The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com's resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She's always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
You know that old saying, "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade"? Nobody does it better than the folks in Las Vegas. The sudden drop in tourism is translating into an outpouring of truly great deals. It's enough to lure even the most cash-strapped visitors toward Sin City's neon lights. And here, dear readers, are the very best of the best among those deals. Just promise you'll remember me when you hit the jackpot, OK?
Top 10 Deals
1. Excalibur Hotel and Casino: Excalibur invites you to be treated like royalty with its Best Rates deal, which starts at $31 per night and includes two-for-one tickets to the Tournament of Kings Dinner Show (tickets start at $61), two free drinks, and 20 percent off any spa treatment. Book by October 31, and travel before November 30.
2. Mandalay Bay: It may be located farther down on the strip, but what the Mandalay Bay lacks in prime location it makes up for in luxury and entertainment. Rooms typically start at about $100 per night, but the Summer Escape deal, which starts March 1 (oddly enough, given the name) and runs through September 10, makes it easy to save a little and get a lot of extra perks. The package starts at $90 per night, and includes a fly-back-free certificate (up to a $350 value, which gives guests a free return flight to Vegas at a later date but requires a three-night minimum stay at the hotel upon their return), $100 cabana credit, and 25 "sand dollars" to be used at the hotel's beach. A two-night minimum stay is required.
3. Las Vegas Hilton: The Spa in the Las Vegas Hilton has two packages to pamper you and your checkbook. The Getaway Package starts at $135 for two people, and includes two nights at the Hilton, six buffets (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), two entries to the Spa, and two welcome cocktails at Shimmer Cabaret. The Serenity Spa Package starts at $199 for two people, and comes with two nights at the Hilton, two simplicity spa treatments such as a body scrub, a 50-minute Swedish massage or a seaweed mud, and a 15 percent discount at the Paradise Gift Shop. Both packages are valid through April 30.
4. United Vacations: Two-night vacation packages with airfare start at $169. The lowest-priced flights are from San Francisco, but you can fly from anywhere in the country for a bit more money. Some of the hotels are also providing extra perks such as free spa passes, buffets, or admission to nightclubs. Book by February 26 for travel through March 22.
5. Expedia: Now through February 28, Expedia is offering flight-and-two-night hotel packages starting at $180 from Los Angeles (other departure cities are available at a higher cost). Plus, many of the participating hotels provide extra incentives such as discounts on entertainment, food and drink credits, and hotel savings. Travel is valid through April 30.
6. Southwest Vacations: Southwest is making it a breeze to save on Harrah's Resorts in Vegas, which include Paris, Bally's, or Caesars Palace, when you book a flight-and-hotel package through its website. Save $60 when you stay three nights or $80 when you stay four or more. Use promo code HETFEB when booking. Book by February 26, and travel between February 25 and June 30. A five-day advance purchase is required.
7. American Airlines: Get two-for-one show tickets when you book a vacation package at one of Harrah's properties. Packages start at $115 per person per night, and include round-trip airfare from Dallas (other departure cities are available at a higher price). Book by March 31, for travel through June 30.
8. New York New York Hotel and Casino: If you visit Vegas between March 1 and May 31, New York New York is making it twice as nice by offering a $300 flight credit and a free night's stay for return visits from June through August. A two-night stay at the New York New York is required on the return trip. Rooms start at $80 in March.
9. US Airways: Get extra perks such as two-for-one show tickets and free upgrades when you book an air and four-night vacation at any of the Harrah's properties. Packages start at $123 based on flights from Phoenix (other departure cities are available at a higher price). Book by March 31 for travel through June 30.
10. Vegas.com: Book a room at the Venetian by June 30 and receive a slew of extra perks such as a $50 slot credit, a special $36 prix-fixe dinner menu and $25 drink credit at LAVO, 20 percent off your check at Pinot Brasserie, $6 off Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and a two-for-one gondola ride. Suites typically start at about $219 per night at the end of February.
Now, I'm no fool (at least when it comes to deals), and I know that there are many more wonderful ways to save in Vegas, so I'm asking you, faithful readers, to leave a comment below and share any and all deals, tips, or insider secrets you may have on how to make the most of a Vegas vacation.
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All prices, dates, and booking details listed here were valid at the time of publication. Some information may have changed since that time.