Get Comped in Vegas: eat & stay for free

How to Get Comped in Vegas: free rooms but also free buffets, free dinners & so on
With updates (bottom of page); here you can also read how much you should bet and how you should play to maximize your rewards (scroll down). Las Vegas is a fantastic holiday destination for some; for me it’s primarily a place where I can wine, dine and relax like royalty whilst paying very little. Vegas is my favorite luxury destination without a doubt because of the value it offers.

Of course, things are not as great as they used to be, in the good old days when guests used to be invited to stay at Vegas hotels for free in the hope that they would gamble a fortune! Guests were then treated with top quality free champagne and free quality meals as a matter of course.  Today even Vegas wants to make some money from us the moment we arrive, well before we start to gamble; so, even the most ‘standard’ rooms and suites can be quite expensive. If we have to pay 100 dollars a night for a great room it’s not longer a great deal for us, especially if we are to stay in Vegas for several weeks, as we often like to do. So, we tend to prefer to stay in Vegas when we get ‘comped’ (namely, when we receive direct invitation to stay for free in a resort); being comped in Vegas is a much better deal than browsing for the cheapest online deal because:

when you are comped you always get VIP treatment; this means VIP check-in, VIP lounges, free upgrades or the best rooms or suites available that casino marketing can assign you (based on your ‘score’) and, probably, free buffets or free gym/spa entries and, sometimes, free play. Such VIP treatment will not only save you a fortune but make you feel truly pampered, which is what many of us want from Las Vegas. Where else in the world can you stay in a 5+ diamond resort for free? Only in Vegas.

How can you get comped in Vegas? How can you stay at a Vegas hotel with a free VIP invitation?

The best way (for ‘regular people’ like you and me) to get comped is through the use of the players card. This card is obtained by signing up in person at casino marketing (or the customer services kiosk in every casino) and, the moment you are given the card, by using it every time you gamble. 

How much do you have to bet and how long do you have to play to get comped in Vegas?

Before you give up the idea, remember that you do NOT have to gamble insane amounts of money in order to get comped. If you are on a budget, your best way to get comped in Vegas is through the way you play whilst you use your players’ card.

Basically, from our own experience, what matters is not how much you lose or the amount of money you spend overall.  What  matters is your bet value and how long you play; you could walk away with a 5000 win and still be comped next time.  What matters is that you ‘show’ that you are a gambler who is willing to bet a ‘decent’ amount of money per slot machine spin (or table bet).  From our own experience this means a minimum of 60 cents bet (better if 90 cents) on the slot machines and a significant length of time spent playing.  If you bet 60 cents and spend 3 hours on the casino floor, without long non-gambling breaks, you are going to receive comps.  Given that you will switch machine (never get stuck to a non-paying machine) and that you will win bonus rounds and high-paying lines, by the end of the 3 hours you will have ‘recycled’ a lot of money (hundreds of dollars).  If you bet an average of 60 cents per spin (occasionally higher, even $1.80, for example) and play several hours non-stop, you are likely to be offered rewards during your stay and after your stay.  If it’s during your stay, you must ask casino marketing or the players program desk – because they won’t come to your room and offer you the rewards!

You don’t have to sit by the same machine, of course, but you must show consistent playing time, say 3 hours. One night I played from around 10pm to around 3am and, very shortly afterwards, I started receiving ‘comped’ offers from the resort where I was staying and the beautiful Mandalay Bay, which I used 3 nights later. I certainly enjoyed being ‘comped’ at Mandalay Bay (with my friend), being automatically upgraded to one of their Strip view suites and receiving the VIP treatment all around.

I hasten to clarify that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars if you play for hours. I usually start with $100 (sometimes $200) and never spend more than that; what happens is that usually (but not always, bear in mind) the money is ‘recycled’ over and over, by the frequent process of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’. Of course, if you keep playing you are likely to eventually lose all your money; if you are lucky you may have won a good sum at some point, allowing you to keep ‘recycling’ some of that money back into the slot machines.

This is not a mandate or even a recommendation to bet or gamble significant amounts of money.  If you are on a very tight budget and can’t afford to loose 200 dollars, then you should not play because you are running the risk to hit ‘bad’ machines and loose it all quickly.  Always bear in mind that if you bet 60 cents or more per spin you could loose $100 very quickly and – because you only gambled a short amount of time – receive NO reward at all.

Do your math and decide what your objective is. Some players have told me that playing Black Jack or any ‘Card Games’ (even on the slot machines) increases your chances of winning or, at least, of not losing too much money too quickly. I tend to avoid them because I don’t enjoy them, but it is probably true that your odds are better with those machines than with the fancy penny slot machines available these days.

How often can you get comped in Vegas by a resort?

When you accept a comp offer, usually all other offers from the same Vegas resort chain either disappear or become a little more expensive, all very much depending on your overall playing score; however, your balance will not be as high (of course) so, until you start gambling, the offers will not be as bountiful or as good.

How soon will you receive new offers from the Vegas resorts? The hotel chain in which you are staying for free (through the ‘comp’ offer) won’t send you any good offers for a while, in general, because you will be running (after accepting their offer) a ‘negative’ comp balance. So you have to build up your ‘score’ again, through gambling, the same way you played in order to build it up (as explained above). This is why it is unlikely that you will receive other offers whilst you are staying in Vegas, unless you gamble hundreds and hundreds of dollars in 2 hours or so, which of course is not advisable.

The following is not ‘scientifically proven’, of course, but the theory that many seem to have ‘worked out’ is that, during your ‘comped’ stay, you are supposed to ‘lose’ (not just play) to the expectation calculated in the ‘comp’ offer, which is about 3 times more than the value of the offer. I’m not sure if this applies all the time and, during ‘hard times’ when the Vegas resorts try to attract as many visitors as they can, these percentages can drop dramatically. However, many have complained at how unrealistic those play/comp ratios are.

Get Comped in Vegas; receiving a VIP free Vegas hotel invitation:

You only get comped in Vegas for your NEXT stay. This because they want you to return; if you are already there, they have no reason to ‘reward’ you. Remember, a ‘comp’ is to get you to come back and spend more money, generally speaking. Instant comps take place if you are a heavy poker player (such as a professional poker player) or if you have gambled insane amounts of money. You can get instant comps for dinner and similar, but usually not for the rooms or suites (again, unless you have gambled insane amounts of money or you are a heavy poker player).  

How to Get Free Stuff in Vegas is a free guide on how to make the most of your Vegas stay without spending any significant amounts of money.

Update:  find out which Vegas Strip resorts give you more ‘free stuff’ for your gambling, on the page titled ‘Best Rewards for Gambling in Vegas’.  Also, you may want to read our page on main rewards program comparison.