The great ‘Free Internet’ con trick at IHG

So, some time ago IHG, the owners of brands such as Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn offered free internet to their elite members. This is the announcement on their web page:


The little (1) links to text which says:

May not be available in all regions.

There is also a comment:

Free Internet Access to all members will be available in 2014. Elite members may enjoy benefit starting 1 July 2013. Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by hotel. Details regarding a property’s Internet accessibility will be available at the hotel’s registration desk.

And that’s the rub ‘Details’.

What that means in my experience is that the internet that is available for free – is so slow in my recent stays that it couldn’t load the images on the BBC web site, let alone do anything interactive.

Complain – I certainly did. And then the reply came ‘ Well sir, if it’s a problem you can always pay for the Premium Internet’.

I call that a con trick.

IHG, you offer free internet so slow that it is unusable and the offer the chance to pay for a connection that works. I declined this at the Holiday Ariel at Heathrow and then fell for it during the fog at London City in December, paying £8 for 3 hours of barely acceptable ‘Premium’ connection. At least if you’re offering ‘Premium’ Internet make it work faster than my home connection.

So IHG, it’s time you reviewed this policy – make it work or don’t call it ‘free’, because for all intents and purposes you’re only offering ‘Free Not-Working Internet’


  1. Not only what you describe.
    Seems that several of their hotels (at least the IC in Kuala Lumpur) has free internet which is unusably slow and then charge significant amounts for ‘premium’ – which is still slow but at least usable.

  2. Same case at the IC Amsterdam Amstel. The free connection was unusably slow to the point where even my email would not load properly.

  3. I think it is bad enough that they are pushing “free internet” as some sort of great perk when most IHG hotels (not all) offered some sort of free internet to all guests before all this. Most of the IHG hotels I stay at already give all guests free internet anyway even if they aren’t an IHG member. To me it’s like saying that you will get free heat and air conditioning (elite members starting in July 2013). Or free TV. High speed internet should just be the norm unless it’s in an extremely remote location or something (like a cruise ship). I know 1st world problems 🙂

  4. @Traveller223 – Agree that the Internet speed at the IC KUL is very poor indeed; that is why I checked out after 1 night and moved to the DoubleTree around the corner.

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