I am flying to Vegas this September using points from my Southwest Airlines frequent flyer program. (By the way, if you have not already done so, consider getting the SW credit card when they advertise two free flights, or 50,000+ bonus points. Yes, you will need to use this credit card to purchase $2-3K in the first three months and also pay an annual fee. But its well worth it to get these 50,000+ bonus points which can be used to get gift cards to stores like Walmart, 10,000 points for a $100 gift card! Also use the points for free flights especially when they run promo rates for certain destinations and routes.)
I found out that its possible to book free flights in such a way that you end up using less than half of the points required to fly direct between cities. Instead of booking a direct flight from Sac to Vegas, I booked a flight from Sac to Long Beach that makes a connection through Vegas. This flight costs 2/3 less points than the direct flight from Sac to Vegas. I simply will not make the connecting flight in Vegas and remain in Vegas. Yes you cannot check luggage this way, but I can easily get by with just a carry on bag anyway. My return trip will involve two different flights, the first from Vegas to Long Beach, and the second from Long Beach to Sac. The total points needed for both of these separate flights is about half of the points needed to fly directly from Vegas to Sac.
Please contact me if you have any questions.