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How Often Do People Get Downgraded, Really?

Last edit: MikeE on Monday, 1st September 2014 1:10 am
Last response by MikeE 8th September 9:09pm

My parents both share late December birthdays. Every year, I kill two birds with one stone and treat them to a suite. In the past, I'd book through Amex which requires that they honor the exact reservation, but Mlife's deep discount is too good to pass up. Nevertheless, they've been quick to inform that booking certain suites - even some of the more modest digs - means you could get bumped down if a big player wants your room. And while I know late December is always an extra-slow time of the year, we're thinking about checking in Christmas Day which usually parallels a strip-wide baccarat tournament.

So with that said, how often do people really get downgraded? In all my years following everything Vegas, I don't think I've ever heard a story of this really happening.

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 Okie21 responded on Monday, 1st September 2014

I have never heard of this actually happening either. I'd definitely be surprised if this happened in December, even with the bacc tourney.

 rbg81601 responded on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

In the last ten years my wife and I have racked up over 70 trips to Las Vegas, and only once twice was the suite we had booked not available at checkin. Once was at MGM - and because we arrived after midnight our Hollywood suite had been given away, but I remained polite and we were given an upgrade to a Marquee Skyline suite. The second time was on Thanksgiving day at Mirage, and the Mirage Suite we had specifically booked to have two bathrooms was not available, so they bumped us up to a Penthouse Suite - which was monstrous and beautiful, but only had one bathroom and we really would've preferred the room we had booked. So I imagine sooner than being downgraded you would be upgraded, or at least something comparable to your original booking. Just stay polite, I have found that provides far better results!

 Chuckmonster replied on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

This, a smile and good joke works wonders at the check in desk.

 Heresiarch replied on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

The bumping stories I've seen on Yelp/etc tend to start with "when I walked in, I started acting like I owned the place, since $159 is two weeks' salary to me and if I was gonna spend that much they better fucking respect my authori-tie."

+1 to being polite

 Chuckmonster replied on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

+3 for the Cartman ref.

 jinx73 responded on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

My parents have had it happen to them at least 2 times on trips. I wouldn't say it's common, but definitely can happen.

 MattK responded on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014

I think getting bumped due to the sudden appearance of a high roller is a very rare occurrance, and when it happens the person getting squeezed will be bumped up if possible, not down.

I think paradoxically you'd be in good shape during a casino tournament, since casinos wil go overboard in holding suites in reserve for a big tournament. And Christmas day/eve is not typically a sellout night.

If I was trying to get bumped, I'd book an Encore apartment - I'd book it way in advance (if they still let you do that) for a major holiday. And I'd put a note in the reservation that I need extra ice for my styrofoam cooler. Then a year later when it was time to arrive I would expect a call from management.

 motoman responded on Sunday, 7th September 2014

I'm *hoping* it doesn't happen much in December, because we are planning our (perhaps Last Hurrah) trip to Sky Suites then. Even with the potential of an M-Life upgrade I have to book the two-bedroom because there are three of us including one couple. (It's handy to be together, and two single suites would be more costly.)

Even so, on our first stay there, a young-looking fellow (possibly from Dubai? We've chatted with several there) was discussing with the front desk, very quietly & politely, his displeasure in being given a single instead of the two-bedroom Penthouse he had reserved in advance. The explanation was the standard "room preferences are not guaranteed" with specific mention of a possible downgrade, but I was rather shocked. Especially since another young Dubaian had told us about those Ferraris out front with license plates "DUBAI 1," "DUBAI 2," etc. for those special guests.

I only wish I hadn't been so tired (3 or 4am, inquiring about a late check-out) or I'd have offered that we were vacating our Penthouse later that day…. Obviously the hotel knew, but sometimes a human and a keyboard helps to connect the dots….

+1 also to being polite, as noted in comments above.

 motoman replied on Monday, 8th September 2014

I should qualify that the above occurred during June, not December. Different beast. Also, I have no idea by which means the fellow had reserved his room.

Thanks to a host and other online info, I gather that direct reservations get better treatment than the Gnome et al. Interesting that AmEx guarantees the reservation — guessing that’s a Platinum perk, which I don’t have. Normally I’d just go on the Mlife website and likely will end up doing that, although the host did suggest I contact him next time.

So I guess if I had a follow-up question, it would be how to go about approaching this -- as I admitted at the time, I never considered dealing with casino marketing as I'm certainly no high roller. He said that didn't matter. Tried emailing, no reply -- I know I could just call the number on the website but figured I'd give the guy first crack for the time he spent with me.

Like MikeE, we'd hate to be downgraded from the room we desire (cost savings aside, it's become our favorite in town for a number of reasons). Being December, I'd like to try asking about the Mlife upgrade as well (i.e., what room booking would upgrade to the two bedroom...?).

 HedgedBettor responded on Wednesday, 3rd September 2014

I always book my suites through the mlife discounts and whenever what I've booked has been unavailable I've been upgraded not downgraded. Baccarat tournaments are all well and good but I'd be shocked if you got bumped.

 MikeE responded on Friday, 5th September 2014

Just dropping a note of thanks for the responses.

 Geoff responded on Monday, 8th September 2014

I don't think it happens if it's a room you actually booked and are paying for, but it certainly happens with comped room. From what i gather mostly the real high end stuff.. before big weekends they have a committee meeting and rank the incoming players.. bigger players get better rooms. so you may be used to staying at the mansion, but on new years or something you might end up in a skyloft, etc...

 MikeE responded on Monday, 8th September 2014

Just an update: I called MLife to book a comped room at Bellagio with a request that it attach to a one-bedroom penthouse that I'm paying out of pocket for. They transferred me to a host who arranged it and pre-assigned the rooms. Now I'm feeling a lot more secure.