Feel Like a High Roller: How to Skip the Lines in Las Vegas
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To The Point
Waiting in line can be a bummer, especially if you only have a long weekend in Las Vegas to do have fun. Looking for ways to skip that check-in line or get into your favorite night club without the drag of standing outside all night? Here are some tips to help.
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Las Vegas can be the ultimate party destination. Slot machines and blackjack tables give way to top-rated restaurants, massive pool parties and night clubs with famous international DJs. With so many hotel rooms in Las Vegas, the crowds can be overwhelming, especially during major events like NASCAR races or the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). If you’re headed to Vegas, how do you avoid spending the entire time standing in line? We’re glad you asked. Here are some of our favorite ways to save time while you’re traveling around Las Vegas.
Skip the Lines at the Hotel and Casino
Walk into most Vegas casinos, and the first thing you’ll see (after the bling) is the check-in line. It’s followed by lines for restaurants, shows and pretty much everything else. Don’t wait in those lines.
Get Hotel Status
Casino loyalty program members enjoy some pretty rewarding benefits. Free parking and room discounts are the tip of the iceberg, but you’ll also get access to VIP lines at check-in, restaurants and sometimes even taxi lines with programs such as Caesars Total Rewards and the MGM Resorts M Life program.
Don’t worry if you don’t gamble a lot. Obtaining casino loyalty status is easier than ever for non-gamblers. You may qualify for a status match opportunity if you have elite status with many of the major hotel chains, even via a co-branded credit card. Hyatt elite status matches to M Life, for example, and Wyndham Rewards matches to Caesars Total Rewards (and a number of program match to Wyndham Rewards).
If you hold Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status, you can match that to M Life Gold status. The process to match your status is easy but must be done on a yearly basis. M Life Gold status will get you access to, among other things:
- Priority hotel check-in lines
- A dedicated line at buffets
- A dedicated line at some full-service restaurants
- Priority reservations at fine dining restaurants
- VIP line access at select nightclubs for you and a guest
Alas, you unfortunately won’t get access to the VIP taxi line with your M Life Gold status. Before a recent change, Hyatt Globalist members used to get Platinum status. If you’re a bit of a high roller or big spender, M Life Platinum still does get access to those ultra-short taxi lines. For everyone else, Uber or Lyft may be your best bet to skip those notoriously long taxi lines.
Even if you don’t have Explorist or higher status with Hyatt, you can earn M Life Pearl status by holding the World of Hyatt Credit Card (by way of the Discoverist status that comes with that credit card). You can also get a head start on earning Explorist status with the five elite night credits that come with the World of Hyatt credit card and the ability to earn more when you charge on the card.
Caesars Total Rewards members enjoy similar benefits to M Life, but you’ll need to be a bit higher up the food chain. Having Total Rewards Diamond status will allow you to cut many of the same lines, and Wyndham Diamond status can get you a status match to Total Rewards Diamond.
Don’t have any hotel status? You can also apply for the Founders Card to get Caesars Total Reward status. Bottom line, let your hotel status at nationwide chains helps you bypass those lines.
Use the Express Check-In Kiosks
If leveraging hotel elite status isn’t an option for your trip to Vegas, scout out the express check-in kiosks at many hotels in the city. Check-in lines can be brutally long at peak times, so use technology to your advantage. Some hotels don’t have the best reputation for working kiosks, however, so keep an eye on the people at the front of the kiosk line before picking your kiosk.
Watch for Virtual Lines
Casinos in Las Vegas want you to do anything else but stand in line. It’s one of the very few activities where they can’t actively collect money from you. That’s why some casinos have started to roll out virtual lines for restaurants and other amenities. The Bacchanal buffet at Caesars, for example, wins plenty of awards for being the best buffet in Las Vegas. As a result, those without a reservation can wait hours to get a spot. Instead, head to the Freshtxt kiosk located outside the Bacchanal entrance and register for the line that way. You’ll still have to wait, but you can do some gambling or shopping while you do.
Dodge the Night Club Queues
Night clubs are big business in Las Vegas. For years, Tao Las Vegas was the largest grossing single restaurant location in the country. With so many people trying to get into the hottest clubs, how do you make sure you get in, and make sure you’re at the front of the line?
Improve Your Ratio
Women still get preferential treatment in many Vegas clubs. Having a ratio of 1:1 or better (that’s at least one woman for every man) in your group is one way to increase the chances you won’t have to wait in line for hours to get into the club.
Order Bottle Service
Some clubs will allow you to buy a ticket ahead of time or reserve a table by agreeing to purchase bottles of alcohol. It’s an expensive way to secure yourself a quick entrance and your own private space. But, if you’re committed to spending money already, bottle service and paid reservations will open a lot of doors.
Work With a Host or Promoter
There’s a group of hosts and club promoters that can help you avoid the lines at many of the most popular clubs. If you already have a casino host, that can be a good place to start. If not, the internet (especially Instagram) may help you hunt down a host or promoter.
Dress Like a VIP
One final note. Make sure you dress for success. Many clubs have a dress code. How much you’re paying and who you call may not matter much if you show up to a hot club in shorts and a T-shirt.
Avoid Wait Times While Sightseeing
Plenty of folks come to Vegas for shows, attractions, aquariums and more, only to find the show or attraction is sold out of advanced purchase tickets. As a result, many travelers will stand in long lines for a chance at a last-minute ticket to a popular show or attraction.
Buy the Right Pass
If you know that you want to hit a number of attractions around Las Vegas, there are a couple of passes that save money and also give purchasers access to some VIP (read: shorter) lines. The Las Vegas Pass is one option. And the Las Vegas Explorer Pass also provides some level of VIP access. There are other versions as well, but they all fall into roughly the same category, in that you’ll only get enough value if you plan to really use these passes to the max. Just using them to cut the line won’t really be worth the cost.
Hire Someone to Wait for You
If you know the lines are going to be especially long to grab tickets for a show or concert, you can also consider a service such as Task Rabbit or Fiverr to find someone willing to stand in line for you.
Get Coffee Quick
Lastly, don’t forget about your trusty Starbucks app if you need a cup of coffee, because the lines for Starbucks can be Disney-level-terrible in the morning. (Or early afternoon. This is Vegas, after all). The mobile app is your friend to cut past those long lines and grab your coffee to-go.
Breeze Through the Airport
McCarran International Airport (LAS) is one of the largest airports in the country. It moved more than 23 million people in 2017. The lines can get very long, but fortunately, you have a few familiar options to help cut down your wait.
TSA PreCheck is available at all security checkpoints in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. There are plenty of credit cards that can make that pesky sign-up fee for PreCheck disappear, so there’s no good excuse to be caught at McCarran without it. While the TSA PreCheck hours of operation in Las Vegas are some of the longest in the country, it’s important to note that the TSA PreCheck line at A/B has some funky operating days and hours.
CLEAR is also available at McCarran. CLEAR is a yearly subscription service that has become much more relevant for travelers, and can help you skip the line at dozens of airports and even sports stadiums. As CLEAR has grown in relevance, even some of our most advanced travel experts have signed up. If you’ve signed up for CLEAR, be aware that the A/B concourse doesn’t have their own CLEAR lane. However, you can enter through the C concourse and connect to both of those concourses with a bit of walking.
The Bottom Line
Las Vegas is the city of neon, gambling, restaurants, shows, clubs and lines. But you can avoid most of the lines if you use the tools above. And, if all else fails, remember that in Las Vegas, cash is king. You’re more likely to need a Jackson than a Benjamin to get where you’re going. But, in Vegas, don’t be surprised by anything.
Featured image by franckreporter / Getty Images.
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