After many years of hearing about the $20 trick (or $20 sandwich as some call it), I finally decided to give it a whirl on my last visit to Las Vegas. 


The Context

I had booked a room for an incredible rate at Planet Hollywood in the center of all the action on Las Vegas Boulevard through Total Rewards. I booked two weeknights in a ‘Hip Room with Fountain View’ for $45/night plus resort fees.

We arrived Monday around 9:00 PM local time and took an Uber from the airport to Planet Hollywood. Prior to heading into the lobby, I had already put a $20 in between my ID and credit card. I also had my Total Rewards card ready just in case.

The Story

As we entered, the lobby was empty and we walked right up to the check-in desk. This was the first time I have ever just walked up to the front desk in Vegas without waiting, so in the back of my mind I figured my odds of the $20 trick working were high.

I present the sandwich to the lady at the front desk. As she pull the ID and credit card apart she immediately said, “I will see what I can do for you” as she set the $20 bill to the side

She briefly walked around the corner and came back with a big smile saying that she would be able to give us an upgrade and it would have a similar view that we had previously booked. She added that she thought we would really like the room.

The Build-Up

After she gave us directions to the elevators, we headed up towards our room to drop off our bags. We arrived on the 36th floor and started heading towards our room. As we walked by each door, waiting to see which one would be ours, it occurred to me, “I think the double doors at the end of the hall is our room”.

This couldn’t be right, those were the doors to the ‘Panorama Suite’. As we got within 20 feet of the door, we indeed saw our room number. We slid our key card in and proceeded.

At this point our mouths dropped. We were just upgraded to a room that in the slow season is $500/night. On a weekend the suite is upwards of $800/night.

For $20 we had been upgraded to an incredible suite looking over Paris, the mountains to the east and the Bellagio Fountains. The views were so incredible, it was hard to leave the room.

The Conclusion

Many people try the $20 trick. The stories always vary from free buffet passes to waiving of resort fees to room upgrades. I will never go to Vegas again without seeing what a $20 bill will do.

We felt like we had already won before we had hit the casino floor. Granted, I would probably never pay for a room of that size in Las Vegas, it was a wonderful experience that will have me coming back to Planet Hollywood again the future.

Simply put, try putting a $20 between your ID and credit card at check-in, it’s a safer bet than Red on the Roulette Wheel.

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