Since my recent stay at the Palazzo and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel, I received a lot of questions on how to use the $20 trick. I’ve used the $20 trick in almost every instance when I travel to Las Vegas. Note that many of my stays are 1 night due to hotel hopping for various reasons. In addition, it’s also one of many reasons why I always get an upgrade to a better room. Here are some FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Las Vegas Twenty Dollar Trick.
What is the $20 trick?
Basically, the notion of the $20 trick is to bribe the front desk agent into giving you a better room. The $20 trick is widely known to work in Las Vegas since it’s a tipping culture. Basically, the front desk agent has the power to do almost everything with a few keystrokes behind the computer.
Which hotel to use the $20 trick?
You need to do a little research beforehand, like seeing what better category rooms are available than the one that you’re currently booked. It doesn’t make sense to use the $20 trick if all you want is a “strip view” instead of a city view and there are no better rooms than the one you currently booked. I usually book a standard room, the worst and cheapest room available. I research suites and better category rooms, such as deluxe (better linens, marble bathroom) and premium (jetted tub).
How to approach the agent with the $20 trick?
First of all, you need to sandwich a crisp twenty dollar bill in between your ID and Credit card. Basically, before you hand over the card, you should strike up a friendly conversation. A typical conversation goes like this: (Agent: Hi, How are you?) (Me: Hey, how’s it going? Just drove up from LA and I was wondering if I can check in) (Agent: Sure, what’s the last name?) When you say your last name, hand over your ID & credit card (with the $20 in between & prepare the sandwich beforehand).
At this time, the agent’s eyes will light up and begin to go through a thought process. At the moment when they see the $20, they will take it out and place it in front of them, so the camera can see it. This trick is widely known and it’s basically (you) tipping the agent for good service. When they place the $20 on their desk, begin to ask this question “I was wondering if there were any better rooms available…” What I like to do is prepare to memorize the category of rooms and the names of the suites. It doesn’t hurt to also ask “Are there any suites upgrades available?” You need to sell it higher and then they can begin to accept the offer or bargain lower with you.
The agent might be able to say “Sure, we have a nice suite available in the Spa Tower”. The agent might say “Sorry, we’re sold out xxxx room you wanted. How about a Junior suite?” The worst the agent can say is “I have a room on a high floor with a Strip view”.
Is it better to tip more than $20?
It helps, but I generally use $20 since I usually only stay for 1 night. If you were staying for multiple nights, it might help. In my opinion, $20 is fine, regardless of hotel.
Where should you not use the $20 trick?
Don’t use the $20 trick on a budget motel, bed & breakfast motel/hotel, and inns. If you booked a $20 room at the Excalibur, I would use the $20 trick to upgrade to one of their premium luxury rooms or suites. It only makes sense in larger hotels with a large pool of premium rooms and suites.
What happens if you’re unsatisfied with the results of the $20 trick?
Basically, it’s a huge gamble when you’re performing the twenty dollar trick. The worst you can get is an upgrade to a higher floor with a strip view. If they present that to you, they will keep the $20 most of the time. I’ve had the same answer before and the agent hands the $20 back and it’s up to you if you want to tip $20, give less, or not tip at all. The $20 trick is YMMV (Your mileage may vary). Don’t be surprised if you’re turned down for an upgrade.