Let’s Talk About Resort Fees In Las Vegas. Good Value Or A Devious Plot?

Let’s Talk About Resort Fees In Las Vegas. Good Value Or A Devious Plot?

Increasingly common, resort fees are seen as a sneaky way to bump up your hotel price. Are they really underhand? What do they cover? Why do they exist? Can I avoid paying them?

All that, and more, will be answered. So let’s talk about resort fees in Las Vegas.

Fremont East District, Las Vegas

What are resort fees?

You’ve decided where you want to stay in Las Vegas and are happy with the Room Rate for your selected days. You reach the payment page and discover that the total cost is now substantially higher than you’d expected. Welcome to the Resort Fee.

This is an additional fee charged by the hotel to cover specified amenities that they provide for your comfort and convenience.

Booking a hotel in Vegas involves a simple equation;

Room Rate + Taxes + Fees + Resort Fee = The Actual Price

Why do they even exist?

It’s typically perceived as a sneaky way for a property to gouge a little more from you whilst you’re vulnerable. You’re on an emotional high as you book your holiday so, sure, what’s a couple hundred more bucks anyway.

In fact, the main reason they exist is our obsession for convenience!

We want to find the best deal so, increasingly, we rely on third party comparison sites to do all the hard work for us and check out the rates. These sites charge a minimum of 15% of the room rate as their commission for driving customers to the property.

Hotels do not have to pay a percentage on the resort fee so, by splitting the total price and lowering the room rate, they get to save some money. It may seem miserly but when you’re the MGM Grand, with almost 7000 rooms, that could add up to a saving on commission of over $52,000, a night!

What do resort fees cover?

There are a myriad of items that could be included in your resort fee. Here’s some examples of common ones, but they do very between properties, so read the small print.

  • Pool access
  • Daily newspaper
  • WiFi
  • Local telephone calls
  • Access to the gym
  • Airport shuttle
  • Shuttle to The Strip
  • Parking
  • Tea/Coffee in room
  • Bottled water
  • Business facilities
  • Concierge services
  • Discounts at outlets on the property

How much do they charge?

Resort fees currently average $29.91 per night. Note that this charge is per room, not per person. Booking a 2 bedroom suite has they same resort fee as a small single occupancy room.

The cheapest resort fee in town is the minuscule $5 at the Mardi Gras. It only includes WiFi and a shuttle to and from the airport but, at $15 each way in an Uber, that seems like great value.

The highest resort fee, charged by 12 properties, is $45 a night. Caesar’s Palace, for example, only includes wired internet access, free local calls and use of the gym. Seriously bad value, in my opinion.

Properties charging at the higher end of the scale often remark on how many other amenities their resort provides, such as dining, lounges and shows, but these are accessible to everyone.

There’s a great resource for current resort fees, and what they include, here.

Can you avoid paying them?

The good news is that you definitely can, though there’s a whole bunch of caveats to that!

You could stay at a property with no resort fee. There are 15 resort fee free properties to stay at though many of them don’t have a casino or are located so far away from the action that you’ll spend more in transportation than the fee!

Best Western, attached to Casino Royale is bang in the middle of the strip. There’s no resort fee, but room rates can be high.

Four Queens and Binion’s, downtown on Fremont Street, also don’t charge a resort fee and are probably the last of the full amenity resorts to hold out.

Virgin Hotels, which only opened in 2021, also has no resort fee but, again, check the room rates especially at weekends.

Resort fees are optional at Treasure Island. If you book directly with TI, and select TV Ad Deal, you can simply choose not to pay the $39 fee. It’s a great deal assuming you don’t need to go to the gym or read a newspaper.

You can gamble… a lot. Using a players card, spending a lot of money and achieving Diamond status, or above, at any Caesars property will see the fees waived.

In the interest of full disclosure, you’ll need to spend around $75,000 to reach Diamond but, who knows, you might win more than that back!

Charge everything to your room. Food, drink, shopping can all be done on your card and the bill settled at the end of your trip, subject to you arranging this on arrival. When booking out, a polite enquiry to the host can often see the resort fee, room rate or even more, comped depending on how much business you’ve put through the property.

Use your card every time you gamble as you’ll be rated on what you spend, not what you win or lose.

The bottom line.

Resort fees are, for the most part, inevitable. My best advice is to do a simple calculation and add the resort fee to the room rate then compare that against fee free hotels.

Also, make sure to check prices directly with the properties you’re interested in. Many now offer deals that equal, or best, comparison sites as the hotel doesn’t then have to pay commission.

One final, but incredibly important point. Booking directly with a property will not only give you and them more flexibility in waiving fees, but also makes it easier in the event of any issues during your stay.

Check out my Las Vegas Guide for more info and insights.

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