History of Las Vegas Resort Fees

Resort fees are a sore topic for many Las Vegas tourists. Most hotels advertise a low rate, only to stuff the bill with resort fees that can be over $40 per night. In some instances, the resort fee is higher than the rack rate for the room itself. Even worse, some Las Vegas hotels that charge resort fees offer little or no amenities to justify it in the first place. It’s little more than a hidden fee at these properties. On the other hand, most services that fall under amenities covered by the resort fee were previously free before the fee was added to hotel bills.

Where Las Vegas Resort Fees Started

Las Vegas resort fees started with Station Casinos in 2004. The company specializes in the Las Vegas locals’ market and owns some large resorts frequented by tourists, mostly from California. The original resort fee was between $15 and $25, depending on the property, with Green Valley Ranch being the highest.

At the time, Station Casinos said that it covered amenities such as use of the spa, internet and shuttle service. The company claimed that it saw few complaints and, in some cases, saved customers money as bundling the services was cheaper than buying internet, a spa pass and riding the shuttle.

Boyd Gaming launched resort fees at its locals’ properties after Station. It started at The Orleans, Gold Coast and Suncoast. The fees were very low at first, typically being no more than $5 or $10.

MGM Resorts joined the resort fee bandwagon in 2008. These fees were in the $15-$25 range at the time, and varied depending on the property. MGM resort fees now approach $40 at most properties.

Caesars Entertainment decided to stay on the traditional pricing model until 2013. That is when it added a resort fee to the bills. This helped keep it competitive in travel search engines where Caesars Entertainment’s rack rates were higher in some cases because its competitors hid a resort fee from the advertised price.

Like the other hotels, Caesars Entertainment noted that this gave it a way to bundle all of the fees instead of charging for services a la carte. The Las Vegas Sun noted at the time that 88 percent of those polled on the Strip did not use resort fees as a reason for picking a hotel.

Major Las Vegas Properties Without Resort Fees

At this time, Casino Royale’s Best Western is the last casino on the Las Vegas Strip that does not have a resort fee and Four Queens is the only casino in downtown Las Vegas that does not have one.

Most of the major hotel chains that do not have a casino have also resisted the temptation to charge a resort fee. This includes Marriott, Wyndham, Red Roof Inn, Royal Resort and Travelodge. The Lucky Club, a budget hotel with a casino in North Las Vegas, also does not have a resort fee.

Downtown Holdouts Start Charging Resort Fees in 2018

Three well-known downtown Las Vegas casinos joined the majority by starting to charge resort fees on April 15, 2018. That is when California, Fremont and Main Street Station started charging $15 per day. This is essentially what it was charging for parking and internet use. Now it is automatically placed onto the bill, regardless of whether a guest uses these services. This leaves Four Queens as the only property in downtown Las Vegas without a resort fee.

Evolution of Resort Fees

Resort fees started out being relatively low, generally falling in the $15 to $25 range. As we mentioned earlier, the first resort fees introduced by Boyd Gaming were only around $5 to start. With that said, Las Vegas resorts and casinos decided to raise resort fees several times since the concept was implemented.

Las Vegas Resort Fee Increases in 2018

As of July 2018, 46 Las Vegas hotels increased their resort fees, according to data from Las Vegas Jaunt. We also found several more that are not mentioned on their 2018 list. The numbers below do not include the 12% tax rate for casinos in the Las Vegas city limits or the 13% for ones in unincorporated Clark County.

Mandarin Oriental: $39 to $45
Palazzo: $39 to $45
Venetian: $39 to $45
Aria: $35 to $39
Bellagio: $35 to $39
Encore: $35 to $39
Mandarin Oriental: $35 to $39
Wynn: $35 to $39
Vdara: $35 to $39
Caesars Palace: $32 to $39
Four Seasons: $32 to $39
Nobu: $32 to $39
The Cromwell: $32 to $37
Paris: $32 to $37
Planet Hollywood: $32 to $37
Delano: $32 to $35
MGM Grand: $32 to $35
Signature at MGM Grand: $32 to $35
Mirage: $32 to $35
Treasure Island: $32 to $35
Cosmopolitan: $30 to $35
Mandalay Bay: $30 to $35
New York New York: $30 to $35
Park at MGM: $30 to $35
Bally’s: $29 to $35
Flamingo: $29 to $35
Harrah’s: $29 to $35
Linq: $29 to $35
Tropicana: $29 to $35
Trump: $29 to $35
Green Valley Ranch: $26 to $35
Red Rock Resort: $26 to $35
Westgate: $28 to $34
Circus Circus: $24 to $32
Hard Rock Casino: $25 to $31
Rio and Stratosphere: $25 to $30
Golden Nugget: $25 to $29.50
Hooters: $20 to $29
Tuscany: $24 to $28
Downtown Grand: $20 to $23
Plaza: $18 to $22
Palace Station: $15 to $22
Gold Coast and Suncoast: $16 to $21
Silver Sevens: $15 to $21
South Point: $15 to $21
The Orleans: $13 to $21
Aliante and Sam’s Town: $13 to $20
Ellis Island: $13 to $18
Arizona Charlie’s Decatur: $7.50 to $16
Arizona Charlie’s Boulder: $7.50 to $10
El Cortez: $11 to $15
Cannery and Eastside Cannery: $5 to $9.50
California: $0 to $15
Fremont: $0 to $15
Main Street Station: $0 to $15

Las Vegas Resort Fee Increases in 2017

Fewer casinos raised their resort fees in 2017 when compared to 2018.

Venetian: $35 to $39
Palazzo: $35 to $39
Aria: $32 to $35
Bellagio: $32 to $35
Vdara: $32 to $35
Mandarin Oriental: $32 to $35
Delano: $30 to $32
Mandalay Bay: $30 to $32
MGM Grand: $30 to $32
Mirage: $30 to $32
Treasure Island: $30 to $32
Excalibur: $26 to $29
Luxor: $26 to $29
Tropicana: $25 to $29
Bally’s: $18 to $25
Flamingo: $18 to $25
Harrah’s: $18 to $25
Rio: $18 to $25
Stratosphere: $21 to $25
Circus Circus: $21 to $24
Aliante Casino: $13 to $20
M Resort: $0 to $20
Silverton: $13 to $17
El Cortez: $9 to $11
Cannery and Eastside Cannery: $0 to $5
Arizona Charlie’s Decatur: $0 to $7.50
Boulder: $0 to $7.50

Las Vegas Resort Fee Increases in 2016

Resort fee increases were not as common before 2017. However, we found several that occurred in 2016. They include:

Aria: $29 to $32
Bellagio: $29 to $32
Caesars Palace: $29 to $32
Cromwell: $29 to $32
Four Seasons: $29 to $32
Mandarin Oriental: $29 to $32
Palazzo: $29 to $32
Paris: $29 to $32
Planet Hollywood: $29 to $32
Vdara: $29 to $32
Venetian: $29 to $32
MGM Grand and Signature at MGM: $29 to $30
Monte Carlo (now Park MGM): $25 to $30
New York New York: $25 to $30
Westgate: $22 to $28
Excalibur: $20 to $26
Golden Nugget: $20 to $25
Tuscany: $17 to $24
Hooters: $14 to $20
Plaza: $15 to $18
Silver Sevens: $10 to $15

Las Vegas Resort Fee Increases in 2015

There were even fewer resort fee increases in 2015. With the help of Las Vegas Jaunt, we compiled the increases from that year:

Cosmopolitan: $25 to $30
Aria: $25 to $29
Bellagio: $25 to $29
Caesars Palace: $25 to $29
Mandalay Bay: $25 to $29
MGM Grand: $25 to $29
Paris: $25 to $29
Planet Hollywood: $25 to $29
Wynn: $25 to $29
Encore: $25 to $29
Bally’s: $20 to $25
Linq: $20 to $25
Monte Carlo (now Park MGM): $20 to $25
New York New York: $20 to $25
Tropicana: $20 to $25
Flamingo: $18 to $25
Harrah’s: $18 to $25
Rio: $18 to $25
Excalibur: $15 to $20

Unfortunately, there is not enough data to generate useful numbers for resort fee increases before 2015. However, many Las Vegas hotels either did not have resort fees in 2014 or had just started increasing the original amount for it.

How to Get Out of Paying Las Vegas Resort Fees

Most hotels will not waive a resort fee. The argument is that it covers amenities that are open to all guests and it is not fair to give a discount to some for these property features and not others. In some cases, travelers have reported complaining loudly enough that the resort waived the fees However, these fees are typically disclosed at the time of room reservation on the hotel’s website or search engines which makes it difficult to claim ignorance when hit with the resort fees on your final bill.

There are ways to get out of paying the resort fee without having to complain about it. Certain properties advertise special mid-week rates that do not include a resort fee, and some may also waive parking fees at the same time.

Higher volume gamblers will usually receive comped hotel rooms, and the resort fee is generally waived for rooms that have been comped by the casino. Caesars Entertainment is the one exception; only Total Rewards members who are Diamond or Seven Stars players will have their resort fee waived on a free hotel room.

One way to achieve a higher tier without gambling is to receive one of the casino company’s credit cards. Tier points are earned on all purchases, so this can be enough to clear the threshold to get out of resort fees. Another idea is the Founders Card, which gives Caesars Entertainment customers automatic Diamond level in Total Rewards.

Of course, you can always just stay at a hotel that does not charge a resort fee. These generally will not have a casino and may also have limited amenities.

What Do Resort Fees Cover?

The resort fee that customers pay at a casino covers several amenities on the hotel’s property. These features can vary significantly from one resort to another. Some hotels offer little more than free internet access, while others have a large resort experience to accommodate its guests.

Phone calls and internet access are usually included in all resort fees. The list below shows the resort fee and additional benefits of it.

What Resort Fee Covers at Las Vegas Hotels

Aliante Casino ($20): Coffee maker, daily newspaper, concierge services, fitness center, two bottles of water and valet parking

Aria ($39): Fitness center, daily newspaper and business center access

Arizona Charlie’s Boulder ($10) and Decatur ($16): Boarding pass printing service

Bally’s ($35): Fitness center and pool access

Boulder Station ($20): Local newspaper, business center, fitness center and pool access

Caesars Palace ($39): Fitness center access

California ($15): Self-parking, boarding pass printing and shuttle to Sam’s Town

Cannery ($9.50): Fitness and pool access, as well as boarding pass printing, fax and coffee services

Circus Circus ($32): Coupon book, fitness center and boarding pass printing

Cosmopolitan ($35): Fitness center and tennis court access

Cromwell ($37): Fitness center

Delano ($37): Fitness and business center access

Downtown Grand ($26): Bottle water, coffee, coupon book, pool and free self and valet parking

Eastside Cannery ($15): Fitness center, business center, pool and coffee

El Cortez ($15): Airport shuttle, fitness center and pool

Ellis Island ($20): Pool, business center, breakfast and coffee

Encore ($39): Fitness center and business services

Fiesta Henderson ($16): Newspaper and business center

Fiesta Rancho ($16): Nothing above typical internet and phone services

Flamingo ($35): Fitness center and pool

Four Seasons ($39): Fitness center, shoe shine and coffee

Fremont ($15): Self-parking, business center and Sam’s Town shuttle

Gold Coast ($21): Fitness center, pool, coffee, Strip shuttle and business center access

Golden Gate ($25): Show ticket discounts and fitness center

Golden Nugget ($29.50): Coupon book, pool, fitness center, parking, newspaper and business center services

Green Valley Ranch ($39): Fitness center, pool, show shine, newspaper, airport and Las Vegas Strip shuttle

Hard Rock ($33): Strip shuttle, fitness center, newspaper and business services

Harrah’s ($35): Pool and fitness center

Hooters ($35): Water, pool and fitness center

Linq ($35): Pool and fitness center

Luxor ($35): Pool and fitness center

M Resort ($25): Newspaper and shuttle service

Mandalay Bay ($37): Fitness and business center

Mandarin Oriental ($45): Shoe shine, business center, coffee and tea service

MGM Grand ($37): Fitness center, newspaper and pool

Mirage ($37): Fitness center, newspaper and pool

New York New York ($37): Fitness center and pool

Orleans ($21): Fitness center, business center and shuttle to Strip and related properties

Palace Station ($30): Pool, business center and fitness center

Palazzo ($45): Pool, fitness center and business center

Palms ($32): Fitness and business center access

Paris ($37): Pool, fitness and business center access

Park MGM, formerly Monte Carlo ($37): Fitness and business center access

Planet Hollywood ($37): Fitness and business center access

Plaza ($22): Fitness center, business center, bottles of water, pool and airport shuttle

Red Rock Resort ($39): Fitness center, business center, pool, shoe shine and shuttle

Rio ($32): Pool and fitness center

Sam’s Town ($20): Business services, pool and shuttle to Las Vegas Strip and California Casino in downtown Las Vegas

Santa Fe Station ($20): Fitness center, daily coffee, pool and free game of bowling

Silver Sevens ($21): Shuttle to Las Vegas Strip and airport and business center

SLS Las Vegas ($32): Fitness center and pool

South Point ($21): Coupon book, fitness center and business services

Stratosphere ($33): Coupon book redeemable on property, fitness center and pool

Suncoast ($21): Coupon book, shuttle, fitness center and coffee in room

Sunset Station ($22): Fitness center and coupons for property

The D ($25): Fitness center and show ticket discounts

Treasure Island ($37): Coupon book, fitness center, business services and pool

Tuscany ($28): Pool, fitness center and coffee

Vdara ($39): Fitness center, business services, pool and water bottles

Venetian ($45): Newspaper, property discounts, pool, fitness center and business services

Westgate ($34): Fitness center

Wynn ($39): Fitness center and business services