Marriott to offer free wi-fi in all hotels from January

Marriott has joined the growing number of hotel chains which are throwing in the towel as far as charging for wi-fi goes.

From January 15th 2015, all Marriott Rewards members will receive free internet access when staying at any hotel in the Marriott family.  This includes Renaissance, JW Marriott, AC Hotels, Autograph, Courtyard, Edition, Fairfield Inn, Gaylord, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Springhill Suites and Towneplace Suites.

On the face of it, this is identical to the offer that IHG Rewards Club now offers to anyone staying at a Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza etc.  As Marriott Rewards membership is free, this deal is effectively open to all guests.

Marriott Rewards free wifi

Marriott has added an additional ‘gotcha’ though.

As you can see from their website, you will only receive free internet if you booked your room directly with the hotel or through marriott.com.  Major corporate travel agencies will presumably also be included.

If you book your room via Expedia or another 3rd party travel agent, you will not receive free Wi-Fi.

This is a clever move by Marriott.  Base level Marriott members will now have to choose between booking on Expedia, hotels.com etc and receiving (with hotels.com) Welcome Rewards points, or booking direct and receiving free wi-fi and Marriott Rewards points.

It is worth noting that the free internet offered to base level members will be of the super-slow variety.  You will have to pay a premium to receive a connection suitable for, for example, video streaming.  Gold and Platinum level members in Marriott Rewards will receive a free high speed connection.

More information can be found on the Marriott website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Is the American Express Tripflex 'pay with points' option a good deal?
Did you win our £560 Plaza Premium lounge competition?
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Dave Stringer says:

    It’s not a clever move requiring direct bookings. I just won’t book Marriotts at all. Simples.

  2. Think Square says:

    Seems Hilton are also joining the club. I’m in the Hilton EDI at the moment and there is free low-grade wifi for all guests. £9.99 for “premium access”, whatever that is. It’s unclear whether Gold and Diamond HH members can get premium for free.

  3. IMO, any large hotel that doesn’t provide free basic (I’ll accept super slow) for free is just storing up bad will.

    I’m happy to pay more for faster internet, because video-conferencing etc. use the kind of bandwidth that costs money when multiplied by the number of rooms in a large hotel.

    But basic access is too much of a necessity for modern business for me to be happy about it being charged separately. Mind you, I’m a bit of a zealot in this regard. I also think free, safe drinking water should be mandatory.

  4. OT: just thought it worth mentioning here for benefit of those who missed it elsewhere that effective 1st January it will no longer be possible to cancel FLEXIBLE Hilton stays on day of arrival. Unless cancelled day before a one night penalty will apply.

    • Do you think that will be a blanket policy or just specific to some properties? I know that in redemptions some of them have longer cancellation windows already.

      • Seems to be blanket. They are discussing it over at FT. Suhgestion is they may later introduce same day cancellation for an extra fee…like internet for example!

        • Thanks. Hardly ever used it but did occasionally cancel in the morning so a bit of a pain.

  5. I must be staying in Super de Luxe hotels and B&B’s since I rarely have to pay for internet (sarcasm warning).

    • erico 1875 says:

      Yes, if you stay jn a tenner a night hostel you can get superfast broadband free but spend £200a night in a 5 star and they “cant afford” to give you anything other than slow FOC. weird

      • I don’t know what hostels you stay in, but I can’t say I would ever describe the wifi as “superfast” in any of the hostels I’ve visited!

        I do agree it’s rather odd though. I guess it’s because it’s a standard feature in hostels (with most small ones just sharing their domestic connection at no added cost to them) so they wouldn’t be able to get away with it otherwise.

  6. Chris1922 says:

    In this day and age, wi fi should be free in ALL hotels. To have to pay for it, or to have sneaky wee exceptions and conditions, is quite frankly, pathetic.
    I often stay at Thistle Hotels in London. they have free wi fi. If smaller chains can do it, so can the huge ones.

  7. Haven’t realised of the back of my mind that Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton are part of Marriott. Hotels markets in prime (or not so prime airport) locations look like oligopolies. Hotels can get away with any practice/charge that one-two of their neighbours are doing.

  8. Slightly O/T but at a recent stay booked at the doubletree at IAH, via Hotels.com I didn’t receive by HHonors Gold complimentary breakfast; I wasn’t told and ended up paying $26 for two cups of coffee and 4 slices of toast!

    • Hmm I would have challenged that – although no points/stay credit you should still have received the status benefits.

      • I did challenge it, but got nowhere! Taking it up with Hilton Customer Care now!

        • I’d push them pretty hard – potentially a ‘Be My Guest’ certificate if you’re really lucky 😉 (free night at any Hilton) – Diamond Desk can be quite good at doing these!

    • I got charged for breakfast at the Hilton in Innsbruck, despite having paid a B&B rate and telling them that when they challenged me. They made me pay and I complained to Hilton Customer Care and got a refund. Problem was it was refunded in the next billing cycle, so I have a credit sitting on my Hilton CC until the next time I stay with them and pay on the card.