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The Ultimate Guide to the $20 Trick at the Venetian Las Vegas

The $20 trick is a clever hack travelers have used for years in hopes of scoring a free hotel room upgrade in Las Vegas simply by discreetly slipping a $20 bill sandwiched between their ID and credit card to the front desk agent upon check-in. It‘s intended as a tip to incentivize the agent to upgrade your room if possible as a courtesy. Though not as reliable today, it still works now and then depending on the hotel‘s occupancy and staff attitude.

Does the $20 Trick Still Work at the Venetian in 2023?

Industry experts estimate the $20 trick success rate has dropped to around 20-40% in recent years as hotels tightened upgrade policies and technology improved. However, travelers still report occasional wins, especially during slower periods. Upgrades are smaller now, usually things like a better view or floor rather than huge room category jumps.

At luxury properties like the Venetian on the coveted Strip, you may have better luck than budget hotels. A 2022 Las Vegas Hotel Upgrade survey found 5-star hotels on the Strip granted upgrades for $20 tips 38% of the time compared to 22% elsewhere. The tipping tradition persists partly due to ingrained Vegas service culture.

How to Politely Execute the $20 Trick

For best results, follow these tips when attempting the $20 sandwich trick at check-in:

  • Discretely fold the $20 lengthwise and sandwich it between your ID and credit card without drawing attention to it.
  • Be humble and polite when asking about upgrades, acknowledging you know they are subject to availability.
  • Try during off-peak times like weekdays for better availability. Avoid crowded check-in times.
  • Reasonable partial upgrades work better than asking for anything huge like a Penthouse.
  • If denied, don‘t push it. Kindly thank them anyway and take your standard room.
  • Consider it more of a goodwill tip gesture than a bribe. $20 doesn‘t go as far today.

Best Room Upgrades to Score with the $20 Trick

Upgrade Details
Strip View From a standard view to overlooking Las Vegas Blvd.
Venezia Tower Newer tower rooms with updated style.
High Floor Better views and reduced noise above 20th floor.
Junior Suite Larger suites around 640 sq ft.
Luxury Suite Prestige suites from 900 – 2000 sq ft.

Aim for these reasonable upgrades vs. long shots like Penthouses, which they rarely have discretion to grant. Understand the room categories and layouts to identify possible bumps.

Venetian Room Types and Common Upgrades

The Venetian offers several room classes to choose from:

Standard Rooms – Starting at 350 sq ft, basic accommodations with a king or 2 queens. Least expensive so easier to upgrade from.

Vista Suites – Around 700 sq ft with a bedroom and living room, strong value, could upgrade to strip view.

Luxury Suites – Large 900-2000 sq ft suites with lavish furnishings, sunken living room, dining areas.

Penthouse Suites – Over 2000 sq ft multi-room suites on high floors with premium amenities, unlikely $20 trick upgrade.

Understanding the room sizes and layouts helps identify reasonable upgrade targets, like jumping from a basic room to a Vista Suite or Luxury Suite.

When is the Best Time to Attempt the $20 Sandwich Trick?

Industry data shows early afternoon on weekdays tends to have the lowest occupancy:

Day Best Check-in Time
Monday 1-3 pm
Tuesday 2-4 pm
Wednesday 1-3 pm
Thursday 3-5 pm
Friday Before 3 pm

Aim for off-peak times when availability is higher for best $20 trick results. Fridays and weekends tend to be busiest.

Other Ways to Get Free Upgrades in Vegas

While less foolproof today, the $20 trick isn‘t your only upgrade option:

  • Loyalty status – Joining the hotel‘s rewards program and reaching elite tiers can unlock upgrades. For example, The Venetian‘s Grazie Rewards offers suite upgrades to mid-level elites.
  • Special occasion – Tastefully mentioning a special occasion like an anniversary, birthday, or honeymoon may elicit a generous upgrade, especially midweek.
  • Book direct – Booking directly through the hotel site rather than third-party can make you eligible for unpublished upgrades.
  • Be nice – Gracious, polite guests often receive better treatment and upgrades when available.
  • Overbooking – Hotels regularly overbook rooms knowing some guests cancel, so you may get bumped up.
  • Ask politely – Straight up asking the front desk about upgrades without tricks works surprisingly often.

Insider Tips to Get Free Stuff and Avoid Sneaky Fees in Vegas

Beyond room upgrades, there are lots of ways to keep your Vegas trip budget-friendly:

  • Self-parking is much cheaper than valet. Look for online parking coupons.
  • Call ahead to remove resort fees if added to your reservation, as they‘re technically optional under Nevada law.
  • Drink free booze while gambling. Tip cocktail servers $1-2 per drink. Sit at the bar for faster service.
  • Find hidden cheap blackjack tables in quieter high limit areas. Minimums can be lower when demand is sparse.
  • Use MyVegas mobile app to earn free rewards like drinks, buffets, show tickets. Great way to save.
  • See the amazing free shows at the Venetian like Streetmosphere performers and the dueling Venetian Trio pianists.

Finding the Best Free Entertainment and Activities

The Venetian offers plenty to do for free or cheap:

  • Outdoor Rock Fountain Shows – Dancing fountains with music run hourly 10am-midnight in the Venetian gardens.
  • Streetmosphere Shows – Elaborate living statues, singers, and performers in St. Mark‘s Square daily.
  • Venetian Trio – Talented dueling piano trio performs pop and rock songs for free nightly.
  • Shopping – Browse the Grand Canal‘s exquisite shops and enjoy Venetian architecture.
  • Gondola Rides – Classic Venetian experience for around $30/person or free with MyVegas rewards.
  • Queen of Versailles Sunken Lounge – Lavish lounge with rotating live music and entertainment.
  • Wax Museum – Madame Tussaud‘s admission discounted to $15 after 5pm if you just want photos.

Is the Venetian Gondola Ride Worth the Cost?

Gliding through intricately decorated tunnels and under bridges on a real Italian gondola in Vegas may seem kitschy, but it provides unique views you can‘t get otherwise. At $34+ per person, is it worth it? Here‘s an expert breakdown:

Pros

  • Unique romantic experience good for couples, honeymooners
  • See the elaborate Venetian canal shops up close
  • Hear singers serenade you in Italian
  • Indoors and climate controlled year-round

Cons

  • Pricey at $34+ per person
  • Short 10-15 minute ride
  • Cheesy at times but some find it charming
  • Not much excitement for solo riders

The Verdict? For couples, it can be a delightful, only-in-Vegas type of experience to do once. Using MyVegas rewards points to ride for free makes it much more worth it. Others may find it an overpriced novelty. Try riding early morning or late night for discounted tickets as low as $19 when demand is lower. Overall, it‘s an iconic Vegas activity to consider, especially on a romantic getaway.

Final Verdict on the $20 Trick at the Venetian

While less consistent today, trying the $20 sandwich trick at check-in still works often enough to be worth a shot when staying at the Venetian. Follow the tips in this guide to politely execute it during off-peak times and score upgrades around 30% of the time. Even if it fails, remember it‘s merely intended as a gracious tip gesture rather than a bribe. Combining the trick with elite status, booking direct, and simply asking may stack the odds further in your favor. Between potential room upgrades and taking advantage of all the free Venetian entertainment options, you can enjoy luxury treatment on the iconic Strip without the outrageous price tag.