The $20 Trick isn’t a myth. It’s real and sometimes spectacular. Other times the $20 trick is a waste of time and money. The trick still works for plenty of people visiting Las Vegas despite the hotel operators attempts to minimize the effects.
First things first – the $20 trick isn’t really a trick. It’s essentially a gratuity given to the front desk agent at a hotel in exchange for a “complimentary” room upgrade. The exchange of money means that you’re getting an entirely free upgrade.
That said, a room enhancement can be anywhere from simple to extravagant. The upgrade can be as simple as better view (which costs a few bucks per night). On the upside, the upgrade can mean changing from a basic room to a massive suite (which costs a lot more than a few bucks per night). This is more dependent on what’s available and the desk agent than the amount of the tip.
How To Do The $20 trick
1. Take the tip ($20 usually) out of your wallet.
2. Slide the tip in between your credit card and ID when requested. Just make sure the money can be seen.
3. Politely ask if there is a “complimentary upgrade” available as the person at the desk takes the credit card, ID.
The $20 Trick Is Great…But It Doesn’t Always Work
That’s all. It’s a simple trick that may or may not work. The potential for upgrades are great but it comes with a small risk of whatever you’re willing to tip. The tip is a financial risk. It doesn’t happen often but the person at the front desk could just keep the money. After all, this is slightly off the books. Most of the staff working at the front desk will just apologize that they can’t offer an upgrade and return the tip.
The financial risk starts at $20 but it could be more. While $20 is the recommended tip it’s not the only amount used. Some visitors will risk as much as $100 to see if there’s an upgrade available. While $20 might be enough for someone visiting for a weekend someone visiting for a week might tip $100 instead. The risk could bring equal savings for the longer trip.
The front desk agent isn’t always able to offer a complimentary upgrade. Sometimes, the hotel is simply booked and there are no other rooms available. More recently, some of the hotel operators in Las Vegas have asked front desk agents to try and to sell additional room upgrades at check-in. Some of workers may not be able to bypass the system and obtain a complimentary upgrade.
The $20 Trick may not be as prevalent as it used to be but it still works when dealing with a human. Unfortunately reaching a human when checking into a hotel room in Las Vegas is taking more time than ever.
As technology advances, hotel operators are offering guests to check-in via mobile device or a kiosk in the lobby. These are quicker options to get to the hotel room and enjoy Las Vegas! However, the $20 Trick doesn’t work on your phone or kiosk…yet. There are still many visitors in Las Vegas that prefer the human touch so there’s still an opportunity to attempt the $20 trick.
Tip To Help Your $20 Trick
One thing that can aid in acquiring a complimentary upgrade is a special occasion. Mention that you’re celebrating a special event (i.e. birthday or anniversary) when asking for the complimentary upgrade. Las Vegas is a town built on service. Most people that work in the casinos and hotels want to make every trip a memorable one. A complimentary upgrade can certainly help get a dream vacation off on the right foot.
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Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.