I travel a lot for my job, and as such I always look for a coffee shop to be my temporary, “virtual” office. Being in Washington State, I usually search out Tully’s Coffee shops because they offer free WiFi access. But outside of WA, there aren’t very many Tully’s to be found. Of course, Starbucks shops are everywhere, and they also offer WiFi service through AT&T. However, it is not free access.
On a recent business trip, I noticed that Starbucks is now offering complimentary WiFi access if you have a Starbucks card. It’s not a credit card, but rather a gift card that you can load with any dollar amount. I was told by the Starbucks barista that I only need $5.00 on the card to have access to the complimentary WiFi in their store. So, I got a card and had the barista put $20 on it.
As it turns out, you need to go online and register the card at http://www.starbucks.com first. Then, you need to accept certain Terms and Conditions by AT&T (where you agree to allow them to email you 4 times a year with ads, etc.) to activate WiFi access. After that procedure, you can use your starbucks.com login name and password to connect to the AT&T WiFi network at any local Starbucks (that offers WiFI). The only restriction, is that you can only have one 2-hour session per day.
Since there’s Starbucks everywhere and I often need to check my emails, etc. while on travel, this seems to be a good fit for me. It really doesn’t cost me anything, since I can use the card to purchase coffee (which I normally do at least once a week). So if you also travel and want to get WiFi access occassionally, check out http://www.starbucks.com for details.