Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, IHG, and Fairmont offer (or will offer by next month) free internet in their hotels worldwide.

Hyatt announced free wifi in lobbies and guest rooms worldwide, starting February 1, 2015. This applies no matter how you book your room–yes even if you use Priceline–and even if you are not a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. Hyatt operates the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, GrandHyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Residences, and Hyatt Residence Club brands.

SPG announced free internet access, starting February 2, 2015. The free internet is only available to SPG members who book their stay through SPG.com or other SPG owned channels (ie the SPG app or sheraton.com.) Join SPG for free here. SPG operates the following brands.

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Marriott announced free internet access, starting January 15, 2015. The free internet is only available to Marriott Rewards members who book their stay through marriott.com or other Marriott owned channels (ie by phone or directly with the hotel.) Join Marriott Rewards for free here. Marriott operates the following brands.

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IHG already offers free internet to IHG Rewards club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join IHG Rewards for free here. IHG operates the following brands.

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Fairmont already offers free internet to Fairmont President’s Club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join Fairmont President’s Club for free here. Fairmont operates the following brands.

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Finally the great hotels of the world are catching up with a standard benefit of hostels for the last decade. ;)

Seriously though, this is great news for travelers. In the United States, I never bought internet from hotels anymore, opting to tether my laptop to my phone, but abroad I was often stuck paying 10 to 15 euros per day at hotels. I look forward to free internet at hotels worldwide for the rest of my life.

The one noticeable absence from this post is Hilton. Hilton has not announced free internet to match its rivals. (I expect it will.) In the meantime, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months on the card.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card also comes with Hilton Gold Status as long as you hold the card, which means free internet on your Hilton stays.

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Reader Steve passes along a great deal for people with lots of Marriott points.

Until October 31, 2014, you can get a 20% bonus when you transfer Marriott points to American Airlines miles.

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This includes Marriott-points-to-miles transfers and transfers of Marriott points to hotel and air packages.

  • What are hotel and air packages?
  • Why are hotel and air packages often a better deal than just transferring to miles?
  • What airline transfer partner of Marriott points is always 10-20% better than other options?

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Today is the first day of the fourth week of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds.

Today’s deals are for 19% off Marriott gift cards.

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If you stay at Marriotts, these deals are no-brainers.

Quantities are limited, so if you want one of these deals, be at your computer at 1 PM ET.

  • How good are the deals?
  • What hotels are covered?

Sometimes I want luxury, and sometimes I want quantity.

Last week I talked about the Three Best Credit Cards for Free Nights in Luxury Hotels.

But what about going to the other end of the award chart? A lot of times when I am traveling I just need a pillow and a roof, since I plan to be out exploring the city all day. What credit card sign up would net me the most free hotel nights? (20 in all!)

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Marriott Hotels announced that they are changing the requirements for lifetime elite status. The FlyerTalk thread discussing Marriott lifetime benefits can be found here. Shockingly, the changes are all positive. When word came from a Marriott Rewards forum post that lifetime elite criteria would be changing, there was some apprehension. However, I can tell you that the changes are actually beneficial to travelers. The new requirements are listed below with changes in bold.

Lifetime Silver

250 (previously 600) nights at Marriott properties &  1,200,000 Marriott Rewards points earned

Lifetime Gold

500 (previously 800) nights at Marriott properties &  1,600,000 Marriott Rewards points earned

Lifetime Platinum

750 (previously 1,000) nights at Marriott properties &  2,000,000 Marriott Rewards points  earned

The requirement that you had to be a Marriott Rewards member for at least 12 years was also eliminated. Marriott has the toughest nights requirement to qualify for top tier elite status of all hotel chains and is notoriously stingy with room upgrades. I have avoided them in the past, but work commitments might change my hotel choices in 2013. Make sure to check out my upcoming posts on the program as I spend more nights at Marriott properties.

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