"Free" is arguably the most overworked and misused word in the lexicon of travel promotions. And given the travel industry's many deceptions and exaggerated claims, the competition for that dubious honor is tough. The basic deception in "free" is obvious: Nothing is really free if you first have to buy something else to get it.
But once in a while you really can get something for free. Two big hotel chains give you no-extra-charge Wi-Fi just for belonging to their loyalty programs, with no fee or dues to pay.
As we reported last week, IHG, the parent company of InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and five other brands, will offer no-charge Internet for premium Priority Club members starting this July and to all members next year. Additionally, Hilton HHonors members get no-charge Wi-Fi at some locations among Hilton's 11 brands (even where non-members pay a fee), and a few brands even provide no-charge breakfasts.
As far as I can tell, neither of the other two mega-brand hotels—Starwood and Wyndham—provide the same benefits. (Although I've become wary of saying that something isn't available just because I couldn't find it.)
Given that you can sign up without paying anything, there's no downside to joining these programs. Members are also eligible to receive various promotions and perks that may not be available to non-members.
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