It’s baaack. Free parking will return to Wynn-Encore resorts at the end of September, rolling back fees that were introduced two years ago. Each parking structure at the twin hotels will drop valet parking fees for all visitors on Sept. 30.
“Free valet parking is an amenity that is highly appreciated by our guests, and we are pleased to offer it to all of our visitors,” Marilyn Spiegel, president of Wynn Las Vegas, said in a prepared statement. She declined to comment further.
Guests, by the way, refers to anyone visiting the resorts, not just tourists staying at Wynn-Encore. Self-parking charges were dropped May 1.
Free parking was always a perk for the 42 million Las Vegas visitors who come each year. Three years ago, MGM Resorts began charging at its parking lots, and other properties jumped in, including those operated by Caesars Entertainment and Wynn.
Properties on the same corner as Wynn-Encore — the Fashion Show mall, Treasure Island and Venetian-Palazzo — never jumped on the pay-to-park bandwagon and still offer free parking.
Wynn’s paid parking started in August 2017. By July of the following year, the company modified its policy by giving free parking to visitors who spent at least $50 at the resort. If you didn’t spend that much, you received one free hour of self-parking and were charged up to $15 for as long as 24 hours.
Valet prices were a little higher: $24 for two to four hours, and $30 for four to 24 hours (unless you spent $50).
Could other resorts follow suit in dropping parking fees? That remains to be seen. Wynn-Encore is the first to step away from the imposed charges that have drawn criticism from locals and tourists.
Brian Ahern, a spokesman for MGM Resorts, had no comment Tuesday about parking fees at its Strip properties. Rich Broome, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, said the company has no plans to eliminate parking charges.
“This is exactly what they [other resorts] did not want to see,” said Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor newsletter for frequent visitors. “It puts a lot of pressure on the others.”
Wynn-Encore used to bundle parking costs for hotel guests into its $45 nightly resort fee, which is among the highest in Vegas. That fee, which hotels charge for amenities you may or may not use, shoots up to $51 when you add in tax.
Caesars appears to be concerned about resort fees. In a quarterly earnings call with investors last month, CEO Tony Rodio said: “Over time, at some point there’s going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I want us to be very judicious and cautious about taking those rates any further.”
The highest resort fee at a Caesars property is $39, which rises to $44 with tax.
“Resort fees are not going to go away,” Curtis said. “They simply won’t until they’re forced to go away because of court maneuvers or rulings.”
Attorneys general for Nebraska and the District of Columbia have taken legal aim at the disclosure of resort fees at some hotel chains. The recent lawsuits call the fees deceptive and misleading.