Photo by Rob Kachelriess
After slowing down due to the pandemic, things are picking back up again in Las Vegas with a full schedule of live entertainment. While it may be tempting to blow a paycheck on big-name residencies, Cirque du Soleil productions, magic acts, concerts, and everything else in between, we have some good news for you: you don’t have to. Vegas is a town built on discounts and while the days of endless freebies are (mostly) a thing of the past, there are more than a few ways to save money on shows. So take advantage of the following strategies to enjoy a little entertainment in Sin City without breaking the bank.
Scour websites for the best deals
Just like everything else these days, show and event tickets are easy and convenient to buy online… but are they worth it? Ticketmaster admits to having a dynamic pricing format, which means prices can rise and fall in response to demand. The site also offers verified resale tickets to compete with second-hand services like StubHub, Vivid Seats, Seatgeek, or Ticket Liquidator. Either way, expect to see some eye-opening service fees tacked on when checking out.
You could be better off with Vegas-based services like Vegas.com, Goldstar, and Tix4Tonight. If this all seems overwhelming, try Lavish Vegas, which operates like a search engine, directing users to the cheapest available show tickets via relationships with casinos and local vendors. The site has a history of providing side-by-side price comparisons in a clean layout—with more partners expected as Vegas returns to business as usual this year. Lavish Vegas is also a great resource for tracking down tickets for sold-out concerts and signing up for nightclub packages.
Visit ticket kiosks
Tix4Tonight complements its online ticket business with in-person sales kiosks on the Strip. At one point, the company was the largest discount ticket seller in Las Vegas, but after temporarily closing during the early days of the pandemic, is down to just three stands at Casino Royale, Showcase Mall, and the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s. The availability of more than a hundred shows changes by the day (with the latest options displayed on digital boards), although Tix4Tonight claims to have received tickets for “every show on the Strip at one point or another.” Make a purchase on consecutive days and gain access to the VIP line on your return visit. Customers actually receive a voucher that’s then exchanged for the ticket at the venue. You may not know your exact seat until then.
Call the phone number for group sales
Most Las Vegas shows have a phone number for “group sales,” especially if they’re at a hotel. Don’t be intimidated. Give it a call, even if you’re just looking for a pair of tickets. The representative has more flexibility on prices than those static digits on a Ticketmaster webpage. If a show is only partially sold out, you may be offered an enticing rate to fill seats. It never hurts to ask.
Sign up for premium seat-filling services
Las Vegas has a few online subscription services that offer an enticing proposition: sign up for a flat-rate membership and be notified when free tickets for shows become available. There’s no catch, but the tickets are given away on a first-come, first-served basis. The most popular service is House Seats which, at last check, cost $49 for six months or $109 for a year (with a two-ticket limit per show). So the service pays for itself pretty quickly. One confirmed longtime user says it’s mostly low-to-mid level shows, but enjoyed a few rare surprises like Queen and Adam Lambert at the T-Mobile Arena and Le Reve at the Wynn. It’s also not unusual to receive tickets for top comedians or the occasional Cirque production. Plug in Vegas is a similar service, but charges $45 for the first three months, followed by a recurring $19 monthly charge. Fillaseat is another option, charging $99.95 for the year.
Get to know your hotel concierge
If you’re looking for a hookup, it doesn’t hurt to make friends with your hotel concierge desk. Just be realistic with your expectations. A concierge typically won’t get you tickets for free or even at a discount. The value of the service is receiving tickets at face value when shows are in high-demand or sold out. The concierge desks at Las Vegas hotels all have connections with each other and much of their success lies in scratching each other’s backs. Depending on the show, concert, or event, the concierge could save you time and money—valuable commodities when playing tourist in Las Vegas. Just remember to tip. The amount is up to your discretion, but the bigger the request, the bigger the tip.
Here’s a valuable piece of advice that isn’t talked about much: Don’t wait until you arrive and check in to contact the concierge. Reach out as soon as you have your hotel booked. The concierge is at your service and the sooner you can plan ahead and establish that relationship, the better.
Sign up for rewards memberships
Most big casinos have a rewards club. MGM Resorts has MGM Rewards (formerly M Life), Caesars Entertainment has Caesars Rewards (formerly Total Rewards), Wynn has Wynn Rewards, the Venetian has Grazie Rewards, and so on. Will you receive free entertainment passes just for signing up? No. But these memberships have a system for accruing points, which can eventually be exchanged for hotel stays, meals, and show tickets. Sure, if you buy dinner on property, you’ll get a few points, but these clubs are really geared toward gamblers, who build up points by playing at the casino. And if you’re an avid gambler who spends a lot, you’ll get lots of stuff for free anyway.
However, there are a few other perks. Rewards members might receive pre-sale invitations to buy lower-priced tickets before they go on sale to the general public (as well as other exclusive promotions). MGM Rewards is especially good with this. The program is also affiliated with myVEGAS, a free-to-play mobile app and Facebook game that allows users to earn points and rewards by playing digital slots and table games.
Get in touch with destination management companies
If you really want to be an insider, get in touch with as many destination management companies (or DMC services) as possible. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has a directory of them online—and fair warning, it’s a lot. These companies offer logistics for visitors and tourists, generally catering to large groups like wedding parties, trade show attendees, or travel industry professionals; handling anything and everything from ground transportation to itinerary building and yes, show tickets.
Hello! is one of the largest and most established. Downtown DMC is a smaller, boutique service that’s happy to help out parties of all sizes. DMCs tend to have great relationships throughout Las Vegas, with the ability to track down in-demand tickets and access to events at net rates. Some have a mailing list or online newsletters that occasionally offer free tickets to subscribers. This often happens when a show is looking to fill a room due to soft sales. Downtown DMC gives away tickets about three times a month. The company also directly handles a few local shows like iLuminate and Hypnosis Unleashed—and will most certainly have the best prices for those tickets.
Do some old-fashioned magazine coupon clipping
Does clipping coupons still have relevance in 2022? You’ll see lots of local magazines loaded with ads, but Vegas Vibe easily has the most coupons. Some deals are better than others, although you may find a discount of up to 30% off or even two-for-one tickets. The publication is a fixture at hotel bell desks, the airport, and even in the back of taxi cabs. Can’t find it? Just pull up the latest digital version online. Most of the coupons offer deals via a QR code anyway.
When in doubt… Groupon
When it comes to ticket discount deals in Las Vegas, all roads point to Groupon. If a show is looking to fill seats, the easiest way to draw an audience is with an enticing deal on the e-commerce platform. The prices often represent the bottom of the current “going rate,” but here’s a way to save even more money: If you see a deal on Groupon, reach out directly to the box office, who will likely match or beat the price. They’d much rather have you spend money with them directly than through a third party who’s entitled to a cut.
Stay awake during a timeshare presentation
Sitting through a timeshare presentation can be tedious, but usually comes with a reward or two—and in Vegas, that can mean show tickets. The Westgate, Club Wyndham, Hilton Grand Vacations (including Elara, Flamingo, and Trump International), and Tahiti Village are among the top timeshare properties in Vegas. Many offer a dramatically discounted multi-night stay, which isn’t a bad deal if you can handle a presentation and sales pitch that lasts anywhere between one and three hours. Additional incentives can fluctuate, so contact timeshare representatives directly to see what they’ll guarantee. Just remember, you’re under no obligation to buy into a timeshare. It’s okay to say no. To learn about the latest timeshare presentation deals, simply contact a property by phone or email.
Take advantage of locals discounts
Having a Nevada-issued ID or driver’s license is a frequent key to discounts in Las Vegas, whether it’s a few bucks off a spa treatment or a few hours of free parking at a big casino. Every now and then, being a local can shave a few dollars off show tickets too. For example, use the code CCVEGAS when buying passes for the Comedy Cellar at the Rio. Cirque du Soleil has offered locals deals in the past, so keep an eye out for those to return soon. Following a show or theater’s social media account is another way to learn about discount codes.
Attend a preview performance
Preview performances tend to be more common with Broadway productions in New York, but new Vegas shows may also occasionally present less expensive preview performances ahead of an official grand opening date. As long as you keep an open mind and understand these shows are designed to work out the kinks, you’ll have a great time. The latest example is Mad Apple, a new Cirque du Soleil production at the New York-New York casino, which kicks off previews on May 12 (beginning at $49) before the premiere May 26 (beginning at $59).