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How to score a Vegas Hotel Room Upgrade

By Sandy Hamilton, Contributing Editor

You have just arrived in Vegas. Now, you are waiting in the check-in line at your hotel and you have got one thing concerning you. No, it isn’t shows, beer or 21. It is an upgrade. Upgrades are a variable thing in the hospitality business. We have all heard the stories of somebody slipping the reception desk agent a $10, $20 or $50 and then getting an upgrade to a fantastic room or suite facing the street / sea / park / bay or in Las Vegas, in the Strip. Still, that only worked when the hotel had vacancies or when the reception desk clerk was in a particularly happy mood.

Before the economy plunged, when American citizens were spending money right and left on holidays, getting an upgrade at check-in was rare since hotels could command and receive their premium rates. But in Las Vegas in 2013 when thousands of hotel rooms are still open each night, those formerly unattainable upgrades are within reach again. Here’s how it’s possible to get ’em.

We chatted with a front desk agent at one of Las Vegas ’ most famous resorts who gave us the inside track on getting an upgrade in Las Vegas at check-in. These tips may help you get an upgrade if you come to Vegas on occasion and you do not do lots of heavy betting. Still if you bet at all, be sure to join the casino’s players ’ rewards programme. Depending on how much you can bet it is possible to get free things ( “comps” ) from smorgasboard passes to show tickets to yes, free rooms.

  • All You’ve Got To Do is Ask

Slipping the reception desk agent a $20 will help you get a better room, our mate Mr. O says. Of course, the agents are those who decide where your room will be located (close to the lift, at the end of the hall, up high or overlooking the car park). But again, with so many rooms open in Vegas nowadays, to get a real upgrade all you’ve got to do is ask. One or two hotels, particularly on the less expensive end like The Luxor or The Excalibur will let you upgrade to a suite for $25-$50 at check-in. The chance, naturally, is that you do not know whether or not that suite would be available at the time of check-in. But when it does, you might get a serious deal. Mr. O announces he’s seen guests upgraded to suites for fifty to seventy five % off the initial price.

  • Be Specific: Room upgrades change in definition from hotel to hotel and from check-in desk to check-in desk.

When you are saying upgrade, you could mean “bigger room” but in the opinion of the front desk agent “upgrade” could simply mean “higher floor” or a room that is in better condition than the others. When you ask for an upgrade, designate what you’re on the lookout for, whether or not it’s a room with a view of the Bellagio fountains or suite with one and half baths.

  • Be Ready To Pay rather More

According to Mr. O, most hotels still have a fixed upgrade charge for their suites that is regularly more that $25 or $50 and might be as high as $100. You will get a superior deal if you book your room on sites like Travelaureate, Hotwire, Travelocity or Expedia which are selling less expensive rooms than the hotels. That way when you ask for a suite upgrade at check-in and the upgrade charge is $100, you will be out less money than the person that scheduled a regular room price on the hotel’s site and upgraded at check-in. Or the individual that essentially paid $600 for the suite to start with.

  • Timing is Important: Getting an upgrade on a Fri. or Sat. night in Vegas is always likely to be hard.
You’ll have better luck if you check in on weekdays (Monday-Wednesdays are the best days) or in a slower time in the year like July and Aug and straight after New Year’s Eve.
  • Learn From Others: It’s worthwhile to do a little analysis before going.

The VegasMessageBoard has a complete thread dedicated to the “$20 Trick” where folks have shared their experiences slipping a front desk clerk a $20 tip. Over at, folks detail their successes and disasters getting upgrades at Vegas hotels including which clerk helped them (female or male and their reckoned ages) and what sorts of room they ended up with. And it can’t do any harm to follow your own chums ’ trips in Vegas through their Facebook and Twitter standing updates. If they get an upgrade, pump them for data on how precisely it went down. Just remember, the reception desk agent requires a legitimate reason to elucidate why a guest was upgraded. This can go into the hotel’s PC system and a legit reason is necessary. “The guest asked nicely” or “The girl was hot” or “The dude tipped me” aren’t good reasons and the reception desk agent could lose their job.

So be ready to bring some more upgrading money with you. Or else, do what the majority of Vegas visitors do—-party all evening. You will be too hungover to note your room anyway. THE END

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