Free wireless internet is becoming a trend among chain hotels. There have always been brands that offered it to all guests (i.e. Aloft, Springhill Suites, etc.) but now major hotel chains are rolling it out across all brands. Some require guests to enroll in their loyalty programs to qualify for free wifi, some even require bookings to be made directly with the hotel, while others have made free wifi available to all guests regardless of membership or method of booking. While several chain hotels announced their intention to roll out free wifi last year, not all of them have implemented it just yet. Below is a summary of hotels that already offer complimentary wireless internet or are rolling it out in the near future:
On their press page, Best Western boasts of free high-speed internet at hotels around the world. This perk is available to all guests, regardless of whether they are registered members of Best Western’s loyalty program or not.
Of Choice Hotels’ 11 brands, eight of them advertise free wireless internet for all guests:
- Comfort Inn
- Comfort Suites
- Mainstay Suites
- Quality Inn & Suites
- Rodeway Inn
- Sleep Inn
- Suburban Extended Stay Hotels
Complimentary wireless is also available at some Ascent Hotel Collection, Clarion, and Cambria Suites properties, though it’s not a benefit that is advertised on the respective brand websites.
There seems to be some confusion around Club Carlson’s claim that all members receive free wifi “at more than 1,000 Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide.” I have always taken this to mean that wifi was free at all hotels, but there have been complaints on Flyertalk about hotels charging for wifi abroad. The consensus seems to be that guests must ask the front desk for a wifi voucher to avoid the charge. So if you’re not proactively offered free wifi at check-in, simply ask for it. I imagine since wifi isn’t free for all guests, the front desk agents sometimes forget to hand them out to qualified guests.
With Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood announcing their intentions to offer free wireless internet, Hilton has been notably quiet on the subject. A few of their brands already offer complimentary wifi to all guests (regardless of whether they are HHonors members or not). Among them are Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn, and Hilton Garden Inn. Individual hotels may also offer free wifi. The Conrad Chicago is a prime example of a property affiliated with a brand that normally charges for wifi.
Last year, Hyatt announced they would be rolling out free wifi at all Hyatt hotels worldwide. Unlike most other hotel chains with chain-wide free wireless internet, Hyatt offers this perk to all guests – not just members of its loyalty program. The new policy will be implemented in February 2015.
IHG was the first of the major hotel loyalty programs to announce free wifi back in 2013, signaling an industry trend that was picked up by hotel chains like Marriott and Hyatt. After fully implementing the police the following year, all IHG Rewards Club members became eligible for free wifi at IHG hotels worldwide.
Kimpton’s loyalty program gained quite a bit of popularity for a while – enough to cause major outrage when the company was acquired by IHG. At least we know one membership perk won’t change when Kimpton’s Karma Rewards is absorbed by IHG Rewards Club: All members will continue to receive complimentary wireless internet.
La Quinta got on everyone’s radar two years ago, when they introduced a highly addictive Play & Stay Game game. If you have a nice stash of La Quinta Rewards points as a result, you might appreciate the fact that all La Quinta Inn & Suites guests get access to free wireless at all of their hotels. Now whether it’s enough of an incentive to choose La Quinta over another brand is another story…
Loews Hotel began offering free wifi on January 22, 2014. It’s not a chain frequented by most travel hackers, but they do have some nice hotels in major cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. Their loyalty program makes it very easy to hit top-tier Platinum status, requiring just 10 stays. Platinum members have the option to upgrade from a standard room to a suite for just $50 per night. I don’t know about you, but I’d gladly pay $50 per night for a suite upgrade on a short stay. In any case, if you ever end up staying at a Loews hotel, it’s good to know you don’t have to pay for wifi.
Starting January 15, 2015 all Marriott Rewards members who book their stay through Marriott or the mobile booking app will receive free standard wifi. Since wifi was initially a benefit reserved for elites, Gold and Platinum Elite members will get access to premium wifi instead. While about half of Marriott’s hotel brands already offered complimentary wifi to guests, the benefit will be extended to all Marriott Rewards members with qualified bookings, including the following properties:
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Autograph Collection
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
- Gaylord Hotels
- JW Marriott
- Marriott Executive Apartments
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Residence Inn
- SpringHill Suites
- TownePlace Suites
The announcement didn’t mention Bulgari or Protea hotels, though Protea is currently offering 100MB of free wifi to guests staying at their hotels in South Africa.
When I think of Omni hotels, the Oprah Winfrey Show comes to mind and how, before every episode, Oprah announced that all of her guests stayed at the Omni Hotel “located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.” Whether you’re stalking Oprah in Chicago or staying at the Omni in Asheville, you’ll get access to free wireless internet as long as you’re a member of the Select Guest rewards program.
This past December, Starwood announced free wireless internet for bookings made through SPG or the brand’s mobile app. Aside from offering free wifi for direct bookings, Aloft, Element, and Four Points hotels also offer it to all guests regardless of how they book their stays.
Wyndham’s Microtel Inn & Suites along with Baymont Inns & Suites offer complimentary wifi to guests. This benefit is also offered by some Wyndham and Days Inn properties, but it’s not a brand-wide policy.
Are there any other hotel chains offering free wifi that I’ve missed? Please share in the comment section.
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