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Free Wi-Fi at luxury Marriott hotels--for some

Free Wi-Fi at luxury Marriott hotels--for some
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, a Marriott International Hotel, was accused of jamming conference attendees'own Wi-Fi networks, forcing them to pay to use the hotel's own connection. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

Federal regulators fined Marriott International $600,000 last month for using a jamming device to block a hotel visitor from using a personal hotspot device while the hotel charged to use its wireless Internet.

Now, the giant Maryland-based hospitality company is announcing free wi-fi for, well, some of its guests.

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Starting Jan. 15, members of Marriott's loyalty rewards program will get access to free in-room wi-fi at the company's eight luxury brand hotels, including the JW Marriott, Gaylord Hotels and the Ritz-Carlton.

Standard wi-fi is already free at the mid-price and budget brands like Courtyard by Marriott and Springhill Suites by Marriott. In fact, free wi-fi is offered at most budget hotel chains, including Budget Inn, Travelodge and Super 8.

At Marriott's luxury brands, Platinum and Gold Elite members of the rewards program get even more: free high-speed wi-fi that will be five times faster than standard wireless Internet.

If you are not a loyalty program member, you must pay up to $13 per day for standard wi-fi at the luxury Marriott hotels and $15 for the faster wi-fi.

A spokeswoman for Marriott International said the new offerings are not offered in response to the fine by the Federal Communications Commission.

"There is no connection," said Marriott spokeswoman Stephanie Hampton. "This has been in the works for a long time."

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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