How to use the $20 Sandwich Trick to get a hotel room upgrade

While getting away can be nice, spending a few days in a rad hotel room can be even better. But, since you might not be rolling in they type of cash needed to book a better room, you might have to resort to using your wits, charm, and The $20 Sandwich Trick to get an upgrade.

A friend told me about the so-called “$20 Sandwich Trick” a few year ago a couple days prior to a trip to Las Vegas.  I ended up using it, it worked out rad, and I have been doing it ever since.

Here’s How the $20 Sandwich Trick Works:

  • Book your room ahead of time using whatever method you like best.  (Orbitz, Travelocity,,Trivago, etc.)
  • Before you arrive at your hotel, resort, hedonist camp, or wherever you are staying, fold up a twenty dollar bills so it fits nicely between your identification and the credit card you will be using to check into your room.
  • When you check in, do it like a nice normal person – hell, perhaps ask how the person checking you in is doing or compliment them on something.
  • Then, and this is where things change up a bit, when they ask you for your ID and credit card, put the “sandwich” you made of them with the twenty dollar filling on the counter.
  • If you are in Vegas or a place that is used to getting tips, the employee will place the twenty on the counter in full sight and take your card and ID without mentioning the money.  Don’t worry.  This is normal.  If it is somewhere where people are not used to getting tips, literally anything can happen so things will then be kind of up to you.
  • With the twenty on the counter, your employee will check you in and tell you about the resort or whatever, then, when they say something along the lines of, “is there anything else I can do for you today?” – this is big, this is the moment, don’t tense up – you reply with, “do you happen to have any complimentary room upgrades?”
  • It’s at this point that they normally hook you up and, when they do, just kind of slide the twenty toward them and say thank you.  If they cannot do it (sometimes hotels are book and you just showed up at 1 am all drunk, you dick!), then you can take your money back or still give it to them because you’re a nice person.  It’s up to you.

And that’s it.

So far, I am 3 for 3 on getting upgrades in Vegas.  Once to a slightly bigger room at New York New York, one to a freakin’ suite at the Tropicana, and once I got my resort fees taken care of and a $50 food credit (so, yeah not bad for $20).  I tried this in Los Angeles once and I got nothing.  I still gave the twenty bucks thinking karma would come back around or something.  It didn’t Oh well.

You could, I suppose, add more or even less money to the equation – making the $20 Sandwich Trick the $50 or, if you are really feeling lucky, the $100 Sandwich Trick – I mean, I know if I was working the counter at a hotel and someone slipped me a $100, I would do damn near everything to get them upgraded.  Then again, if you have a hundred to throw around, you probably could just book a better room in the first place, no?

So there you go: the “$20 Sandwich Trick” for your next vacation.  If you use it, or have used it in the past, let me know how it worked out in the comments.

Happy traveling.

Related: Heading to Las Vegas?  Don’t miss the best show in Sin City at a discount.