How To Make Hotel Wi-Fi Work For You

Adventures are exciting. When you’re in a new place, all the impressions are exciting and refreshing. At the end of the day, however, when it’s time to unwind, it can be necessary to recharge your batteries. Part of recharging in the modern era includes checking your email, social media, and the news. You need to catch up with friends and family, and also on work emails. Away from home, you’re already out of your comfort zone, but at least you have your devices with you.

Fortunately, in 2015, almost all hotels have internet — but unfortunately, many hotels still charge for Wi-Fi. How can this be? The United Nations declared already in 2011 that internet access is a basic human right. In this article, we will discuss how to hook up to Wi-Fi for free as often as possible, no matter where you are.

1. Consider Hotel Price Class

While some of the most expensive hotels charge for Wi-Fi, while some of the most basic hotels — read: cheapest hotels — offer it for free. But the world is a complicated place.

The logic generally seems to be that if a customer is already paying $300 to stay one night in New York, why wouldn’t they pay a few more bucks just to get online? On the other hand, budget hotels, where customers are known not to have a lot of money to spare, often don’t charge for Wi-Fi access. That might drive potential customers away. There are exceptions to this pattern, but popular options like Best Western can usually be relied upon for immediate gratification without any sneaky charges. Other basic hotels with free Wi-Fi include Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta, and Rodeway Inn.


Not all luxury hotels, however, charge for Wi-Fi. Especially among those catering to the younger, hipper crowd, Wi-Fi is known to be a necessity, not a luxury, and that’s reflected in the hotels’ values and pricing. In New York, a stay at the Ace Hotelincludes complimentary Wi-Fi; in San Francisco, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square does the same.


2. Know the Loyalty Programs

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a member of the Kimpton family of hotels and restaurants, which offers rewards to its customers. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, but you find out Wi-Fi is not provided free of charge at that property, consider joining the hotel’s loyalty program. For example, loyalty programs with the aforementioned Kimpton family, Fairmont, Joie de Vivre, the Wyndham hotel group, Club Carlson, or IHG Rewards all offer free Wi-Fi to members on their properties. On a slightly more exclusive scale are the programs for Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and other hotel chains. These offer free Wi-Fi as rewards for numbers of stays to elite members. It can take some time to acquire the benefits — 50 nights for Marriott Gold members, for example — but their rewards are luxurious and available in many cities, from Las Vegas to Copenhagen.


3. Take Credit

Another way to access benefits from top brand hotels is to sign up for a credit card with them. The Ritz-Carlton rewards card from Chase comes with free Gold status with Ritz-Carlton during your first year of membership. These benefits include an increase in value by 25 percent on rewards points, complimentary room upgrades, and hotel credits in addition to free in-room internet. You can also earn travel credit and other membership benefits.

With the American Express Platinum Card or Business Card, you can get Gold status at Starwood hotels. Other benefits the American Express Platinum card offers include an additional 40,000 points upon sign up, airport lounge access, airline credit, priority airport screening in certain locations if you are qualified and accepted to select programs, airline ticket savings, and access to unlimited Wi-Fi at over a million hotspots internationally. Knowing potential credit card benefits and utilizing their assets can add up to a lot more than just deals on gas and groceries. You can even use these benefits to streamline a globetrotting life.

4. Look Other Places

No matter where you are and your level of familiarity with your destination, with a few simple tricks, you can almost always find an internet connection. No one wants to get stuck paying for Wi-Fi in the comfort of their own hotel room. Also keep in mind that if you’re rushing to your hotel in Las Vegas, you can usually stop at a cafe, restaurant, or library to access internet for free. As Wi-Fi is increasingly viewed as a common good and social necessity, you’ll soon be able to engage your platforms from wherever you find yourself — whether you anticipated the destination or not.

One of the most exciting parts of living in this era is the spontaneity of everyday life. When you know how to find Wi-Fi hotspots, you can make anywhere your base for as long as you end up staying there. Familiarizing yourself with local cultures and trying specialties, whether it’s barbecue in Memphis or a European duvet in Venice, during downtime is all part of the adventure.


This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 14, 2016.

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