If you enjoy to travel from the UK to Las Vegas, it cannot possibly have escaped your attention how eye-wateringly expensive airfares are right now. Since we announced plans for our upcoming trip in June, we’ve been inundated with questions on social media asking us how we managed to book 11 nights in Las Vegas for just £150 each.
We, therefore, thought it was easier to write a blog on how we did it and how everyone else can too.
Not that long ago it was possible to get a basic economy return ticket for around £400-500 per person. That was before the Covid pandemic decimated the travel industry, though. The aviation sector is slowly rebounding, but these days your only chance of getting anything close to that is if you go from Gatwick, take only hand luggage, buy in the January or black Friday sales and can make it on one or two off-peak dates.
Even then, though, it’s still only a reasonable fare if you’re based in the London area. Most people have to factor in the cost of getting to London too.
If you are looking to fly from Heathrow, which is a far more convenient airport, you are generally looking at £750 – £1000 per person, at least, with Virgin Atlantic or British Airways – the only two airlines who do direct flights from the UK to Las Vegas – for basic economy with some luggage.
For Las Vegas lovers on a budget, that creates a challenge. We have a family to look after and the cost-of-living crisis is difficult for everyone. We have had to look for more creative ways to get ourselves to Las Vegas.
For example, for our September 2022 trip, we decided to go Teesside – Dublin – Chicago instead of Newcastle – Heathrow. It saved us around £800 in total, even with premium seats, but did leave us open to flight delays which left us exhausted both when we arrived in Vegas and when we got back. There were positives too, but it wasn’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination.
So, last year we decided to get even more creative, and we signed up for a British Airways AMEX credit card. We had some AVIOS built up, and we had explored what we could get with them before, but the answer was not much. We needed a lot more. I suspect there are an awful lot of people in the same boat, too.
After all, It all looks simple, doesn’t it? You fly to Vegas and get thousands of AVIOS, but it turns out you need tens of thousands to get anywhere with them. It’s frustrating.
With the AMEX British Airways credit card, we were awarded 7,000 AVIOS just for signing up, and then every pound we spent on the card gave us another point.
At this point, you’re probably thinking what initially stopped us doing this a couple of years ago: A holiday in Vegas, awesome as it is, is NOT worth getting into credit card debt for. You’d be completely right too.
However, we decided to only spend on the card what we would be spending anyway. Food, petrol, tickets, takeaways, Christmas and birthday presents, clothes, restaurants… basically anything that we would be paying anyway. We just started putting them on a different card. Then, at the end of every month we had the money to pay it off in full.
Spend enough on the card and you get a companion voucher, which is a very nice reward. It essentially gives you a voucher which allows you to get a free flight for a companion when you are also traveling.
So, when it came to booking our upcoming June trip, due to the British Airways AMEX Credit Card, we had enough AVIOS to book a reward flight for one of us, and a companion voucher to use for the other.
The best thing was that, since it was all British Airways, the connecting flight from Newcastle to Heathrow was included in the fare. Previously, when flying with Virgin Atlantic, that connecting flight is an extra cost.
You still have to pay the airport fees and taxes, but they only came to £300. Without the AVIOS and companion voucher that we earned through the British Airways AMEX credit card, it would have been £2000 for the air fares – at least.
Of course, one of the great things about going to Las Vegas is the hotel comps, and we are fortunate enough to have built those up over the years. Our 11 nights are split up between four at Mandalay Bay, three at Plaza, then four at New York-New York, with all of them waiving the resorts fees.
It’s worked out brilliantly. For some, spending less on travel means being able to spend more in Las Vegas. For many, though, the sheer cost of travel can stop you getting to Las Vegas at all right now, so we would highly recommend it.
We are already starting to rebuild our points for a future trip – if you’d like to do the same, then we are happy to refer you to sign up for your own British Airways AMEX card, which will get you 8,000 free AVIOS points to get you started.
We didn’t do anything special, and certainly nothing anyone else could do. In fact, there will be plenty doing these kinds of things already and have been for years. Hopefully it helps someone, though.
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