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Annually, upwards of 40 million visitors stream into Las Vegas to try their luck, experience the nightlife, and see the sights. One mistake many tourists make is booking a “run of the house room” with an online travel agent like Travelocity, or the property itself as that room type is typically the cheapest option. Unfortunately, that lowest tier room oftentimes leaves you with a baseline room, on the 3rd floor, with a view of a rooftop air conditioning unit.
The question then is, how can you get a room upgrade in Vegas? After all, the lights of the Strip are meant to be seen.
Note that there is no sure-fire way to obtain a free or cheap room upgrade in Vegas, however, listed below are some of the strategies that have been successfully employed in the past.
Book direct with the property and ALWAYS be re-booking: Saving a few bucks by booking a non-refundable deal with a 3rd party travel website is always appealing, but we would encourage you to look the other way. Booking directly with Las Vegas resorts gives you the opportunity to pick precisely what room, amenities, and view you want. Typically, booking direct is even less expensive than that 3rd party travel site deal after you sign up for that property’s loyalty program online.
Since rooms booked direct with Las Vegas properties are cancellable, you can check back early and often for opportunities to re-book at a lower rate. If rates drop after you book, simply cancel your reservation and re-book your upgraded hotel room.
Simply ask politely for a hotel room upgrade: Many on social media espouse the effectiveness of the $20 sandwich trick. The $20 trick is executed by discreetly passing a $20 bill to the check-in employee sandwiched between your ID and credit card while simultaneously asking for a complimentary room upgrade. While it has worked for many upgrade seekers, we don’t suggest that route.
Instead, we recommend simply asking for a complimentary room upgrade at check-in. Usually, if the hotel isn’t running at capacity, you’ll receive it if available. To provide additional incentive, I like to hold a $20 bill in view when asking for the upgraded room and handing it over if the front desk is able to accommodate my request.
At the time of booking online, you can also make note of the type of upgrade you desire in the “special requests” field. You can then follow that up with asking at the front desk at check-in. It’s no guarantee, but it’ll give you a chance.
When asking for an upgraded hotel room, the front desk typically has more leeway to adjust your reservation if you booked directly with them as opposed to a 3rd party. Obviously, hotels are also more included to upgrade the room of someone who is their customer as opposed to someone who booked elsewhere.
Point out your special occasion: Don’t be shy to drop the reason you are visiting either in the booking notes when making your hotel reservation or at check-in. Resorts will often give guests celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, etc. a complimentary room upgrade. We suggest mentioning your special occasion when asking politely for a complimentary upgrade.
Demonstrate loyalty to a property or chain of properties: When you consistently stay with and play at a Las Vegas resort, odds are that you will receive lucrative comp room offers. There is a direct correlation between how much you spend at a property and how much rooms will cost on your next trip. Oftentimes, upgraded room options with more space, a better view, or fancier amenities will be cheaper or even free on your next visit, even for low rollers.
Ultimately, the strategies above for a cheap or free room upgrade in Vegas carry some risk and may not work, especially if Vegas is busy and your hotel is running at capacity. If you are aiming to impress, or need a specific room type, we recommend just paying up and booking the room you want directly with the hotel property. You can still shoot for an upgrade to something more ritzy, but you’ll be guaranteed an acceptable baseline room.
Good luck at the check-in counter! We hope you are able to obtain the view, space, or features in a room that you desire. Even if you are unsuccessful in getting an upgraded hotel room in Vegas, don’t despair. After all, you’re in Vegas, and your friends are not.