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Famous for its excess, Las Vegas is home to just about anything you can imagine. Want waves lapping gently against a white-sand beach? You’ve got it. How about a roller coaster almost a thousand feet off the ground? Check. But perhaps even more memorable than its glitzy temptations are the costs of vacationing in Vegas.
There are good ways and bad ways to visit the city — and it all starts with your travel cards. Let’s take a look at some great travel cards for Vegas.
Although our first option is a top-tier travel card with a $695 annual fee, it’s on here for good reason. The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), so if you’re flying in, you’ll be able to maximize your points. Terms apply.
More importantly, however, The Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. This program provides elite-like benefits when staying at high-end hotels, including:
Guaranteed late check out.
It also comes with a special experience credit. In many cases, these come in the form of a $100+ food and beverage credit, though you’ll also see offerings such as a credit for spa services. The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a $200 annual credit toward hotels booked with the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Since Vegas can see some really low room rates compared with other vacation destinations, you can find a room at a high-end hotel for under $100 per night. Terms apply.
In this case, you’ll be able to stretch your prepaid hotel credit for two full nights, in addition to receiving a $100 food and beverage credit and all other associated perks, making this a great hotel deal in Las Vegas. Terms apply.
» Learn more: How to travel to Vegas with points and miles
Since most of your spending in Las Vegas — aside from the casinos — will likely be on food and entertainment, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great option to keep in your wallet. As a cash back card, it offers an unlimited 4% return on both dining and entertainment. Plus, it’ll give you 3% back on purchases at grocery stores, which means all those electrolyte drinks will still earn you some rewards.
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has also partnered with Vivid Seats through January 2023 to offer you 8% cash back on all purchases. You can find concert tickets and dinner shows, for example, on the Vivid Seats website and enjoy best-in-class earnings while you’re at it.
» Learn more: Best credit cards for entertainment spending
The only small-business card on our list, the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Credit Card is here for one very specific reason: It confers complimentary Diamond elite status in the Wyndham program to all cardholders.
Wyndham and Caesars have teamed up to offer a reciprocal relationship, which means that you can redeem your points at either hotel chain. It also means that Caesars will match your elite status from Wyndham, so that Wyndham Diamond elite members are granted Caesars Diamond elite status. What does this status include?
You’ll have plenty of perks, like:
Waived resort fees.
Free valet parking.
Special member pricing at participating restaurants.
20% discounts at casino gift shops.
In a city where resort fees and valet parking both top $40 per night, these savings are significant. As an elite member, I recently booked a two-night stay at Caesars Palace. With the waived fees, the total came out to $77.10, parking included. That same booking — without Diamond status (meaning no waived fees) — came out to $283.22. Add $40 per day for valet parking, and your total comes out to $363.22, which is nearly five times the cost that I paid as an elite member.
The Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Credit Card also offers 8 points per dollar on gas purchases, which makes this an excellent option if you’re driving in.
If you’re not using The Platinum Card® from American Express for your hotel stay, you’re going to want to bring a card that’ll reward you no matter where you end up. A fan favorite mid-tier travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95 and earns 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards® points on all travel, including hotels. If you’re not looking for elite status recognition or credits, you can also opt to book your stay via the Chase travel portal, for which will earn you 5 points per dollar spent on your hotel booking.
Even better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with an annual $50 hotel credit toward bookings made on the travel portal, which can help bring down costs. Regardless of how you do it, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in Las Vegas is a clear winner.
» Learn more: The best Las Vegas hotels without resort fees
We’ve already covered hotels, restaurants, entertainment, airfare and gas — so what else is there? If you’re looking to cut down on the number of cards you’re bringing, consider instead the Citi Custom Cash® Card. It’ll reward you with 5% cash back on the first $500 you spend in your top category each billing cycle.
Eligible categories for the 5% return include:
Grocery stores and drugstores.
Select travel, transit and streaming services.
Home improvement stores.
You’ll recognize many of these categories as extremely relevant to any Las Vegas trip, though you are limited to one top category per cycle. In this case, purchasing your airfare in advance, then booking your hotel during the next cycle and your show tickets the cycle after that will grant you maximum rewards with a single credit card.
Although it’s branded as a cash back card, the Citi Custom Cash® Card actually earns Citi ThankYou points — and when paired with a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card, you can combine and transfer those ThankYou points out to one of Citi’s nearly 20 hotel and airline partners.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
If you’re looking for a new Las Vegas credit card
There’s no denying that Las Vegas can bamboozle even the most world-weary travelers; after all, it specializes in distraction. If you’re looking for a way to maximize your rewards in Vegas while minimizing your costs, consider one or more of the above credit cards. They’ll help you save (and earn) so you can get to your next vacation more quickly.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card