The Twenty Dollar Trick: Does It Really Work?

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4627231883_5cc6c0d240The BF had sent me a link awhile ago to something he read online about “The Twenty Dollar Trick”. Supposedly, when you check into a hotel, you can slip the concierge a $20 bill between your credit card and your ID card. In return, they’ll will give you a free room upgrade. Apparently, it’s an unspoken trick in the industry. $20 for a upgrade? Of course, I was intrigued so I googled it some more. I found this whole website decided to it, called (of course) The Twenty Dollar Trick. Here’s what they had to say about it:

“The twenty dollar bill trick is sweeping the travel industry and becoming extremely popular, especially in Las Vegas. When you check into a hotel you simply slip the front desk clerk a $20 bill with your credit card, while asking “Do you have any complimentary upgrades available?”. The general rule of thumb is that the front desk clerk will check for upgrades and if they cannot find anything they will return the $20 tip, making it risk free!”

I had found some other sites that said you shouldn’t say a word when slipping the $20 because everyone who works in the hotel industry knows. So I guess there’s various methods of this trick. Anyhow, neither of us had heard of this before (probably because we don’t get out enough) but 20 bucks sounds like a good deal for a room upgrade so we added it on our to-do list for the next time we traveled.

Well, this weekend, the BF went on a short trip with his friends to Atlantic City to celebrate someone’s birthday. He had told all his friends about this trick so they were determined to try it. They had reserved two standard rooms ahead of time. When they got there, he slipped the concierge a $20 bill with his credit card. No words were exchanged about it and he wasn’t asked what it was for. And guess what? One of their rooms was upgraded to a suite. Apparently, the BF saw a slight wink from the guy (or maybe he was just seeing things, who knows?). But the point is, he did end up getting a free upgrade for one of their rooms.

I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to try it but thinking about it, you have nothing to lose…well, except for twenty dollars. I’m also not sure if it’s entirely ethical but at the same time, can you just view it as a tip for good service?

Have you ever tried this trick? Would you?


  1. says

    That’s awesome! I haven’t heard of this trick, but I’m not sure I’d try it. I’m too type-A! I like to know what I’m paying for, and if I’m paying $20 and might get nothing in return I’m not sure I’d be willing to risk it. I figured out my problem: I overthink things. I should try this next time I’m in Vegas. Worst case scenario I can blog-rant about it not working 😉

  2. says

    That is awesome that it worked. I’ve heard of this trick in relation to Vegas; I didn’t know it worked everywhere, though AC is similar to Vegas. I’m not sure if I would have the guts to try it, either, but I guess it pays off!

  3. says

    Interesting, sounds like something I’ll have to try next time… it’s either that or become a Starwood Platinum member where you can get free upgrades to the best room available. Status is nice… but this takes less work!

  4. says

    I’ve heard of this but I would NEVER have the guts to do it. I’m way too chicken when it comes to things like this. But if I was with friends I’d probably encourage them to try it for me 🙂

  5. says

    Pretty cool that it worked and they were able to get a suite. I don’t know if I would try it though…I’m too chicken. I wonder if the concierge guy would get in trouble for giving out a suite to someone who didn’t pay for it?

  6. says

    I’ve never heard of this trick before! I’m not chicken at all, so I will be trying it next time (who knows when that will be). LOL!

  7. Kevin says

    I just went to Vegas last week. I stayed at Paris and I had heard and read about the “tip trick” so I decided to give it a try. I figured I would see what a 50.00 got me…it definitely worked. The young lady didn’t see the money at first and was only gonna upgrade me to a mini-suite. Once she saw the money, she went back to computer for 4 or 5 minutes and she upgraded me to a very nice, large suite…complete with two separate bathrooms, tv that pops up from cabinet, living room, dining room, wet bat, etc. I stayed for 5 nights so for average of extra 10 bucks a night, definitely worth it. Couple of tips….(no pun intended)….make sure a bit of the bill is visible between license and credit card. Be nice…ask politely if any upgrades available. Worth trying if staying for multiple nights. Nothing to be scared about, you all tip waiters and cab drivers and such right? I got the sense it was pretty standard or common practice there….

    • Connie @ Savvy With Saving says

      I still haven’t tried it myself but I’m going to Vegas later this year so I think that will be the perfect time to do it! 🙂


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