INSIDER SECRET: Even if you don’t plan on earning points or elite status with a hotel chain, make sure to register for the hotel’s loyalty program before you book. Members can score free Wi-Fi in most cases.
With our lives revolving around stable Wi-Fi, being able to connect while on the road is extremely important. Luckily, in the past few years most hotels have caught up with the times and offer free Wi-Fi.
When hotels first started offering free Wi-Fi, it was limited to mid- and top-tier elite frequent flyers. Now pretty much anyone, regardless of elite status, can have it at most major hotel chains — if they are enrolled in the hotel’s loyalty program.
Here’s how (and where) you can score free Wi-Fi during your next stay at a major hotel chain:
There are a few hotel chains that can’t seem to shake the practice of charging for Wi-Fi, but most have recognized that it is not only of use to guests but also the hotel. Now, as long as you are a member of a hotels loyalty program, you will almost always be guaranteed free Wi-Fi.
There is one drawback to free Wi-Fi being made available to any member of a hotel’s loyalty program: With more guests connected, internet speeds will be slower. If you have elite status, you may be able to connect to premium or enhanced Wi-Fi for free. This benefit is usually reserved for higher-tier elites.
For example, at Marriott, you need to hit Bonvoy Gold elite status before you receive free enhanced Wi-Fi. At Hilton, you need to have Diamond elite status. Luckily, holding the right credit card makes earning elite status easier than you might think.
Both The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card offer complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. And the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with automatic Hilton Diamond status. You can find our full reviews of each of these cards here.
On the outside chance that you find yourself without free Wi-Fi, there are ways to ensure you won’t have to pay. Hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott offer package rates that allow guests to book rooms with Wi-Fi provided free of charge. This is especially typical at resorts and vacation properties. If you are frugal (or stingy), almost every hotel offers free Wi-Fi in the lobby.
This story was originally written on Million Mile Secrets. For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.