Finding the best rates on Atlantic City hotel rooms (without comps)

Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight app

One of the things I’m asked most frequently by friends who are planning an Atlantic City trip is how to find the best rates on hotel rooms. This is probably because I’m constantly extolling the virtues of The World’s Playground as an affordable getaway destination. The honest (and unhelpful) answer I give my friends is that the best discounts go to those who have a history of play at the casinos. But what if you don’t have Total Rewards Diamond status or a Borgata Black Card? What if you don’t have a players club card at all? That’s when you end up at online travel sites like Kayak and Expedia staring at Saturday hotel rates that wouldn’t look out of place in New York City.

As much as you’ve heard about AC’s struggles, it still draws big weekend crowds and the room rates reflect that — especially in the summer. But there are some ways to shave a few bucks off your stay.

Hotel Tonight
If you’re willing to fly by the seat of your pants, Hotel Tonight can be a great way to score a deeply discounted rate. Starting at noon, Hotel Tonight posts that night’s rates from hotels looking to fill unsold rooms at the last minute. Of course, if you pick an especially busy weekend you might find yourself out of luck. Get the app for Android or iOS.

Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates
If you want the security of knowing you have a room booked in advance, but are still adventurous enough to pay for something without knowing what it is, try your luck with Priceline Express Deals and Hotwire Hot Rates for “too low to advertise” prices. My biggest recommendation is to look for places listed specifically as casino hotels (or where “casino” is included among the amenities) because that narrows the field down to eight places, none of which will be unbearable. Sometimes a little more sleuthing can allow you to figure out what hotel you’re getting. For example a hotel with both “casino” and “pet friendly” in the amenities can only be Harrah’s. Also, any casino hotel that lists a $22.80 resort fee should be a Caesars property. You can also try to match up the TripAdvisor rating and number of reviews, but I’m not sure how reliable that is. For more detail, check the Priceline and Hotwire hotel lists on BetterBidding.com to see what other people have ended up getting.

On a side note, I generally advise against using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price feature for Atlantic City hotels because the filters aren’t specific enough to guarantee you don’t end up in a bad part of town.

Caesars semi-annual sales
Sometimes it seems like Caesars “semi-annual sale” never ends. I’m sure there are periods when it’s not available, but if one ends you can probably be pretty confident that another will start before too long. If you go to TotalRewards.com, the sale banner should be the first item that appears in the slider. Clicking it will take you to a rate calendar that you can then filter to your desired location (Atlantic City, obviously) and see a full month of room rates. Even though it is run through the Total Rewards website, you do not need to be a member or be logged in to view the sale rates.

ID.me discounts at Caesars properties
Military personnel, students, teachers, and first responders who are registered with ID.me can get up to 15% off at Caesars, Bally’s, and Harrah’s. When you’re viewing the rate calendar, simply click the applicable ID.me icon on the left side and log in to your ID.me account. The rate calendar will update with the discount applied. It’s free to join (you just need to prove you’re eligible), and the discount can be added on top of the semi-annual sale prices.

Atlantic City Hotel Experts
ACHotelExperts.com is a fairly basic hotel booking site that focuses exclusively on hotels in the Atlantic City area. While you may find similar rates by going directly to hotel websites, the real value is in calling them for unpublished rates. Dial them up at 1-888-392-8288, and they may have lower rates than what you’re seeing on their site or elsewhere. They also offer a 5% discount on one-night stays and a 10% discount on multiple-night stays if you mention the code “SAVE10%” over the phone.

As always, remember the only thing that matters is the final price. A room with a lower advertised rate might end up more expensive than other options after fees. Check out our list of casino hotel resort fees here.

If all you’re concerned about is a cheap room within the city limits, you can certainly check the non-casino hotels as they typically have significantly cheaper rates than the casinos. I personally think it adds a lot to the experience to be in a casino hotel, but if you don’t need that (or even prefer to be away from it), there are a few options:

  • Sheraton Convention Center. Catering to convention attendees, the Sheraton is an easy walk to Caesars and Bally’s and just steps from The Walk outlets. It’s typically one of the most expensive non-casino hotels but it’s still worth looking into, especially if you have Starwood Preferred points.
     
  • Courtyard by Marriott. This is a bit further from the action. On a map it looks like it’s just a couple blocks off the Boardwalk with easy access to Resorts, but they’re long blocks — especially if you’ve had a long night at the blackjack table or the bar. However, the rooms are very nice and the prices are usually much better than you’d find at the casinos. I’d suggest taking a cab if you’re heading back late at night, though.
     
  • The Claridge Hotel. When The Claridge was Bally’s neglected, low-rent tower, Kyle and I stayed there for one night and vowed never again. But in 2014 it was sold to TJM Properties who renovated it with an eye on Prohibition-era charm. Since then, the reviews have been mostly positive. Just make sure you get a renovated room.
     
  • The Chelsea BUT NOT THE ANNEX. The Chelsea bills itself as “Atlantic City’s return to glamour,” and its pink neon signage and modern decor may bring to mind either Miami or the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. I think they pissed some people off a few years ago when they offered Groupon deals that appeared to be steeply discounted room rates, only to stash those people in their grody Annex building. Now The Chelsea and The Annex are listed on most sites as separate hotels. Know what you’re getting!
     
  • Days Inn Oceanfront-Boardwalk. Just a heads up: you will get multiple locations when you search “Days Inn Atlantic City” on Google or Hotels.com or wherever else. You want the Days Inn Oceanfront at 3000 Boardwalk at Morris Ave., not the Days Inn Beachblock on Kentucky Ave., or the Days Inn Absecon-Atlantic City that is 10 miles from the casinos out on White Horse Pike in Absecon and definitely not in Atlantic City. The Oceanfront location gets decent reviews and is conveniently located on the Boardwalk next to Tropicana. It’s a Days Inn so keep your expectations in check.
     
  • Tryp By Wyndham. The former Ascot Motel got a full facelift and rebranding under the Wyndham umbrella in 2014. They’ve enclosed it just enough that it’s technically a hotel now, but all the room doors open to outside so it still looks like a motel to me. The reviews are mixed (many guests complain about noise) but if you’re on a really tight budget and want to be steps from the Boardwalk, it’s a better bet than the Baymont Inn & Suites.

Disclaimer: This list is in no way an endorsement of these hotels. The only one I’ve stayed at is the Courtyard.

If you have any other tips or tricks for finding discounted rooms in Atlantic City, post them in the comments! And we’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a great (or not so great) experience in any of the hotels listed above, or if you’ve got any other recommendations on places not listed.

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One Response to Finding the best rates on Atlantic City hotel rooms (without comps)

  1. Pingback: DFAW Atlantic City Podcast #12: What Won’t Revel Be? | Due For A Win

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