I used to have a pretty rock sold assumption that anyone with an English accent could get away with just about anything in America, particularly when it came to getting a free upgrade in Las Vegas. So smitten were they with my accent you would see them visibly melting just hearing me utter the words “hello, how are you.” I have to admit though, there were times I adapted my own particular persona depending on the circumstances I was faced with. I’ve been Lord Mossack of London Town, if I needed posh private school, or just plain Handy Andy if Mary Poppins east-end cockney was called for. Either way it worked a treat, like in the movie Jerry Maguire, I often had them at hello..
But these days things are very different thanks to Downton Abbey. Now my American friends can, at a flick of a switch, have their fill of an English accent whenever they so desire it, so getting that free upgrade was still possible of course, it simply meant I had to adapt to a different type of strategy.
So, if we want to succeed in bagging a free upgrade in Vegas we need to get a couple of things clear right off the bat. Vegas hotels are only interested in one thing and that’s making money. Lots of it. As much as humanly possible. So feed that greed. .And the second thing to remember is America is the home of tipping. They tip everyone from a bell hop to a barman. They’d tip a traffic light if they could make it go green. So, with these two thoughts firmly front and centre, let’s explore how we can enjoy getting those free Vegas upgrades.
- If you can, try to avoid peak times like weekends or national holidays as the choice of rooms will be far less.
- Obviously you need to book a basic room online first, but if you can, I would recommend avoiding the top hotels like The Bellagio, The Venetian or The Wynn in favour of Excalibur, Paris, Circus Circus or Luxor. After all, that sought after suite upgrade will still look good in a less opulent hotel.
- So, now you have your reservation, it’s all just about delivery. How you communicate your request when you check in will be the key to unlocking your freebies. You need to be confidant and positive and perhaps a little assertive, but not enough to cause offence.
- Avoid a trainee at the reception desk at all costs, and pick someone who looks experienced.
- I’m a Vegas Regular. This is where you offer the promise of future riches. You are a regular visitor to Vegas and thoroughly disenchanted with your previous hotels, (you might have to reel off a few hotel names if asked, but never offer any) you’re trying out some different ones to find your new regular home. A room upgrade would really be appreciated; after all you like to have the same room each time you visit.
- One night only. There are many times a better room or suite might only be available for just a night or two. Ask the question, because many check in clerks simply take your dates and match it with available rooms. If you are prepared to change rooms after enjoying a free suite for a couple of nights then go for it. As they say, possession is nine tenths of the law and once you are in you can push them hard to extend.
- Wedding Anniversary. Clearly you need to have a partner in this case, but the premise is you want to celebrate that special anniversary together. It has been a long hard road for the two of you but at last the future is looking rosier. And an upgrade would make all the difference in the world.
- Complain about the room. Once you are given a room, you go up and see it and then politely complain about it. Mention it wasn’t what you ordered online and is exactly the problem you had at a different Vegas hotel on a previous trip. You were really hoping for a much more positive experience this time around.
- Nightmare journey. I have used this one successfully many times. Go for the sympathy vote, and tell them about your nightmare journey; lost luggage, missed connections, crying babies and the worst turbulence ever.. The only saving grace is you’ve finally arrived at your temporary home, so please make it as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.
- The Dollar Sandwich. The dollar sandwich is where you fit a $20 or $50 note between your credit card and passport when you hand them over at check in. Remember the tipping culture. If the clerk accepts it you will get a better room, if not you get your money back. Personally, I think it’s a myth. I prefer to just ask for an upgrade nicely and offer them a tip in a casual way. You might get rejected, but then again you might pull it off. There is simply nothing to lose. Although if you do feel like a gamble, have a look at this website (http://thetwentydollartrick.com/) and see the hotels where other guests have reported success.
- Added Value. Sometimes all the better rooms have gone and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, some added value would soften the disappointment. Vegas hotels always offer various guest incentives from free meals, drinks and spa vouchers to buffet line passes, gaming credits and hotel show tickets. They might even have coupon books for discounts on other Vegas attractions.
So, now you have all the ammunition you need to bag a free upgrade in Las Vegas. As for me, I quite fancy officially changing my first name to Lord and seeing where that gets me!