As of late July, Marriott began integrating City Express Hotels into its portfolio. Upon its launch, just seven City Express Hotels were available for booking; however, the full array of City Express properties is now available for booking with cash or points.
As a reminder, Marriott Bonvoy has also updated its terms and conditions to include City Express Hotels; however, the terms are rather unfavourable.
Marriott acquired City Express in Fall 2022, and began to integrate properties in late July 2023.
Part of this integration involves an official name change to City Express by Marriott, which is further broken down into four sub-brands:
All City Express properties now participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, and can be booked with cash or points.
In general, City Express by Marriott hotels are an affordable midscale addition to the Marriott portfolio.
There are over 150 City Express by Marriott hotels spread out across 75 cities. The properties are primarily located in Mexico, and there are four hotels in Colombia, one in Chile, and one in Costa Rica.
Marriott Bonvoy has also updated its terms and conditions to include City Express hotel. Unfortunately, this comes with some rather unwelcoming features.
To begin, you’ll only earn one elite qualifying night per two-night stay at City Express by Marriott hotels. Following this rule, a three-night stay will also only net you one elite qualifying night.
Typically, a one-night stay at each of Marriott’s hotel brands would earn you one elite qualifying night.
This changed on March 1, 2023, when Marriott cut the elite qualifying night earning rate in half for stays at all Protea Hotels.
Now, we are seeing this rather unfortunate policy being incorporated with the new City Express brand, and it doesn’t bode well for any future acquisitions.
Furthermore, instead of earning 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per US dollar spent, as is the case at many Marriott brands, you’ll only earn five Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at City Express by Marriott hotels.
At City Express by Marriott hotels, the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation is $50 (USD) for all Marriott Bonvoy Elite members, or $50 (USD) plus 45,000 Bonvoy points for Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador Elite members.
This is paid out if the hotel is unable to fulfill your reservation; however, it isn’t quite as high as the compensation provided at many other Marriott brands.
If you’re a Bonvoy Platinum Elite member, or higher, and you request a specific room type in your reservation for your stay that isn’t provided, you’ll be eligible for compensation through the Guaranteed Room Type scheme.
At City Express hotels, that compensation is capped at $25 (USD), compared to $50–100 (USD) at other Marriott hotels.
Marriott has also done away with any welcome gift for Gold Elite members staying at City Express by Marriott hotels.
At every other Marriott hotel, Gold Elite members are entitled to a welcome gift of either 250 or 500 Bonvoy points, depending on the hotel.
Furthermore, City Express by Marriott doesn’t offer welcome gifts to Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador Elite members, except at City Centro locations.
This means that at none-City Centro City Express hotels, you won’t be entitled to any additional points, or free breakfast.
To make things worse, out of the 150+ City Express hotels, there are only three under the City Centro sub-brand.
Unless Marriott restructures the City Express sub-branding, there will only be three City Express by Marriott hotels at which you’ll be able to enjoy free breakfast as a Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador Elite member.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Suite Night Awards are not eligible to be redeemed at City Express by Marriott hotels, as is the case at Aloft, Protea, EDITION, and Ritz-Carlton hotels.
Marriott acquired City Express Hotels late last year, and the integration of the brand into the Marriott ecosystem is now complete.
All City Express properties are now available for booking, either with cash or points. This adds over 150 properties to Marriott’s overall portfolio.
City Express by Marriott has also been included in Marriott Bonvoy’s terms and conditions, and the results are fairly underwhelming, to say the least.