Hilton Offering Free Wifi Globally Starting In August 2015

The past year or so we’ve really seen the major hotel chains “evolve” when it comes to their complimentary wifi offerings.

IHG Rewards Club was the first to offer all members of their loyalty program free wifi. Then Marriott, Starwood, and Hyatt followed.

With IHG Rewards Club, Marriott, and Starwood there have been “catches” to the free wifi, like needing to be a member of their loyalty program and/or needing to book your reservation directly with the hotel in order to be eligible (not that those are big hurdles). Hyatt introduced “no strings attached” free wifi, meaning you don’t have to be a member of their loyalty program and don’t have to book directly through them in order to offer free wifi.

Hilton has been oddly silent, though it looks like they’ll finally be joining the free wifi bandwagon:

  • Hilton HHonors Diamond members will receive complimentary premium wifi starting in the second quarter of 2015 when booking directly through Hilton
  • Hilton HHonors Blue and Silver members will receive complimentary basic wifi starting in August when booking directly through Hilton
  • Hilton HHonors Gold members will continue to receive complimentary basic wifi

Hotel-Wifi

In order to be eligible for the free wifi you have to book directly through Hilton or via a corporate travel agency. So that means you can book through the following channels in order to receive complimentary wifi:

  • The Hilton HHonors mobile app
  • Online from hilton.com, HHonors.com, or any of our brand/hotel websites
  • Calling Hilton Reservations Customer Care: 1-800-HHonors or your local Hilton reservations office
  • Calling an individual hotel (plus walk-ins and physical on-property too)
  • Via corporate travel agencies and travel professionals that book via a Hilton proprietary channel

Bottom line

Obviously free wifi is good news. I do think this is bad news for Hilton HHonors Gold members, since they don’t get premium wifi, so presumably the speeds will drop a bit. On one hand that’s kind of disappointing since Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood all offer their mid-tier elites complimentary premium internet. But then again I have always said Hilton needs to do more to differentiate between Gold and Diamond status, and I guess that’s one way to do it. šŸ˜‰

How do you feel about this announcement — are you excited, or as a Gold member are you kind of miffed that wifi speeds may drop a bit?

Comments

  1. Thought it was odd that Hilton was so quite on this issue but glad they’ve come around!

  2. Not surprised. I never considered Hilton a premium brand of hotels so that they will be cheap with Gold members reflects their style. I am surprised Delta did not partner with Hilton. They would be the perfect combination.

  3. I’d love to see a third party test done broadly across a range off hotels that look at “premium” or “upgraded” internet speeds. At many of the properties I’ve stayed at globally, I’m unconvinced that there it’s any significant difference.

  4. I’m happy to see this because it’s certainly something that I feel Diamond members deserve. Though I hope they’ll be able to make the wifi actually ‘premium’. The places I’ve been so far that have had two tiers of wifi have been incredibly slow on the free tier and slightly-better-than-bad for the paid tier.

  5. Oh, boy, here we go again…

    This seems like another opportunity for @Lucky to take a cheap whack at HHonors. It is funny that a Hyatt Kool-aid drinker should talk about differentiating between elite status levels when it is no secret why the GP Diamond stands alone: For all practical purposes Hyatt GP has only one elite status, the Diamond status, because their loftily named “Platinum” status is elite in name only. šŸ˜‰

    It is really a strength and not a weakness of the HHonors program that Hyatt Kool-aid-drinking bloggers feel that Hilton’s second-tier elite level is almost as good as the top level. It speaks of HHonors as a program that is highly rewarding because all the benefits are not concentrated only in one level at the top.

    For those in the now, however, there is plenty of distance between HH Gold and HH Diamonds. In fact, HHonors Diamond is also demonstrably well ahead of GP Diamond. How so? Because in 2014, I cleared 12 of 12 or 100% of my HH Diamond suite upgrades, which were 8 more suite upgrades than GP Diamonds could “confirm” all year before they had to start paying out of pocket to see the inside of a suite again. HH Diamond suite upgrades are good even on AWARD stays and UNLIMITED, depending on availability, like ANY top elite suite upgrades in the business, including so-called “confirmed” ones. How is the availability of HH Diamond suite upgrades? Like I said, 100% in 2014, and better than 90% overall since 2012. Don’t take my word for it. I documented it blow-by-blow here:
    https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/diamond-suite-upgrade-reports.67743/page-2

    In addition, the full power of HH Diamond becomes manifest when the chips are down. I take free breakfast [often skip it], free wifi [can’t do without], or late check-out [been approved for as late as 6pm] for granted. When it really matters, HH DIAMOND FORCE enables HH Diamonds to “force” (hence Diamond “Force”) availability of standard revenue or award rooms at overbooked Hilton properties that show none. If you know nothing about HH Diamond Force, I strongly urge you to see this jaw-dropping demonstration of what it is:
    https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/hhonors-diamond-force-even-for-award-stays-is-alive-and-well-and-better-than-ever.114710/

    Anyone who examined the evidence I just provided would see why Hyatt Kool-aid-drinking bloggers who keep repeating the outdated claim that “Hilton Diamond just isnā€™t that much better for most members than Hilton Gold”, based only on the fact that both get free breakfast and free wifi, cannot be taken seriously. There is a lot more to the HHonors Diamond status (guarantee exec lounge access, 50% bonus points with every stay, guaranteed exec floor room upgrades) and I just powerfully illustrated a subset. HH Golds do not have any of these benefits, which easily exceed GP Diamonds’.

    @Lucky, could you please dummy-book a room at any Hyatt property in San Diego for July 10-12, 2015, as a GP Diamond and let us know how you fare? (Hint: It is really tough) šŸ™‚

  6. big deval of HH gold.

    @DCS – I think you are taking the blogosphere’s embrace of SPG and Hyatt at the expense of Hilton WAY too personally. It doesn’t make you a bad person for preferring Hilton. Of the chains with the most footprint, Hilton is certainly a fine choice…

  7. @stvr – Relax. There is nothing personal about this. I am just providing alternate opinions. Y’know, the kind you seldom get read about… While I am setting the record straight, I also hope to be contributing to the discussion and learning something in the process. It is nature of the medium šŸ™‚

    Do you have anything to say about the content of my post, otherwise?

  8. This is an absolute killer for HH Gold. Previously HH Gold could get the free internet benefit even if booked on a “non-qualifying stay” via a non-Hilton channel. That benefit now seems to be taken away.

  9. Starting August? Sure… rip off guests during peak summer travel and then throw them a bone after-wards.

  10. @Sean M — I feel your pain and I have made this point elsewhere. I believe that the constant repetition in the echo chamber that is the travel blogosphere — and to be fair, by some HH Diamonds who have not been able to make the most of their status — that HH Diamond is no better than HH Gold has probably reached Hilton HHonors program managers, who are now trying to put an even greater distance between Golds and Diamonds. There was a recent report of some properties out west denying exec lounge access to HH Golds even if they were upgraded to the exec floor. And now this. My own view, as one for whom HH Diamond has been very rewarding in very respect, is that there is no need to start limiting HH Gold’s benefits and turn it into another Hyatt GP Platinum-like shell. HH Gold as it has to this point has been a major strength of the program and should not be devalued further…

    Having said that, I am not sure just how significant their not getting premium wifi would be in general. Those who like to watch streaming video while on the road would be hit. Many others may not see or notice a difference…

  11. I’m so glad I didn’t apply for that CITI Hilton reserve card (the one that comes with Gold Status) now

    I wonder if corporate and discounted rates will also have free wifi (or if you book through Expedia or hotels.com)? What’s the word or that?

  12. @DCS – To be fair, this devaluation also hits HH Diamonds. They used to get free internet on non-Hilton channel stays, but now they will also have to pay for even basic internet access.

  13. hear hear @ DCS

    As a HHonors Diamond I also have found out that they give you more than promised. And I agree that there might be some naughty business going on under the blanket for some people with Hyatt. No names.

    Having booked premium rooms or ridiculously cheap suites (offers) at some Conrad and Hilton properties I have found myself in the lap of unforeseen comfort and drippings of the Amber nectar. This includes an up-grade to one of the (out of two) Conrad suites at the Conrad Seoul. “We can see that this is your first stay with us, but as a frequent HHonors guest may we offer you…”. In Brussels I have been asked to follow the security from the reception to an alternative route when there has been Ć¼ber- high security EU summits in town both at the Conrad (R.I.P) and at the Hilton Brussels City (familiar face for the front desk staff). Yes, I’ve stayed there often, but i’ve also been casual, friendly and accommodating with them. Call it calculated empathy if you like. It does pay off when you know you are a returning customer.

    Some chains will put everything in the (small) print up-front, and that is it. HHonors have their small print too, but I do think from my experience that they execute much more customer focused delivery. E.g. Club Carlson is way more pedantic about their rules, and they seem to opt for “less is more” in most cases. And (for them too often) nothing is the way forward.

  14. @Sean M — This is really what I mean by making the best of one’s status. I am not exactly sure why anyone would want to do their booking elsewhere when there is a detriment to doing so. The programs that have offered free wifi on the condition that the booking be done through their website are simply imposing a condition, which I do not consider unreasonable at all, in exchange for something that could cost real money. Accept it and move on. It does not take that much to book one’s stay through the HHonors site. In fact, except for one time, which ended up disastrously because I wound up not earning any points at all for doing do, I have always booked my stays at hilton.com. This this condition does not affect me the least bit. But in exchange, I would now get premium wifi as a Diamond. I would have preferred for Golds ato also have free ‘premium’ wifi, but I do not make the rules…

  15. @Samuel001 — It sound to me like you are getting the most out of your HHonors Diamond status. Welcome to the club!

  16. @ augias — If it’s a corporate rate booked directly through Hilton then that should be fine. But through third party channels, not so much.

  17. Big devaluation for Hilton Gold. And given the crappy basic wifi at most Hilton properties, not much of an upgrade for others. As with much that is Hilton these days, this change is mostly marketing hype with very little substance.

    Hilton Gold used to be best mid-tier status, now it’s clearly less valuable than Marriott.

    Leveraged my Hilton Gold to Hyatt Diamond last year and am not looking back.

  18. So funny! I can get free WIFI at McDonalds, Walmart, Sams, and I do not have to be a member of anything to get it! Just another corporate ploy to drain the bank accounts of their customers! What a lot of hooey! I wouldn’t stay at a motel, hotel, hostel or any other place where I could not enjoy free WIFI. Most of the little motel/hotel operators around here offer it free to all their guests. What a bunch of money grabbing opportunists they are!

  19. Well guys, do not get too happy with this awesome offering. It does not apply everywhere, despite it being advertised. I just spent 3 days in Southampton Hilton here in the UK and they only offer standard wifi and it is useless, I couldn’t establish a VPN connection because the bandwidth was so throttled and it kept dropping packets. It would seem that this hotel is a franchise and to quote the duty manager “we don’t do it that way, because we are a franchise”
    Hope this does not spread to other hotels as like most people here as a loyal and long standing customer, I was delighted to have this recognised and being able to enjoy proper wifi without having to purchase it. Worst of all head office do not seem interested in this. The other concern was that this hotels interpretation of “free refreshments”in the Executive lounge is tea, instant coffee and water. All soft drinks being locked away, I really hope this is not another thin end of the wedge. Again, head office don’t seem bothered. All I got was a few platitudes, thanks for your loyalty, and here is 10,000 points.

    Maybe time to look at the other chains for my accommodation šŸ™

  20. I just finished a visit at Home2 Suites by Hilton in York, PA with free basic wifi. It should be renamed “Useless wifi”. After websites we’re slow to render and their pictures took forever to render I ran a speed test and found it was 2M/2M service! How pathetic is that?! I get 3 to 5X that at any fast food place! I can’t even find where Hilton defines the level of service for basic and premium. Hilton, you’ve GOT to do better or I’ll stay elsewhere.

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