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Has IHG backtracked on their ‘free internet for all’ promise?

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When Priority Club – the Holiday Inn, HI Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc  reward scheme – was relaunched as IHG Rewards Club last year, the biggest change was the provision of free internet.

From last July, all Gold and Platinum members of Priority Club / IHG Rewards Club got free internet access on their stays.

The long-term plan was more ambitious, though.  From January 1st 2014, ALL IHG Rewards Club members were to receive free internet.  Since IHG Rewards Club is free to join, this effectively meant that everyone in the hotel would get free internet.

(Not necessarily high speed internet, though.  I expect a lot of properties to offer a slow speed for free but still require payment if you want something fast enough for video.)

There was no doubt about this – free internet for all in 2014 was the stated policy.

And yet, this is what the terms and conditions on the IHG website actually say:

Internet Access for Members: Beginning January 2014, standard internet access will be available to all IHG® Rewards Club members at no additional cost at all IHG hotels located in the Americas, Greater China, Asia, Middle East and Africa with or without a hotel reservation and/or qualifying stay. Furthermore, IHG® Rewards Club Elite members will be provided standard internet access at no additional cost at all IHG hotels in Europe. Internet availability and accessibility in common areas vary by hotel. Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by hotel. Details regarding a property’s internet accessibility will be available at the hotel’s registration desk. Please note that The Venetian® and The Palazzo®, an InterContinental Alliance® Resort, do not offer the Free Internet Access benefit, which is instead included in the daily resort fee.

So …. if you are at a hotel in Europe, you will NOT be getting free internet unless you are Gold or Platinum.

This is not a typo.  If you look at this page on the IHG site, there is a tiny mark next to the line “All members will be able to stay connected at no charge” and in the small print at the bottom it says “May not be available in all regions”.

Well, call me fussy, but excluding THE WHOLE OF EUROPE from something you are advertising deserves a little more than a tiny footnote.  Heaven knows how many people will book rooms on the back of this and then find out that they aren’t getting free internet after all.

What is IHG playing at?  How can you spend 8 months saying you going to bring in global free internet, and then decide at the last minute to exclude a huge chunk of your hotels?

I don’t know at the moment if European hotels have been given a short-term temporary reprieve or whether this will be the permanent position.  IHG may be getting a visit from the advertising standards people sooner rather than later, however.


IHG One Rewards update – November 2022:

Get bonus points: You will earn bonus IHG One Rewards points on stays between 13th October 2022 and 31st December 2022. You can choose between 2,000 points for every two nights or 10,000 points for every four nights (not cumulative). Read this article for full details. You can register here.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

You will receive a 100% bonus if you buy IHG One Rewards points by 29th December 2022.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (23)

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  • Sam wardill says:

    Glad to see a post on this. I’ve just been caught out too and wondered what was happening. Do you have an advert showing free internet access for all ihg members in 2014? I might take it up with the hotel.

    • Rob says:

      The first link in the post takes you to a page with free internet for all on it. Even the 2nd link, with the disclaimer, is written in such a way that I believe it to be misleading.

  • MilesFromBlighty says:

    The con here is the ‘standard’ internet offering to elites. It’s useless in my experience. They are just milking us for ‘premium’ internet payments. A scandal.

    • Rob says:

      Ironically, I was a the Holiday Inn Express in Croydon before Christmas on a Big Win mattress run and I got a ludicrous 18MB – twice as fast as Sky gives me at home!

      Two more UK stays coming up soon for Big Win 2 purposes so I will see what happens there.

    • Ross says:

      Yes over the past 2 months when staying at HIE and Crowne Plaza I’ve been told that I get the free “standard” internet, like everyone else, and that my Platinum status doesn’t get me anything more. But the free service is almost unusable at peaks times (during the evening), forcing you to pay for the premium service if you actually want to do anything productive….

      Not been impressed

  • John says:

    I got Gold via the HP offer, and I was not offered free internet at a stay in Australia in December – the welcome pack described how to pay for wifi though I didn’t bother challenging them on it since I didn’t need it.

    However in Belfast and Berlin, before triggering Gold, I was proactively offered free wifi “as a (statusless) Priority Club member” (sic – they don’t seem to have told staff about the rebrand to IHGRC)

  • Volker says:

    Just back from a stay with Mrs Volker at HI Glasgow Theatreland. I am Gold while she is Club level only, and it was her booking in her name. The reception staff were very friendly: “Your Priority Club Membership number is linked to your booking. Well, it is now called IHG Rewards Club…”
    When I asked for Internet access on the room, we were told that it was now free to ALL IHG Rewards Club members, and we received a printed voucher. Streaming HD video was no problem at all.
    Now, was all that based on their knowledge of the (outdated) IHG website or is it not more likely that reception staff acted upon internal instructions?

    • Chris says:

      HI Theatreland is owned/operated by Chardon/Interstate they provide it for free in most (the ex a Chardon ones anyway) of their properties IIRC it was in place before IHGRC was even introduced last year.

      Their own website is hoteldeals.co.uk – it’s worth signing up to for their promotions as a lot of them including the 50% off offers are qualifying.

  • Alan says:

    Well I’ve had free Internet in the UK this year as a Plat and I’m most properties I’ve stayed at the speed of the free offering has been absolutely abysmal! If they opened it up further it would be totally unusable. Being an optimist this reprieve for European properties might be to give them time to get proper Internet connections in place ?

  • CV says:

    HI Express seem to offer free internet to everyone, and its usually been good.
    Holiday Inn free wifi has, for me, been unusable. Was offered the premium internet and advised the cost of this would then be deducted from the room bill as a Platinum member. Same applied with a stay at Crowne Plaza.

    In the UK free wifi isn’t much use to me as the 3G connection is usually good enough for my needs and allow tethering for iPad/laptop. Where i really need free internet is for stays abroad.

  • Aaron says:

    I’ve noticed that in many IHG European hotels, you get free (slow) internet anyways. Member or no member.

  • Joe says:

    Just back from Amman – IHG’s InterContinental was NOT free for non-elites. Free speed with partner’s gold card was fast though

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