I have an upcoming stay booked at the Bellagio. It’s a real cheapie rate over a long weekend, but it was booked through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts so in theory I’m entitled to an upgrade of some kind at checkin subject to availability.
I’m used to having a little more juice, but the places I have status don’t give me many options on the Strip.
So I’ll be walking into the Bellagio, I’m not a high roller, and I’ve booked the lowest category room. I can try my schmooze at checkin or I can try the $20 trick (though at the Bellagio perhaps it’s the $50 trick — or more).
The morals of it are questionable. Most of us wouldn’t agree if a grocery store clerk offered not to charge us for groceries in exchange for a tip. But hotel clerks are generally given some leeway to upgrade guests, and hotels are a place where tipping is the norm.
So questionable, perhaps, but the squeaky wheel sometimes gets the suite. I suppose one can be high-moraled and sitting in a ‘garden view’ room on the second floor…
Flyertalk’s skofarrel summarized the technique as follows:
- Walk up to the counter. Hand over your card and id (if required). Look the clerk in the eye while leaving the $20/50/100 in plain sight on the counter. “I was wondering if I could possibly get an upgrade into a mega luxury fantastico suite?”. The clerk will do one of three things:
1. Eye the bill, and get you your upgrade (if this happens, you press the bill into your hand, shake the clerks hand while passing the bill. Mission accomplished.
2. Look in the computer and say, I can upgrade you for $X per night. You the realize that you’ve lost the bribe game and scored a clerk that does not know how to supplement their income. You than have to decide if the up charge is worth it.
3. Sorry no upgrades tonight, we’re full up. You may be in a pickle here. They may really be full, or you may not have offered enough. Move form a $20 to a $50 or $100 if you really want the suite and ask “are you sure”? If they say their sure, see number 2 above. If the $50 or $100 shakes a suite loose, you should be a bit embarrassed for not offering enough the first time, but are back in the game.
There’s also a thread in Flyertalk’s Las Vegas forum on the subject.
And here’s my advice on how to score a hotel upgrade without coming out of pocket.
Comments are open if you’ve tried this at checkin, let me know if you’ve succeeded or failed.