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Watch Out for Hidden Hotel Wi-Fi Charges

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dollar-bills.jpgTwenty dollar bill closeupHotel Wi-Fi has become a near necessity for travelers, but the service tends to have a catch, one way or another. It might seem like throwing money at the problem is the answer: pay more for an expensive hotel and everything will be taken care of, right? Think again! Some of the worst Wi-Fi rates are in luxury hotels, especially overseas, so watch out for these high-priced offenders.

NEW ZEALAND

  • Sofitel, right on Auckland’s harbor waterfront, starts at about $234 a night and has a more complex (but possibly cheaper) plan. The first 300 megabytes are free, and after that it’s 500 megabytes for $4, 1 gigabyte for $12, and 2 gigabytes for $16.
  • The Langham starts at about $190 a night and sometimes will give you free Wi-Fi depending on the room; so, if you haggle, you may be able to swing in the free Internet no matter what you’ve booked. Otherwise, it’s $25 for 24 hours, $12 for a lower speed for 24 hours, and free in the lobby.
  • The InterContinental in Wellington starts at $236 and charges in tiers for their Wi-Fi. Five hours will cost $4, ten hours will cost $12, and 24 hours will cost $19 — but it’s free with an IHG Reward Card.

AUSTRALIA

  • The Hilton at Surfer’s Paradise, just south of Brisbane, starts at $211 a night and chargers $25 a day for Wi-Fi and $117 for the week.
  • Novotel in St. Kilda, Melbourne, starts at about $177 a night and charges $22 per 24 hours.
  • The Westin in Sydney starts at $230 a night and charges $17 for 24 hours.

BAHAMAS

  • Atlantis Paradise Island Resort (right next to the beach in the Bahamas) changes prices often and offers frequent deals and price packages, but usually starts at an average of $300 a night, and charges $21.95 per 24 hours.

GERMANY

  • The Berlin Marriott Hotel’s lowest prices are about $203 a night and it charges $27 per 24 hours, though it is free in the lobby.

Bottom line: That all-important Internet connection may come with a hefty price tag, especially in pricier hotels. In fact, it’s often the budget and mid-priced brands, like Motel 6, Holiday Inn, and Hampton Inn, that provide Wi-Fi at no charge to their guests. Look into loyalty programs that offer free Wi-Fi as a perk, as is the case with Kimpton’s In Touch and Fairmont’s President’s Club.

It always pays to call ahead and confirm–and even negotiate–before you check in. Don’t miss HotelChatter’s comprehensive Wi-Fi report, updated annually.

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By Cody Brooks for PeterGreenberg.com

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