Guide To Marriott STARS & Luminous Programs

Guide To Marriott STARS & Luminous Programs

22
EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Marriott STARS benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked. This is valid for paid stays at BVLGARI, EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and St. Regis.

While one way to get perks at Marriott properties is by having elite status in the Bonvoy program, many people don’t realize that travel agents can often also add perks to stays, that in many cases rival, and in some cases even exceed, what elite members would typically receive. Best of all, if you’re a Bonvoy elite member you can potentially use this program to get even more value.

How travel advisors can offer you special perks

While many people may think the concept of travel agents is outdated, the reality is that they can in many ways add more value than ever before, especially for luxury hotel stays.

There are programs like Virtuoso, where select travel advisors can offer perks like free breakfast and upgrades at all kinds of luxury hotels. On top of that, some hotel groups have their own proprietary programs that offer more perks, like Accor STEP, Belmond Bellini Club, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Hilton Impresario, Hyatt Privé, Mandarin Oriental Fan Club, Rosewood Elite, Shangri-La Luxury Circle, etc.

The logic of hotels having their own programs is that they hope it’s a win-win-win. If hotels offer special perks for the clients of travel advisors, they hope travel advisors are more likely to recommend those hotels, and in turn the cycle begins. They want to keep guests in their “ecosystem.”

Marriott’s programs for travel advisors

Marriott has two programs for travel advisors, known as Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous, which offer additional perks for stays at various Marriott-family properties.

Before we talk about the specific perks, let me emphasize that:

  • You need to book through a travel advisor to take advantage of these perks; they’re not available directly to consumers
  • These perks only apply when booking rates equivalent to the standard/flexible rate on Marriott’s website; these perks don’t apply for member-only rates, advance purchase rates, points redemptions, or most other promotional rates

With that out of the way, let’s get into the details of these two programs.

Marriott STARS participating hotel brands & perks

Let’s start with Marriott STARS, which I’d argue is the program that’s a lot more valuable. The Marriott STARS program is valid at the following brands:

Marriott STARS perks apply at St. Regis properties

When booking an eligible rate through an eligible travel advisor you’ll receive the following benefits through Marriott STARS (there’s no minimum length of stay):

  • Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two people per room
  • Hotel credit valued at 100USD once per stay
  • Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • In-person welcome
  • Personalized welcome amenity and note

I’d say the most valuable perks there are the $100 credit and the complimentary breakfast, especially since elite members don’t typically receive complimentary breakfast at those brands, with the exception of St. Regis and Luxury Collection.

Get free breakfast at EDITION with Marriott STARS

Marriott Luminous participating hotel brands & perks

Next let’s talk about the Marriott Luminous program, which on the surface will have more appeal, but which has its challenges.

The Marriott Luminous program is valid at the following brands, though only at select locations of each brand, since properties can choose to opt out of the program (there’s no minimum length of stay):

  • Autograph Collection
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Marriott
  • Renaissance
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels
  • Westin
Marriott Luminous perks apply at some Le Meridien properties

When booking an eligible rate through an eligible travel advisor you’ll receive the following benefits through Marriott Luminous:

  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two people per room
  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • Early check-in & late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Local welcome amenity and note
  • Hotel credit valued at 100USD once per stay, but only at select hotels
Score a $100 credit at some W properties with Marriott Luminous

On the surface this sounds awesome. You can pick up benefits like a $100 credit and breakfast on a fairly cheap Marriott or Westin stay, for example. But there are two huge catches:

  • While Marriott STARS includes all properties of the participating brands, Marriott Luminous properties of the participating brands can choose to opt out of the program
  • Even for hotels participating in Marriott Luminous, individual hotels can choose whether or not they want to offer the $100 hotel credit, and a majority choose not to offer the $100 credit

What rates qualify for Marriott STARS & Luminous benefits?

As a general rule of thumb, only the “standard rate” that you find on Marriott’s website qualifies for STARS and Luminous perks. You can’t take advantage of these perks on points stays, on member-only rates, on advance purchase rates, etc.

These rates are typically equivalent to the standard rate

In some cases there will be discounted rates through these programs, but that’s the exception rather than the norm.

Generally the Marriott STARS & Luminous rates are the same as flexible rates

Can you earn points on Marriott STARS & Luminous stays?

Yes, all Marriott STARS and Luminous bookings are considered “qualifying” for the purposes of earning points, elite credits, promotions, and more. These count the same as any other stay booked directly with Marriott.

You can still earn Bonvoy points with Marriott STARS & Luminous rates

Does Marriott STARS & Luminous stack with Bonvoy elite benefits?

A lot of people may be wondering “well how does this stack with my Marriott Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador benefits?” The answer is “it depends.” In some cases elite members may find huge value booking Marriott STARS and Luminous rates, while in other cases they may not:

  • For hotels offering a $100 credit, that has the potential to be useful to just about anyone
  • Marriott Bonvoy elite members don’t receive complimentary breakfast at EDITION and Ritz-Carlton properties, so booking a STARS rate would get them those perks
  • BVLGARI and Ritz-Carlton Reserve aren’t even participating properties in Marriott Bonvoy for the purposes of earning and redeeming points, and elite perks, so Marriott STARS is significantly more valuable for that
  • Even for properties where you do get breakfast by way of executive lounge access, booking a Marriott Luminous rate could get you restaurant breakfast instead
  • While this won’t necessarily be the case, it could be that a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum member booking a STARS rate would get an upgrade ahead of a Marriott Platinum member not on a STARS rate; however, don’t necessarily think this means you’ll get an upgrade to the best available standard suite, and then a further upgrade based on STARS perks
Score free breakfast at Ritz-Carltons with Marriott STARS

How do you find a Marriott STARS & Luminous advisor?

There are lots of travel advisors with access to the Marriott STARS & Luminous programs. Advisors are welcome to leave their contact info in the comments section below, or you can always find an advisor through Google.

A couple of things to note:

  • Some travel advisors charge booking fees, while others don’t; travel advisors do earn a commission from hotels, so it often comes down to how big the bookings are, how busy the travel advisors otherwise are, how personalized they want to be with service, etc.
  • I know that many travel advisors are willing to help with STARS bookings but not Luminous bookings, given that the latter program typically involves less expensive hotels, and is less consistent in terms of participation and perks

How do Marriott’s programs compare to Virtuoso?

Some might be saying “well wait a minute, most Ritz-Carltons also belong to Virtuoso, and benefits are similar, so what’s the difference?” The truth is that in many cases there aren’t major differences between the programs.

There are a few important distinctions:

  • Marriott STARS offers a $100 hotel credit that you can spend on just about any eligible incidentals, while Virtuoso credits are often specific to either the spa or food & beverage, and not both
  • Marriott STARS & Luminous programs get you access to a lot more hotels than you’ll find through Virtuoso
  • In theory hotels prioritize upgrades for their own proprietary programs, though in practice that may not always be the case
  • Most travel advisors who have access to STARS & Luminous also have access to Virtuoso (and vice versa), so they can advise you as to which program it makes more sense to book through
Some Ritz-Carltons participate in STARS but not Virtuoso

Bottom line

Marriott offers two special programs for travel agents, known as STARS and Luminous.

The Marriott STARS program is pretty awesome and straightforward. It offers perks like breakfast, hotel credits, and room upgrades, even at Ritz-Carltons, where elite members wouldn’t otherwise receive complimentary breakfast. In the case of BVLGARI and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, those are brands that otherwise don’t actually participate in Marriott Bonvoy in any way, so the incremental perks there are major.

The Marriott Luminous program sounds great on the surface, but the problem is that hotels in each of those brands have the ability to choose their degree of participation — they can choose whether they want to participate at all, and if they do participate, they can choose whether or not they want to offer a $100 hotel credit.

Have you ever taken advantage of the Marriott STARS or Luminous program? If so, what was your experience like?

Want to take advantage of the Marriott STARS program to receive extra perks (like breakfast and upgrades) for paid stays at BVLGARI, EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and St. Regis? Contact [email protected] for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.
Conversations (22)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. as2o3 Guest

    I've run into a minimum stay of two nights here in China at the local Ritz-Carlton, which to be fair makes sense as the rooms start around $100/night. Sadly the latest change in their policies split the credit into $50 for food/beverage and the other $50 for the (incredibly overpriced) Spa, so it's even less valuable now...

  2. Jan Hurvitz Guest

    I am a travel advisor, how do I get access to the Stars and Luminous program?

  3. SQ51 Guest

    Will the Amex bonvoy brilliant $300 credit cover a room booked through Luminous? Are these cancelable if need be?

  4. Dan Cooper Guest

    Great article Ben, very clear! I'm a Marriott Stars & Luminous agent (as well as Virtuoso and all other major programs), so if anyone would like to see any rates and inclusions we can provide, feel free to contact me on [email protected], or via www.rwrdtravel.com - Cheers and Bon Voyage!

  5. Emma Stow Guest

    Thanks for clarifying these programmes - it's a great article. I'm a member of both Luminous and Stars (and a Virtuoso advisor) based in the UK. Happy to provide quotes or further information. [email protected]

  6. Robert Guest

    Do you know whether the senior rate is eligible?

    1. Britta Ward Guest

      Hi Robert, the Luminous and Stars benefits are typically only offered with the going rate. Senior Rates are a discounted price. The benefits truly outweigh that small discount when factoring in 100USD and breakfast daily.

  7. Kenz Guest

    Could you caption the photos with the property information? Would be much easier than me reverse google image searching one by one. :)

  8. Varun Guest

    Hello!
    I have 2 doubts.

    1) As you said, luminous hotels provide $100 credit on dining, so is it given per night or per entire stay? For Example, if im staying for 1 night, I will get 100$ credit right. However, if I am staying in for 3 nights, will I get 100$ or 300$. If not, then what if I book additional 2 nights separately and have 100$ each?

    2) If I...

    Hello!
    I have 2 doubts.

    1) As you said, luminous hotels provide $100 credit on dining, so is it given per night or per entire stay? For Example, if im staying for 1 night, I will get 100$ credit right. However, if I am staying in for 3 nights, will I get 100$ or 300$. If not, then what if I book additional 2 nights separately and have 100$ each?

    2) If I booked a luminous property which is giving 100$ credit and my reservation also says the same, can they still opt out and deny it?

    1. 9volt Member

      Anyone know if the club upgrade certs that come from the Ritz Carlton credit card can be used on a STARS booking?

  9. Weymar M Osborne Gold

    If you book through a travel advisor, are you billed by the travel agency directly or by Marriott? I have an AmEx offer for $50 off a $200+ stay.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Weymar M Osborne -- You're billed directly by the hotel, not the travel agent.

  10. iamhere Gold

    If you are a loyal elite member you have to compare the rate. Many of the brands you mention do include breakfast or lounge access or an alternative for elite members. Besides, the member rate may be much cheaper than obtaining the $100 credit. Also, remember that this credit has restrictions. Usually for F&B or spa if it is managed by the hotel. It's not necessarily a good deal.

  11. FLIGHTBLITZ Guest

    Signature Travel Network is another program similar to Virtuoso that you haven't spoken about.

    We are a member of Signature, as well as STARS and Luminous.
    We are also a member of most of the elite hotel programs, including but not limited to: Four Seasons Preferred Partners, Rosewood Elite, Hyatt Prive, Jumeirah Passport, Hilton Impressario, Belmond Bellini, Relais and Chateau plus more.

    We'd love to assist you with any hotel booking, please email us...

    Signature Travel Network is another program similar to Virtuoso that you haven't spoken about.

    We are a member of Signature, as well as STARS and Luminous.
    We are also a member of most of the elite hotel programs, including but not limited to: Four Seasons Preferred Partners, Rosewood Elite, Hyatt Prive, Jumeirah Passport, Hilton Impressario, Belmond Bellini, Relais and Chateau plus more.

    We'd love to assist you with any hotel booking, please email us at [email protected]

  12. Will Guest

    Really not seeing the value here if you have access to corporate rates, etc...

  13. Anon Guest

    Not all luxury collection hotels participate in Stars. All ITC hotels in India (part of luxury collection) are an example

  14. Eric Guest

    So these programs ever offer a 3rd or 4th night free, like Amex FHR and Virtuoso sometimes do? Is there an easy way to see who is running what promo?

  15. Clarita Volovitz New Member

    As always, great article Lucky!

    I'm also a STARS/Luminous advisor and i'd be happy to assist with any booking request so please feel free to reach out.

    My email is [email protected] I strive to respond to all inquiries within the same business day.

  16. Max Guest

    Use reisetopia.de/hotels to easily book your luxury hotel stay.

  17. Aaron Choi Guest

    Great article Lucky! I am a travel agent at Travel Edge- the largest travel agency in North America and can help with any Stars or Luminous bookings as well as Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Hyatt Prive, and Virtuoso. My email is [email protected]

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

as2o3 Guest

I've run into a minimum stay of two nights here in China at the local Ritz-Carlton, which to be fair makes sense as the rooms start around $100/night. Sadly the latest change in their policies split the credit into $50 for food/beverage and the other $50 for the (incredibly overpriced) Spa, so it's even less valuable now...

0
9volt Member

Anyone know if the club upgrade certs that come from the Ritz Carlton credit card can be used on a STARS booking?

0
Jan Hurvitz Guest

I am a travel advisor, how do I get access to the Stars and Luminous program?

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT