Major hotel chains have been phasing out free Wi-Fi for the past few years, but now some of the last remaining holdouts—including Wyndham, Ramada, and many Marriott locations—have announced plans to start charging guests for high-speed internet access.
The announcement won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who travels on a regular basis. In-room Wi-Fi is rarely free in U.S. hotels anymore, even though FlyerTalk member yno notes that European hotels rarely charge for basic access.
Wyndham Hotel Group, which owns large chains like Ramada, Wyndham, and Super 8, is toying with the idea of a tiered pricing structure, which would charge guests for upgraded bandwidth. Meanwhile, Marriott International is already giving guests at selected locations the option to pay for high-speed internet access or use a slower Wi-Fi connection for free.
Of course, savvy travelers who are willing to do some legwork ahead of time can still find ways to get around the restrictions. Many hotel loyalty programs, including Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards, offer complimentary high-speed internet access to elite members. And over in the Travel & Dining forums, Flyertalk member globetraveler recently pointed out a limited-time promotion from Room77.com, which provides a rebate of up to $15 for in-room internet access through September 4, 2012. USA Today also points out that there are still a few remaining hotel chains offering complimentary internet access to guests. Hyatt, La Quinta and Four Points by Sheraton are all in the process of increasing bandwidth without adding on any new surcharges or fees.
What do you think about hotels charging for Wi-Fi? Would you be willing to pay for an upgraded connection?