Hike in Las Vegas resort fees hitting the pockets of travellers

Resort fees huh? If you’re new to Las Vegas this is an area that can baffle the best of us.

I remember our first trip there. We walked into a travel agent (yes we were young and naïve, oh to be that again!) and she kindly explained that the hotel fee she was showing us wasn’t really the hotel fee at all.

It went basically like this, “this is the hotel fee per night, plus you have to add on the resort fee per night and the tax per night so this is actually the cost per night” and we stared back in confusion. What looked like a great deal, suddenly wasn’t.

For those still a bit befuddled, resort fees are an added charge that you pay per room per night in Las Vegas and are unavoidable. I say unavoidable because they are for most people, but there are ways around them, which I’ll go into later. But generally, the resort fee basically covers amenities that the resort offer, whether you use them or not. Things like fitness centres, pools, internet access, bottled water, newspapers etc.

While almost all hotels include the cost of these things in their upfront room rate, Vegas separates them off in order to keep their room rates low and lower their marketing commissions. Some might say it’s a con or a hidden fee but in all honesty, they are very transparent about resort fees. They aren’t secret as such, they are just a little confusing.

While resort fees have been an ever present in Vegas for many years, they’ve hit the headlines this week as one of the biggest hotel owners, MGM, have made a significant increase as of 16 January 2024.

The $2 – $3 dollar increase per night might not seem a lot,  but it has tipped some of the most premium MGM owned resorts up to $50 a day resort fees. Add in the additional 13% tax on the fees and you’re looking at closer to $60 per night and this is before you’ve paid the actual room fee!

The properties in this bracket include Aria, Vdara, Bellagio, MGM Grand and Cosmopolitan, although the fee hike affects all MGM properties. Mandalay Bay and Delano now have resort fees of $45 per night, NYNY and Park MGM cost $42 per night and the more value hotels Excalibur and Luxor have resort fees of $37 per night.

In some cases, the cost of the room is now actually lower than the cost of the fees. The average room rate at Excalibur is $25 while the resort fees are $37, making a total nightly cost of $62 plus tax.

The rise in resort fees will certainly hit the pockets of Vegas visitors, especially those who visit regularly or for long stays. It also poses the question whether Caesars may follow suit with their deluge of Strip properties so that’s something to keep an eye out for.

Although no increase in fees is a good thing for customers, it’s also worth putting Las Vegas hotel costs into perspective. If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you’ll know that many Vegas hotels just aren’t like hotels you’ll find in other major cities.

The theming, the amenities, the service, just the fact that you’re in the best place in the world* (*admittedly biased viewpoint), means that the overall costs aren’t actually that high when you compare them to somewhere like New York, for example.

So although overall it’s a big thumbs down for increased fees, the key is to be aware of the resort fees and budget accordingly and you won’t be hit by a nasty surprise on check-in.

How to not pay resort fees in Las Vegas

New York New York - One of the best looking hotels in Las Vegas

Earlier I mentioned that there is a way around resort fees, this applies only to those who love to gamble in Vegas and those who spend enough to reach the higher tiers of the loyalty programme.

If you love to bet, make sure you sign up to the free hotels reward scheme and use your card whenever you spend your money. This means in the slot machines, at the tables, in the shops and restaurants too.

The more you spend, the more loyalty points you build up, the higher you climb the tiers where waived resort fees are just one of the perks. Other perks include free hotel rooms, resort credit and free casino play too. Check out our loyalty card article for more details.

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Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson is a UK journalist with a passion for all things Las Vegas and one half of the popular Las Vegas YouTube channel and Podcast Begas Vaby. A regular visitor to Las Vegas for the past decade, Lynsey has written gambling and iGaming content professionally for a number of years, as well as gambling news content.

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