How to Travel to Las Vegas on Points and Miles

Save your money for the dinners and shows, and book your trip to Sin City using points and miles.

Michael FriedmanMay 5, 2021
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Few cities in the world offer the 24-hour action that Las Vegas does. Even if you don’t gamble, the city is awash in shows, restaurants, pools and, frankly, almost anything else you can think of. And booking your Las Vegas trip with points and miles is as easy as losing quarters in the slot machines.

Getting to Las Vegas

Nearest airport

Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) is just a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip, where the most famous casinos are located. The best way to get to your hotel is in a cab or rideshare. If you take a taxi, there will be signs near the entrance to the taxi line indicating approximately how much your trip should cost.

Major airlines flying to Las Vegas

  • Southwest Airlines.

  • Spirit Airlines.

  • Delta Air Lines.

  • United Airlines.

  • American Airlines.

Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines accounts for about one-third of the passengers flying to/from the city, but Delta, American, Spirit and United also have significant operations at the airport. In the end, though, virtually every major carrier in the world has a flight or two to Sin City. There’s that much demand.

But because the two largest carriers are low-cost airlines (Southwest and Spirit), they keep the prices down for everyone. Getting to Las Vegas may be one of the least expensive aspects of your trip.

Flying to Las Vegas on points and miles

It’s important to remember that leisure travelers drive Las Vegas. Unlike most major cities, which get a lot of Sunday/Monday travel into the city and Friday out, Las Vegas is the opposite. Visitors tend to fly in on Thursday or Friday nights and out on Sundays. If you can avoid those busy periods, the fares will be a lot cheaper.

Southwest Airlines

Your best chance at using points and miles for free flights to Vegas is Southwest. The airline flies nonstop to Las Vegas from almost 50 cities and offers connecting service from an additional 50+. The price of a flight in miles is directly related to the cost in points, so the Wanna Get Away fares, which are the airline’s cheapest, should offer you some great deals.

American Airlines

Since American works off a standard award chart (unlike most other major U.S. airlines), you can plan your trip to Las Vegas from elsewhere in the U.S. mainland for just 7,500 miles one-way if your flight is under 500 miles. From other U.S. destinations, you'll need 12,500 miles one-way to Las Vegas.

Other airlines

Major carriers also offer deals, although they may be limited to credit cardholders. For instance, United Airlines offers expanded award availability to holders of certain co-branded cards, while American offers reduced pricing to many of its cardholders as well. In other words: Don’t neglect the major airlines simply because they aren’t discounters.

Your pricing will also vary depending on which airline serves a nonstop route between your city and LAS.

Hotels on points in Las Vegas

There is no shortage of hotels to book with points in Vegas. If you’re looking to earn or redeem hotel points from a specific brand you're used to staying with, here's how to narrow your options.

Hyatt Hotels in Las Vegas

One hotel option in Las Vegas is the World of Hyatt. Hyatt has a partnership with MGM’s suite of properties (known as M life), allowing you to earn and burn Hyatt points while in Las Vegas.

Excalibur or Luxor (for the budget traveler)

Cost to book in points: Both Excalibur and Luxor are on the south end of the Strip, but they couldn’t be more different. Luxor has an ancient Egyptian theme, while Excalibur comes straight from Medieval times. Both are inexpensive Category 3 hotels in the Hyatt system, meaning an award night will start at 12,000 points per night.

Aria or Bellagio (for the high roller)

Photos courtesy of MGM

Cost to book in points: Home of the famous dancing fountain, the Bellagio is still one of the nicest properties on the Strip. Nearby Aria, while more modern in decor, is also perfect for a luxury getaway to Las Vegas with your Hyatt points. Just be prepared to pay for it, since both hotels are Category 6, meaning an award night will start at 25,000 points.

How to earn World of Hyatt points

The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) is the only Hyatt-branded option but it is a particularly valuable one with a nice welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

If you want to use the card most efficiently, you’ll receive 4 bonus points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels (in addition to the base 5 points) and 2 points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting, and on fitness club and gym memberships.

Hyatt is also generous with elite status and free nights. The card grants you automatic Discoverist elite status, as well as five tier-qualifying nights toward status. You will also receive one free night (Category 1-4) every year on your card anniversary, as well as a second free night (Category 1-4) if you spend more than $15,000 on the card in a year.

Plus, Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chase, so any of your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be used to boost your Hyatt balance and fund your Las Vegas vacation.

Marriott Hotels in Las Vegas

Marriott has a standard award chart, with rates divided into off-peak, standard and peak rates. Occasionally, you will also find discounted PointSaver rates.

You’ll have dozens of options for Marriott hotels on and around the Las Vegas Strip, including everything from budget-friendly, no-frills locations all the way to the high-end Cosmopolitan.

If you’re a Bonvoy member, check out our full guide to redeeming Marriott points in Las Vegas for a breakdown of the best options depending on your desired location.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott has three solid credit card options available to rack up Bonvoy points, including a no-fee card, a mid-level card and a premium card:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card (annual fee: $0): Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (annual fee: $95): Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening + 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within 6 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (annual fee: $450): Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

So there’s a card for every price range. Don’t be too scared off from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card’s annual fee. It comes with a $300 annual Marriott credit, plus a free night award that really helps offset the cost. Terms apply.

Plus you can also transfer points from Chase and American Express.

Hilton Hotels in Las Vegas

Hilton doesn’t have a traditional award chart, so costs can vary from night to night based on demand.

Tropicana (budget-friendly, on the strip)

Cost to book in points: Typically, nights at the Tropicana start around 20,000 points; however, some dates may not allow award bookings. Check its calendar for your travel dates.

The Tropicana is right on the Las Vegas Strip, at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and, not surprisingly, Tropicana Avenue. While you’ll be on the south end of the Strip, you’ll have decent access to other major casinos nearby including MGM Grand and New York-New York.

Hampton Inn Tropicana (budget-friendly, off the strip)

Cost to book in points: Starts around 20,000 points for most nights.

It’s a standard Hampton Inn, located on Dean Martin Drive, right behind the Excalibur Hotel. Even though it's located off the Strip, you’ll have walkable access to In-N-Out Burger, the T-Mobile Arena, Excalibur and the New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas (for the high roller)

Cost to book in points: If you’re looking to really spoil somebody with luxury, but don’t want to break the Hilton point bank at the Elara (connected to Planet Hollywood) or Hilton Grand Vacations at the Flamingo (which can run upward of 60,000-100,000 points per night), check out the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. Expect weekdays at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas to start at around a minimum of 50,000 points per night.

It’s located near the center of the Strip by Aria, with easy access to plenty of the top Las Vegas restaurants, shows and sights. You’ll usually get a much better points rate here as opposed to other high-end Hiltons in the area, especially on weekends.

How to earn Hilton Honors Points

A Hilton-branded credit card can also help you pay for your trip. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers a sizable welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Plus, enjoy $0 intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Terms Apply.

Other benefits include 10 complimentary visits to participating Priority Pass Select airport lounges every calendar year (enrollment required), a free weekend night award after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year and automatic Gold elite status. The annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.

Don’t want an annual fee? The standard Hilton Honors American Express Card is a great value option: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Terms Apply. Or you can transfer points from American Express. 

The bottom line

Getting to Las Vegas on points and miles is generally an inexpensive proposition. And that’s a good thing, because the gambling propositions may cost you a few dollars, and the tables don’t take points or miles.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.


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