Have you ever been to Las Vegas and said to yourself, gosh, I’d really love a suite or a room upgrade, I just don’t want to spend the extra money? You are not alone. Iv’e been to Las Vegas countless times and stayed at numerous resorts on and off the strip. Vegas is a great city for food, in fact, if you are a foodie like me, you really need to explore what Vegas has to eat. I’ll get into that in another article.
For this article, I wanted to share with you a really cool hack called the Vegas Sandwich Trick. Here is the basic premise. Because this is Vegas and all the casino’s comp their favorite guests with freebies such as: alcohol, food and room upgrades, the desk agents who check you in have a lot of discretion into what they can and can’t do for you. Your best chances of successfully mastering this trick right is going to involve a few simple steps ahead of time but it only takes less than 20 minutes. Also, never forget that the #1 advice I can give you is to always be super nice to the hotel employee who might be helping you. No one wants to upgrade or assist a jerk. If you show attitude, the hotel rep could have 18 empty suites and you are just not going to get one unless you pay full rack rate.
So what is the Vegas Sandwich Hack and how do I get it to work? It’s quite simple, but you need to do a few things in advance of checking in at your LAs Vegas hotel.
- Find the hotel you want to stay in and check to see if they have a loyalty program. If they do, it’s going to be free to sign up. This is Vegas after all. No one would ever dare charge for a loyalty program. One of the biggest loyalty programs is M Life by the MGM. I have signed up and you can earn points with one of many casino hotels, restaurants and shops. Why sign up in the first place you ask? When you sign up, you are sending a signal to the property that you intend to be loyal to them and that means money and data to the casino. Loyalty, no matter how little you use it, is valuable to the hotel and you could at some point in time become what they call in the industry a “whale”. Someone who spends endlessly. The industry loves whales and anyone is potential.
- Book directly with the hotel. You can book most Las Vegas hotels on their website, but here’s another really cool hotel booking tip. Before you make the hotel booking, check out a few of my sites I like to use to see if there are any special deals for your hotel of choice. Let’s say for example, you want to stay at the Venetian. Don’t book on the Venetian’s website just yet. First, search Google, and search the popular travel sites such as Expedia and Kayak (Owned by Priceline) for any discounts and specials. Since this is Las Vegas, I’ll personally search on Las Vegas specific websites such as vegas.com to see if any local deals are available. But I don’t stop there. You may want to consider searching on some foreign travel booking sites as these sites might have specials for locals abroad who can’t afford even the deeply discounted Vegas rates. ctrip.com for example (owned 20% by Expedia) will give you results for the Chinese market and you can even switch to English. And since Las Vegas wants to lure the Chinese nationals in by the thousands, they might entice the local market with some really great specials that you can take advantage of. But don’t book. Not yet!
Now that you found a deal, you want to call the hotel reservation department and politely ask if they are willing to match the deal you found on your travel booking site. As long as I get the same discounted rate, I’m happy. No need to ask for a further discount, you are just wasting your time. Now that you have the price secured, book directly with the hotel. Why does this really matter? It’s simple. The hotel controls your booking instead of a third-party travel booking site. If a change needs to be made, you must go to the company that made your booking. If that’s someone other than the hotel, you are limited to what the hotel can do. If you book with a third party, the hotel’s hands are tied and you might as well kiss your upgrade good bye.
- Now that you signed up for the loyalty program and booked direct, the hotel will create a profile of you. You as the the customer as now checking all the right boxes, loyal and booked direct. They love you and you haven’t done anything to actually check in yet.
- When you reach the desk agent, make a sandwich with your credit card, driver’s license and a folded bill such as a $20 or a $50. I never use a $20. The $20 is talked about so much by people who know this trick that it’s going to give you a much lower chance of succeeding. Plus, if you plan on staying more than one night, a $50 dollar bill for two nights or more is very reasonable. OK, so now that your $50 is folded and discretely inside your “sandwich”, hand all three to the agent in sandwich form. you will be asked if the money is for them. Discretely tell them, yes” and proudly display a lovely smile.
- While they are checking you in, mention you are wondering if they don’t mind checking to see if an upgrade to a suite would be available. I let the desk agent know that I am celebrating a friend’s birthday and we plan on gambling the heck out of their casino. You just raised your score even further. Loyal, booked direct, and gambler.
- The desk agent will check available inventory and if they don’t have the authority, they will check with a manager in the back. Don’t worry, this happens all the time. No need to get nervous.
- When they come back, if the news is not so good, you will get your tip back. If it’s good news. you are now upgraded. But it gets better. And here is what I do to bump this up even further. After getting my upgrade, I tell Sally that I noticed she doesn’t have a cool beverage. I point to the other side of the check in area and tell her I plan on getting myself a beverage. “Would you like one Sally”? Sally, of course, will politely decline. They all do. but I persist and let her know I’m going there regardless and she just did me a huge favor. “You don’t mind, she asks”? “Not at all”, I reply. “I’ll be back in 5”.
Take her order and head over to the nearest coffee shop. When you return, she will most likely be helping someone else. Politely set the drink down and compliment her again on her excellent service. This now makes her look good in front of the next guest. What ever you do, don’t mention the upgrade. In the three out of three times I tried this trick, I was given an envelope. What ever you do, don’t open it just yet. Wait to go upstairs to your suite and then open it. What was I given, $150 worth of food and drink credits. Not bad for a large iced tea.