles stayed at the Palazzo, but we were quite happy there and impressed.
- We aren’t aware of any way to waive the resort fee on these award redemptions (save for InterContinental’s invitation-only Royal Ambassador status), and the resort fees are steep. Both hotels charge a resort fee of $45 per night, which becomes $51.02 all-in with tax.
Still, if you’re looking for a good way to use points to stay at a great hotel in Vegas, The Venetian and The Palazzo could be very nice options.
5. Marriott Rewards – Use Points at the Cosmopolitan
We only know of one Strip property where you can use Marriott Rewards to stay – the Cosmopolitan. Point redemptions are:
- Cosmopolitan – Marriott Category 7 (as of March 5, 2019) – Standard award 60,000 Marriott points ($450)
There’s some nuance to redeeming at the Cosmopolitan:
- If you can reserve the Cosmopolitan on Marriott points on or before March 4, 2019, it will still be a Category 6 hotel with a redemption rate of 50,000 points ($375)
- You can book an award night into the future, but you’re going to need to have the Marriott points in your account and attach them to the reservation on or before March 4, 2019.
- Sometime later in 2019, Marriott is going to Peak/Standard/Off-Peak award pricing. At that point, redemption rates for the Cosmopolitan will become:
- Peak: 70,000 points ($525)
- Standard: 60,000 points ($450)
- Off-Peak: 50,000 points ($375)
- We don’t have any idea yet what dates will fall into Peak, Standard and Off-Peak
The Cosmopolitan is a very nice hotel, and we don’t have any tricks to get great discounted rates there, beyond the normal tricks such as using AAA rates or a corporate rate available to you.
We took a look at the flexible-date calendar for the Cosmopolitan for March, April and May, comparing paid rates and redemption availability, to see how often a points reservation “cost” less than a paid AAA rate (assuming our baseline value of 1.5 cents per Marriott point). We found exactly 7 dates during the entire 3 month period where the paid rate for a standard room would be higher than the points “cost” of 50k points/$375 and an award redemption was available:
- March: 14 ($428) and 15 ($456)
- April: 9 ($417); 29 ($405); and 30 ($405)
- May: 20 ($519) and 21 ($400)
Note that only two of these dates have the paid rate exceeding the points “cost” once it goes up to 60k points/$450 (and one of these is by only $6). [We’d also note that this result doesn’t change much if you assign a lower baseline value to Marriott points, like 0.7 or even 0.65 cents per point.]
We’re also not aware of any way to have the resort fee waived at the Cosmopolitan using Marriott Rewards points. The resort fee is $39/night, which becomes $44.22 all-in with tax.
Given these results, we think you’re going to find the dates few and far between when a points stay represents a “good” cents-per-point redemption at the Cosmopolitan.
Do you have other thoughts, ideas or strategies for hotel loyalty program points redemptions in Vegas? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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