Parking Fees at Hotels in Las Vegas: Fair Game — or Going Too Far?
T here was a time when visiting Las Vegas meant free parking, pancake breakfasts and shrimp cocktails for 99 cents each, and low room rates at hotel and resort properties — and that is not including “high rollers” who had much of their trips “comped” while on junkets. As long as people gambled, Las Vegas profited and flourished…
…but then, Las Vegas reinvented itself with a gentrification of sorts which included an increase of venues offering fine dining and improved entertainment at renovated or new clubs. Convention space increased. A monorail was built for improved transportation. More options were added for families to be able to bring children to a city which was once largely forbidden to them — a trend which was arguably started by the Circus Circus hotel back in the 1970s.
In many respects, Las Vegas is no longer that cheap city with seedy rooms and sleazy entertainment where gambling was front and center — and in many ways, the only option.
Gambling is still the cash cow of what keeps the opulent city in the middle of a desert running; but with the addition of other options came a diversification in which other streams of income were derived — especially as more jurisdictions elsewhere passed legislation from which gambling became legal, which created competitive pressure for Las Vegas. Some of those aforementioned options are attractive to tourists and gamblers alike…
…while other options are becoming the bane of success — most notably, mandatory resort fees and parking fees.
Parking Fees at Hotels in Las Vegas: Fair Game — or Going Too Far?
In this article which I wrote slightly greater than a year ago, a press release from MGM Resorts International announced the launch of a $90 million “major parking strategy and investment to address long-term growth” for visitors to Las Vegas which will “expand and enhance parking infrastructure, take advantage of new technologies that will significantly improve the parking experience, and meet changing consumer tastes and demands” — but it also includes the implementation of a parking fee program which will “introduce a modest fee for customers utilizing valet services or self-park facilities.” The parking fees became effective as of Monday, June 6, 2016.
For registered MGM Resort property guests, the 24 hour parking fee includes “in and out” privileges at the originating MGM Resort property at which the guest is staying; and also includes the same “in and out” parking privileges at any other MGM Resort property — depending on option selected at the originating property of the guest — within the same 24 hour period, subject to availability.
With an annual expense of $30 million to maintain parking structures comprising of 37,000 parking spots, MGM Resorts International would seem to be justified to charge a fee of up to $18.00 per day — depending on the hotel or resort property and whether self parking or valet parking is chosen — but residents of Las Vegas recently found out that they, too, will be subject to paying for fees for parking as well.
Self-Parking Rates Vehicles that are self-parked for greater than one hour will be subject to a parking fee. The self-parking fee is $7.00 for vehicles parked over one hour to four hours and $10.00 for vehicles parked greater than four hours to 24 hours at the following resorts: Aria, Bellagio, Delano, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, and New York – New York. For vehicles that are self-parked at these resorts over 24 hours, there is an additional self-parking fee of $10.00 for each additional day or fraction of a day over the first 24 hours. The self-parking fee is $5.00 for vehicles parked over one hour to four hours and $8.00 for vehicles parked greater than four hours to 24 hours at the following resorts: Excalibur, Luxor, and Monte Carlo. For vehicles self-parked at Excalibur, Luxor, and Monte Carlo over 24 hours, there is an additional self-parking fee of $8.00 for each additional day or fraction of a day greater than the first 24 hours.
Valet Parking Rates The valet parking fee is $13.00 for the first four hours — no grace period — and $18.00 for over four hours to 24 hours at the following resorts: Aria, Bellagio, Delano, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York – New York, and Vdara. For vehicles that are valet parked at these resorts over 24 hours, there is an additional valet parking fee of $18.00 for each additional day or fraction of a day over the first 24 hours with no grace period. The valet parking fee is $8.00 for the first four hours — no grace period — and $13.00 for over four hours to 24 hours at the following resorts: Circus-Circus, Excalibur, Luxor, and Monte Carlo. For vehicles which are valet parked at Circus-Circus, Excalibur, Luxor, and Monte Carlo over 24 hours, there is an additional valet parking fee of $13.00 for each additional day or fraction of a day greater than the first 24 hours with no grace period.
Parking fees may be more expensive during special events.
“It’s about a $12 cab ride, and it takes minutes to get to McCarran International Airport from the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino”, according to this article written by David Montero of the Los Angeles Times, which cites residents using hotel and casino parking lots to store their vehicles while on trips out of town as a reason. “Compared with the $10-a-day parking rate in the economy lot at the airport — or the $16-a-day rate for long-term parking — keeping your car at the casino and taking a cab is a bargain. Surveillance footage confirmed MGM officials’ suspicions that residents were leaving their cars there while they went on trips.”
Hmph. I would rather walk — and have done so when I visited Las Vegas in September of 2014 and stayed at both Mandalay Bay Las Vegas and the Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort and Casino — both of which are part of the MGM Resorts International portfolio of hotel properties.
One consolation is that Pearl, Gold, Platinum and NOIR elite level members of the M life Rewards frequent guest loyalty program will still be entitled to complimentary self-parking; and Gold, Platinum and NOIR elite level members of the M life Rewards frequent guest loyalty program will still be entitled to complimentary valet parking — not including gratuity, of course — whether or not members are visitors or residents of Las Vegas.
When combined with the questionable practice of charging mandatory resort fees, is charging fees for parking at casino hotel and resort properties in Las Vegas fair game — or is that going too far?
The answer is obviously what the fair market will bear. If people are willing to pay those parking fees, they will stay. If enough people attempt to avoid Las Vegas altogether — or, at least, cut back on the amount of times they visit Las Vegas — then the parking fees may be reconsidered…
…but there are still hotel and resort properties which still do not charge a fee to park a vehicle. They include the Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn, Encore and Treasure Island properties; as well as more traditional hotel properties and brands which do not include casinos — such as Hampton Inn or Renaissance Hotels as two of a number of examples.
As for me, I am scheduled to be in Las Vegas later this year — and I do not intend to pay mandatory resort fees or parking fees of any kind…
Las Vegas Strip at dusk, facing northward. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.