Real world tests of the Boingo Hotspot app. Some good – some meh!

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amex platinum boingo wireless access

One of the very long list of perks from the (non-Delta) AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards cards is a special Boingo Hotspot package free.

boingo from amex plan

I love free. I love the 40,000 points that come with the card (after $3,000 in spend). I love the $200 in airline credits. I like the $100 Global Entry fee rebate (when paid with the card). I REALLY love the Centurion lounge access and will be back to the club in DFW a bunch before year end. But do I love the Boingo access and app?

screen shots of boingo wifi trying to connect me

A bunch of airports are now offering free WiFi at least over here in the states including Delta’s own ATL hub Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The performance of the WiFi can swing up and down, but then again the Skyclub WiFi can be sometimes good and sometimes bad.

So I decided to test the Boingo app a bit during my last trip to Sweden on Lufthansa. The results were less than impressive I hate to say, bordering on useless. There is a Boingo hotspot in GOT airport but it would not connect. All the other free ones require your cell phone to work as they text you a code. My cell does not work in Sweden. I had similarly disappointing results in MUC airport.

What did work well was the auto connect whenever near an open free WiFi spot that Boingo could connect to. I found several places where it just connected me, but again these were OPEN spots not specifically Boingo spots.

I guess the bottom line is that the AMEX Platinum card comes with a ton of travel perks that just about pay for the card the first year or two, but the I would not say the Boingo hotspot feature is one that would push me to get this travel card! – René


PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.


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  1. After several years, I can say the Boingo app is complete, total junk. Absolutely useless.

  2. First, get a GSM enabled phone, such as all the iPhones, so you can connect over telephony when needed in Europe. Roaming is not cheap, but Verizon and others have discounted bundles. If you get your phone unlocked, you can buy a local SIM chip for the same pricing locals get. Second, many phone and cable providers (like Xfinity) have wifi hot-spot apps for phones where you can connect for free. Third, find a Delta SkyClub. Fourth, most European airports allow free 30 minute wfi connections (in my experience this year). Lastly, take a break from it all!

  3. I had the exact same experience this summer, having tested the Boingo app throughout Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Denmark, Sweeden and Norway. We covered over 8,000 miles by car over 67 days and not once did I ever come across an actual Boingo WiFi spot… the app would occasionally connect to free wifi that had nothing to do with Boingo.. an absolute waste of time and space on my phone.

    I’d suggest getting a quad band phone (HTC ONE for example) with T-Mobile. Normally I get a SIM card the minute I land in Europe but this summer I was able to “survive” with T-Mobile’s Free International data roaming… yes, it’s slow, you’re connected mostly at 2G speeds (even if you conect to a 3G or 4g network)… but the speed was just enough for checking emails, using whatsapp, searching google, using google maps, foursquare and streaming pandora. You have the option to buy “high speed access” packs but they’re rather expensive (about $50 for 200mb)…

  4. I’m in Bangkok Thaiand and I have never been able to connect anywhere with boingo . it really is a useless “perk”. I actually waited for this feature. if it worked I could easily justify keeping the AMEX platinum card, but know I’m really torn on whether to keep it or not

  5. You could use Google Voice to get your SMS (and optionally have it forward the SMS to email). Maybe you could find some limited free wifi (e.g. the 30 min limit Glenn mentioned) to get the code? Unfortunately they’ve created a Chicken & Egg problem with requiring a data connection to get the code that will allow you access to get data.

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