$20 dollar Trick Las Vegas 2019 – Does the $20 Dollar Trick Still Work?

Las Vegas Folklore tells of a magical 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

First a stunning revelation. It’s not a trick it’s 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 2018 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 3 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 2018 and Las Vegas now charges even for parking, and freebies are fast drying up. So have things changed?

Does the $20 Dollar Trick Still Work?

Often Yes. It works nearly everytime we have tried. We also hear of the trick working time and time again. Really it’s pretty simple. The Clerks are authorised 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 hotels perspective that guests that save on one respect usually spend heavier in 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. Which 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 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.

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 the high-end hotels like Bellagio, it might be a good idea to up you 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

Well if you have chosen the most basic room available don’t expect a sky-loft. 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 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.

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

We never actually hand the money over first. 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?


It is also VERY important to prepare for this NOT to work. It might not. And you do not want to be stuck with 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!

Spa Bath - Upgraded Suite

Spa Bath – Upgraded Suite

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!


  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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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


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