Many economy and midscale hotel brands have offered free internet for years. The upper upscale and luxury brands remain the final frontier for internet access fees. Since 2012, the number of hotels charging for internet has dropped by half. Only 11% of hotels in a recent poll by American Hotel & Lodging Association stated they charge for in-room Wi-Fi.
Recent internet access policy changes from Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood Hotels greatly expands free internet access across upscale and luxury hotel chains for 2015. Still, there are differences in free internet policies you need to know. Some hotel brands like Starwood and Marriott limit free internet to hotel loyalty program members booking through its own hotel channels. Some hotels offer tiered high speed internet and require guests to pay for premium speed. Some loyalty programs offer elite members free premium tier access. Another issue in internet policies are limitations on the number of devices a guest may connect per room. This is not covered in the free internet access policies provided on most hotel brand websites.
Major Hotel Brands Free Internet Rules 2015
Most hotel chains now offer free internet to all loyalty members across their range of hotel brands. All hotel loyalty programs listed are free to join.
Accor Hotels – free internet worldwide for Le Club Accorhotels elite members at 3,700 hotels including Pullman, Sofitel, Mercure and Novotel. Ibis, Ibis Budget, Ibis Styles and Novotel offer free Wi-Fi for all guests at more than 2,200 hotels in 59 countries.
Best Western – All Best Western hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean offer free high-speed internet access to all guests. Most international hotels also offer free internet. 4,000 hotels worldwide.
Choice Privileges members receive complimentary high speed internet at nine of ten Choice Hotels brands, including Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Clarion. Economy brand Rodeway Inn is the exception. Over 6,000 hotels worldwide.
Club Carlson offers all loyalty members free internet worldwide. Over 1,300 hotels worldwide.
Fairmont – Free internet access at Fairmont, Swissôtel and Raffles hotels worldwide for Fairmont President’s Club members.
Global Hotel Alliance has 465 hotels across 61 countries in 27 brands including Omni, Kempinski, Pan Pacific and Thon Hotels. All GHA Discovery members receive free internet.
Hilton Worldwide is the only major global hotel chain without a global free internet policy, perhaps, in part due to introducing tiered internet access fees in 2014. Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond elites receive complimentary in-room and lobby Wi-Fi internet accessas a loyalty benefit. Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites offer free internet to all guests. These three brands comprise the majority of Hilton’s 4,300 hotels worldwide.
Hyatt Hotels – Free Wi-Fi for all Hyatt guests around the world as of February 2015. Free internet benefit does not require Hyatt Gold Passport membership and there are no Hyatt booking channel restrictions. All Hyatt guests get free Wi-Fi access on an unlimited number of devices. Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum elite members receive complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service, where available. Hyatt’s reach is 573 hotels.
IHG Rewards Club – The launch of IHG Rewards Club in July 2013 coincided with free internet worldwide for Gold and Platinum elites. All IHG Rewards Club members at 4,800 IHG hotels worldwide have had free internet access since January 1, 2014.
Kimpton Karma Rewards members receive free internet for unlimited devices. Kimpton is now owned by IHG. Their internet policies already seemed aligned.
Loews Hotels implemented free Wi-Fi for every guest at all its hotels January 22, 2014.
Benefit does not apply to meeting rooms. Nearly 25 hotels.
Marriott International – Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members receive free in-room Wi-Fi beginning January 15, 2015. Must book room through Marriott channel. Benefit does not apply to meeting rooms. Gold and Platinum elite members receive free ‘enhanced’ Wi-Fi. 4,100 hotels worldwide.
Preferred Hotels Group is a consortium of more than 500 hotels in 83 countries. All iPrefer members receive free internet access.
Starwood Preferred Guest – SPG members who book through SPG channels will receive free internet at Starwood Hotels beginning February 2, 2015. 1,200 hotels worldwide.
Wyndham International is the world’s largest hotel chain by hotels with over 7,000 globally. Wyndham ByRequest members receive free internet at nearly 200 Wyndham Hotels. Wyndham Rewards membership is not required for internet access at other brands. Ramada offers free internet at 900 hotels in 50 countries. Days Inn (1,800 hotels) and Super 8 (2,400 hotels), along with 1,400 hotels in Baymont Inns & Suites, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, Microtel and Wingate offer free internet. Tryp Hotels offers free WiFi at most of its 119 hotels. Knights Inn and Travelodge do not publicize free internet as a brand benefit, although most properties have this benefit. Travelodge in the UK allows 30 minutes free daily without access fees.