Should hotels charge for Internet service?

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As airline passengers bemoan the new fees for everything from food to checked luggage, why aren't more people grumbling about hotel Internet access fees?

Sure, there has been improvement in recent years.More than 90 percent of hotels surveyed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association now offer wireless Internet access.

About one in seven of these hotels charged fees to use the Internet.

What's odd is that you would expect that full-service hotels to provide free Internet access. But the opposite is often the case. Cheaper hotels tend to throw in free Internet to lure business travelers, while luxury brands tend to nickel-and-dime you by offering services a la carte.

But what about mid-market, so-called "full service" brands?

Twenty percent of Hilton's Embassy Suites hotels charge a daily usage fee (from $6.95 per day to $9.95 per day.). If you're already paying $180 a night at an Embassy Suites, say, in downtown Phoenix, that fee can really sting. Similarly, Marriott Hotels and their Renaissance properties charge $12.95 a day to log on.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts offer free high-speed Internet access only to guests registered with Wyndham By Request, their free membership rewards program. Their Knights Inn and AmeriHost properties are not required to have high speed Internet, though many offer it—for free.

Here's a twist: Hotels magazine recently pointed out that many hotels offer Internet for free but use it as a source of revenue by embedding ads into the browser when guests sign on. I'm not sure which is more annoying: Hotel Internet service you have to pay for or a Web connection that bombards you with ads!

Here's a list of some of the value brands that offer free Internet access:

Marriott

Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn and Residents Residence Inn*

Starwood

Four Points by Sheraton, aloft, element

Hilton

Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels

Wyndham

Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Wingate by Wyndham, Baymont Inn & Suites, Microtel Inns and Suites, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson and Travelodge

*Correction posted Sept. 22, 2:42 p.m. I regret the error.

What do you think about hotel Internet access fees? Fair or foul?

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