You pull up to your hotel and an attendant is waiting to help you with your luggage and park your car. How much are you supposed to tip the hotel valet?
Valet parking is a service offered by higher-end hotels to enhance customer experience. The service is especially helpful during hot, cold or rainy weather, or when the hotel’s parking facility is an inconvenient distance from the hotel.
Guidelines for Tipping the Hotel Valet
Whenever you take advantage of valet parking, you should try to figure out how much to tip:
- You don’t have to tip excessively. A typical gratuity is between $2 and $5, depending on the quality of the service delivered. Offering less than a dollar is not customary and may be insulting. But if your parking attendant offers a service that’s above and beyond the norm, then it’s common to tip your hotel valet more.
- Think ahead and carry small bills. It’s much easier to whip out the exact number of bills than to hand over a $20 note and ask for change.
- Tip even if valet parking is a free service at the hotel. Whether valet parking is complimentary or incurs a fee, it is customary to tip at least a dollar.
- It’s customary to tip both when dropping off and picking up your car. Most people do both, as the valet staff may differ for your arrival and departure.
- Tip more if you need special services from your parking attendant. If your valet helps you with heavy baggage, helps carry out gifts, or helps someone in your party get in or out of the car, show your appreciation and tip extra.
- You do not have to tip every time you take out your car. Are you coming and going several times a day? It’s unnecessary to tip with each interaction. But, at minimum, it’s customary to tip when you check in and out of the hotel.
- If you’re not happy with the service, don’t tip. You don’t have to reward bad behavior. If your valet drove your car too fast or wasn’t polite when delivering your car, you are under no obligation to tip. If you feel strongly, you can ask to speak to a manager.
- You may be able to tip with your credit card. Check with your hotel before you arrive to see if your valet service, including tips, can be put on your credit card.
At many luxury hotels, valet parking is the only game in town, with no self-parking option. Remember that you are under no obligation to tip, but it’s certainly customary to do so.