In this study, a method is developed to fabricate sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone)/phosphotungstic acid-polyaniline (SPEEK/HPW-PANI) membranes by in situ polymerization of aniline for the purpose of decreasing the weight loss of HPW in the membranes. The synthesis involves the production of a SPEEK/HPW hybrid membrane followed by different layer of PANI coatings on the membrane surface, and subsequent treatment using drying in vacuum procedures. The scanning electronic microscopy images showed that HPW had good compatibility with SPEEK polymers and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed the successfully doping with HPW and polymerization of PANI. The surface of SPEEK/HPW-PANI becomes more compact than that of SPEEK/HPW and pure SPEEK, which may lead to reduce the water uptake and swelling property. The proton conductivity was found for the SPEEK/HPW-PANI-5 composite membrane (91.53 mS/cm at 80°C) higher than that of pure SPEEK membrane (68.72 mS/cm at 80°C). Better thermal stability was determined in both SPEEK/HPW and SPEEK/HPW-PANI membranes than pristine SPEEK membrane. Therefore, PANI is a good potential coating for organic–inorganic hybrid e.g. SPEEK/HPW membrane materials to improve their hydrothermal stable properties and SPEEK/HPW PANI is a material that shows promise as a proton exchange membranes. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41033.