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Tipping Advice

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Tipping Advice

Since the last thread somehow devolved into a war of nations, cultures, and heaven knows what else, I thought I would try a different approach.

Are you a visitor from a locale where tipping is not the norm?...Are you concerned about what the expectations are with relation to gratuities on your pending Vegas Holiday?

Fear not!

Here is a post that will give you a guidepost. An idea of where to start.... What you actually do, well, that's up to you!

Other suggestions I haven't mentioned? Bring 'em on!

BUT... If you want to pontificate about the validity of the tipping culture... Do that elsewhere.... Because no matter what you say here, it won't change the expectations in Vegas (at least not overnight!).

So.... Without further delay... Here, once again, are MGG's general tipping guidelines! (Let's see how far this sinks....)

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1. Re: Tipping Advice

"Mandatory": Situations when it is always expected that a tip will be provided. Should the service or goods provided be so unsatisfactory that one chooses not to tip, then it is also so unsatisfactory as to provide a complaint to the management. In other words, if you're not going to tip when it's expected, it means something was horribly wrong, and it's only fair to bring whatever that is to their attention.

"Mandatory" tips:

Wait person at a table service restaurant-

minimum 15% of the pre-tax total, 20% is probably closer to what the majority will do.

And yes, you should stick to these percentages even if you ordered the $200 bottle of wine instead of the $40 bottle of wine. I know it's not more work, but that $200 bottle is what lets them have a good night. Remember, the car dealer makes more money when he sells the Mercedes than when he sells the Kia, and it's really no more work. That's how the business runs.



$1-2 per drink, or if a larger order, 15-20% is customary. Does not need to be precise (i.e. if your tab is $15.75, don't leave $3.15 to be precise. You can round it up or down. Conversely, people will often round it to make the total a whole dollar amount (i.e. leave $19 total).

Cocktail Waitress in a bar/lounge:

Probably about the same, but I tend to leave at least a little more, as there is more work involved in the table service.

Cocktail Waitress on the casino floor:

$1-2 is fine, but if I'm playing Blackjack and $100 a hand, I feel like a dirtbag tossing her a buck, so I'll likely tip more.

Serving staff at a buffet:

You will usually have the opportunity to add the tip to your total when you pay on the way in. Conversely, you can always just leave cash on your table when you're done. Tipping is still customary at a buffet, because even though they don't take your order and bring you your food, they are busy busing the tables and providing drinks. In any other restaurant, the bus staff would do this, and they would receive a portion of the tips given to the wait staff.

How much to tip is a point of great debate here. But generally, the nicer the buffet the greater tip (both by total and percentage). In other words, spend $30 for three people at a cheap breakfast buffet at some dive and $4 is plenty. Hit up the Sterling Buffet for $85 a person and you're probably going to want to give closer to 15% (I'd probably leave them $15-20 per person).

As for the omelet station, if there’s a plate with bills there, you can throw one in. But my rough guess is that maybe 35% of the people getting an omelet do this. So he’s not likely to spit in your food if you don’t.

Personal Services: i.e. spa or salon treatments

Always expected, but again, the amount is debatable. 15% is usually a good rule of thumb. So, spend $150 on a massage, $20-25 is a nice tip. Get a hair styling for $60, $9-10 will be much appreciated.


No luggage, nothing special, probably $10 minimum.

A couple bags to load and unload, any extra services (i.e. a stop at the store, etc...) then I wouldn't hesitate to give the driver $20.


If there are no problems, driver doesn't try and screw you, long haul you, etc... then I would say10-15%. So, catch a cab from the airport to your hotel on the strip for $16, I'd probably give him $19 total. If I'm in a good mood, maybe I round it up to $20.


If he's a jerk, tries to long haul you, whatever, then screw him and pay the exact amount. I made a cabbie wander through the taxi line finding a buddy that could help him make exact change for me outside of MGM when he tried to take me there from Wynn via the freeway and got mad when I called him on it.

Bell Man:

Mandatory to the individual that brings your bags up to the room. Personally, I would never give less than $5. If I have multiple bags, if he gets me ice, and other extras, I wouldn't hesitate to bump it up to $10.

Some people will also tip the bell person who collects your bags from the car when you arrive (often times it's not the same person). This is of course appreciated, but not mandatory.

If that is the extent to which you tip, you will likely get by just fine. Other individuals and opportunities exist, but you won't get skewered if you don't do it.

"Advisable" tips


$5 on the pillow in the morning goes a long way. Some people leave a single tip at the end, others encourage leaving it daily as it may not be the same person. I'm not sure if housekeeping pools their tips, in which case it wouldn't matter. I say do it daily because at least then they know from day one that you are being generous, and it certainly can't hurt the service you get.

Unfortunately, I cannot get on a soapbox and pontificate about this one, because I am terrible at it! I always WANT to leave a tip, but I rarely remember to do so....


If he fetches you a cab, a buck or two is appreciated. At a lot of hotels, there is a line of cabs, and a rope line people wait in, in which case there is an individual loading people in. Some say they aren't doing any work and therefore don't deserve a tip, but the reality is with that many people, and that many cabs, their presence maintains order in a situation that would otherwise devolve into pure chaos. $2 is a bargain!

Bathroom Attendant:

Seems to be a dying art. Still found in some clubs and high end restaurants. They keep the place clean? They have a nice selection of mint, gum, cigs and maybe condoms? Toss a buck or two into the basket. After all, they have to work in a bathroom! Throw 'em a bone!

Pool staff:

They find you a nice chair? Set up some towels? Bring you a nice cold bottle of water? $5 is a nice "Thank You".

Front Desk Staff:

******DISCLAIMER****** This is NOT about the so-called "$20 trick"! That's a whole other train wreck- er topic!

Never mandatory in any fashion. But were they exceptionally helpful? Friendly? Attentive? Did they go out of their way to accommodate you? ("I must have an odd numbered room on a floor that ends in the number 3 or 7, facing west-northwest, that is between 16 and 27 steps from the elevator!") In other words, did you feel like their goal was to do whatever they could to make sure you get the best experience possible, even though that is above and beyond what they are charged to do? Then $10 or $20 will be most appreciated. BUT, for those who don't want to do this, a sincere "Thank You" is fine as well.

“No Tip Necessary”

Purchases made at retail establishments: No need to tip at the grocery store, convenience store, clothing store, liquor store.

Counter service or fast food service: No need to tip at McDonalds or Subway. You don’t have to tip at the Starbucks in the lobby either, but there will likely be a jar there if you’re feeling generous.

Gray area: “Higher end” coffee shops when getting a hot sandwich or specialty drink. Much more common to do so, but not really egregious to skip it.

Charlotte, NC
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2. Re: Tipping Advice

Perfect. Thank you Mgg.

Windsor, Ontario
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3. Re: Tipping Advice

Hey thx.

Most of it is common sense, but again, some people need to be told what is appropriate. The denomination break down is helpful.

Ithaca, New York
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4. Re: Tipping Advice

I agree with everything that mgg42 said, except the part of 10-20% on high end drinks. I would seriously round down a lot for one small expensive item like a bottle of wine. Stick to that percentage when you look at a whole meal though. That's just my POV.

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5. Re: Tipping Advice

I think this is great advice, especially for those who have never been to Las Vegas

San Diego
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6. Re: Tipping Advice

Well done. No need for anyone to add to it.

Should be a sticky.

Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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7. Re: Tipping Advice

"Well done. No need for anyone to add to it."


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8. Re: Tipping Advice

Should be a sticky.

I agree nice job.

Benbrook, Texas
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9. Re: Tipping Advice

Thank you for taking the time to write and post this. Ditto what everyone else says should be a sticky.

Rancho Cucamonga
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10. Re: Tipping Advice

MGG Did you read my mind? I agree with it all. Except, you did not mention win's at the bar. If I hit $400 or more, and the bartender is taking care of me I always drop an additional $20 .