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Expensive Hotels and Costly Internet Access

Written by Nickel - 13 Comments

Okay, I just have to get this off my chest… One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to travelling is that the more a hotel costs, the less likely it is to have free internet access. When’s the last time you walked into a value hotel and were asked to pay $9.95/day for internet access? It’s just not that common. But jump up a few notches in price and the likelihood of having to pay for your access jumps up accordingly. I have a good idea why this is — high end hotels attract more business travellers, and they can simply put it on their expense account — but it still bugs the crap out of me.

Published on February 1st, 2007 - 13 Comments
Filed under: Travel

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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13 Responses to “Expensive Hotels and Costly Internet Access”

  1. 1
    Clever Dude Says:

    I completely agree. I went to a developer’s conference at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco last year and they charged $14.95 per 24 hours of internet access. AND IT WASN’T EVEN WIRELESS!!! They provided a broken ethernet cable that barely reached to the bed, and I had to make sure I didn’t move to much or else risk pulling the cord out.

    You would think a hotel hosting 600 geeks would give some type of deal. However, the hotel is switching over to a Westin, so maybe things will improve. I won’t be going back to them anyway though.

  2. 2
    jim Says:

    hahahaha I bitched about the same thing the last time I stayed at a hotel… nickel and diming me for stuff that should be “included.”

  3. 3
    Norm Says:

    My wife and I love using priceline for our vacations. We’ve gotten some incredible rooms at incredible rates that way. But we’re about ready to quit telling it we’ll take 4 star hotels and stick with the 3. Internet is extra ($10), parking is extra ($20), local phone calls might be extra (cellphones save the day). Heck you even get free breakfast at a lot of 3 star hotels which saves us plenty of money.

    Plus, my wife doesn’t care for the “floofiness” of some the more expensive hotels.

  4. 4
    Erica Says:

    It bugs the crap out of me too! Even though my company will pay the extra charge for Internet access, I often choose less fancy hotels because I know I’ll save money. (And usually get free breakfast too!)

  5. 5
    geo Says:

    In November, I spent a week in the Albuquerque Hyatt grumbling about the same thing! Geez, if the Motel 6 can do it on $39 a night…!

    And be careful not to touch that $6.95 fancy bottle of water on the night stand!

    There’s an entire hotel economy making huge margins thanks to the “expense account.”

  6. 6
    SteveK Says:

    This is why we almost always try to stay at a Hampton Inn…free continental breakfast, and free internet.

  7. 7
    Liz Says:

    Hello, found your blog through Consumerist.

    There are ways to get around having to pay for internet at hotels, depending on the type of authentication system the hotel uses. Many authenticate by MAC address, which is basically a “unique” identifier given to your network card. However, there are programs which will let you scan the network for other MAC addresses that are already authenticated. And then there are programs that allow you to spoof another MAC address (such as one of the ones found to be authenticated), so that the network will see you as a MAC address it has already authenticated. And voila, free internet!

  8. 8
    D Says:

    Yep, going after all the business travellors bucks that they can extract. Most companies have a limit on what they will pay for a hotel room. However, the “extras” can still be expensed, so there you have it. A hotel stay that would trip a $200 limit can become $230 with the extra internet/parking fees and not exclude a business travelor because of corporate spending limits or per diem limits.

    Sneaky? Yeah. Works? You bet!

    Except while the bay area was in melt-down, and you could pick up 5 star rooms for $80 a night in 2003.

  9. 9
    Sachin Says:

    I stayed at the Marriot for a conference – and they do charge for their internet. However, if you join their miles program, the internet is free – and they will even credit the miles to any other program that you have joined already, so that worked out pretty well for me

  10. 10
    Savvy Steward Says:

    I always try to find hotels with free wifi or hotels that are near cafes that have free wifi.

    I agree that its highway robbery.

  11. 11
    Pravin Says:

    Fluffy Towels, upgraded bathroom amenities, upgraded beddings, free breakfst, free WI-Fi or high speed internet acess, free use of business centers, free parking most places……….stay at any of the following hotels…

    Best Western, Comfort suites, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inns.

    Thaye are as good as or better than 5 stars, unless you are looking for marble lobbies, high end bars and other frills.

    By the way no charge for pool/spa and fitness center with mileage rewards or points for the stay.

    HIHG END HOTELS=HIGHWAY ROBBERY

  12. 12
    Craig Says:

    I know this is old to comment on, but I must:

    To SteveK: I work at a Hampton Inn, am currently working the Night Audit this minute. Free internet, free breakfast, free bottles of water should you ask, and part of the Hilton group. Seriously, we rock. People whine about $89/night rooms in the winter, but don’t realize all the free ammenities available.

    Just thought I’d share some pride in the company I work for.

  13. 13
    Troy Brown Says:

    I always check to see what wireless signals are available before buying the hotel connection. At the Hyatt in New York, we were fortunate to be staying on the side of the hotel that had unsecured connections coming from nearby buildings.

    Sam thing was true at the Hilton in Seattle though I had to stay near the window. Hiltons do however offer a free signal in their lobby which is also handy to know if you are driving through a town, need to use the restroom and get online briefly.

    Kimpton has become a hotel chain we really like. They have free internet, free wine hour and animal print robes not to mention well decorated rooms.

    Has anyone noticed that the same trend with high end hotels is true of airports? Major airports like LAX, Boston and SFO don’t have free connections but small ones like Long Beach do. Does anyone know of a website that lists airports that have free WiFi? Some that I believe I have found connections at include Long Beach, Houston, Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale.

    One other tip with regards to airport WiFi is that you can usually get a free connection by going near the Continental Presidents Club. Probably true of other airline lounges but Continental has been the one I found that is usually unsecured.

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