The short answer: Yes!
The long-winded blog post answer:
Somehow in all my previous trips to Vegas I had never once heard of the $20 trick. However when I was checking out hotels, I accidentally stumbled upon it. Picture me feeling like I’ve been living under a rock!
Maybe the title of the post shouldn’t even be directly about the $20 trick but more about how to snag the best room for the cheapest possible price! I find Vegas to be the ideal place to snag snazzy 4 or 5 star hotel rooms at a fraction of the cost you would pay in other cities. If I were to guess I’d say it has to do with the huge supply of rooms, as well as casinos wanting people in their hotels as per the trickle effect of those people gambling in their casinos. So there’s a huge disparity where one night at the Bellagio can cost $400 and the next you’re getting it for $100. So the first thing I’d suggest to anyone looking for a room is to book with a free cancellation policy and then periodically check back to see if those nights have gotten cheaper. In my recent trip to Vegas I can attest to several price drops that had me canceling and rebooking. Don’t want to do all that work? Well firstly, there is prolly an app that can send you updates for something like this and secondly you get out what you actually put in. Those searching for deals and putting in the groundwork will surely get em! If you’re too lazy to do that then you’re prolly too lazy to read this blog post anyways.
The next big tip I read somewhere (and instinctively knew offhand) was that if you sign up for a hotel rewards program they will send you promotion deals better than any third party booking agent. In this particular case I was already set on Vdara because of the cost, location and reviews. So I simply signed up for their rewards after booking on hotels.com to see if anything better would come along. Throwing out my little bait into the ocean didn’t take long as Vdara bit soon after! Not only were they offering the best prices available on rooms but they also threw in free buffets for two for every single night of accommodation.
Now you still gotta be flexible! The night before leaving Jamaica I got an email from The Cosmopolitan offering Room rates for $109/night AND waiving the resort fees (which typically run from $30-$45 usd per night). I had once stayed at Cosmopolitan and had received a free upgrade to a wrap around suite. To this day it was one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever been in! Anyone who frequents Vegas probably knows that Cosmo is an ideal spot to stay and usually room prices rarely seem to fall below $200. So to get it at $109/night AND waive resort fees is a pretty amazing deal. As a no brainer, I cancelled Vdara and booked Cosmo. Even better, when making my reservation on the phone the rep gave me a choice of two different rooms types at the same cost and one happened to be a much nicer option that if you had booked on your own you would have paid even more!
Now the key to all the backstory given is that I was already winning way before I even touched down in Vegas! Based on their booking room rates and resort fees I was saving about $350usd just by being a member of their free rewards program. Armed with these savings and a mentality of go big or go home I decided to use $100 for the tip trick. That’s right, you heard me! I’m in Vegas and I’m a gambling man so I was willing to bet a Benjamin on an upgrade, as I wanted it to be a worthwhile one.
Now smooth talking or even tipping has never really been my forte. My problem is mostly that, I’m so much of a straight up kinda guy that I’m not really big on bullshit. To be honest, I’m not really big on small talk either unless I happen to be in the mood for it. Then I just think everything around tipping is awkward, I would really just prefer an app where I can tip and not have to hand the person money thank you Uber! Has anyone ever watched that episode of Friends where Chandler talks about how horrible he is at tipping? Well that’s me! So I’m finally standing in line at the Cosmo nervously waiting to see which agent I receive. Everyone knows a big key to good customer service is winning the ‘agent lottery jackpot’. I always tell people if you call a service number and didn’t get what you wanted, then just hang up and try for the next agent that answers! Well I had my hopes as to who I’d get (the bubbly agent who is smiling non-stop like she is working for Crest) but when I’m finally at the front cue an agent calls me from around the corner who I haven’t seen before!
Within the first few seconds of walking up to the desk I handed her my tip sandwich (to the best of my ability, the sandwiches I’m familiar with are normally made at Subway) which consists of my credit card, the $100 bill and my I.D and asked as smoothly as possible if there are any upgrades available as I really have my eyes set on the wrap around balcony. She is so good; she pretends not to even see the money. Now lemme tell you, if I were the agent behind the desk I prolly woulda been back flipping! Without skipping a beat she explains that she can only do one grade upgrades from the room I’m currently booked which isn’t that much. But it’s an upgrade and I’ll take it! The agent (who I’m not going to name of course) really gets to work and starts telling me the options she can give me by going into details of floors and balcony views. She also explains that even though she can only do one-grade upgrades they recently started renovating the one bedroom’s and if I’d like she can try to get me one of the newer rooms. Hell yes, if you throw in free deodorant I’m going to take everything you’re willing to give!
Honestly she worked assiduously to help me. I have no doubt in my mind that she gave the best upgrade she could and obviously some days the agents have more leeway than others (I’m guessing based on things like occupancy). Aside from just the upgrade she gave me a bunch of tips like the fact that I could use my room card and get into Marquee, things I prolly wouldn’t bother to ask anyone else. The exact savings of using the trick based on my current room and the new one I got was prolly around $40 but we also have to consider balcony views and newer model upgrades which prolly would have passed me by. I’m thinking the $20 would have probably done the trick. After check in was complete she handed me back my cards along with the $100. I in turn handed it back and told her it was for her. Now this is what surprised me. She seemed genuinely shocked. Obviously she had seen it the whole time and knew what I was up to, but she honestly seemed to think I was going to take it back based on her not being able to give me what I had originally requested. I mean, I could have, and the trick would really have been no trick at all, the heading would read ‘How I scored a free upgrade in Vegas’ instead. But what kinda douche bag does that and how do they go about it exactly. Peace out! When I handed her back the $100 and told her it was for her, her face was lit up and she told me that I had made her day. At the end of it all, free upgrades or not, when has it ever been a bad thing to make someone’s day!