Las Vegas is one of the most unique travel destinations in America and also one of the most visited. In 2018, Las Vegas hosted over 41 million visitors — that’s more people than the entire population of California. To add to the picture, in 2017, the average Vegas visitor spent $662 per stay. When you run the numbers, that adds up to billions of dollars spent in Las Vegas by tourists every year.
While everyone should travel to Las Vegas at least once to experience the Bellagio’s fountains or famous performers like Cher, planning ahead to have the best travel credit card for Vegas on hand can save you a significant amount of money.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the best credit cards for Vegas, what makes them such a good fit for Vegas-style spending, and how to make sure your next trip to Vegas doesn’t put you in the red (though you can’t blame any gambling losses on us, OK?).
- How to choose the best credit card for Vegas
- The 5 best credit cards for Vegas
- The 2 best business credit cards to use in Las Vegas
- Having a multiple-credit-card strategy could earn you the most
- Why we chose these cards (methodology)
- The bottom line on the best credit cards for Vegas
How to choose the best credit card for Vegas
Is there one “perfect” travel credit card for Vegas? Unfortunately, no. The perfect card is the one that best fits your personal expenses and travel style.
Las Vegas expenses can vary widely, as there are outstanding hotels, expensive restaurants, high-end luxury clothing shops, and pricey tourist attractions. But on the other end of the spectrum, even though the infamous Las Vegas buffets aren’t as cheap as they used to be, you can still find ways to spend time in Vegas on a budget. With all these varying types of purchases, different cards will earn you more than others. So again, the best credit card for Vegas is the one that earns you the most on what you choose to spend.
With all of this in mind, one of the credit cards below will no doubt help you enjoy the luxury of Las Vegas without a luxurious price tag. Here are five different cards that can save you money while visiting Las Vegas.
The 5 best credit cards for Vegas
|Card||Best for||Welcome bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Hotels (on and off the Strip)||Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases||$450 (See rates and fees)|
|American Express Gold Card||Restaurants||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months||4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases||$250 (See rates and fees)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Cabs and rideshares||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else||$550|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card||Entertainment||Earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months||8% cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats (through January 2022), 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores (excludes superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% cash back on all other purchases||$95|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||All expenses||Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months||5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases||$0|
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton has a surprising amount of properties throughout Las Vegas. Whether you’re looking for a simple airport hotel or an ultra-luxury property like the Waldorf Astoria on the Las Vegas Strip, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card can greatly increase both the quality and earnings of your stay.
Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months with this card. Along with the healthy welcome offer, you’ll earn complimentary Diamond status, one weekend night reward per cardmember year, a $250 Hilton Resort statement credit, a $250 airline fee credit, a $100 on-property Hilton credit, access to Priority Pass Select, and more. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is one of the best hotel credit cards because of its robust perks.
When you use this card, you’ll earn 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases. So if you pay for a room at a Hilton property with this card, you’ll enjoy a great return on your spending.
Given that one of the largest expenses of visiting Las Vegas is typically the hotel accommodations, this card can potentially save you hundreds of dollars by helping you earn lots of points. For example, the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas costs 80,000 Hilton Honors points for a one-night stay in November 2019. But if you were to earn this card’s welcome offer, you’d almost have enough points to cover a two-night stay. However, keep in mind that these rates fluctuate based on availability, so the amount of points needed per night can change.
Bottom line: Regardless of what kind of hotel you prefer, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a Hilton property in Las Vegas where you can apply your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire perks.
American Express Gold Card
One of the best parts of visiting Las Vegas is the incredible food scene. You have endless fare to choose from, and hefty rewards points earnings are there for the taking. With the American Express Gold Card you’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. To add to your points balance, you’ll be able to earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases in the first first 6 months. These points are incredibly valuable, as they can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel rewards programs.
If you’re a traveling foodie, the perks from this card are perfect for your travel and food needs. With the American Express Gold Card, you’ll receive a $10-per-month statement credit to Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. You can use this dining credit in Las Vegas using Grubhub or Seamless to deliver food to your hotel room. Or you can visit The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, or Shake Shack to redeem your $10 credit for that month.
Bottom line: If you love to eat out, there’s no better card to have than the American Express Gold Card. And with the amount of incredible restaurants in Las Vegas, you’ll be earning valuable rewards in no time.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
While in Vegas, navigating the Strip can be a bit overwhelming. If you plan on walking the entire Strip, you may find yourself a bit exhausted, especially during the sweltering summer months. One of the best ways to bounce between hotels and restaurants is via rideshare or taxi.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else. The 10X points on Lyft rides is an incredible value for cardmembers. Plus, Uber and taxi purchases fall under the travel spending category with this card, netting you 3X points for every trip.
So when you hail your next ride, consider using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as it’s known to be one of the best credit cards for ridesharing because of its high earnings. Additionally, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to a number of airline and hotel partners, which makes earning with this card incredibly powerful.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a long list of travel-specific perks, including a $300 travel credit, outstanding travel insurance policies, airport lounge access, and more.
Bottom line: If you plan to use rideshares or taxis while in Las Vegas, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be worth the investment for the points earnings.
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card
If attending performances, concerts, or other attractions is something you enjoy, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card is a great option to reduce the cost of tickets. With this card, you’ll earn 8% cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats (through January 2022), 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores (excludes superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
If you have a large amount of entertainment expenses, this card can earn you great cash back. Capital One defines “entertainment” as the following: “Ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls or bowling alleys. This excludes golf courses, collegiate sporting events and non-industry entertainment merchant codes like cable, digital streaming and membership services.”
Along with great cashback potential, you can earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. You also gain access to complimentary concierge service, travel assistance services, and travel accident insurance.
Bottom line: If you plan to purchase concert, performance, or sporting event tickets, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card may be a great way to save money on your experiences while visiting Las Vegas.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you’re looking for generous cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is an excellent choice. You’ll earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. That means if you were to spend $1,000 on a weekend in Las Vegas using the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’d earn $15 back on your stay.
Along with the lucrative cash back, the card comes with other perks. If you’re looking for an intro APR (annual percentage rate), the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with 0% for 12 months on purchases. It also offers purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to save money on all your Las Vegas purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great option.
The 2 best business credit cards to use in Las Vegas
If you’re an entrepreneur, solopreneur, side hustler, or business owner traveling to Vegas for work, consider one of these two cards:
|Card||Best for||Welcome bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Business Platinum Card from American Express||Flights and hotels||Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases within the first 3 months||5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com, 1.5X points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, and 1X points per $1 spent on other purchases||$595 (See rates and fees)|
|Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express||General spending||0% intro APR on purchases||2X Membership Rewards points on business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on purchases after that||$0 (See rates and fees)|
Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum Card from American Express is full of benefits, perks, and earning potential.
First, the card has a wide array of benefits suited for a luxurious stay in Las Vegas: Amex Global Lounge Collection access, including Centurion Lounge access (there’s one at the Las Vegas airport); a $200 airline fee credit; up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; Fine Hotels & Resorts complimentary benefits; complimentary status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy; and more.
Second, the card has a great welcome offer and earning potential. Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. And when you use this card, you’ll earn 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com, 1.5X points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, and 1X points per $1 spent on other purchases. These Membership Rewards points are extremely valuable, as you can transfer them to several different airlines or hotel rewards programs of your choice.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling to Las Vegas on business, the Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great investment to better your travel experience.
Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
If you want a simpler card without having to worry about spending categories, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is nothing to scoff at.
With the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, you can earn 2X Membership Rewards points on business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on purchases after that. If you’re able to maximize the spending threshold of $50,000 in one year, you’d have 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards in your possession. With this card, you can transfer points to a select list of airline and hotel rewards programs. So, in essence, your expenses for one trip could earn you free travel for the next one.
The best part of all this points-earning potential is that this card has no annual fee. And if you plan to drive around Las Vegas, this card comes with car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage).
Bottom line: If you want to score valuable miles that can be transferred for future flights or hotels, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express could be the perfect choice for all your purchases.
Having a multiple-credit-card strategy could earn you the most
You can further your earnings with a credit card strategy that involves using a few cards. If you were to designate a specific card each for your hotel, dining, airline, and transportation costs, you could increase your earnings significantly.
Having multiple cards could be the best strategy for earning the most points or cash back. However, this depends on where you spend your dollars. If you “splurge” only on your business-class flight but otherwise stay within budget accommodations and eat frugally, it might not make that much sense.
Before you head off to Sin City, it’s a great idea to plan out your expenses and pair your credit cards accordingly. If you can do this, your points earnings or cash back can very easily double or triple in your favor. The key is to start your planning early enough that you can select the right cards that fit your expenses.
Why we chose these cards (methodology)
I chose these cards based on expenses of a typical Las Vegas experience. I’ve been to Las Vegas several times, and the costs usually fall around this order:
- Getting to and from Vegas (e.g., driving, flying)
- Food and drink
- Transportation within Las Vegas
With this in mind, I selected cards that can be paired with each of these expenses to help reduce the net cost of each. If you’re not keen on the idea of having a card for every type of expense, select one or two cards for the categories that you expect to be highest. For example, if you want to stay in a luxury hotel and simply sit by the pool all day (as opposed to going to shows and events), a hotel card would totally fit your needs.
The bottom line on the best credit cards for Vegas
The best credit card for Vegas is the one that earns you the most points or cash back, raises your experience through upgrades or perks, or provides a combination of these.
The best way to execute your Vegas plan is to reverse engineer your trip. What are you envisioning for your Vegas adventure? Once you have an idea of what your trip looks like, check out the credit cards that can help alleviate the costs of the high-expense areas.
Have fun in Vegas, and feel free to join our FBZ Elite - Travel and Points Facebook group to share some pictures from your trip!