Hotel WiFi - Where It's Free and What Elite Status You Need
In this day and age, having WiFi during hotel stays is essential, whether it be for business, personal use, or simply convenience. This is especially true when traveling abroad and wanting to avoid expensive data roaming charges for your personal devices.
However, many hotel chains, especially the higher-end ones, still do not offer free WiFi, and in fact, many charge upwards of $20 for you to surf as you would at home! There's nothing worse than arriving at a hotel after a long day of traveling and find out you have to pay $20 a day for super-slow internet.
Luckily, this seems to be slowly changing - both in terms of price and speed - and hopefully free WiFi will simply be a given at all hotels in the future. That' day's not quite here yet, but I did want to put together a simple list of the major hotel chains and which offer free WiFi, which charge, and how you can avoid those fees with elite status.
This list scratches the surface and lets you know where you can expect free internet generally, but for a more detailed look, you can also head over to HotelChatter's WiFi Report.
Accor: Accor, which owns Ibis, Mercure and Sofitel hotels, among more, is offering free WiFi in guestrooms and lobby at some of their locations including those in the UK. Currently, about 1700 of their 3,500 hotels have free WiFi and they are continuing to expand the service, including to many Sofitels and Novotels in Europe, where WiFi charges can be most expensive. Ibis, Mercure and Pullman hotels generally offer it for free. Definitely double check your property before traveling though.
Best Western: All guestrooms have free WiFi at all Best Western locations in the United States. Most, but not all, international locations offer it as well.
B Hotels: According to the BSignature Elements, the"B In Touch, which is a set of complimentary technology offerings including FreeB WiFi" are valid for all guests in room.
Club Carlson: They offer free WiFi if you sign up for the Club Carlson Rewards program, and this is valid all membership levels: Red, Silver, Gold and Concierge. All Radisson Blu locations offer free WiFi for all guests, in-room and in the lobby, as does Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites brands.
Fairmont: WiFi is free in the lobby for all guests. If you want to have WiFi in your room, you must join the Fairmont President's Club (for free) or be sure to book a Fairmont Gold Room.
Hilton: WiFi is free for free for Gold and Diamond Hilton HHonors members at at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, and Hilton Grand Vacations. Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2Suites also offer free WiFi to all guests regardless of membership.
Hyatt: Platinum and Diamond members of the Hyatt Gold Passport program receive free in-room WiFi. Andaz hotels and the Hyatt House, Hyatt Place and Summerfield Suites brands offer free WiFi regardless of Gold Passport membership.
IHG: As of 2014, WiFi should be available to all members of the IHG Rewards program, whereas last year it was only available for Gold and Platinum elite members. All of the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites locations also offer free WiFi regardless of elite status.
Joie de Vivre: Though most of the JDV Hotels offer free WiFi in public areas and guest rooms as a standard, there are a couple that still don't. However, members of the Joy of Life club can access internet for free at those locations simply for being members.
Kimpton: All InTouch member have free in-room WiFi at any of their hotels.
Loews: They have just recently launched free WiFi in every guest room at every resort. Hurrah!
Marriott: Gold and Platinum members receive free WiFi worldwide. WiFi access is also free to all guests at Courtyard Inn, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, and Fairfield Inn brands in the US and Canada. Marriott Rewards is also launching free WiFi access across all their hotel brands located in the Asia Pacific region for any Marriott Rewards member.
Omni: Free WiFi is available when you sign up for the Select Guest Reward program (also free to join).
Peninsula: Most of the Peninsula hotels offer free WiFi the rooms. A few select locations only offer it in the lobby.
Shangri-La: WiFi is free in guestrooms and the lobby in all 78 Shangri-La locations. They are also rolling out free WiFi in all the Shangri-La hotel chauffeured cars and limousines.
Starwood: There is free WiFi for Platinum members. Gold members can choose to receive bonus Starpoints, free Internet or a free drink upon check-in. Starwood's Aloft, Element and Four Points brands offer free WiFi as a standard.
Swissotel: Once you join the Swiss Hotel Circle Program, you can get WiFi for free, though some Swissotel locations will offer it to all guests for free.
Wyndham: All Wyndham properties promote free WiFi as a brand standard.
Note: these policies are constantly changing. Feel free to leave comments if you find that a policy has changed or is different that you've read here, or you'd like to add something.