Free Wifi For All SPG Members Starting In 2015

Filed Under: SPG

Back in late October, Marriott announced that they would begin offering all Marriott Rewards members booking directly through Marriott free in-room wifi. That came after IHG Rewards Club began offering all members free in-room wifi as of early this year.

Why offering members free wifi is brilliant

Offering loyalty program members free wifi is brilliant on several levels:

  • The major hotel chains are kind of behind the trend on charging for internet, especially compared to the ever increasing number of boutique hotels which usually offer free internet
  • Providing free internet only to people booking directly through the chain builds loyalty and brand awareness; rather than searching rates through an online travel agency, you might go directly through the chain next time
  • This encourages people to sign up for the loyalty program, which further helps build loyalty
  • By encouraging people to book directly through the chain, they avoid having to pay travel agency commissions in many cases (which are typically 10%)

Starwood now offering SPG members free internet

Starwood has just announced that they’ll be offering free internet for all SPG members as of February 2, 2015.

SPG-Free-Internet-1

Only SPG members that book directly through Starwood’s website or app qualify for free internet. Technically you’re not eligible for it if you book in person at the hotel or by calling.

Premium internet for elite members

While all SPG members will receive free internet, SPG Gold & Platinum members will receive free premium internet:

SPG-Free-Internet-2

Previously SPG Gold members had to select internet as their welcome amenity, while now they’ll receive free premium internet in addition to their welcome amenity.

Terms

Here are the terms of the free internet offering:

Complimentary Internet Access. Beginning February 2, 2015, an SPG Member that books a Stay through a Starwood Website or an SPG App will receive: (i) complimentary standard in-room Internet access during the Stay if he/she is not a Gold Preferred Guest or a Platinum Preferred Guest at least 24 hours prior to the Stay; or (ii) complimentary premium in-room Internet access during the Stay if he/she is a Gold Preferred Guest or a Platinum Preferred Guest at least 24 hours prior to the Stay (“Internet Access Benefit”).

A “Starwood Website” is a website operated by or on behalf of Starwood or an SPG Participating Hotel which are currently starwoodhotels.com, spg.com, stregis.com, theluxurycollection.com, whotels.com, lemeridien.com, fourpoints.com, aloft.com, element.com, sheraton.com, and westin.com. An “SPG App” is a downloadable application operated by or on behalf of Starwood in connection with the SPG Program including, without limitation, the iPhone and Android versions thereof.

An SPG Member will only receive the Internet Access Benefit if the reservation for the Stay includes his/her SPG Member account number at least 24 hours prior to check-in for the Stay.

The Internet Access Benefit is limited to one room per eligible SPG Member per Stay regardless of how many rooms have been reserved.

No incremental benefit will be provided at SPG Participating Hotels that offer complimentary in-room Internet access to all guests.

SPG Participating Hotels that have mandatory resort charges that include Internet access will provide a replacement benefit, to be determined at each SPG Participating Hotel’s discretion.

Employees of Starwood and SPG Participating Hotels are not eligible for the Internet Access Benefit.

Bottom line

This is a very exciting trend we’re seeing among hotel chains, and I’d be shocked if Hilton and Hyatt didn’t follow in short order.

Comments

  1. Lucky. What do you think this will mean for crossover rewards? It used to be that Internet was an option during crossover rewards… Perhaps more bonus points?

  2. As a plat, I don’t really care, but this makes gold status basically worthless. An SPG credit card now provides essentially all of the gold benefits (wifi via membership + late checkout via preferred plus).

  3. About @£$€# time, now just offer free basic internet to all guest regardless of how they have booked and be done with it.

  4. So as a SPG Gold, if I book my stay suing Amex FHR, what do I get? Free Standard WiFi? Free Premium WiFi? Nothing????

  5. @ Lucky – Any word on whether SPG is considering free breakfast for Golds, on par with Hilton and Marriott Golds? It would be a great value-add, now that the free wifi for everyone negates a lot of Gold value.

  6. @Justin Exactly what I was thinking. Yesterday, I booked a $70 “mattress run” reservation to take me from “Preferred Plus” to Gold. The only reason I did this was to ensure I’d get connectivity for free in 2015. Hadj this been announced yesterday, I would have skipped it!

  7. By offering free WiFi to all SPG members, doesn’t this then diminish the Platinum Preferred members benefits? What will SPG be offering to PP members due to this “reduced” benefit?

  8. @LindaK – unlikely, since Starwood Gold is not on-par with Hilton or Marriott Gold in terms of qualification. Plus, even at Platinum level, you need to give up the amenity points in exchange for free continental breakfast.

  9. SPG Plat here. I see this as a positive unlike so many here. Golds and Plats now get premium internet, versus regular SPG members getting basic internet. (This presumably also will encourage SPG hotels to boost their premium internet quality/speeds.) It’s obviously a positive for any SPG members in getting the new benefit of basic internet.

    SPG Amex cardholders need to spend $30k to get Gold. Amex Plat cardholders benefit here bigtime, as they automatically get Gold.

    Reaching SPG Gold isn’t as difficult as it is for Hilton/Marriott Gold or equivalent, so SPG’s premium internet for Golds is far easier to reach. Hyatt Plat is roughly equivalent to SPG Gold, but Hyatt Plat only provides basic internet–something that I bet Hyatt will change after this SPG move.

    Not sure what all the whining is here about “diminished benefits” for SPG Plats. Golds and Plats already had free basic internet, which now becomes free premium internet. There’s no diminishment.

  10. @ Garyst16 — Giving someone something else doesn’t take anything away from you. You’re getting the same experience still. As far as I’m concerned, there are still plenty of other awesome elite benefits.

  11. @ LindaK — I wouldn’t expect any extra Gold benefits. This is a very nice enhancement for Gold members, since you can now choose a different amenity in addition to internet.

  12. @ Santastico — As an SPG Gold you could still choose internet as your amenity. Since you’re not booking directly through spg.com or the app it’s not included.

  13. @ Jon — I wouldn’t expect any Crossover Rewards benefits to change. Keep in mind that right now with Crossover Rewards you get free internet even if not booking through spg.com or the app.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *