Some travel policies adopted during the pandemic look like they're here to stay (goodbye, airline change fees!). Others proved to be fleeting (goodbye, empty middle seats on airplanes!).
It turns out free parking at Las Vegas casinos belongs to the latter category.
MGM Resorts will bring back paid parking at its dozen properties (including MGM Grand, pictured above, as well as the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, New York-New York, and others) starting in June.
Back when the Las Vegas Strip reopened in May 2020 following coronavirus-related shutdowns, MGM and its big rival, Caesars Entertainment (which has 10 Vegas resorts), dropped fees for self-parking in an effort to lure customers back.
Now that business is on the rebound, MGM has decided to reward its returning guests by charging them way too much for something that used to be free.
After all, that's the MGM m.o.: The chain introduced paid parking to the Strip in the first place in 2016; free parking had been a gimme up until then. (Not incidentally, the company is being sued over its resort fees, which also charge for amenities and services once included in the standard room rate.)
Caesars eventually followed suit with its own self-parking fees, though a company spokesperson told USA Today that Caesars properties will continue their pandemic policy of waiving parking charges for hotel guests and Nevada residents for now. Some parking fees for visitors not staying overnight were reinstated in October.
A handful of other casino-hotels, including Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Circus Circus, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and Wynn Las Vegas, offer complimentary parking, pandemic or no.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MGM explained its return to paid parking by arguing that "service and business needs are changing rapidly" and "we're focused on expanding our amenities and workforce to accommodate increasing numbers of guests as demand grows and visitation continues rising.”
At least nobody mentioned "these unprecedented times."
Set to go into effect June 1, the new fee structure for self-parking at all MGM properties in Vegas does allow for one pitiful hour of free parking (or three hours for local residents).
From there, you'll be charged $15 to $18, depending on how long your car is in a spot, at the chain's three fanciest hotels, the Bellagio, Aria, and Vdara.
The range at all other MGM resorts is $12 to $15.
Valet parking, which has been on hold at many Vegas hotels since the city reopened, will also return to all MGM locations by June 1. Fees for that service range from $18 to $35.