$20 dollar Trick Las Vegas 2023 – Does the $20 Dollar Trick Still Work?

Las Vegas Folklore tells of a magic trick you can perform upon the unsuspecting Check-in clerks of Las Vegas Casino Hotels. This Trick, similar in nature to a Jedi Mind Trick, renders the clerk unable to resist upgrading your room to the best available at no extra cost. Only a privy few are blessed with this knowledge and they bask in the glory of utter luxury at peanut prices! But today we Bust open the Magic Circle and share the secrets of this powerful trick. The legendary $20 Dollar Trick.

20 dollar trick Las Vegas 2023

Last Updated Feb 2022 – two successful upgrades!

First a stunning revelation. It’s not a trick, it is just tipping in advance. It’s a very common and accepted practice in Las Vegas and helps the Hotel out in a number of ways. Our blog on the $20 Dollar Trick Las Vegas 2022 will explain what the “trick” is, how it works, and what to expect if you try it. No Magic or shady handshakes, just sensible negotiation…Sorry for the outlandish introduction…

What is the $20 Dollar Trick?

The Trick originated in the form of a $20 sandwich. Essentially, when checking in to a Las Vegas Hotel you need 2 things. A Credit Card and some form of ID. When Asked for these items you Sandwich a $20 bill between the two while politely enquiring if there is any chance of a complimentary upgrade?

In the past, the Clerk would simply say nothing about the note and check to see if they could bump you up. And if so inclined would provide you with a free room upgrade. They would obviously keep the note as a tip. Of course, it’s now 2023 and Las Vegas now charges for parking, is looking to end free drinks, and Vegas’s freebies are fast drying up. So have things changed?

Does the $20 Dollar Trick Still Work in 2022?

Often Yes. It worked nearly every time we have tried. We also hear of the trick working time and time again. Really it’s pretty simple. The Clerks are authorized to make minor adjustments to your room allocation and often it’s helpful to the hotel to upgrade people as they overbook basic rooms. Naturally, the Clerks are the ones checking people in and they are naturally going to reward those who will tip them highly.

There is also the added notion from the hotel’s perspective that guests that save on one aspect usually spend heavier on others. So a happy guest saving $150 on a room will be more likely to spend that in the Casino or bar or on Activities. This is why the Hotels have never acted on discouraging the Clerks from doing this.

Still Only $20?

You can try more. The trick has been around for AGES and $20 is worth less than it used to be. But still, we find it’s enough. A bigger tip is unlikely to help secure a bigger or better upgrade as they are not really supposed to bump you up too high. It’s also unlikely to convince someone to bump you up if they were not going to anyway. If they simply can’t due to overbooking nothing will help. As such we stick to the traditional $20, if the clerk is unusually helpful, nice, or just fun, we may give an additional tip just for that.

Of course, as you move up in the quality of the hotel and even the class of room you booked, the more likely it is you may need to bump the tip-up. In high-end hotels like Bellagio, it might be a good idea to up your tip, or if you have booked a very expensive room, to begin with, $20 might not be enough to get you anything better as the price difference is greater.

What sort of Upgrade can I expect?

MGM Grand upgraded Suite
Our Upgraded Suite in the MGM Grand

Well if you have chosen the most basic room available don’t expect a sky-loft off a $20 tip. Realistically expect a single-class upgrade. In the past, we have heard stories of incredible room bumps for $20 but never seen these corroborated and Vegas just isn’t as loose as it used to be.

What to do if it doesn’t work.

Not a lot. Usually, they will simply tell you there is nothing available and hand back the money. It is likely the hotel is really full and there is just nothing they can do. They may offer you a paid upgrade, which you can obviously make a decision on, if you do take them up on this they are not really doing you a favor so just tip as you usually would.

Will they just keep the tip and not upgrade?

They could! We have heard third or fourth-hand stories of this happening. This is not a Bribe it’s a tip so the Assistant is in no way obliged to do anything extra for the tip if you present it upfront. We have however NEVER had it happen to us. And never heard it directly from anyone who has had it happen to them. We sincerely doubt it has ever happened and the people in question just didn’t get as big an upgrade as they wanted.

How We Do it.

$20 Dollar Trick Upgrade
Our Upgraded Suite in the MGM Grand

We never actually hand the money over first. We just make it very clear if they do hook us up the money we are holding will be theirs. This isn’t a “trick” anymore. It’s an accepted way of doing things, both you and the clerks know this, as does the management. Until it’s shut down from the top it will continue. So there is no need to mess about with clandestine passes of the money out of the eyes of the “bosses”. Just be upfront and ask for an upgrade with $20 in your hand. It removes the Awkwardness of them handing back the cash if they cannot help.

We find a warm friendly demeanor, with lots of smiles and conversation a very good additional tactic. These are people, of course, and people always respond better to polite friendly people. We know this can be hard after a long hard flight but never underestimate how far being nice will get you! As we said, these are people, just like you…who would you be more likely to give an upgrade to?

As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and besides, we should just all be nicer to each other.


It is also VERY important to prepare for this NOT to work. It might not. And you do not want to be stuck in an unbearable room. ALWAYS book the minimum level of room you will tolerate and use the trick to try and get better. If being stuck in a tiny old cramped room will ruin your trip don’t rely on this trick to get you out of a hole. Book the room you want and hope you can get better.

Too many people think this is a catch-all trick and they will receive a top room all for a $20 tip to the check-in clerk. It’s just not going to happen. Book at least the room you want and can afford then see if you can get a bump up. You need to approach with an air of realism. They are not giving things away anymore

Let us Know!

Recent Successes:

Caesars Palace

Forum Tower to Palace Tower – High Floor

Las Vegas Strip

MGM Grand

MGM Grand West Wing King to a Spa Suite

Spa Bath - Upgraded Suite
Spa Bath in our Upgraded Suite in the MGM Grand


Resort King Room to a Stay Well King Room

Planet Hollywood

Basic Room to a 38th Floor Fountain View room

Bellagio Fountains

The Venitian

Basic Room to Strip View Suite – High Floor


Burgundy Room to Eifell View

Please Please Please!!!

Let us know if you have tried the trick on your visits? What success did you have? Were you declined? We all need to know to keep up with the hotel’s policies. We do fear one day this practice will be stopped from the top down but for now, it’s still a valid practice. Keep us posted on any success or failure you have on your trip!

And as ever any questions just fire away!

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31 thoughts on “$20 dollar Trick Las Vegas 2023 – Does the $20 Dollar Trick Still Work?”

  1. is it ok to ask specifically what I want, for example “I’d like a room ABC but if not XYZ would be great as well”

    We are traveling Monday – Thursday so would you say if they have rooms available, this will most likely work?

    • If you are polite, humble, and not expectant then it can’t hurt to ask for specifics, assuming you are being realistic, you are not going to get several levels of upgrade. But asking for a specific view room or high floor etc should all be fine.

      Again assuming hotels are quiet and rooms available then they should hook you up, so as long as there are no big events or conferences on, then yeah midweek should be better. Regardless, what is there to lose?

      Feel free to report back your success or failure!

      Good luck, and have a great time,


  2. I did this back in 2010 at “The Hotel” at Mandalay Bay (the Delano now) and they offered me a corner suite for no extra cost. They also offered me a penthouse suite for an extra $100 a night. It was in the fall and there were a few conferences in town; still I didn’t expect the Penthouse!

    Needless to say, it was amazing!

    • Yeah thats one hell of an upgrade!

      We certainly never hit the jacpot like that. Things have tightened up a bit since then but still bargins to be had


    • Sometimes, It is not as likely as the offering a tip but people do get upgraded simply for asking if the Check-in agent is in a good mood.

      Your best bet is to combine the two, be happy smiley and nice to the agent, tell them you are there for your birthday and really excited, then just straight up ask for an upgrade with the $20 in hand. The worst that will happen is they will say “sorry there is none available”

      Remember to check back and let us know how it went!

      Have a great trip


  3. June13, 2021

    I tried this today at The Paris. Did it work? Yes and no. I asked the check-in lady if she had any complimentary upgrades available for my wife’s birthday. I gave her my ID, cc, and a $20 bill in the middle. She asked, “What kind of upgrade was I looking for?” I was caught off-guard and said, “Just a junior suite possibly.” I had booked a strip view (Bellagio Fountains) double queen room. She offered me a junior suite without a strip view. I asked her opinion on which would be better and she said the trade-off was a little more space vs the great view. She recommended I keep the view if we’d never experienced it before. That is what I did. She worked very hard to find us an upgrade and I was willing to let her keep the tip, but she gave it back and said she didn’t feel she helped me and refused the tip. She did get us a great room on a uh floor near the elevator. I think we made the right choice, at least for this trip. Great view!

    • Hi Mike,

      Yeah, that can be the way it goes. We always suggest people book at least the room they want and then just use the trick to get even better, we don’t risk booking the most basic rooms and hoping for an upgrade as if it fails you can be stuck with no view in a tiny boxroom. Doing it your way meant, win or lose, you had an awesome room! We too have found that sometimes the upgraded room is not actually better than the booked room, It’s no doubt the Suites at Paris are a huge upgrade in room, but we all have different preferences and the view meant more to you than space.

      Fwiw we would have done the same. While having all that space is nice, we don’t really spend that much time in the room and the space is pretty wasted, plus we have space at home! What we don’t have is that View, a High Floor at the Paris is a mindblower!

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Great to hear you have an amazing trip.


  4. I go to Vegas a lot, possibly 30 times in the past 10 years and many times I have 2 rooms in separate hotels , mostly comped or cheap based on my play (usually one in Caesers group of hotels and one in MLife/MGM group of hotels).

    I don’t think I’ve ever checked in without giving $20 tip. I think once she returned it, maybe 4 times they took it anyway without upgrade as I insisted because they tried hard but couldn’t upgrade and 23 times I was upgraded to a better room 1 time I remember taking the money back as she was mean and 1 time I paid $100 and got a large one bedroom with dining table at Caesers (still no kitchen lol, these casino designers).

    $20 is less than a single bet at the table. But $20 could mean a lot when you think about disposable income after taxes and expenses considering non of the check in people are probably making 6 figures and this could make their day especially because Europeans are not used to tipping.

    So just tip the $20 if you can easily afford it, you either get a better room and won’t forget it, or it will at least make someones day and yes sometimes they have it back. And believe me, it will come right back to you another way very quickly.

    • Thanks!

      Great insight, we totally agree! We tend to time our trips to quiet times (cheaper and quieter) and as such the “trick” almost always works, in one way or another.

      Gone are the days of expecting a huge suite for $20 but you still can get a nice bump and as you say sometimes they just offer a great rate for a mega upgrade!

      It’s always worth a shot as the worst case is you make someone happy!

      Love the fact you took it back once! 99.9% of check-in Staff are great, but there is always the odd one, having a crappy day that just doesn’t want to be there!


  5. Great blog! Do you know if the $20 (or more) work for other things like a food credit? I’d tip for a room upgrade or a food credit (like what can be one of the “offers” to book)? Thanks!

    • Honestly, we have only ever tried it for room upgrades!

      We know the Hotels do not mind these little upgrades as the rooms are sitting empty anyway, Food Credit is more of a cost to the Hotel so maybe they are less inclined to give them away in exchange for tips. But you could always try, If you have any success feel free to report back


    • I’ve been to LV probably 20 times. I always attempt the $20 “trick”. Once, I was checking into the Venetian using the regular line. I was next up and the girl at the VIP desk to the left of the main desk waved that she was available. Offered the $20 sandwich. Without missing a beat, she asked if I had a preference between the Venetian and Palazzo. Of course I prefer the Palazzo. She got me a nice room on a high floor. I was there for 4 nights. She then also handed me a printed out page with tickets for free breakfast daily and a few other discount coupons for various things on the property. I’d booked the cheapest room off of Priceline; it was a hell of an upgrade! That’s the only time I’ve ever received anything beyond a room upgrade though. If you’re interested in food comps, maybe lead with that, or display/give a $20 when inquiring about a room upgrade and then pulling out another $20 and asking if they might be able to provide benefits or discounts on dining. Good luck!

      • Hi Kimberly,

        thanks for the feedback,

        That’s a fantastic upgrade, we have only ever received Room Upgrades not dining comps, maybe that is something to do with getting the VIP Clerk?

        Anyway, we keep trying it and keep getting great results, There is probably something about confidence in there, we expect it to work and ask for the upgrades with that attitude, the less confidence may not be as lucky.

        We are heading there next month and may well give the extra $20 a try to see if we can wrangle anything more out of them, we have a few different hotels to try!


  6. Tried for first time in late October checking in on a sunday at Bally’s and was disappointed. Put the $20 sandwiched between ID as suggested, clerk immediately put $20 back on counter (bad sign). Clerk tried instead to offer a paid upgrade – which I declined. Received horrible room facing street with a non sealed sliding door, noise was unbearable. Complained following day and was switched to similar room but quieter location.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thanks for reporting back

      Unfortunately, there are no guarantees and that is why we always say book at least the minimum level of from you would be happy with and hope for better. Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come as resorts tighten their belts during the Covid recovery.


  7. You said you would like to know if anyone did not get an upgrade and the clerk just kept the $20. Yup. We stayed at the Mirage for our anniversary which we had done twice in the past. My husband tried the $20 – hope for an upgrade. They said they did not have any better rooms available and simply kept the money. Oh, and they did nothing for our anniversary. We don’t stay there anymore.

    • Oh dear,

      Thanks for feeding back, although this is not what we like to hear at all!

      As we said we very very rarely hear of this, but I guess it does happen, far more often we hear of the clerk returning the $20, or it just being successful.

      Sounds like you got a really bad clerk, this is why we prefer to show the $20 rather than pass it in a sandwich, that way no one is disappointed.

      Shame they let your anniversary pass unmarked as well, it’s the little things that could have retained your custom!

      We love the Mirage and it’s a real shame to hear you did not have a good experience


    • Don’t be afraid to ask for the tip back if they don’t deliver for you. You could directly ask them to return the bill or say something like “Sir/Maam, I believe I may have dropped a bill when handing you my id/credit card, would you please hand it back?” The clerk absolutely knows how this works and what you were asking for and is doing you dirty but pocketing the money without an upgrade. The more they get away with not having to return the money the more they’ll think it’s acceptable to keep doing.

      • We do only hear about this very rarely, but like your style in confronting them if they do try and do the dirty, Afterall, they are not helping, calling them out can’t make it worse!

        In fact, we think we will update the article to advise people to do just this



  8. Hey great article, Thank you for the information as well. I went through and read every comment Lol…

    My wife and I are going in July for her Birthday and I told her I want to try this out. we are staying at Caesars Palace and we booked a pretty good room already. we are hoping to be able to get a higher floor and maybe a fountain view which would be awesome. And we are going Sun-Thur so hopefully that helps..

    Question: Even though it is our first time trying this at a pretty nice Hotel is Confidence still key? like we should do it as if we have done it before? or should we seem as though we haven’t done it? and then also do you find that Caesars Is a pretty Good place to do this at? should we offer more?

    • Hi Joseph,

      That is definitely the best way to do it, that way if it fails you still have a decent room.

      We have had success at Caesars before, moving up a couple of tiers and into the fancier towers on a high floor.

      How you go about it is pretty irrelevant, at the end of the day, you are offering them a tip to see if they can help you out, they are either willing or they are not (or possibly unable but unlikely mid-week)

      As such being kind, happy, and friendly always works best for us. You catch more flys with honey than vinegar as they say! Be chatty, tell them about your wifes birthday and how excited you are ect…Just make it clear what you are asking.

      Hope it works for you and you bag that awesome fountain view room…but have a great trip regardless


  9. Going for our anniversary and hotel hopping for the first time in our 20 or so visits to Las Vegas. Usually stay at an MGM property but doing Park, Venetian, then Cosmo this time around just to mix things up. Comped at all of these based on past play. Does the $20 trick still work with comped rooms?

    • Its always worth a try, the clerk has authority to bump up any booking if they see fit.

      It’s actually sometimes more likely on comped rooms! Assuming you have earned the comps through play, they will be really eager to keep you happy and gambling!

      Sounds an awesome trip have a great time


  10. The Venetian September 2021 upgraded us to strip view, up higher…AND waived the resort fees!
    I booked via priceline a pretty good price, knowing they have free parking is a plus to keep in mind as well. Upon checkin I gave $20 asked for upgrade, instantly gave it…then came to resort fee and I asked if that could be waived…it was my birthday so that may have had the clerk in a happy mood from my energy. At any rate, it was awesome and just worth a try. Had it not worked out, I would have still gladly given $20 anyway. Just gotta ask. (my husband would NEVER ask, or do this, he didn’t want me to) CHALLENGE ACCEPTED LOL

    • Awesome, love hearing success stories.

      Yeah, it’s not really a trick, just seems to have taken on that moniker, you are just, very nicely, asking about free upgrades and offering a nice tip in return for the help!

      Great to hear they waived your resort fees! We stayed at the Venitien earlier this year and got bumped up a level, high floor strip view, Loved it! But we would have loved it more without the Resort Fees!



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