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Marriott offers special luxury travel programs to a select few travel agencies and advisors called Marriott Stars and Luminous Programs. Most people are unaware they exist, but you my friend are about to have the veil of secrecy removed.
Prepare to have access to extra benefits and amenities without even participating in the loyalty programs.
They’re just like you, a luxury traveler, but their travel experiences are rich with exclusive perks while racking up travel points. Wonder how they manage it? Here’s the secret: they use elite travel agencies (and you can too)!
Ready for a new lens on luxury?
Most people are unaware they exist and can’t secure the extra benefits and amenities on their own, so accessing these programs and leveling up from elite to STARS or Luminous depends largely on who you know. Luckily, Virtuoso Travel Advisors have cultivated inside connections in the luxury travel industry and can offer an invitation to these programs for clients looking to book with Marriott hotels & resorts.
I personally use Classic Travel out of New York because of the consistent experience I have had with them, unlike other agencies they allow me to book online without having to call or email. If it’s a complicated itinerary I know I have those options when needed.
What is Marriott STARS?
Marriott STARS is the newly formulated version of the past Ritz Carlton STARS program and the Starwood Luxury Privileges program.
Marriott STARS is the access key to high-profile amenities and experiences starting with a $100 property credit per stay, priority for complimentary room upgrades, one free night (depending on the hotel), daily complimentary breakfast for two guests, a personalized welcome amenity and letter, hotel credits/points, early check-in, late check-out, and free wireless internet during every stay.
Booking your Marriott stay through non-Marriott STARS vendors such as Expedia or Priceline will land you the same bill for your stay, but without any of the STARS perks, and why pay the same price for fewer perks?
Which Hotels Are In Marriott STARS?
If you’re wondering what sets the STARS program apart from the Luminous program, it’s the eligible hotels. Your expert travel agent will work with you to determine the program most suitable for your luxury travel plans and match you to the most ideal options.
Marriott STARS benefits can be applied to a diverse and deluxe variety of participating hotels all over the world. At the moment, eligible luxury hotels include:
- The Ritz-Carlton (15+ countries, 111 properties worldwide)
- The Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- BVLGARI (6 countries, 11 properties worldwide)
- EDITION (5 continents, 11 properties worldwide)
- St. Regis Properties (6 continental regions, 60 properties worldwide)
- The Luxury Collection (10 countries, 8,284 properties worldwide)
What is Marriott Luminous
Similar to Marriott STARS, Marriott Luminous grants adventure-seeking travelers access to the luxury legacy of participating hotels imbued with style, tradition, and culture-rich environments.
The Luminous program offers more than just another stay at a five-star hotel.
It offers the opportunity to experience the thoughtful architecture detailed by centuries of a culture’s artistic revelations in the utmost luxury of upgraded living spaces, the abandonment of all sense of time and outside responsibility with flexible check-in/check-out windows, complimentary breakfast for two, a personalized amenity and welcome letter, resort credits, and complimentary wifi.
Which Hotels Are In Marriott Luminous?
Keep in mind that participating hotels are what differentiates the STARS and Luminous programs. While the perks and benefits are extremely similar in category, the experience of each benefit will depend greatly upon the location and hotel of your ideal luxury destination.
Working with an expert travel advisor will ensure that you’re aligned with the best program, perks, and experiences for your ideal luxury travel goals.
Marriott Luminous benefits are applicable to a variety of participating luxury hotels all over the world. At the moment, eligible hotels include:
- Westin (20+ countries, 226 properties worldwide)
- Marriott (130+ countries, 7,000+ properties worldwide)
- W Hotels (24+ countries, 52 properties worldwide)
- JW Marriott (30+ countries, 100+ properties worldwide)
- Autograph Collection Hotels (31+ countries, 140+ properties worldwide)
- Le Meridien (30+ countries, 105+ properties worldwide)
- Renaissance Hotels (36+ countries, 160+ properties worldwide)
- Tribute Portfolio (16+ countries, 65+ properties worldwide)
Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status vs. Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous
The Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status has structural differences when compared to the Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous programs.
The latter provides access to member-exclusive amenities and perks that travelers would otherwise miss out on when booking through non-travel advisor-based platforms.
The Bonvoy Elite Status, on the other hand, is a 5-tiered status system based on the number of qualifying nights stayed at participating hotels within a year, percentage of bonus points per stay, and additional bonuses and amenities depending on the status level a traveler identifies with.
Status Levels of Mariott Bonvoy Elite
- Silver Elite Status
- Gold Elite Status
- Platinum Elite Status
- Titanium Elite Status
- Ambassador Elite Status
To read more about the details of each status level and how to upgrade through the tiers, visit our in depth guide on Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott STARS and Luminous Programs – How to book
Book your Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous stays by contacting your luxury travel agent or advisor. You won’t be able to book these stays without the connections a travel agent or advisor can offer, so make sure you’ve found an agency that has been in the luxury travel business for a serious amount of time.
I use Classic Travel because of their extensive experience in this area and their easy-to-use online portal. For extended stays or complex itineraries, I simply reach out through the portal and book a direct consultation.
Booking Pro Tips
Minimum Stay Requirement
There is no minimum stay requirement for Marriott STARS or Marriott Luminous bookings, so you’ll gain all the benefits without unnecessarily elongating your stay!
The best available, most flexible, or standard rates offered on Marriott Hotel’s website are generally eligible for Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous benefits. Members-only rates, advance purchase/non-refundable rates, points bookings, corporate rates, and other promotional rates do not qualify for Marriott STARS or Marriott Luminous benefits.
Unfortunately, the Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous benefits can only be applied to a reservation during the booking process by an expert luxury travel agent or advisor and cannot be applied to existing reservations. If you’ve already booked your reservation and are looking to re-book the same reservation with the added benefits of these programs, simply cancel your reservation and re-book with your travel agent or advisor.
Does it matter what credit card you use?
While you are not required to use a specific credit card for your stay at a luxury travel destination, using the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, the American Express card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, or the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card will earn you 6x the Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spend on Marriott Bonvoy purchases, and that can add up quickly! Another option to consider is the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card at the reduced rate of 3x Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on Marriott Bonvoy purchases, which is still a great deal!
What are the Marriott STARS and Luminous programs?
The Marriott STARS and Luminous programs are exclusive travel programs offered by Marriott International. They provide select travel agencies with enhanced benefits and amenities for their clients at participating Marriott luxury hotels across several distinct brands.
How do the Marriott Stars and Luminous programs differ?
The STARS program is exclusively for a curated collection of ultra-luxury hotels under the Marriott brand, offering the highest level of service and bespoke amenities. The Luminous program, while still providing an elevated travel experience, includes a broader range of luxury hotels within the Marriott portfolio.
What benefits do clients receive when booking through these programs?
Benefits for guests booked through STARS and Luminous can include complimentary breakfast, potential room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out, welcome amenities, and hotel credits for dining or spa services.
Are STARS and Luminous benefits available at all Marriott hotels?
No, these benefits are available only at participating hotels within the Marriott luxury brands that are part of the STARS and Luminous programs. It’s important to check if the property is a participant before booking.
Do I have to pay extra to book a hotel through the STARS or Luminous program?
Typically, you do not have to pay extra; the room rates are competitive with the best available rates. The added value comes from the exclusive amenities and services provided through the programs.
Can I earn Marriott Bonvoy points when booking through these programs?
Yes, bookings made through the STARS and Luminous programs are eligible to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, as they are considered eligible rates.
How can I book a hotel through the Marriott STARS or Luminous program?
To book a hotel through these programs, you must go through a travel advisor or agency that is a recognized member of the Marriott STARS or Luminous programs. These programs are not available for direct booking by consumers.
Can benefits from STARS or Luminous be combined with other Marriott promotions or discounts?
This can vary by hotel and by the specific terms of each promotion or discount. It is best to consult with your travel advisor to understand which offers can be combined.
What types of hotels are included in the STARS program?
The STARS program is reserved for Marriott’s most premium and luxurious properties, such as The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and EDITION hotels, offering the most exclusive services and experiences.
Are the STARS and Luminous programs available worldwide?
Yes, these programs are available at participating luxury properties worldwide, offering a consistent level of benefits and service wherever you travel.
The Decision is Yours
Whether you and your travel agent or advisor decide to book your next luxury hotel stay with the Marriott STARS, Marriott Luminous, or Marriott Bonvoy benefits, you’ll gain access to amazing amenities, benefits, points, and perks each of these programs will happily afford.
The Marriott STARS and Luminous programs stand as pillars of exclusivity and privilege within the Marriott brand, offering guests elite benefits that enhance their stay at select Marriott properties.
The allure of additional Luminous perks is undeniable, adding layers of luxury to every aspect of a guest’s visit, from arrival to departure. For those dedicated travelers who accumulate elite credits through the Marriott Bonvoy program, participation in STARS or Luminous ensures their journey is sprinkled with extra doses of indulgence.
Whether it’s the special amenities waiting in your room, the comfort of knowing your needs will be anticipated, or the sheer joy of experiencing Marriott’s renowned hospitality, these programs transform a simple stay into a memorable luxury experience.
Marriott’s commitment to excellence is echoed in these offerings, making every STARS or Luminous booking not just a transaction, but a gateway to a world of elevated travel.