The $20 hotel trick

My friends and I are booked in for a week at Caesars Palace. We are staying in two classic rooms. Does the 20-dollar trick work when asking for an upgrade?

Thank you,
Kev Forster (England)

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The fabled 20-dollar trick -- slyly slipping a $20 bill to the check-in clerk while nonchalantly asking "Any chance of an upgrade?" -- isn't likely to work. Caesars Palace remains a fairly high-dollar joint, so a mere 20 isn't likely to excite clerks jaded by the constant parade of luxury and affluence at their hotel.

Not to mention computer systems that keep things in order have made it more and more difficult for a clerk to give upgrades without a manager's approval. You'd likely have a better chance by being as nice and as charming as possible while checking in -- use that English accent in your favor -- then mention it's a special trip for you and your friends. That's when you casually mention, "If you can put us in the best rooms you can, I'd appreciate it."

That approach puts the ball in the clerk's court. Maybe you'll catch a break and they'll be running tight on classic rooms but have a few suites unbooked. In that case, and if the clerk has taken a liking to you, they may have more leeway to make a switch.

Realistically, I wouldn't count on it.

Still, there's nothing WRONG with trying to slip the clerk a few bills in hopes of scoring better accommodation. The worst that can happen is an socially awkward moment at the check-in desk. And, honestly, if you don't have several socially awkward moments during a Vegas trip, you're not doing it right.

No matter the rooms you end up with, you and your friends have picked an excellent place to say. Caesars Palace is an older hotel, but it's still in great shape and the mid-Strip location can't be beat. The club in Caesars, Pure, is one of the nightlife hot spots on the Strip. If you plan on going there, be prepared for it to be expensive, crowded and maybe even hard to get into. But once inside, the scenery is outstanding.

If you're staying a week you might want to consider catching at least one show while you're there. I was late jumping on the show bandwagon myself -- they sounded cheesy to me, but a woman talked me into taking her to a Cirque du Soleil show several years ago and I had to admit I was very impressed. I've liked them ever since.

Right now "O" and "Zumanity" would be highest on my list of recommendations.

You'll also be right across the street from a little place called Casino Royale. It's probably the most un-Strip-like casino on the Strip. By that I mean it's not giant and it's not expensive. If you and your friends need a place to do some budget gambling, head to this place. You can usually find dirt-cheap craps and fairly cheap blackjack and roulette.

The pool area at Caesars has been undergoing renovations, so I don't know if it'll be open when you visit. If it is, take some time to hang out there. It's long been one of the best in Vegas and the changes are supposed to make it even swankier. Plus there's a topless area. That's always a bonus in my book.

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14 responses to “The $20 hotel trick”

  1. Steve the Texan said:

    Here is a link that may be helpful:
    * Recommended hotels and the reasons

  2. margaret said:

    First time going to vegas for my 60th with my partner jim.what would u say would b a good hotel.we r going in august.Some say circus circus is more for children?.Thank you.

  3. Lo said:

    according to other vegas reviews there has been a very good success rate for the $20 dollar trick, around 95% for Caesars specifically. Its a no risk/ possible reward gamble because if for some reason they dont upgrade your room they will give you the $20 back.

  4. Steve the Texan said:

    A few worth considering would be the Sin City Comedy Show at Planet Hollywood, Cabo Wabo's LA Comedy Club also at Planet Hollywood and The Improv Comedy Club at Harrahs.

  5. Iain said:

    9 guys coming to Vegas on thursday for a 70th birthday trip.Staying at the Imperial palace,any good comedy stores close by ?

  6. Steve the Texan said:

    Jimmy, it never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that the check-in staff says no upgrades are available or one would cost extra.

  7. Jimmy the Scot said:

    Staying at the Vdara in September, we are booked into a de-luxe suite. As this is quite a new hotel is it worthwhile asking for an upgrade?

  8. Jessica said:

    I emailed the hotel that I am staying in and explained it was my boyfriends birthday and asked if there was any chance of an upgrade. To my suprise the hotel experience manager emailed me back and gave us an upgrade into a paradise suite free of charge!! :)

  9. Steve the Texan said:

    You can always try the methods described in this article -- making extra sure to be friendly and polite and just happen to mention you're celebrating your boyfriend's birthday -- but don't count too much on getting an upgrade without paying for it. Consider it an unexpected bonus if it happens.

    I also just added a new deal to our Bargains page for half off suite upgrades at the Tropicana, so long as rooms are booked at least two weeks in advance. You might want to take a look at that and see if it fits your bill.

  10. Jessica said:

    Hey I will be staying at the tropicana for two weeks in september it will be my boyfriends birthday while we are there. How would I go about trying to get an upgrade to the paradise suite or is it even possible to get an upgrade?

  11. Steve the Texan said:


    There's not much to upgrade to at the Imperial Palace. The location of that hotel is excellent and the price is usually very good, but the rooms are basic and showing their age.

  12. Sara said:

    How would this work at Imperial Palace?

  13. DeeDee said:

    How would you rate the MGM Grand in terms of accommodations? Any advice?

  14. Steve the Texan said:

    The MGM Grand is a very nice place. The regular rooms might not quite approach the same level of high luxury found in places like the Wynn or the Venetian, but they're not far behind and are well above average. The giant pool is fantastic, the lion habitat is worth seeing and some of the best shows in town can be found here.

    A few more details, ratings and any currenent special deals can be found on our MGM Grand page.

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