Frequent Flyer Travel Technology

Hyatt Does Free Wi-Fi Right

Next year, Marriott, Starwood, and Hyatt will offer their guests free in-room Wi-Fi. But only one company’s free Wi-Fi will come with no strings attached. Thank you, Hyatt!

2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for free hotel Wi-Fi. In the past two months, both Marriott and Starwood have signaled their intent to offer free basic Wi-Fi to members of their loyalty programs who book direct with the hotels.

And this week, Hyatt one-upped Marriott and Starwood with its announcement that it will also be offering free Wi-Fi beginning in February 2015, but without the requirements that guests be loyalty-program members or that they book direct with Hyatt. In other words, free Wi-Fi for all, no strings attached. Platinum and Diamond members will get a complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service, where available.

Taking direct aim at the provisional nature of Marriott and Starwood’s upcoming offerings, Hyatt’s news release takes pains to differentiate its new service: “Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation. Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”

Self-promotion aside, Hyatt has it right. Wi-Fi is a basic expectation of all travelers, not just those who belong to a hotel’s frequent-stay program, or who book their stays direct with the hotel.

Marriott and Starwood, take note.

Reader Reality Check

How many hoops are you willing to jump through to get “free” hotel Wi-Fi?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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