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The 20 Dollar Trick in Las Vegas: Everything You Need to Know

The 20 Dollar Trick in Las Vegas: Everything You Need to Know

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The $20 sandwich trick has been around in Las Vegas for years now. But only recently with social media and Facebook groups has it been shared and discussed in depth.

If you’ve always wondered about how the 20 dollar trick works in Vegas and whether or not it’s worth it to try it, this post covers all the details (as well as some advice for trying it yourself). 

Online you’ll see a mixed bag of opinions as to whether this tactic actually works to get complimentary hotel upgrades.

Most recently, we tried the $20 trick at 3 different hotels in Las Vegas and had some good results. 

You can watch my YouTube video here which shows the results of trying the 20 dollar trick at 3 different hotels in Vegas.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!

What is the $20 Sandwich Trick in Las Vegas?

The 20 dollar sandwich trick is a popular way tourists try to get complimentary upgrades or other free comps when checking into their Las Vegas hotel. 

The reason it’s known as the sandwich trick is because many people try to be ‘sneaky’ about it.

They hide their 20 dollar bill in between their credit card and ID when they hand it to the front desk staff. 

Essentially you’re providing a bribe or a tip to the staff member in hopes that they can move you into a better room than what you originally booked for no extra cost, other than the tip you provided. 

What Types of Things Can You Get with the 20 Dollar Trick?

If it works, most commonly you’ll get upgraded to a better room or something on a higher floor.

You might get a better view or even a small suite.

Other perks may include reduced resort fees, early check-in or late check-out,  free parking, drink vouchers, and food and beverage credits

How to Do the 20 Dollar Trick in Vegas

Be Polite and Friendly

When you walk up to the front desk agent to be checked into your hotel room, always start with being polite and courteous. 

Being friendly goes a long way.

It doesn’t hurt to be a little excited and mention that you’re excited to finally be in Vegas. 

The hotel clerk will ask for your credit card and ID to get started with the check-in process.

At that point you have a few options. 

Flash Your Cash and Ask for an Upgrade

You can hand them your 20 dollar bill with your credit card and ID (either sandwiched in between, or just alongside), or you can keep the bill on the counter in plain view. 

Use These Phrases for an Upgrade

Kindly ask if there might be any complimentary upgrades available, or if they have a room on a high floor.

If you have a specific type of room in mind, you can ask for that too.

You can also just mention something along the lines of “anything you can do to improve our stay would be appreciated.”

At this point they will look to see what they have available in their system. 

Mention You’re Celebrating Something Special

Sometimes this can seem like it’s taking forever when you see them typing and clicking to look for a room for you. 

If it’s taking a while, you can casually mention that you’re celebrating something special, or if it’s your first time visiting Las Vegas.

This might help encourage the agent to treat you extra special 

At this point they will either have an upgrade available or not have anything available. 

If they have an upgrade it’s usually a room on a higher floor or a room with a better view, or a room with a better layout (e.g., a suite).

If you accept the upgrade, your $20 trick worked!

If they offer you an upgrade and you have the $20 on the counter, this is when you should tip them to thank them for finding you a better room. 

You Don’t Have to Hide Your $20 Bill

Most people who work in the Las Vegas hospitality and service industry work for tips.

And they all have to disclose their tips.

So when you hand your 20 dollar bill to the front desk staff, there’s no need to hide it or sandwich it between your ID and credit card.

If the staff person chooses to take the cash, they need to show it to the cameras out in the open that they’re taking the money.

So it’s up to you if you want to hide the cash or just hand it to them.

Does the $20 Trick Still Work in Vegas?

There is no guarantee that the 20 dollar trick will work every time in Vegas, but it certainly does still work in 2022.

It depends on a lot of various factors such as:

  • The hotel and its current occupancy;
  • The day of the week;
  • How many nights you’re staying;
  • Your players reward status;
  • The hotel clerk; and
  • Your demeanor

With so many variables no blogger or vlogger can ever guarantee it’s going to work for you. 

However in my experience, it’s always worked out.

20 Dollar Trick at the Sahara Hotel Las Vegas

At the Sahara hotel, I asked if there were any complimentary upgrades available when I handed him my credit card and ID, along with 20 dollars.

Since we checked in late at night, they were sold out of their best rooms, but we got other perks instead.

The front desk agent waived our resort fees for our 2 night stay ($90 total) and provided us with 2 drink vouchers ($30 total).

So even though we didn’t get a room upgrade, we were provided comps worth $120 in value. 

20 Dollar Trick at El Cortez Hotel and Casino

I tried the same $20 trick at the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas and had different results.

The only upgrade was a room on a higher floor with a slightly better view, but it only had 2 queen beds.

We wanted to stick with the king bed that we had booked on a lower floor, so she handed me back my 20 dollar bill since we didn’t take the upgrade. 

Here’s Where Else it’s Worked in Las Vegas (according to my YouTube viewers)

It’s worked at MGM Grand and Caesars Palace.

It worked at the LINQ Hotel.

It worked at the Palazzo Las Vegas.

How Much Should You Tip?

You Can Tip More than 20 Dollars

Of course, you can always tip more than $20 if you’re so inclined.

Some people say they have more success when they tip $50.

Anecdotally, this typically works best at higher end properties., like the Bellagio or Wynn,

You can Try this Trick Without Using Money

The good news is that you can get lucky with complimentary upgrades without having to tip at all.

If you’re polite and friendly, you can politely ask if there are any room upgrades available.

Most hotels try to accommodate a guest’s request as close as possible subject to availability.

You might get lucky and receive this for free, or the front desk staff will let you know that there are room grades available for an added fee.

When the $20 Trick Works the Best in Vegas

The $20 trick works better in some scenarios over others. 

You’ll likely have a higher success rate if you’re staying mid-week, as well as if you’re only staying for one, 2 or 3 nights. 

If occupancy is high due to several events happening in town (sporting events, concerts, conventions, etc) it might be harder to get complimentary upgrades. 

Also the earlier you check-in, the better.

Oftentimes when we have a late flight and don’t arrive at the hotel until 8pm, there are no room upgrades available. 

Finally, you might also have a better success rate if you tip more money, $50 instead of $20.

Why Does the 20 Dollar Trick Exist in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas hotels want to have their nicest rooms occupied.

So when they’re not booked, generally speaking they would prefer to have their guests occupy the nicer rooms.

Nicer rooms make guests happier, more likely to return to the hotel on a future visit, and more importantly, encourages the guest(s) to spend more money at the hotel and casino. 

When a guest gets a ‘free’ upgrade to a better room, most people are more inclined to spend a little more money due to the illusion of getting a deal. 

What Happens if it Doesn’t Work?

If they don’t have an upgrade available (and they’ve already taken your money), usually they will try and provide something else, such as drink vouchers or a food and beverage credit.

If there’s no upgrade available and they can’t offer any other perks, most hotel clerks will hand you back the money. 

Always remember that there is a risk that you won’t get your tip back if the front desk agent has already taken your 20 dollar bill and no upgrades are available.

Be prepared to be ok with the room you had originally booked. 

Where Does the 20 Dollar Trick Work in Vegas?

You can try the 20 dollar trick at virtually all hotels on the Las Vegas strip, and most hotels in downtown Las Vegas around Fremont Street. 

Based on my own experience, asking my YouTube viewers and research across Facebook groups and other online platforms, it seems that it works the best at MGM properties. 

Hotels Where the $20 Trick Doesn’t Work as Often

The Flamingo Hotel

Now that the Flamingo Hotel has mostly automated kiosks, it’s much harder (nearly impossible) to get an upgrade when you don’t check-in with an actual hotel clerk. 

Many Caesars properties are starting to use these automated check-in kiosks now, making it nearly impossible to try this.

Ellis Island Hotel and Casino

We tried the $20 trick at Ellis Island, however it didn’t work.

Mostly because this is really just a regular motel and there aren’t really any rooms available to be upgraded to. 

Here’s the full video where we try the 20 dollar trick at 3 different hotels in Las Vegas!

More Las Vegas Posts:

These are the 8 Best Vegas Hotels for First Timers

32 Little-Known Money Saving Tips for Vegas (so simple)

Insider’s Guide to Staying at the Flamingo Las Vegas: Tips and Tricks

Planet Hollywood vs Flamingo: How to Decide Between the Two Best Mid-Range Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip

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