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I just recently completed my first Las Vegas trip as a full fledged adult (apparently visiting Circus Circus as a 12 year old doesn’t count). And while I had a lot of fun, as a travel hacker I was absolutely appalled by the things Las Vegas gets away with.

a woman standing next to a display of sunglasses

Pictured: Me in the midst of my appall.

Take, for instance, hotel room rates. I booked a stay at the Excalibur for two nights at $39/night, thinking I was extremely clever and looking forward to earning some Hyatt points. Imagine my surprise, then, when my total doubled from $78 to $158 on the checkout page, a result of some undisclosed resort fees whose nightly total exceeded the room itself.

So, I did a little Googling, and here’s what I found.

Don’t Pay the Fees

Las Vegas is notorious for taking all your money, and resort fees are just the newest batch in the bunch. Sadly, there’s almost no way around them. That is, of course, unless you have elite status. While Mlife Gold (matched over from Hyatt) unfortunately won’t waive the fees for you, Caesar’s Diamond status will.

Luckily for us, Diamond status is pretty easy to get. Almost too easy, in fact. There are two main methods to getting status. First, you can sign yourself up for the Founderscard, a membership (not a credit card) that offers cardholders complimentary Caesar’s Diamond status (amongst other perks) for an annual fee of $595, though there are often promotions discounting the fee.

Or you can do what I did and leverage the existing status you have into a match with Caesar’s. This is a little complicated, so bear with me. There are a number of credit cards you can own that give you automatic status within a hotel program. Here are the ones you can use to match to Caesar’s Diamond:

The Cards

  • Marriott Rewards:
    • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express
      • Annual fee: $450
      • Gold status
  • Hilton Honors:
    • Hilton Honors Aspire American Express
      • Annual fee: $450
      • Diamond status
    • Hilton Honors Ascend American Express
      • Annual fee: $95
      • Gold Status
  • IHG Rewards Club:
    • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
      • Annual fee: $95
      • Platinum status

The Match

If it were a straightforward match to Caesar’s this post would practically write itself. Alas, this is the award travel community and nothing is ever easy. There are in fact four steps to completing your Diamond status match.

Step 1:

Own one of the credit cards listed above. I personally used my IHG credit card as the basis for my status.

Step 2:

Make your way to Wyndham’s (yes, Wyndham’s) status match page and complete the form. (You’ll need an account). Wyndham will immediately offer you a free 90 day match to its top-tier status, Diamond.

Step 3:

Head to Caesar’s status match page (you’ll need both your Caesar’s and Wyndham accounts activated), and complete the form, using your newly minted Wyndham Diamond Status.

Step 4:

Caesar’s will give you instant Diamond status, the equivalent of spending $15,000/ year at their hotels. You can now book your hotel resort fee free!

That’s Not All!

I originally did this because I was pissed off about having to pay resort fees, but Diamond status actually made a huge difference in my stay.

  • I got to skip to the front of the valet line, which was:
  • Free. Valet parking is totally free. (So is self-parking, but who’s gonna do that?)
  • 15% discount on my room rate.
  • Two free show tickets per month (from a list of about forty shows, including Penn and Teller).
  • $100 in free dinner per year (valid at basically all of Caesar’s restaurants)
  • Separate, priority lines for restaurants. This saved us queues of literally hundreds of people waiting to eat at some of the hottest restaurants in Las Vegas. I cannot emphasize enough how much time we saved here, as we walked up and were sat immediately.

There are also some benefits I haven’t used yet, but am planning on taking advantage of sometime this year:

  • Free 3 night stay at The Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. No, seriously, free.

The Totals

Ignoring the value of those free stays as mentioned above, as well as all the time I didn’t spend in line waiting for things, we can break down the difference in my stay with status vs. without:a table with text and images


So you can see there are some really good financial incentives to matching over. This chart doesn’t account for intangibles, like how much nicer Caesar’s Palace is than Excalibur, or the time we saved overall throughout the trip, but the numbers don’t lie. Even accounting for the credit card’s annual fee (which you don’t have to keep by the way), you still come out way ahead.

Hope you guys enjoyed this breakdown- now get matching!

Have any of you done this before? How was your experience?

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