Does the $20 Trick work in Las Vegas?

Emily W.

By

Emily W.

• Writer

Last updated on November 14, 2022

The $20 Dollar Trick is a way to get a complimentary room upgrade at some Las Vegas hotels

The basic premise is that you slip the front desk clerk $20 when you check-in, and ask for a room upgrade.

If the hotel has any available upgrades, they will typically give them to guests who use the $20 Trick. 

While it’s not a guarantee, the $20 Trick can be a great way to get a better room without spending any extra money.

The $20 Trick is especially effective during slow times, such as weekdays and the off-season when hotels are more likely to have upgraded rooms available.

What is the $20 Trick in Vegas?

The $20 dollar trick is one of the classic tips that you’ll hear from Vegas veterans. The twenty-dollar bill has been a mythical sort of “secret weapon” in Las Vegas for decades.

The $20 Dollar Trick Still Works In Las Vegas
The $20 Dollar Trick Still Works In Las Vegas

Just mention it on a message board or Facebook Group and you’ll get dozens of posts from people who swear by its powers on everything from complimentary suite upgrades to waived resort fees and everything in-between.

The $20 trick is when you give a $20 tip to the front desk agent at check-in and ask for something in return.

So it’s not exactly magic, but the trick can be an effective way of getting something extra from casinos. While this tip has gotten less effective over time, it’s just as popular as ever.

How To Do The $20 trick

The 20 dollar trick is simple.

What To Do

Step 1. Put a $20 bill between your credit card and ID before check-in.

Step 2. Hand the $20 sandwich to the front desk agent.

Step 3. Politely ask if a “Complimentary Room Upgrade” is available.

When you check into your hotel, sandwich a $20 in-between your credit card and ID and hand it to the front desk agent and ask, “Are there any complimentary upgrades?” or “Is there a complimentary suite upgrade available?”

That’s all there is to it.

While 20 dollars may not seem like much of an incentive anymore, some casinos still do this as a courtesy.

The $20 trick will never hurt your chances of getting something extra, even if it’s not what you were hoping for.

Does the $20 trick still work in Vegas?

Through the years, we have collected reports from users like you asking if the $20 Trick worked on their trip.

The $20 Trick used to work all the time. But as corporations took over The Strip, COVID happened, and inflation, the once useful tip has become less effective.

The $20 Dollar Trick Still Works In Las Vegas
The $20 Dollar Trick Still Works In Las Vegas

Most users have reported upgrades to rooms with better views in 2022, but occasionally a wild upgrade is reported.

Nikki did the $20 Trick at Venetian and received an insane upgrade! She reported, “I was hoping for a really high floor with a great view… maybe some restaurant vouchers? But a minute later, she showed me some pictures on an iPad and asked what I thought of the room. I thought she was kidding. It was MONSTROUS…The suite was 1500 square feet with an additional 400 square foot private terrace, complete with seating for 8-12 and a huge stone fireplace.”

Another user shared a story about how they got a $200 bar tab comped at Delano.

The $20 Trick is a great first gamble in Las Vegas. After all, in Las Vegas, $20 bucks isn’t a considerable amount to lose, but if you get lucky, you may live the VIP life on your next stay.

What should you expect from the $20 Trick in 2022?

It mainly depends on the property, but an upgraded Strip View is pretty standard. The most important thing is to keep your expectations low and hope for a bit of luck.

Here are some tips to get a free room upgrade with the $20 Trick:

  1. Book directly with the hotel. Most hotels do not allow complimentary room upgrades for rooms booked on a third-party website.
  2. Stay at a hotel that is friendly to the $20 Trick. See the list below of the most successful hotels.
  3. Be extraordinarily polite to your front desk agent. Your agent will deal with a lot of people checking in every day. Being kind is an excellent way to stand out. 

The $20 dollar trick is a great way to get something extra from casinos. It’s not always guaranteed, but it never hurts your chances of getting something for free – even if it’s just 20 bucks! The $20 Trick will never hurt your chances of getting an upgrade or comped drinks while you’re in Las Vegas.

In our minds, the $20 Trick is worth the gamble every time. At worst, you’re tipping your front desk agent $20. But in most cases, you will get an upgrade or your money back. 

Where The $20 Trick Works:

HotelDoes It Work?
AriaNot Often
HorseshoeYes
BellagioYes
Binion’sUnknown
Boulder StationUnknown
Caesars PalaceYes
CaliforniaUnknown
Casino RoyaleUnknown
CircaUnknown
Circus CircusYes
CosmopolitanNot Often
DelanoYes
Downtown GrandUnknown
El CortezUnknown
Encore at WynnSometimes
ExcaliburYes
FlamingoYes
Four QueensSometimes
Fremont HotelUnknown
Golden GateUnknown
Golden NuggetSometimes
Green Valley RanchUnknown
Harrah’sYes
LuxorSometimes
Main Street StationUnknown
Mandalay BaySometimes
MGM GrandNot Often
MirageYes
New York New YorkSometimes
Nobu HotelUnknown
NoMad HotelUnknown
OYONot Often
Palace StationUnknown
PalazzoYes
Paris Las VegasYes
Park MGMNot Often
Planet HollywoodYes
PlazaUnknown
Red Rock CasinoUnknown
Resorts WorldUnknown
RioSometimes
SaharaYes
Santa Fe StationUnknown
SilvertonUnknown
South PointNot Often
Sunset StationUnknown
The CromwellSometimes
The DSometimes
The LINQSometimes
The Signature at MGM GrandNot Often
The STRATNot Often
Treasure IslandYes
TropicanaYes
VdaraSometimes
VenetianYes
Virgin HotelsUnknown
Waldorf AstoriaNo
WestgateYes
WynnYes
Based on user-generated reports: Yes (80%+), Sometimes (60%-80%), Not Often (>60%)

$20 Trick FAQ

Here are the most common questions our readers ask us about the $20 Trick:

Does the $20 Trick work in Vegas?

Sometimes. Before COVID-19, the $20 Dollar Trick was becoming less effective across Las Vegas. There are numerous reasons why, but the tightening of company policies and increased knowledge of the $20 Trick certainly didn’t help.

After COVID-19, it’s become even less frequent, and the $20 Dollar Trick still works in 2022. Still, fewer companies have policies that allow front desk agents to provide complimentary upgrades to hotel guests who aren’t big gamblers.

Another issue that hotel guests are now facing is self-check-in kiosks.

Hotels like the VenetianPalazzoMandalay Bay, and Caesars Palace have had recent success stories. Other hotels with historically good success rates like Planet Hollywood have replaced their entire check-in process with these kiosks.

Today, the $20 Trick is only good for a view upgrade most of the time. Although stories of huge suites, room upgrades, and free drinks still happen, the glory days appear to be over.

Can I refuse to pay resort fees in Vegas?

Many visitors to Las Vegas are surprised to find that their hotel room comes with a mandatory resort fee. This fee can add a significant amount to the cost of your stay, and it is not always clear what benefits it entitles you to.

Generally speaking, you’re not going to avoid paying the resort fee.

However, some hotels have a policy that requires all guests to pay the resort fee, while others have the ability to waive a night or two.

It’s worth trying the $20 Trick to avoid paying these fees. At check-in, put a $20 bill between your credit card and driver’s license and politely ask the front desk clerk if they can waive the resort fee or if there are complimentary upgrades available.

In some cases, the clerk will be happy to waive the resort fee. While this trick won’t work 100% of the time, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re hoping to save some money on your next trip to Vegas.

The truth is it doesn’t hurt to ask kindly and grease the palms of your front desk clerk with some cash. But please, if the clerk says they can’t waive the fees, be kind to them because it’s not their choice.

See a list of all the current resort fees here.

How do I get a complimentary hotel room upgrade?

It’s worth trying the $20 Dollar Trick to get a complimentary room upgrade. But perhaps the hotel you’re planning on staying at has a bad $20 Trick track record. If you don’t want to try the $20 Dollar Trick, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a complimentary Vegas hotel room upgrade:
1. Book your room during slower times of the year, such as in the offseason or during weekdays.
2. Be nice and courteous to the staff. Hotel employees often have the ability to upgrade guests, so if you’re friendly and polite, they may be more likely to help you out.
3. Ask (politely) when you check-in if any complimentary upgrades are available.
4. Be nice! Vegas deals with a lot of people…A smile and polite demeanor often help when trying to get something for free in Vegas.
5. Be sure to tip well. Often, it’s those little extras that make a big difference when it comes to receiving VIP treatment.

Can you tip the front desk for a better room?

Absolutely! In Las Vegas, the $20 Dollar Trick or $20 Dollar Sandwich is a popular way to try to snag an incredible room upgrade. The $20 Trick is the Vegas insiders’ way of tipping their front desk clerk and letting them know you would like a comped room upgrade. 

For example, I once booked an entry-level room at Planet Hollywood for $49/night. At check-in, we used the $20 Dollar Trick to receive a free upgrade to a Wraparound Suite with stunning views of the Bellagio FountainsEiffel Tower, and The Strip. The listed price of the suite was $550/night during our stay. 

It was an incredible experience and made us feel like VIPs.

While your hotel may not offer such an extravagant upgrade, site visitors have received benefits like early check-ins during huge events, upgraded views, and even complimentary buffet passes and drinks. 

Is it OK to ask for a room upgrade?

Yes, it is. In fact, you’ll often get one if there are any available when you check-in. Just ask the desk clerk if there are any upgrades available, and they’ll usually be happy to check for you.

Some people recommend asking for a complimentary upgrade when you first arrive at the hotel. Others suggest it’s better to wait until you’re in your room and then call the front desk to see if any suites or other rooms with better views are available.

At the end of the day, Las Vegas is a hospitality town, and most hotels want their guests to be happy. So if you’re polite and reasonable, there’s a good chance you’ll get an upgrade.

But remember, don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get one. It’s worth throwing a little cash to the front desk agent to entice them into giving you a room with a better view or even a suite, but it’s not guaranteed.