Vegas is filled with dozens of hotels and resorts with impressive rooms and amenities for their guests. But these services, in their gorgeousness, can sometimes cost an arm and a leg. They can rob you of hundreds of dollars, especially if you want that high-end treatment and the enjoyment that comes with VIP experiences.
So, how do you enjoy these amenities, which aren’t available to budget travelers? The exclusivity of these amenities is so clearly guarded and only available to the hotels’ favorites, and those are the big-monied folk. To get these coveted rooms and services, you need to be a “friend of the hotel” or at least its staff.
Yes, that’s right. You can get crazy offers and upgrades for just being nice. Imagine getting a VIP suite upgrade for smiling at a front desk clerk. Or you can do more than smile (tip) and amaze your company as you march down the corridors of private VIP suites with the best of the hotel’s offerings. Welcome to the power of money.
What Is the $20 Trick and How Does It Work?
All hotels and resorts in Vegas have different rooms with differing rates. You get a room based on your budget, with hotels having cheap options from a few tens per night to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars per night.
The $20 trick seeks to get you the highest-end service at the cheapest rate. You tip the attendant for a complimentary upgrade, and they work their miracles. It can get you the coveted presidential and chairman suites or the perks of late checkouts and early check-in, among many other services. Mind you, the upgrades were outside of your booked package at the hotel. You are getting free upgrades here.
Step 1: Tuck in a $20 bill between your credit card and ID card before handing them to the reception desk during check-in.
Step 2: Hand the sandwich to the front desk attendant of your hotel.
Step 3: Inquire if they have any free upgrades available.
By following those simple sets of instructions, you are given a ticket into the land of Vegas lingua franca. Watch the magic happen now. The tense part is the clicking sound as the attendant smashes the keyboard, searching for the possible options.
When performing this trick, always expect two results: yes or no. As a general rule that no one wrote, the attendant will return the tip if they can’t upgrade you. However, they work as hard as humanly possible to ensure that you get a room upgrade. That will mean they will get to give back the small-time salary that comes early, and no one wants to give back the money.
Does the $20 Still Work in Vegas?
The love language in Vegas is dollars, and your stay can be a whole lot better when you spend a few more bucks. Restaurants and resorts ensure their top-paying customers get the best service. Greasing the hands of your attendant at the hotel during check-in can multiply your results in getting the best service in the Vegas hospitality scene.
Many travelers online will ask whether the trick always works in Vegas on websites like Yelp and Tripadvisor. Like any other hack, the trick is not foolproof, nor is it a promise of guaranteed success. There are instances when the hack will fail. That could be for several reasons, like:
- The reception clerk doesn’t like you-it happens, so don’t frown. Count your losses, and stay in the booked room or suite.
- The hotel doesn’t have any upgrades available. Most hotels will have upgrades available, but sometimes they aren’t available at the time of your check-in. Remember, these are complementary—not paid upgrades.
- Strict hotels instruct their staff not to accept tips for upgrades. They reinstate that a visitor has to pay the upgrade fee stated by the company.
Don’t scold anyone or be sad that the staff refused to give you an upgrade. Upgrades aren’t always available, and service differs from hotel to hotel. You can get an upgrade worth thousands of dollars or just a few incentives like coupons or rooms with windows. You can also get nothing.
There’s a trick hotel attendants use: they upgrade you to a different room, which is just the same room on a different floor or facing the other side of the street. They just want your $20 so badly that they lie. But you can’t complain because you were attempting to obtain freebies first.
To avoid being duped, take note of your room amenities and size so that you get a better room in the upgrade, not a different color of the same room. Also, some hotels do have upgrades, specifically for bookings made on their official websites. The reason they are scanty about giving additional perks to third-party bookers is that the third-party booking platforms charge on your booking, meaning the hotels get less.
At Which Hotels in Vegas Does the $20 Trick Work?
Most hotels in Vegas will entertain the $20 trick. But assumptions aside, there are hotels in which consumer reports indicate that the trick has a higher percentage of working. The list below offers guidance following substantial feedback from client reviews. It’s to help you understand which hotels are the best hunting grounds for cheap upgrades using the $20 Holy Grail.
|No.||Hotel/Resort||% for the $20 trick to work|
|2||Palazzo at The Venetian||92%|
|5||Wynn Las Vegas||89%|
|12||Paris Las Vegas||83%|
Where in Vegas Does the $20 Trick Not Work?
As much as most resorts in Vegas will smile at the idea of receiving twenty bucks in place of a room upgrade, not all will fall for this. Some are strict in their rules, instructing their staff not to entertain such practices. The outline below will help you know which hotels to avoid like the plague if you want to practice the coveted $20 trick. The classification is made in light of reviews by clients who tried the trick in these hotels.
- Vdara-less than 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- The LINQ-less than a 40% chance of getting an upgrade
- Plaza-less than 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- Main Street Station–less than 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- Golden Gate–less than 40% chance of getting an upgrade
- Fremont-visitors report a slight chance of getting an upgrade at this hotel
- El Cortez-less than 40% chance of getting an upgrade
- Downtown Grand-less than 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- Circa-less than 40% chance of getting an upgrade
- California-less than 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- Binion’s-less than a 50% chance of getting an upgrade
- Aria-less than 40% chance of getting an upgrade, although it depends on the day of the week. You are more likely to be upgraded on weekdays than on weekends.
Alternatives to the $20 Trick in Vegas
So much talk about the $20 trick can make you wonder, “What’s up with this trick?” You know what, here is another alternative to the trick you ought to try out, and you may be lucky enough to land a deal as well. It cannot hurt to try other options, isn’t that right?
Most of the rooms that you get upgraded to are usually complementary, meaning they are freebies for the hotel’s clients. Instead of the money sandwich, you could simply inquire if any complimentary upgrades are available. You will be amazed by how far you can get in Vegas hospitality by asking. Then you can tip them if a room is available. If not, save your twenty bucks for a spin at the slots.
Another trick would be to hold the money visibly so that the attendant sees it and then ask if there are any complimentary upgrades. If there is, your attendant will give, and you shall do the same with the twenty you’re holding. If you are not a fan of these incredibly cheap shortcuts, you can go the official way and pay for an upgrade. Vegas hotels have paid upgrades to their exclusive penthouses and presidential suites.
The 20-dollar trick can get you an upgrade in Vegas if done right. This withstanding, the hotel also has a massive impact on the upgrade you get; or don’t get, for that matter. Some hotels have strict hotel rules and policies on room upgrading.
Most of the time, a polite smile and a $20 bill will get you that suite. But if the attendant doesn’t like you, or if they are in a foul mood, you may not get that level up! So, go in faith and execute this top clearance trick you’ve learned on your next trip to Vegas.