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Monday, December 5th 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YYC." - Chris Myden



2013
22
August
Calgary to Las Vegas | How To Get The Best Package Deals


Guides >> North America >> Nevada >> Packages from Calgary to Las Vegas

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flight & Hotel Packages From Calgary to Las Vegas

Ydeals logo There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on packages to Vegas. They don't.

They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there are really only two sources of unique prices on packages to Las Vegas from Calgary.

This guide will remove the noise and show you what those sources are, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.

What are the unique sources of prices on packages from Calgary to Vegas ?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

There are 2 Canadian Tour Operators that offer vacation packages from Calgary to Vegas, and they are:
Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations.

Where should I look to get the best flight and hotel package deal?

Well, you could just search Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations own websites, individually, since there are only 2 Canadian Tour Operators to search.

There are also *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that re-sell Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations packages, and most allow you to search both tour operators at once. This is the noise.

You may already be familiar with some of the travel sites & vacation brands that spend the most on advertising, such as:

RedTag iTravel2000 Flight Network Sell Off Vacations Tripcentral
Flight Centre Signature Vacations Sears Travel Escapes Marlin Travel

This is by no means a complete list of all the competing Canadian-based travel sites. The only important thing you need to know, as someone searching for the best deal from Calgary to Las Vegas, is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same sources, and all trying to sell you the exact same packages, at the exact same prices.

One site or brand can't offer a lower price travel deal than their competition, and they can't legally change the vacation package prices themselves anyways.

In other words, it is a huge waste of your valuable time to check any more than one of the Canadian-based travel sites. A large number of Canadians out there have been fooled into thinking they are comparison shopping, since no travel site or brand will ever admit that their prices are identical to their competition.

You may also have seen a search tool right here on YYC Deals, which is called the Ultimate Package Deal Finder.

Since all travel sites rely on the same data provided by the tour operators, the prices generated by the Deal Finder may end up being the same, but this proprietary tool has some innovative features found nowhere else but here.

In addition to the ability to search extremely wide date ranges, it analyzes your specific requests and travel desires, then correlates with millions of TripAdvisor reviews and price variations to produce a list of true package deals.

This ensures you get the best value for your money on a Vegas package, not just the cheapest option out there at some one-star dive. It can even plot those finely filtered quality resort results on Google Maps for you.

What about my local travel agency or independent travel agent?

If it's through a travel agency in Canada, or a Canadian travel agent, you can think of them as being identical to the sites I just mentioned above. They're accessing the exact same prices, and from the same sources as the sites above, and trying to sell you the exact same packages. And they can't offer a price that's any different than any other holiday site or travel package brand.

When should I book to get the best price on Vegas packages from the tour operators in Canada?

This is never an easy question to answer, as package prices are not 100% predictable. The tour operators start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see.

If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence travel capacity demand can be unpredictable.

How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Canadian Tour Operators are generally more apt than other sources to offer a discount on their package prices with under 4 weeks to go before departure. But there's never a guarantee that they will.

What about last minute holiday package deals?

Great last minute package deals to Vegas from the Canadian Tour Operators are not nearly as common as most people tend to think. They're certainly not as common as the last minute price cuts from the Canadian Tour Operators to warm Caribbean destinations. Demand for Vegas is pretty steady, and prices generally are too.

What's a decent price on a package vacation to Vegas?

From Calgary, 3-4 night packages to Las Vegas from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $450 - $550 per person, after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year. And of course it can vary wildly, depending on the quality of the hotel involved in the package.

Package prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to Vegas (such as dates when many people in Calgary have holiday time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.

Long weekends are also notorious for driving up Vegas flight and hotel costs. Many destinations have higher package prices over long weekends, but this is especially true for Vegas. Big conventions (of which there are many in Vegas) can also impact prices. Fewer empty rooms demand higher prices.

Vegas also has two distinct 'seasons', and they have nothing to do with the weather. There's the 'off-season' which is the middle of the week, and the 'peak season' which is the weekend. The difference in package prices between these two seasons can be night and day. There's just way more demand for anything to do with Las Vegas and the weekend, and higher demand always means higher prices.

What about packages with non-stop (direct) flights to Vegas?

From Calgary, both Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations offer non-stop (direct) flights with their packages. The flight time is 2 hours and 40 minutes each way.

Unique Source #2 - The Flight & Hotel Combiners

The Flight & Hotel Combiners are sites that simply mash together the latest flight prices from the major airlines with the latest hotel prices to create a package. They tend to be U.S. based brands (but offer packages from Canada).

Where should I look to get the best deal?

This is the noise. The flight price component of the package from the major airlines is identical for every site that offers these types of packages. There may be a slight differences in their source of hotel prices, but for the most part they're all grabbing the latest hotel prices from similar sources, at similar prices.

The result is that the Flight & Hotel Combiners usually all have virtually identical package prices to each other, and people tend to waste a lot of time thinking they are comparing prices from unique sources against each other, when they're not.

Here are the Flight & Hotel Combiners that spend the most on advertising, you have likely heard of at least one of them...

Expedia Travelocity Book It Orbitz Hotwire

There's also Vegas.com which is a popular Flight & Hotel Combiner site that is specific to Las Vegas.

How can I compare the Flight & Hotel Combiners against the Canadian Tour Operators?

When comparing packages, you always want to keep as many variables the same as possible. For example, remember that the Flight & Hotel Combiners are using the cheapest price they find from the major airlines when generating their package prices.

This can sometimes mean the default flight involved is a terrible one, with multiple layovers. Contrast that with the Canadian Tour Operators, who typically like to use non-stop (direct) flights with their packages.

For a fair comparison, you would also want to make sure the hotel quality is similar (or ideally, the same hotel) when comparing packages. And of course, similar dates and number of nights, as these factors can affect pricing.

When should I book my trip to get the best price from the Flight & Hotel Combiners?

Try to remember that at the end of the day, the travel packages offered by the Flight & Hotel Combiners are simply made up of two components:

1) The latest Calgary to Las Vegas flight prices from the major airlines. The major airlines don't tend to offer great last minute prices, so waiting until the last minute can backfire. I find that the major airlines tend to usually offer their most decent prices around 8 weeks before departure.

2) The latest Las Vegas hotel prices. It's more common to see Las Vegas hotels offer discounts at the last minute, but then you have to weigh that against the fact that the flight price component from the major airlines can rise as the date nears, meaning the package price could go up.

So as a whole I'd probably consider the flight price component as being the limiting factor, and suggest that I'd be comfortable watching prices from the Flight & Hotel Combiners up to about 8 weeks before departure. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.

What about booking flight & hotel separately? Is that cheaper or more expensive than a package?

People often want to know if booking a package to Vegas is better or worse than booking separately. The answer is, well, there is no correct answer. Doing one or the other can be cheaper or more expensive for any given situation. All you can do is try checking prices for both scenarios.

To beat the travel package prices generated by the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you would need to find a hotel price that is better than the source of hotel prices used by the Flight & Hotel combiner sites when generating their package prices.

Is this possible? Yes. But is it likely? Probably not. Hotel prices for the most part have been squeezed down to the point where all the travel brands and search engines out there have fairly identical hotel prices.

I'd suggest starting by finding the cheapest flight to Vegas from Calgary that you can. You may want to start by reading the guide: Calgary to Las Vegas | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

Then find the cheapest hotel rates you can for your dates. Remember that for a fair comparison of a pre-packaged deal vs. building your own, you should always keep as many variables the same as possible, including the flight quality (number of stopovers, layover time), the number of nights for your trip, and either the exact same hotel, or one of similar quality.

A few quick searches on TripAdvisor can tell you if the accommodations are comparable.

I would also suggest that when searching for accommodations in Las Vegas to build your own travel package, you don't use the same site that contains the packages you're comparing against. The total cost has a very good chance of ending up being extremely similar.

An important thing to remember is that there are can be some wonderful hotels and places to stay that aren't 'linked up' with the major travel search engines. As a result, a search for Las Vegas vacation packages using well known travel sites will not return packages that contain these accommodations.

One great site for finding places to stay in Las Vegas can be AirBNB. These are often accommodations where you're renting a room inside a local's own house or apartment. Be sure to look for places with a lot of reviews, and understand exactly what you're getting. You may also want to look at VRBO or HomeAway.

What about non-stop (direct) flights with the Flight & Hotel Combiners to Vegas?

As mentioned earlier in the guide, the Flight & Hotel Combiners often default to the cheapest price available from the major airlines when generating their package prices. So just be aware that this default flight could range from being one that is ideal (non-stop / direct) to one that is terrible (multiple layovers in each direction).

Air Canada and WestJet are the only two airlines with direct flights to Las Vegas from Calgary, so look for packages from the Flight & Hotel Combiners involving either of these two airlines if this is a priority for you.


What about cheap packages to Vegas from U.S. airports within driving distance of Calgary?

If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Calgary, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from a U.S. airport to Vegas that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than a similar package from Calgary.

From Great Falls (GTF) or Kalispell (FCA), Montana

I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from Great Falls or Kalispell to Vegas that's at least $475 less per person than from Calgary.

Your only real chance for a package with this kind of price difference is through Allegiant Air.

Of course, you can also look at the price of 'flights only' to Vegas from Allegiant Air, and try to combine it with a great hotel deal you've found yourself.

Realistically though, after factoring in the driving distance, and possibly needing a hotel in Montana for the night, it's not going to be worth the drive for most people from Calgary. If you live closer to Montana, such as in Lethbridge, it's an option that becomes a lot more attractive, as it's not a whole lot further to drive to Montana than it is to Calgary.


I think I've found a great deal on a getaway package to Vegas!

Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YYC Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Calgary are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.

Or if you prefer, you can always give me a shout through the YYC Deals contact form or on Twitter @YYCdeals or through Google Plus. Great deal finds are always appreciated.


Why should I trust this travel expert guide?

Chris Myden Ydeals The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other.

The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so people can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.

But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YYC Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!


I think I have some info that could help improve the Calgary to Vegas package deals guide!

Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.

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2 Responses to "Calgary to Las Vegas | How To Get The Best Package Deals"


    Has Roger been here?
       Roger on September 18th, 2013

    Yes all sites and travel agents access the same prices offered by tour operators but what about the travel agents that can cut commission? They would then beat any price out there. So asking every travel agent until you find one cheaper than online is sometimes the better route. A lot of time but the savings could make it worth it

    Has Melissa been here?
       Melissa on September 18th, 2013

    Never forget, time has a cost too :)

    The commissions are so low in the travel industry that the savings would likely be fairly insignificant, or actually end up costing you money, after factoring in the cost of your time.

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