It's rare that a hotel company comes along and offers something that is truly unique. When the same company does it twice, it's even more rare.

CitizenM offers affordable places to work, stay and relax in popular cities around the world without paying for extras that people aren't likely to use.

The approach that the chain is taking is different from the norm. You don't have to stay a certain number of times. The perks and benefits come when you pay a fee.

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Is the my citizenM+ program for you? Let's see what we can find.

What is citizenM, and where are its hotels?

CitizenM New York Bowery Hotel. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

In 2008 CitizenM opened a hotel in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. There are now 24 hotels in 16 cities for the brand.

Austin, Chicago, Dublin, Miami, Menlo Park, California, and Rome are some of the locations where citizenM hotels will open in the next few years.

The citizenM hotels are unique in that they aim to place their hotels in central locations in popular cities, avoiding unnecessary perks and offering an affordable nightly rate. There are two locations in New York, one in Times Square and the other in the Bowery.

There is a review of CitizenM in New York.

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It is just a place to sleep, but also a place to work, relax and play. A place with free wi-fi and a great bed to crash in at the end of the day. The concept was called affordable luxury for the people.

The hotel chain doesn't have a loyalty program like we have come to expect from hotels.

Introducing mycitizenM+

The Living Room area provides an incredibly vibrant place to work. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

The rewards program from citizenM is called mycitizenM+, and it is not like the hotel loyalty programs you are used to. There are no points.

You pay a $12 monthly fee if you don't keep track of points. There is no other requirement to get this status.

It's not necessary to stay a certain number of nights each year. Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt have similar levels of status, but Marriott's yearly cost is less than what it would take to get there.

Key perks

Everyone can use the citizenM app to get perks like checking in and generating a mobile key. You won't have to wait in line at check-in.

Free late checkout, upgrade to a premium-view room, and 10% discount on the lowest rate are some of the perks mycitizenM+ has to offer. Late checkout and upgrade are dependent on availability.

Early access to discounts and invitations to member-only events are also available to elite members. At least 48 hours in advance, members have guaranteed room availability.

Which hotel programs provide guaranteed availability?

The main perks include a 10% discount and room upgrade. Is it possible that they offset the cost of paying for mycitizenM+ every year?

Look at this sample booking. A two-night weekend stay as a mycitizenM+ member could save you 70% of the annual membership fee.

(Screenshot from

Premium views are not free for non-elite members. During the week in Los Angeles, late checkouts will cost $69 per room. A three-night stay with a premium room upgrade costs $60.57.

(Screenshot from

Between the two stays, you could get discounts and perks that would help you recover the value of your membership. If you stay five nights in a year, you can recover the cost of your annual fee.

Enrolling is done on a yearly basis. When you sign up for my citizenM+, you commit for a year. There is a 14 day cancellation policy after you join.

If you opt out or cancel at least 30 days in advance, your membership will be automatically renewed. You can cancel your plan at any time during the membership year, even after the first year. Payments will stop after 30 days if you cancel your plan.

Here you can find the full terms and conditions.

Evaluating the positives and negatives

The mycitizenM+ program is different. It could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you view it.

The path to status is easy and inexpensive. If you stay only at the cheapest properties in another hotel program, you won't be able to get a room upgrade for less than $150 a year. You don't need to worry about how much you spent at the hotel. There are perks to the simplicity and cost. It's refreshing for people who find the route to hotel status tiring to not have to work.

There are drawbacks to this approach.

We usually associate hotel elite status with free breakfast and suite upgrades. If there is no points program, you can't accumulate points on your hotel stays and redeem them for a nicer property later on. Road warriors who spend a lot of time on the road for work and use the points earned for family vacations are affected by this.

There is no co branded credit card that gives bonus points on spending. We recommend using a travel rewards credit card to pay for your stays since all of them will be paid.

Is hotel elite status still worth it?

Comparing mycitizenM+ to other 'pay to play' options

(Photo courtesy of the Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.)

CitizenM is not the first program to sell elite status perks. When you stay at InterContinental hotels and resorts around the world, you can buy InterContinental Ambassador status without meeting any stay requirements or tracking any requirements along the way.

Ambassador perks at InterContinental properties include a complimentary weekend night valid on the second night of your stay, a $20 property credit for food and drinks, and a second guest in your room.

You'll be able to enjoy Platinum Elite status when you stay at other ihhg properties. 60% bonus points earned on paid stays, reward night discounts, 72 hour guaranteed room availability, room upgrades, welcome amenities and early check in and late checkout are included.

Ambassador status costs $200 or 40,000 points a year. You won't save a guaranteed amount on your hotel stays if you use this. It's a more generous suite of perks and there are more I hg properties out there than citizenM hotels

Is it a good idea to buy hotel or airline elite status.

Status via credit card

A co branded credit card is an option for buying elite status.

There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee, and automatic Gold status in theHiltonHonors program. Gold status gives you perks such as 80% bonus points earned on paid stays, free bottled water during your stay, a fifth night free on award stays, upgrade to preferred rooms, food and beverage credits and welcome gifts on each stay.

The IHG rewards premier credit card has a yearly fee and automatic Platinum Elite status. You won't be able to enjoy the InterContinental-specific perks.

If you have a credit card with a fee under $100, you can get status in these programs. If you use the credit card to earn points, you will be able to get free stays in the future.

Credit cards for hotels.

Bottom line

MycitizenM+ takes a different approach to hotel status. Suite upgrades, white-glove treatment, and other concepts of luxury are no longer present. There is no idea of points or free nights. The focus is on simplicity and perks like guaranteed discounts and late checkout.

For people who like to stay at smaller hotels with less frills, this could be exciting. People who don't like tracking their stays throughout the year should be attracted to it. citizenM has a smaller footprint, so it may not appeal to you if you find yourself in a less traveled area. It will not appeal to people who want to be treated like royalty.

It's worth doing the math to see if you can get a mycitizenM+ membership.

Click here if you want to know the rates and fees of the hotel.