Large Hotel Chains Cut Complimentary Wi-Fi Access

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?

Comments (Showing 8 of 8)

  • celsius1939 at 6:28am July 03, 2012

    Long ago I got mad at Embassy Suites for charging me 10.50 a day for internet access. I bought a usb 3g modem which charges a fee for connections up to 1 month. This solution if much more cost effective.

  • daywalkerr at 11:11am July 03, 2012

    We are going backwards. Wifi should be free to all

  • slovak1 at 10:07am August 01, 2012

    Holiday Inn in North America has free internet. If I have a choice between hotels I take the Holiday Inn Brand. Some internet costs are outrageous.

  • sheilab2 at 10:44am August 01, 2012

    I am a gold member with Marriott and if they start charging for Wi Fi access, will seriously consider changing my loyalty. We get little enough for being long time customers and this would be a kick in the teeth.

  • mbpasadena at 11:14am August 01, 2012

    Fairmont President’s Club ‘members’ receive free wi-fi and cable Internet service. One of those very sensible services if I’m willing to let them track me as a loyalty customer.

  • koshka31 at 8:21pm August 01, 2012

    Hilton Gardens all seem to still offer free WiFi

  • meisdmtr at 6:41am August 02, 2012

    paid wifi in 21st century is close to nonsense

  • pjhaas57 at 10:02am October 25, 2012

    One thing for sure: European hotels do NOT necessarily give you free internet. In fact, their charges are generally even higher on average than American hotels, due to the strength of the Euro v. the dollar.

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