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 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.
(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.)