$20 dollar Trick Las Vegas 2021 – 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 2021

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 2021 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 2021 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 2021?

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 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. 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 the 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 room

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

to a 38th Floor Fountain View room

Bellagio Fountains

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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14 thoughts on “$20 dollar Trick Las Vegas 2021 – 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



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