Free Las Vegas Parking at MGM Resorts Ending

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MGM will soon start charging self-parking fees for many of their Las Vegas strip hotels, according to the New York Times.

The properties affected:

MGM Grand
Bellagio
Mandalay Bay
The Mirage
CityCenter complex
Delano
Luxor
Excalibur
Monte Carlo
New York-New York
Vdara
Aria

How much will the new self-parking cost at MGM strip properties?

The new self-park cost is expected to be around $10 per day or less where previously it was 100% free. Valet fees will go up as well, though no fee table has been provided just yet.

Circus Circus will continue to offer free self-parking fees, but valet will now have a cost. Also exempt from the parking fees (for now) are The Signature Towers, Crystals, and Mandalay Bay Place shopping malls.

When will the new parking fees start?

The new fees will go into affect sometime between April and June, which hits leisure travelers at the worst time – the start of summer vacations. Websites that offer guides to Las Vegas parking (and where the free lots are) might start seeing a lot more visitors. Here’s a link to the Vegas Insider website that you might want to bookmark.

What is the money being spent on?

In an effort to expand and “enhance” parking spaces, the money is helping subsidize MGM Resort International’s brand-new $54 million, 3,000 space parking structure near the Excalibur hotel. They’re also trying to draw more attendance to the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena too which will be easy to access from the structure, as well as provide parking for folks going to the new 5,000 seat Theater at Monte Carlo.

Construction on the parking structure is set to start late spring of 2016, and completion is currently estimated for the second quarter of 2017, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

How can you avoid paying the parking fees?

If you’re a Las Vegas local, MGM says you’ll get a grace period after the fees start. MGM also reported that nonresident guests can “earn free-parking status through the M life program” that many frequent travelers are now a part of thanks to MLife’s partnership with Hyatt Gold Passport. “Earn” to me means that it won’t be a published benefit, but there are no more details on the specifics just yet.

David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas says that “the success of the parking program — and whether or not other Strip casino operators jump on the idea — depends on how visitors react to the change. Ultimately, it’s up to the customer. Casino companies will be watching to see if MGM customers are simply using other casinos for parking because the location is free.”

I find this a little difficult to believe, because the majority of MGM properties are at one end of the strip. In the sweltering summer heat, it seems a little unlikely that hordes of people will actively seek out a parking garage far from their destination just to save $10. Then again, there is always going to be someone unwilling to pay more than they need to.

In my mind, Las Vegas resorts often charge such ridiculously high resort fees that the free parking always made sense. MGM Grand’s resort fee as an example is $33.60 a day! I wrote about my trip to Vegas using my husband’s MLife Noir status, and they mentioned that they didn’t waive resort fees “for anybody”.

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Many travelers flying in from out of town at least have the option to take a hotel shuttle and forgo the rental car, but there’s a huge group of travelers that are within the drive-to market from Los Angeles and San Diego that come in for the weekend with their own cars. I’ll be curious to see if more travelers (with rental cars and their own vehicles) seek out free parking or just grumble about the extra cost.

Maybe it’s time to stay at one of the four Secret Las Vegas Luxury Hotels. Other hotels have also publicly announced that they will not be adding parking fees for now), such as the Cosmopolitan, Palazzo, Venetian, and Caesar’s Palace.

What do you think of the new parking fees?

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  1. Left Handed Passenger
    Reply

    What hotel shuttle? Las Vegas strip hotels don’t do airport shuttles.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      Left Handed Passenger, you’re right that there are no free airport shuttles to hotels on the Vegas strip. Clark County regulations unfortunately prohibit those individual hotels from operating private shuttles to and from the airport. There are of course, hotel shuttles like the one at the Venetian that offer fee-based service for about $8.00.

      However, I’d meant to point out that while taking transportation like a shuttle or cab is a possibility for some, those with their own cars are stuck either trying to find a free place to park or get hit with the new daily parking fees. It’s not any better for those with rental cars though, as they’ll run into the same issue.

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