Like many hotel groups, Marriott Bonvoy appears to have an addiction to launching new brands. Is it time for a weekly ‘hotel brands anonymous’ group? I think this one makes it 32.
Accor staff will laugh when they read this just …. “Just 32? Beginners, we’re well over 40 …..”
This time round, it has announced a sub-sub-brand which is good going. It is called Four Points Express by Sheraton.
Four Points was originally positioned as a budget brand which played off the Sheraton reputation, but with a limited service offering. Clearly the new brand is even more
Marriott is calling it “affordable midscale”, in the lower 3-star range. IHG’s Holiday Inn Express is seen as ‘upper midscale’ so technically it sits below that in terms of quality, although it’s probably much of a muchness.
Marriott’s developer website cuts through much of the marketing speak:
“Developed specifically for the Europe & Middle East market, Marriott International’s new Four Points Express franchise brand offers a light operational and design model, enabling owners to capitalize on growing consumer demand in the midscale segment, while taking advantage of Marriott International’s powerful operational engines and proven expertise.
Whether for work or leisure, our guests are busy and on the move. They need a comfortable and affordable place to rest and recharge. They expect an easy, uncomplicated stay and don’t want to spend extra on services they don’t need. Clean, comfortable, and in a convenient location, Four Points Express delivers a seamless experience, all for the right price.”
The website goes on to outline the brand requirements which include (and I quote):
- Food & beverage: Breakfast required, lunch and dinner optional. Retail optional.
- Guestrooms: 14-22sqm. Quality essentials: good shower, bed, and connectivity
- Fitness: Allowed if existing
- Public space: Design signatures
- Meeting Rooms: Boardroom optional
Looking at the renders, it appears that one of the cost savings will be removing carpets from bedrooms, which I imagine require more maintenance than laminate flooring:
Four Points Express seems an odd brand to launch in Europe, where the Four Points brand has very little penetration. There are less than 20 Four Points hotels across Europe in total (including one in the UK) so it’s not as if the existing Four Points brand is over-utilised.
Four Points Express is a conversion brand
Marriott isn’t the only hotel group to push into the midscale hotel segement; IHG also recently announced its own brand, Garner. According to Satya Anand, President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA),
“Midscale is a resilient industry segment that currently represents almost 1.2 million rooms in EMEA, and 68% of those rooms are unbranded.”
Like Garner, Four Points Express is a conversion brand, meaning there are very few fixed brand standards. This allows hotels to quickly (and cheaply) join the brand without having to make expensive renovations or buy brand-specific furniture such as a prescribed model of bed. Marriott also talks about “competitive terms” in terms of franchise fees.
The UK will be the second country to get a Four Points Express
The brand will make its global debut in the UK when the Four Points Express by Sheraton London Euston opens in 2024, with 201 guest rooms. The first sites will be in Turkey.
Marriott will not disclose the hotel which is being converted. We are told that it will be undergoing a “significant” renovation before opening.
A bit of snooping leads us to believe it could be the NYX Hotel London Holborn, formerly the Grange Holborn Hotel, on Southampton Row. This is only a guess though.
The Grange Holborn had the required 201 rooms before it was converted to an NYX. NYX now claims to have ‘213 rooms and suites’ although some booking sites say ‘201 rooms and 10 studios’. The location roughly fits what we know (“less than 500 metres from Euston Station and one kilometre from Kings Cross and St Pancras International”) and the NYX rooms are relatively small, fitting the Four Points Express model.
That said, the hotel is still operating as NYX so we could be totally wrong (sorry NYX if so!). If it did convert, the renovation would require a substantial DOWNgrading of the current features, which include “eye-catching artwork, large padded leather headboards, teak sideboards, fully stocked mini Smeg fridges, Nespresso coffee machines, and bespoke ‘Dream’ beds” as well as “a 13-metre Greco-Roman indoor swimming pool with retractable flooring to create a private events space, a steam room, sauna, fitness centre, and treatment suites.” This sounds a bit excessive, so we could be totally wrong!
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)