Casinos have changed quite a bit over the last 50 years. Places once considered to be strictly adult playgrounds are now jumping through hoops to attract the entire family.
Las Vegas especially has transformed into an immersive entertainment experience with world-class activities and amenities for anyone’s tastes and preferences. Many visitors spend more time in the spa, shopping, art exhibits, nightclubs, and poolside than in the casino.
Because of this, guests are charged resort fees that quickly increase the overall cost of your stay. It’s not a welcome experience when you’re charged upwards of $40 per night for all of the incredible experiences.
That’s especially true if you never get to enjoy any of the amenities. Here are 10 great tips for negating hefty casino resort fees.
1 – Book Your Stay at a Property Without Resort Fees
Resort fees will vary greatly depending on the features. For example, the ARIA Resort & Casino will have a much heftier daily price than the Best Western because the ARIA is a higher-end property with more incredible amenities.
That may be a huge benefit when you’re traveling with the family or non-gamblers. But for a gambling-centric trip with long casino sessions, the added benefits could be useless.
Eliminating the fees altogether will be your best option. Remember that any money you save on resort fees can be added to your gambling bankroll.
2 – Get the Scoop Before Your Trip
Casino resorts in the USA are always going to get your credit card information when you book your stay. They’ll also bill you the resort fees that are buried in the fine print without any further communication.
By the time you’ve given the casino resort your financial information, you’ve lost much of your ability to bargain with them. Instead, you should discuss the resort fees with the casino at the time of booking and try to negotiate a better price.
Even if you’re unable to strike a deal and get the resort fees dropped or reduced, you’ll at least know what you’re facing concerning the resort fees. Merely knowing what you’re getting into will be a tremendous advantage over being sideswiped by the additional charges at checkout.
3 – Shop Online for Better Deals
I hardly make a purchase without diligently searching online for the best deal I can find. Sometimes, the savings are hardly worth the trouble, but occasionally, I’ll save hundreds on a medium-sized purchase.
Resort fees are one area where shopping around can be well worth your time. You’ll find that where you decide to stay will significantly impact your resort fees.
For example, the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip charge resort fees in excess of double what you may find at off the strip Las Vegas casinos. The same is true in any gambling destination.
WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma will charge you $11 per night for the privilege of staying onsite. However, there are many hotels within a short walk with no resort fees and the same free Wi-Fi.
There’s not a single rule stating you must stay in the casino in which you’ll be doing most of your gambling. Sure, it’s a tremendous convenience, but is it worth the cost?
4 – Make the Casinos Define “Free”
Look, sometimes you’ve got to stand up for yourself and call the casinos on their bologna. You’ll find that the casinos are frequently overzealous in their marketing campaign.
You can get your resort fees waived by spotting amenities in the resort fees that are advertised as free. As I’m confident you’ll agree, parking, breakfast, in-room Wi-Fi, or pool access aren’t complimentary if bundled into a resort fee.
I know what you’re thinking; you don’t want to be a Karen. Still, what’s right is right.
The casinos shouldn’t bill something as complimentary and stick you with the charges elsewhere. You’ll be amazed by what can happen if you approach the hotel clerk with a positive attitude and friendly demeanor.
5 – Utilize Comps to Cover Your Stay
If you’re not enrolled in your favorite casino’s rewards program, you’re burning money. These loyalty programs are designed to keep you gambling in the said casino by offering you complimentary services, gifts, and even free rooms.
Using these freebies for a free stay is the perfect way to dodge any resort fees. The casinos want your comps to provide a VIP feel and aren’t prone to tacking on any additional charges to sour the mood.
Even if you’ve only got a partially discounted room, you can offset the resort fees. Better yet, explain your rewards status during booking and get the fees waived.
6 – Leverage the Amenities You Don’t Use to Strike a Deal
The casino resorts will lump all sorts of extras into the fees. You are likely not going to use many if not all of the amenities, and you can use that to your advantage.
You’ll find things like free parking, toiletries, gym, meeting room, coffee maker, and fridge listed under the services included in the resort fee. While you may not use any of the amenities, the resort will contest that they’re available regardless.
They have a point, but then why aren’t they included in the room rate? You may not strike a better deal by explaining to the hotel staff that you don’t require a fitness center while you’re partying it up in Vegas.
However, it never hurts to ask, and pointing out all of the useless items included might help your case.
7 – Allow the Resort an Opportunity to Earn Your Business
Savvy casino travelers know the tremendous benefit of playing casinos off of one another. It’s a strategy that’s been employed for decades.
Competition is fierce, and the casinos are willing to make concessions to get you and, more importantly, your wallet through the door. Having an established history with a casino will definitely help your case, more so if you’re a solid spender.
Imagine you’re planning a stay at the ARIA. A casino where you’ve stayed and played in the past, but the $45+ resort fees are putting a strain on your budget.
Getting another Las Vegas resort to waive your resort fees can then be used to have your preferred casino match the offer. Whether or not the Bellagio is actually willing to waive your fees is another matter.
8 – Nitpick the Casino Amenities
How many times have you stayed in a casino and ran into minor problems with amenities that rarely amount to more than a minor inconvenience?
It happens with stunning regularity in my experience, but you may use that to your advantage. You shouldn’t be paying resort fees for services that aren’t available.
For example, how many times have you missed breakfast because it closes before you’re ready to get out of bed? Is the pool closed mid-day for maintenance? Internet speeds lagging so severely that you turn off the Wi-Fi?
Bring these inconveniences to the front desk and ask what can be done. As far as they know, this inconvenience could ruin your entire stay and have you looking elsewhere for a return visit.
9 – Contest the Charges
I’ve never tried this but have had more than one trustworthy source assure me that the best way to deal with resort fees is by protesting the charges with your credit card company.
The critical point here is to have a legit complaint against the fees. When casinos sell the amenities as free then double back to collect a resort fee, your bank will likely side with you.
The casinos are always going to have the fees in the terms and conditions. So, you agree to them when you book whether you are aware or not.
Still, when you don’t have access to the services, that puts a different spin on things.
10 – Build Resort Fees Into Your Budget
For those of you that tend to avoid conflict or don’t want the stress of trying to negotiate with the casino, there’s a simple solution. Pay the fees and move on.
My problem isn’t that the casinos charge the fee; it’s that they disguise it until checkout in many cases. You will get several benefits offered depending on where you’re staying; it’s up to you to take advantage of them.
By considering these things before booking your trip, and adequately budgeting for the expense ahead of time, and then utilizing them during your stay, you may have a more pleasant trip. In other words, get the most out of the resort fees by experiencing as much as possible.
Don’t get caught off guard by casino resort fees. Utilize these 10 great tips for negating hefty casino resort fees and leave more money in your gambling bankroll.
And don’t forget to research the fees ahead of time so that you’ll know what you’re facing. You can use that information to leverage the casino into absorbing or reducing your expenses.