Using Amex to Save Money in Vegas

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While my body has been home from Vegas for several days, but mind has still not left that city. I love Vegas. Always have, and presumably always will. Some hate the over-the-top nature of Vegas, but it fits me like a glove. I’m actually a very tame Vegas visitor by most standards, but I love it all the same. So, since my mind is still very much in “Vegas mode”, expect a few Vegas posts over the coming weeks. I actually have a return “girls trip” there in a few weeks, so maybe that will help me get me over my temporary obsession with the City of Sin Entertainment.

We traveled to Vegas primarily using an offer a the Mirage that we were lucky enough to purchase from the Daily Getaways. I’ll post more about how that deal worked out in a separate post, but today I want to focus on a promotion that is still available today. That promotion is a joint venture between the MGM casino properties and American Express. In case you aren’t overly familiar with Vegas, the MGM casinos include: ARIA, Bellagio, Vdara, MGM Grand, The Signature, Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus Las Vegas. Essentially, their properties range from very high-end to some that are very affordable for practically every budget.

There are almost always hotel deals and sales going on in Vegas, and if you are even a moderate gambler, you are likely to be sent discounted or even free room offers if you participate in a casino rewards program. My husband used to get free rooms in Vegas quite frequently, but since the economy has rebounded somewhat, he gets fewer free room offers than he used to. That said, he just received more free room offers from his MGM Mlife account, so it does happen even for folks who don’t spend tons of times at the tables.

What I love about this offer from Amex and MGM is that you seem to be able to take advantage of booking the room via whatever avenue makes the most sense for you, and you can still get a credit back on your Amex. Here are the details:

  • Make sure you have an American Express card. I know this part is a “no brainer”, but in addition to getting the sign-up bonuses, Amex seems to love to hand out statement credits like candy throughout the year. Seriously, if you don’t yet have an Amex, I recommend adding at least one to your credit card collection. My favorite three personal Amex cards are the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card (3x on airfare and 2x on gas and groceries in stand alone gas stations and grocery stores), the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (earns super valuable SPG points), and the Mercedes Benz Platinum Card ($200 airline statement credit plus lounge access with Delta, US Airways, and American Airlines). You can get more details about these and other offers here.
  • Register your American Express card by 9/26/2012 for one of the three available MGM offers. The three available offers are:

$100 statement credit after spending $800 at Aria or Bellagio.

$70 statement credit after spending $600 at MGM Grand, The Signature, Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, or The Mirage.

$40 statement credit after spending $300 at Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, or Circus Circus Las Vegas.

  • Theoretically, you should then use the available links to save 10% – 15% off the room rates at the relevant hotel. However, I simply registered my card, but didn’t book my stay using their link as I already had a room reservation via the Daily Getaways. I wasn’t stressed if it didn’t work, but I considered it a bit of an experiment. No guarantees that will work for you, but it worked just fine for me as recent as last week.
  • Then just charge the required amount to your room and pay with your registered American Express card at check-out. We charged expenses at many MGM owned properties to our room at the Mirage, so that helped meet the minimum required amount without any issue. Here we are at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, which we also charged to our room at the Mirage. Of course, don’t spend more money than you planned just to get “free money”. 😉

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  • We charged $600 to our registered SPG Amex and the rest on our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card so that we would earn 2x for the travel related charges (I love charging everything from souvenirs to excursions to the room so that they go through as a hotel charge at 2x!). So, we earned lots of points, and received a $70 statement credit from American Express three business days after we checked out. We also received an email from Amex informing us of our statement credit. Yippee!

 

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for some of the cards listed in this post. As always, I only link to the best offers I am aware of. Thanks for your support!

Comments

  1. I love Vegas too! We are going in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait. It is my favorite place to go–really. We balance it out with the shows, gambling, great food, etc. We are staying at the Palazzo. Have stayed there the last several years. Our flights were paid for with ff miles and we paid with our room at the Palazzo with ultimate reward points. It was really a good value for us. Like you and your husband, we have been going for a long time and we frequently get great offers but we used to get free room offers from the hotels all the time. We still get good deals on the nice rooms, just rarely free. We go about twice a year. Thanks for the credit card tips. You had a great idea–charging your expenses to your room to meet your $600 spend. We have some plans at Aria (for a show and meal) but I don’t think that we will spend $800. We’ll see though. Thanks for posting.

  2. Love vegas as well, especially catching the Cirque Du Soleil shows. How much was the shark exhibit and would you recommend it? We’ve always wanted to check it out, but weren’t sure if it was worth the hike to Mandalay, which is a bit off the strip.

  3. @Kathy, you are most welcome. Enjoy your trip! Make sure to register for any relevant Priority Club deals since you are staying at the Palazzo!
    @GolferWC, we really enjoyed the Shark Reef. It isn’t a huge exhibit, but it was very well done. I believe it was $18 for adults and our little one was free. I would recommend hitting up Burger Bar or something else at Mandalay while you are there so you aren’t going just for the Shark Reef. It’s worth doing at some point though, assuming you are interested in sharks and other sea creatures. 😉

  4. Thanks MP. Very timely for our lil’ DG getaway to Vegas this Saturday. I’m also not sure how we’ll make the number since most of the food is included, but no harm in registering.

  5. @Mikes, agree there is no harm in registering. We spent a bunch out by the pool one day, so that got us much of the way there. Breakfasts and lunches for three also added up, as did things like the dolphins, tigers, sharks, etc. Have a great time!

  6. Thanks for telling me that the Palazzo is a priority club hotel. We have stayed there a dozen times and I had no idea. Oops! Learn something every time I log in 🙂

  7. I’m trying to figure out if the trip you did on Daily Getaways counted or just additional spending after you got there. We’re doing the Aria Daily Getaways this coming weekend. I registered my card for this promo and am trying to figure out if we need to do $800 more or what.

    • @MeanGene, since the Daily Getaways are already paid for and were done so through Daily Getaways (not an MGM property), it would be additional dollars spent while you are there. We charged $600 additional at MGM to get the $70 credit. Enjoy your package – the Aria one looked great!

  8. Thanks for posting. Do you know if there’s certain buffets at other MGM properties that can’t be charged to our room at MGM grand? We’re trying to figure out how to plan our trip to reach the $600 spending requirement.

    Also, do they sell giftcards that can be charged to the room and then used at other MGM properties?

  9. @Carol MGM Grand room charge is accepted at all MGM property buffets to my knowledge. Just FYI, Treasure Island is no longer MGM as of a few years ago and you Mandarin Oriental and some eateries in Crystals (the MGM CityCenter shopping mall might not take it (Social House has been an issue for me in the past)

    @MP Reach out to me during your girls trip. I’ll try to arrange for a couple of out of the ordinary experiences since we couldn’t meet in Houston!

  10. @Carol, Vegasdeslman is correct – you can charge any of the other MGM property buffets to your Mirage room (personally I would do the Bellagio buffet), but Treasure Island is no longer an MGM property. I haven’t tried to use it in many CityCenter locations yet.
    @Vegasdealman, thanks for helping and I’ll shoot you an email about our upcoming trip! Thanks so much and sorry I missed you in Houston.

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