My Little Vegas Airport Hack – Earning Points While Staying at a Hotel for Cheaper than Parking at the Airport!

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mccarran airport parking hack

McCarran Airport Parking Hack

Up until the beginning of this year my family and I lived in the Southwest part of Las Vegas where it was easy to get to the airport in about 5 minutes. It was great and convenient for flights of all kinds. Unfortunately we made the decision to move to the North side of town temporarily to a rental property we own since we needed more space for the arrival of baby Elizabeth.

We much prefer the South and plan on moving back to that side of town sometime early in 2016. Besides just generally liking that area better, I honestly can’t stand being so far from the airport. It is difficult to ask my wife to drop me off and pick me up for solo travel and even when we go together it isn’t pleasant. Plus, there is that stupid cost to park and a taxi is out of the question due to distance.

Parking at McCarran

McCarran actually is one of the cheapest airports to park at if you use economy parking. At $10 a day it isn’t bad, however you either need to park at Terminal 3 and take two trains to get to the Southwest C Gates or park at Terminal 1 and take a shuttle and then a train to get to the Southwest C Gates. The process takes about 30 minutes plus it takes 30 minutes from our house to the airport with NO traffic.

Cheaper to Stay at a Hotel Than To Park at the Airport?

mccarran airport parking hack
From the Hyatt website.

Since tomorrow’s flight is our first with the baby and since it departs at 6:40am (great planning on my part), we decided to spend the night at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas. The Hyatt Place here is a category 2 property, meaning it is $55 + 4,000 points if I book with points + cash. I am always looking for Hyatt stays to requalify for Diamond so this is a great solution. Why?

Well the Hyatt Place has an airport shuttle. Additionally I called them and asked if it would be ok for me to leave my car there for a few days. They have a park and fly rate, however I am booked with points + cash. Thankfully they don’t have a problem with it. So lets compare my overall costs:

  • Park for 5 days at McCarran: $50


  • Stay at Hyatt Place with free parking: $55 ($61.60 including tax) + 4,000 points

But it is actually better than that. I am going to use a Hyatt gift card I acquired at 25% off to pay for the room. That brings my out of pocket cost including tax to $46.20. (Less than parking at the airport!) Also, my points cost is only 3142 since I get 500 points for being Diamond and I earn points for the stay.

But wait there’s more! This will be my 10th night during Hyatt’s Sweet Dreams promotion, so it will earn 10,000 bonus points. Adding that all up, my final cash cost is $46.20 and I will gain 6,858 points! Not bad. (I do recognize that any stay would earn those points, however I don’t have any more nights planned before the end of September.)


This strategy works well for me, because I get a much needed stay to re-qualify for Diamond, we save a couple of bucks on parking, I earn thousands of points and we will probably save 30-45 minutes on what I am sure will be a stressful travel morning.  Not the best hack in the world, but a worthy way to start Baby Elizabeth’s first international adventure. Mexico City here we come!

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  1. For Will:
    Which are the Richmond IHG’s that will let you park for $3.50/day (and I assume use the shuttle) even if you don’t stay the night? Do you call ahead and arrange it? I live in Lynchburg, so we often fly SW out of Richmond. Thanks!

  2. Shawn- You can park at the Double Tree on Warm Springs and take the shuttle or walk to the rental car terminal for free. I have friends at Aristocrat gaming in the building next door and they say the parking lot there is patrolled all night long and they all either park in their own lot or the Double Tree for work trips.

    • It’s great to know that Doubletree doesn’t check. My brother’s office used to be right across the street from the car rental facility, so I would leave my car there sometimes for weekend trips. Nice to know I have another option. Thanks Paul.

  3. Sorry, left a sentence garbled…. I’ve often found hotels near airports that either didn’t charge for long term parking, or had quiet great deals… (Candlewood at Norfolk (ORF), for example, is totally free, and there’s two IHG’s near Richmond that charge just $3.50 per night, if you’re not staying, or nothing extra if you’re staying a night with them a night on points. (Officially, they’ll tell you on the phone they’ll charge $10 extra, but then don’t add it to the bill….) Funny thing, there’s a half dozen different hotels near RIC airport — and I’m told despite being nominally run by competing chains, they all are owned by the same local company. (vegas like — oh never mind. )

    • Haha! Good to know about Richmond. I have often taken advantage of park and fly or park and cruise deals! Anything to save some money. In some cities it makes sense, especially if the hotel has a good shuttle. When the shuttle isn’t convenient, it can stink when you are tired upon your return.

      • Hey Sean/Will: So if I want to pull some cheaper or free weekend parking at Airport Hotels and take the hotel airport shuttle, is this YMMV or is this a “known” loophole benefit? I am asking because I want to know if this is a consistent welcomed policy or is this more of a under the table soon-to-be-killed deal that if too many people do it, they will enforce parking rules. I wanted clarification because I dont want to come back and see my car towed or have a fatty ticket.

        I know in this case, Sean called them and asked if it would be ok for me to leave the car there for a few days. But since they have a park and fly rate, what is the best strategy? Stay there for at least a night but park for a week?

        • It is really going to depend on the property. In my case I was booked on a points+cash rate so there was no way to do a park and fly. There really isn’t a rule. The best thing to do is call the property, but if you are staying there they generally will let you park for free.

  4. How interesting — stayed at the same Hyatt place last month, once arriving and once before leaving LAS — yes, very nice Hyatt; friendly folks there, and you didn’t get hit with time-share salespeople (the miserable, omnipresent types at all the casinos on the strip) As soon as you walk in, these high-pressure scam artists pretend to be your friend before they fleece your time.

    Hyatt Place LAS, by contrast, one of the few hotels ANYWHERE in Vegas with coffee, fridge & micros in your rooms, included breakfast, free business centers, and yes, the very short hotel shuttles. (city ordinance apparently, forbids the resorts on the strip from having their own “shuttles” — and the rail system oh so not conveniently only connects the biggest of the resorts, but not the airport) Had a generally miserable time in Vegas — and I didn’t gamble….. just really turned off by the super greedy, scam like atmosphere — where like Frontier and Spirit Airlines, they low ball you during the week to get you into their “paradises” — then waaaaaay over-charge you for everything. (including the TV, the water, …. next thing, charges for air conditioning…. too many incorrect charges got slipped into my bills too)

    But again, Hyatt Place Vegas/Airport was not like its MGM kin… nice place.

    Have done your similar points stays for in the IHG family of hotels… (often close to free) good plan to never have to pay on airport parking fees on long term stays.

    Another tip for travelers to tourist-trap Vegas…. there’s a dollar car rental location within a few hundred yards of the Hyatt Airport location (4775 Swenson St) — This is NOT the Dollar rental car location you’d get if you were renting via the airport (LAS — but it’s just as close — if not a tad closer == and even w/n walking distance!) If you search for car rental rates, type in Las Vegas, but not just LAS, chances are (ha!) you’ll get much, much better rates with the off-airport (but actually very close to airport) location….. (and oh so convenient if you’re staying at next door Hyatt Place — but don’t tell anybody, lest the greedy Vegas casino magnates kill it) Oh, and while there, I DID hear about a fascinating fight between UBER and the same… (one wonders exactly why the Sheldon Adelson’s of the world so determined to keep out uber? Go figure)

    Ah, maybe before I ever again hazard setting foot in Vegas, you can post your own take on how to avoid being taken in Vegas…. 🙂 It’s yr town. I hated it — yet loved Utah.

  5. I do this in Atlanta too but on long trips the cost of the room is usually the same as or lower than the cost of parking, so I net out the gain in points & status every time.


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