Loyalty Points Battle: Wyndham Rewards vs. Bonwi

Wyndham Grand Clearwater

How does Wyndham Rewards compare to Bonwi?

How many points will you rack up if you always stay with Wyndham hotels and are loyal to that brand collection, as opposed to staying wherever you want and earning Bonwi points?

Let’s take a look at points earnings and payoffs with the two programs: Wyndham Rewards and Bonwi Rewards. Wyndham’s program often shows up at #1 among the major international hotel brands when companies do a head-to-head benefits comparison. This is partly because their points don’t expire like the ones from Hyatt, Marriott, and the others do. They also used to have a flat redemption rate for all hotels, but that disappeared in 2019, so that might cause a slip in the rankings.

Do they have a chance of toppling Bonwi in the loyalty points payback race? Let’s take a look.

How the Wyndham Rewards Program Works

As with most branded loyalty programs, you only earn points by booking direct with the company, not if you use a third-party service like Expedia. Your earnings are determined by how much you spend. You earn fewer points for a cheap place than you do for an expensive resort. The program is straight-out dollar-based though, so it’s easy to determine.

For every qualified stay at a Wyndham Rewards hotel, vacation club resort, or vacation rental, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar or 1,000 points—whichever is more.

They have “9,000 hotels worldwide across 90 iconic brands,” but those icons may not be ones you want to look up to. If you go to cash in points, your only options might be a Days Inn or Super8 motel beside the interstate highway, with questionable business going on in the next room.

Your points earnings are limited only by your spending, though be advised the rip-off resort fees collected as some properties—including many of their Vegas ones—don’t count for points earnings. You can also earn points at their partners, like the usual rental car companies and  shopping partners, but also for booking tours at Viator or buying gas at Marathon stations.

How the Bonwi Rewards Program Compares

With Bonwi.com, there’s no set formula by brand on the earnings side and the points you earn are variable. Some properties may earn you less than the 10 per dollar Wyndham is offering, others will offer more. You have the whole market to choose from, however, not just one company’s brands. You can often earn enough for a free stay after just two or three nights. See how it works here.

If we travel to Vegas, where Wyndham has its own properties plus the Caesar’s ones, we can do a nice head-to-head comparison. Booking with Wyndham would get you 1030 points at Paris Hotel or 950 at Bally’s. Here’s how many points you’d earn with Bonwi though, four times more and 50% more.

Bonwi points at Caesars Hotels

For other cities it’s less clear-cut. The 10 points per dollar level is pretty generous by brand loyalty standards, so in some cases that wins, especially at the cheap motels. In others, especially internationally, Bonwi comes out ahead.

Redeeming Points With Wyndham Rewards and Bonwi

Wyndham now has three tiers of redemption, which in all fairness is still much less complicated than any of its competitors. (Marriott Bonvoy has eight.) I can’t find an award chart for them anywhere, so you have to go through the booking chart to know how many points you need. But they say 200 properties are at the highest level of 30,000 points. So that will get you into one of the Caesars properties in their portfolio (which includes Rio, Paris, and Planet Hollywood in Vegas) or a Wyndham Grand, like this one in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Wyndham Grand Clearwater

At the other end of the scale, you only need 7,500 points to get into 3,000 of their hotels. That sounds like a lot, but remember they have Microtel, Day’s Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, La Quinta, Baymont, and Travelodge.

Everything in between is a flat 15,000 points. That is the most common, applied to more than 6,000 properties.

At Bonwi, the points redemption is variable based on demand and what the individual properties are offering. You may be able to get a room for less than 5,000 points a night, so you could get three nights for the price of one at Wyndham.

Other Redemption Opportunities

You can also transfer points to certain airlines or Amtrak to top off your balance at one of those. Usually this is nowhere close to a 1:1 trade though and you have to log in and start the process to see how many Wyndham points it will take. It requires 6,000 Wyndham points to get 1,200 American Airlines miles, for example, so you only want to do this as a last resort.

Bonwi points are always worth one cent each though, no devaluation required. So the math is easy: 6,000 Bonwi Rewards points are worth a $60 airline credit. Get to 30,000 points–which would only get you 6,000 AA miles with Wyndham–and you’ve got enough for a $300 round-trip flight.

The same is true for Wyndham redemptions for merchandise, gas cards, or gift cards. You’ll take a big hit to your points value to do this. With Bonwi, however, 10,000 points is a $100 gift card.

Overall, if you normally stay at Wyndham properties a lot and can compound your earnings by hitting elite status, it’s a better program than most. The earnings and redemptions are both clear-cut, so it doesn’t require an hour of research to figure out how to earn or redeem for what you need. This is an especially good program if you’re a road warrior staying at a lot of inexpensive motels by the interstate highways. Since it’s tied to a vacation ownership program, it’s also one of the few that can get you into a real condo with a kitchen when you’re with your family.

With Bonwi though, you have the flexibility to choose whichever hotel you want to stay at or whichever one gives the best point redemption where you’re going, regardless of brand. Your points also don’t expire here and you have a wider net you can cast for redemption since they’re worth a straight one cent each for flights or gift cards.

Check rates where you’re headed on the Bonwi home page.

 

 

Which Are the Top Meetings and Conventions Cities in the USA?

Orlando hotel

Las Vegas hotels at night

If you go to a lot of conferences for your job, you’ve probably noticed that you spend a lot of time walking the exhibition halls of specific cities. While every metropolitan area in the USA would love to have your meetings and conventions business, there are a few behemoths that win by pure capacity.

It costs a lot of money to build convention centers and they require an equal amount of infrastructure in hotel beds, flight capacity, parking, and transportation. All these factors have to work in tandem for a conference destination to make it to the top. Here’s who has won the arms race in modern times:

Las Vegas

Vegas knows how to shock and awe in every category and just by the numbers, they come out on top in both space capacity and room capacity. There’s a staggering 10.8 million square feet of conference space here, partly in 3 of the 10 largest convention centers in the country. You’ll have plenty of choices on where to bed down: about 157,000 rooms across nearly 200 hotels. And Las Vegas hotels are often not very small affairs either: MGM Grand alone has more than 6,800 rooms. When you combine The Pallazo and The Venetian, they have more than 7,100 rooms.

Search hotel prices and point redemptions at Bonwi.com, where your conference stay could earn you enough points for a weekend vacation somewhere else.

Orlando

Orlando’s hotels and resorts aren’t as massive as the biggest in Las Vegas, but the sprawling city has more places to stay overall, with 265 of them. There’s something here for all budgets and parents who want to extend a business trip clearly have lots of things to spend the family budget on with Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World, and other attractions.

Orlando hotel

Orlando has 4.64 million square feet of meeting space for conventions, but be advised some of that space is in self-contained resorts that can only be reached by car. Fortunately, rental cars are abundant and reasonably priced. You can earn Bonwi points for those and your Orlando hotel stay.

Chicago

One of the USA’s largest cities attracts plenty of convention business to fill up its 50,000 rooms across 177 hotels. This is a tough city to walk around in during the winter, but many conference goers don’t spend a lot of time outside. The largest exhibition space here is massive: 2.1 million square feet. The largest ballroom is nearly 104,000 square feet–nearly two full football fields in size.

Cvent says, “More people travel to Chicago for overnight business than any other U.S. destination. Its accessibility certainly plays a role in its popularity, as about 46 million people are within one day’s drive of Chicago.” See hotel rates and get the highest points payback at Bonwi.com.

Bonwi rewards points Chicago

Atlanta

Fast-growing Atlanta has the world’s busiest airport, so getting to the city is easy from nearly anywhere. The city has 43,000 rooms across 195 hotels in all price ranges, with most major chains represented. A quarter of those are in the convention district.

The easy access and mild year-round temperatures bring in 51 million visitors a year to a walkable convention district in a city with a metro from the airport. The largest exhibit space is 2.6 million square feet and there is a total 3.9 million square feet of meeting space. Get the best rate on an Atlanta hotel here.

San Diego

With some of the USA’s best year-round weather and easy access to the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is a popular sun-and-fun destination all year. The city boasts 70 miles of beaches and 92 golf courses. It has 2.6 million square feet of meeting space and 210 hotels to choose from.

See rates and point earnings on San Diego Hotels.

Washington DC

Washington D.C.

I once attended a convention lunch so large in D.C. that I couldn’t even see the person on stage speaking unless I looked at the big video monitor. The nation’s capital has a massive conference center in a convenient location not far from the government buildings and the Smithsonian. That ballroom I had lunch in is the size of 7 football fields and it’s part of 2.2 million square feet of meeting and exhibition space.

Be advised that D.C. hotel rates are the priciest of any city on this list, though they can drop when congress is in recess. Make sure you get something back from all that money spent by earning Bonwi points from your Washington DC hotel.

(Related post: Explore the Distilleries and Breweries of Washington, DC)

Cities Punching Above Their Weight Class

Downtown Nashville is just a few blocks from the city convention centerThese top six cities aren’t all that surprising: they’re all large metro areas that have plenty to see and do, with easy air access. Some of the other top convention cities are much smaller, however.

Nashville, Tennessee ranks just below D.C. as a convention destination thanks to a downtown conference center near the honky-tonks plus the long-established Gaylord Opryland complex closer to the airport.

New Orleans, LA is America’s favorite party town, with to-go cups of alcohol, a casino near the bars, and a street car system to get you around town. It is also a major conference city, with a massive ballroom and a wide variety of interesting hotels that are clustered close together.

Streetcar in New Orleans

Austin, Texas is experiencing explosive growth and its long-running music scene (with 250+ live venues) has been joined by a thriving tech industry. Some 24 million people a year visit Austin and its highly ranked airport.

San Antonio, Texas may be the wildest wildcard on this list, but it outranks Los Angeles and Boston in attracting conferences. This city doesn’t attract the mega-conventions with its 742,000 square feet of meeting space, but that space is some of the most modern available after a $325 million expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in 2006.

Article and photos by travel writer Tim Leffel, editor of Hotel Scoop.

Las Vegas Boasts a New Hockey Team

Neon Museum in Las Vegas
T-Mobile Arena is the new home of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey team.
T-Mobile Arena is the new home of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey team.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas– except for Vegas’ new hockey team which just entered the National Hockey League for the 2017-2018 season.

After much push from Vegas’ citizens, the city finally has their own hockey team to root for, the Vegas Golden Knights. The team is the first major professional sports franchise to be based in Las Vegas. See them play at home in the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

And incredibly, this expansion team has done something no other expansion team has ever done–they made it to the final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing to the Washington Capitals!

After the game, head down to the bright lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip.

The stunning fountains at Bellagio are a sight you don’t want to miss. With over 1,000 fountains rocketing hundreds of feet into the sky, prepare for the waterworks. Don’t worry about missing out on the show, the fountains go off every thirty minutes from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every fifteen minutes between 8 p.m. and midnight during the weekdays. On weekends, they happen even more often, giving your eyes a nice break from all the flashes of neon.

Neon Museum in Las Vegas
Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Max Hartshorne photo.

Speaking of neon, modern art connoisseurs should stop by the Neon Museum, especially at night, for a tour of some of the discarded neon signs that tell the history of the gambling city.

If you don’t get enough colorful signage on the streets, head down to the museum’s “Boneyard” to see the history of Vegas unfold with over 200 neon signs.

If the fountains at the Bellagio intrigued you, book a room at the extraordinary Bellagio Hotel And Casino through Bonwi for $179 a night.  Before hitting the casino at night, enjoy the outdoor atmosphere by hanging poolside. When you’re in need of some rest and relaxation, head over to the spa for a massage, body treatment, or facial.

You have plenty of mealtime options, with 13 restaurants, five bars, and a cafe on the resort. If you’re in town to cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights, the Bellagio is the perfect candidate, being close proximity to the T-Mobile Arena. Booking today can get you 2,770 points per night to spend toward your flight home.

The Bellagio is also walking distance to The Park, an entertainment and dining district created in 2016 by MGM Resorts. Put yourself in the center of great eateries, creative displays, and the exhilarating energy of Sin City. If you’re looking for a less expensive hotel, try the Monte Carlo Resort or the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, both minutes from The Park.

The Monte Carlo is $92 per night, complete with a 24-hour fitness center, three pools, and even personal cabanas you can rent out. Earn a total of 1,792 per night when you book today. The New York-New York Hotel & Casino is $89 per night with a 1,808-point reward. Get a break from the Vegas heat in your air-conditioned getaway, or embrace Sin City culture by dancing the night away at their nightclub. They even have their very own Coyote Ugly, inspired by the hit movie.

Don’t forget to snap a picture with the legendary “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign too!  Don’t wait–find hotels in Las Vegas now, on Bonwi!

Rewards Points Battle: PointsHound vs. Bonwi

earning loyalty points Las Vegas
earning loyalty points Las Vegas
Who has the higher points payoff in Las Vegas?

Who is going to get you to a free flight faster: PointsHound or Bonwi?

We say the best way to rack up rewards points fast is to use Bonwi for hotel bookings, but how much more do you really earn in practice? We’ve put services to the test before, showing you how much faster you could earn rewards compared to both an online travel agency like Hotels.com and a direct booking program with a hotel chain like IHG Group.

Now let’s look at another site focused on rewards: PointsHound.

How the PointsHound Program Works

For this program, you choose your city and dates for a hotel booking, then earn points based on which hotel you choose. Points are applied to one of 19 airline frequent flier programs, such as American, United, or Finnair. On most there is no maximum, but you have to play by the specific program’s rules, so the site says, “For example, United MileagePlus imposes a maximum of 100,000 Miles annual limit that can earned through PointsHound.” Since it says you can earn “up to 10,000 points per night,” we assume you’ll never see earnings higher than that either for individual nights.

All programs are not equal either. So you could possibly earn 6,000 miles on JetBlue for a booking, but maybe only 2,000 if you picked Eithad instead. The only way you’ll know is to start the process over. You eventually get rewarded for loyalty here: you earn a bump up in points after your 5th and 20th stays, though it doesn’t say by how much. The program covers more than 300,000 properties worldwide.

How the Bonwi Program Differs

With Bonwi you don’t have to choose an airline program ahead of time since your points can be applied to any flight on any airline, with no blackout dates, no restrictions. It’s a simple 1-cent redemption value.

If you want to use your points for something else, no problem. You can cash them in for hotel rooms (at a better than 1-cent value) or use them for rental cars or gift cards to top-brand retailers—without the devaluation you see with airline points used elsewhere.

There’s no cap on how many points you can earn per night (sometimes it can top 20,000 at luxury properties) and no cap on how many points you can earn per year.

Comparison of Points Earned

So how do the differences play out in the real world? We pulled up sample dates a month from now to see how many points we would earn in different programs. We randomly chose United as our airfare carrier on PointsHound since it’s part of the Star Alliance, with the best partners overall. We chose popular business travel cities that road warriors spend a lot of time in.

First up, we headed to Las Vegas, home to the largest hotels in the world and some of the biggest convention spaces. As luck would have it, the two top points earners in both programs were the same, so let’s start there. Here’s what you would get on PointsHound:

PointsHound earnings Las Vegas

Not a bad payoff. Thanks to a promotion, you would get 6,700 or 7,150 United miles total by booking one of these hotels at $180 to $199 per night before the dreaded “resort fee.”

Bonwi points earned Las Vegas

If you booked either of these properties with Bonwi, however, you’d earn several thousand more miles—without paying more. 11,090 at the Aria or 12,215 at Cosmopolitan.

What about if you go further down the list? Bonwi comes out ahead almost every time. You get 7,783 at The Palazzo compared to 5,850, or 8,047 at Rio instead of 4,850, or 3,488 at the Hard Rock instead of 2,400.

Vegas is a strange animal in many ways though, of course, so let’s head to Chicago and see how it looks there.

Here are the top two “Big Earn” listings for PointsHound, giving you 3,800 or 3,750 United miles for a two-night stay.

Pointshound earnings Chicago

Now here are the top-earning listings for Bonwi. The difference is certainly not minor. You have to scroll to their second page of listings (#16 on) to get less than 10,000 points. You have to get to listing #65 in points order on Bonwi to finally get to a hotel offering what the #1 listing does on PointsHound.

Bonwi rewards points Chicago

Using Your Points

With PointsHound, the idea is that you are adding to your frequent flier balance at the program you use most, or you’re “topping off” an account to get to a desired level. You’re not expecting to use those miles right away. Good thing, because you wouldn’t have enough. You’ll need 12,500 miles even for the lowest tier one-way domestic ticket—if you can find availability.

If you booked the top two earner hotels in these examples, your four nights at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and the Waldorf-Astoria in Chicago got you 10,950 United miles for your $1,080 rooms rate (before taxes and added fees). That’s a pretty good payoff if you really needed those miles, but it’s not enough to do anything with yet.

On Bonwi, that same expenditure would have earned you 29,587 points. Not only do you have enough for a one-way domestic flight, you have enough for a round-trip one in many cases: any flight that’s $295 or less! Here’s what else you could get with those points:

– A Saturday night at the Marriott, Hyatt, or Sheraton in Anaheim, CA (take the kids to Disneyland)
– A $250 gift card to the Apple Store, Best Buy, or Amazon
– A rental car for five days

Not only does Bonwi come out way ahead on earnings, it also gives you more options on what to do with those earned points. Do a search for your next hotel here.

 

Reward Points Battle: Hotels.com vs. Bonwi

Las Vegas hotel rewards

hotels.com rewards compared to Bonwi

If you use Bonwi to book your hotel stays, you’re probably going to earn a big reward payback much faster than with other services. How much faster? Let’s compare how long it would take to get a free hotel room night from Hotels.com compared to Bonwi.com.

We picked three cities in the USA and assumed you had a budget of less than $150 per night. Then we looked at how many nights you would have to book to get a free hotel stay in return.

How the Programs Work

With Hotels.com, the rules are easy to understand: stay 10 nights and get one free. “The value of your free night is the average price of the 10 nights you collect.” Once you have completed 10 hotel stays, you can book whatever hotel you want at any time with the credit based on the average stay amount.

With Bonwi.com, it’s less simple but that’s because the points you earn are variable. The upside is much greater. Instead of having to stay 10 nights to earn an award, you could earn a free stay after just two or three nights. See some real examples in this video.

There’s also upside on the redemption part since the payout is not an average of price paid. Your points may be worth more in some markets than others, so you can cash in faster just by choosing a hotel requiring fewer points.

What Would You Get From 10 Nights of Stays?

Let’s say you actually do stay 10 nights in hotels over the course of several months. To check out what would happen in a real case scenario, we looked at real booking options for December and January in three well-traveled cities: Las Vegas, Orlando, and New Orleans.

Las Vegas hotel rewards

If you booked three nights at the SLS Las Vegas, you would pay the same at either site: $391 for three nights with taxes, but really $488 once you factor in the rip-off $32 “resort fee” that really should be included in the rate. With Hotels.com you would earn 3 credits of your 10, or 30% of what you need for a free stay. With Bonwi you earn 9,641 points. That’s enough to actually book another hotel already in Las Vegas the following week: one night at Golden Nugget, Planet Hollywood, MGM Grand, or many others.

In other words, 30% of the way to a free night vs. 100% of the way there.

If we then book four nights in Orlando at Holiday Inn Express Sea World we’ll pay $304 total with taxes/fees and earn 9,321 Bonwi points. The Ramada Plaza Resort would be $341 for four nights and earn just a shade less.

At Hotels.com you would be four credits closer to your free night, but the average comes down because these hotels are cheaper than the one in Vegas: $74 or $101 per night. At Bonwi, once again you’ve earned enough to cash in for a free night in most cities, or you can combine the points with what you earned in Vegas  and be at close to 19K–enough for two nights somewhere or one night in a luxury hotel instead.

Then let’s say we have to go to New Orleans in January for a trade show. The official hotel is out of our $150 budget range, but either of the choices pictured below will do the trick. For each of them we earn more than 7,200 Bonwi points for our stay. At Hotels.com we pay the same amount and would have finally gotten to our 10 nights.

New Orleans hotel rewards

Yippee—we get a free night’s stay! But hold on: that free night is based on the average of what we have spent per night, which comes out to $102 if we picked  the Hotel Modern for this last stay and the Holiday Inn Express for Orlando. Their formula would be $341+$304+$378 divided by 10. You can now book a hotel with them that is listed for $102 or less.

With Bonwi, in contrast, we are up to 26,525 points earned from those same 10 nights. What can you get for that? Here are some ideas:

  • 3 nights at most Las Vegas off-strip hotels or at MGM Grand
  • One glorious night at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans (dollar value of $349)
  • Any plane ticket valued at $265 or less
  • A $250 gift certificate to Target, Best Buy, Amazon, or the Apple Store.

Your rebate value from Bonwi ranges from 25% to 35% depending on how you use the points. Your rebate value from Hotels.com is always 10% and you can only use it for hotels. With Bonwi you can use your points at any time. With Hotels.com they are useless until you have spent 10 nights in hotel rooms booked with them.

The winner in this rewards program battle between Hotels.com and Bonwi.com? Well, that depends on whether you prefer to earn a little or a lot.

Hit These 5 National Parks on a Road Trip From Las Vegas

Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon

road tripfrom Las Vegas

Las Vegas is North America’s center for glitz, glamor, and gambling. Unlike other casino centers such as Macau or Monte Carlo, however, Vegas is a gateway to some of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery. If you’ve ever seen movies that take place among expanses of the wild west with canyon walls as high as a skyscraper, you’ve seen places you can drive to from Las Vegas.

You can rent a car in Las Vegas and after a few hours crossing the desert be standing next to the Grand Canyon in Arizona or exploring the rock formations of southern Utah. This road trip is best done over a week to really soak it all in from some of America’s most scenic highways, but it would be possible to cover it all in a few days since the sites are just one to six hours apart.

Las Vegas to Zion National Park

To begin the journey, leave Las Vegas and head to Lake Mead to see this man-made lake created by the gigantic Hoover Dam. Continue on Northshore Road along the lake until you connect with I-4 heading Northeast to St. George. Stop for lunch or take a hike in St. George, then continue on I-4 all the way to Zion National Park.

Las Vegas to Zion National Park road trip

Zion is known for its variety of landscapes and extensive hiking trails that lead past granite cliffs, meadows, and waterfalls. It’s common to spot mule deer, foxes, and bighorn sheep in the mountain terrain. You’re less likely to see the nocturnal creatures such as the ringtail cat and mountain lion, though you’ll probably spot their tracks in the mud.

The Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon

Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon

It only takes an hour and a half to drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park, but you will probably be tempted to stop off for photos several times along the way. Once at Bryce, spend some time viewing the incredible rock formations from different angles via the easy trails at the bottom or the more challenging ones that lead into the surrounding hills. Some of the lodging and camping areas are close enough to walk but lights are kept low to see the constellations at night.

To Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

The next two stops on this road trip from Las Vegas are close together, so these would be the best to combine in one day’s visit. Get an early start to get there though as it takes around five hours by the slow and scenic route or four hours by the I-70 interstate highway route to reach Arches National Park. The name is a strong clue of what to expect here, as erosion over many thousands of years has left giant standing arches that glow red as the sun is sinking close to the horizon.

Arches National Park

In Canyonlands, bike paths and trails go through rugged dry canyons and formations with descriptive names such as Needles, Candlestick Tower, Chocolate Drops, and Monument Basin. This Moab Region of Utah is anchored by the town of the same name and this is one of the world’s great playgrounds for adventure activities. Make this your base and you can find dozens of activities to sign up for such as extreme mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, boating, river rafting, and stargazing.

The Awesome Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

No matter how many times you’ve seen photos of the Grand Canyon, it’s hard to imagine the immense size and wonder of this great natural geological site. Spread over hundreds of miles, it would take a lifetime to explore it all, but by coming from Utah you’ll visit the less crowded North Rim and have more of it to yourself. It takes six hours or so to get here from Canyonlands, so plan to spend the night at one of the many lodges or camping areas along the highway. By visiting it late in the day and then again in the morning, you’ll see it in a whole different light. If you can do a hike down inside, you’ll get another perspective again. Just bring plenty of water.

The next day, drive back to Las Vegas and complete the road trip loop. You’ll trade in starry skies and open landscapes for the bright lights and noises that never stop, but you should have hundreds of great photos to share from your great American road trip.

For information on all these regions, see the U.S. National Park Service website. To find a great deal and earn valuable points on your stay, see our Las Vegas Hotels section on Bonwi.com.

How to Hit the Savings Jackpot in Las Vegas

Las Vegas hotels at night

An experienced gambler can tell you how to avoid getting fleeced at the Las Vegas casino tables, but there are also ways the cards are stacked against you as a visitor spending vacation money. Whether you’re betting or not, you have to play the Vegas visitor game correctly to keep the odds in your favor. Here are some of the best ways to shave hundreds or even thousands of dollars off your tab.

Avoid the Weekends

You may think a weekend trip to Las Vegas is a good idea, but so does everyone else. The city is driving distance to Los Angeles and a short direct flight from many other markets. That means huge crowds converge on Friday nights and leave on Sunday. Bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, anniversaries, birthdays, guys/gals weekends away, and on it goes. If there’s a reason to celebrate, this is a natural destination for the occasion.

That means prices double or triple most weekends. If you can come on a Sunday instead or leave on a Friday, you can still find unbelievably low rates in these massive hotels. Just remember to factor in the extra “resort fee” that gets you what’s normally included in the rates elsewhere: this hated practice is a common one at area hotels.

Avoid Major Convention Periods

The USA’s biggest convention city can absorb a lot of visitors at once: MGM Grand Hotel alone has more than 5,000 rooms. When a massive conference is in town though, even the biggest properties can fill up and rates rise accordingly. If the Society of Medical Diagnostic Sonography is town (1,700 attendees), no big deal. But when the Consumer Electronics Show brings in 165,000 people, you probably want to change your plans. See this Vegas convention calendar for details.

Widen Your Hotel Horizons

downtown Las Vegas hotelSure, it’s fun to be at a famous hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and you can find some legendary choices there, but there are literally more than 100 places to choose from. Prices in the prestige hotels are inflated for nearly everything, so browse around to find the best value. You may want to spend at least part of your time downtown. There you’ll find a revitalized area that’s walkable, filled with fun bars, restaurants, and the Container Park. Hotels such as the Golden Nugget, Plaza Hotel, and California Hotel have poured millions into renovations and their pool complexes in recent years.

Watch for Promotional Deals

The days when Vegas was a bargain-hunters paradise started fading when the corporations started gobbling up all the hotels and casinos. There are still plenty of great values around though if you keep your eye out for coupon books, loyalty sign-up bonuses, and off-peak buffets. Casinos still want to get you in the door and any restaurant that’s not full regularly will do what they can to pull in the crowds. If you’re flexible with your plans, you can score free bets and great meals at a discount. (And hey, it’s okay to just hang out by a beautiful pool all day.)

Las Vegas swimming pool

Use Public Transportation, Uber, and Lyft

Las Vegas taxi drivers have seen it all, but unless you want to pay for a good story there are better ways to get around the city. The overtaxed (and quick route-challenged) drivers aren’t usually the best option anymore to get from A to B. A bus runs from downtown through the strip, a monorail is a block off the strip, and the usual rideshare services are always on the move.

Get the best rates on Las Vegas hotels and get the most points back by booking with Bonwi.