Marriott's New STARS and Marriott Luminous Programs Launch on July 1, 2019. These programs will replace the current Ritz-Carlton STARS and Starwood Luxury Privileges programs, and provide new benefits for other Marriott brands. Read on to understand the STARS and Luminous Program details, which brands they include, how to book with STARS and Luminous benefits, which rates qualify, whether you can earn elite points and enjoy elite benefits with these stays, and a FAQ.
Who Can Reserve with STARS and Luminous Program Benefits
All TravelSort Clients and clients of other luxury travel agencies that are Marriott STARS and Luminous Program members can reserve with these benefits. This is Marriott's version of Hyatt Prive, Hilton Impresario, and Four Seasons Preferred Partner, which extend certain benefits, such as complimentary breakfast, a space available upgrade, and a $100 hotel credit to guests who book through a member luxury travel agency.
Where a luxury hotel offers its own program, I do recommend reserving through this program, instead of Virtuoso or AMEX Find Hotels & Resorts, as upgrade priority tends to be given to guests who book with the hotel's own preferred partner program–more on this as it pertains to STARS later, in the FAQ.
New Marriott STARS Program
The new Marriott STARS Program replaces not only the old Ritz-Carlton STARS Program; it also replaces Starwood Luxury Privileges, as Starwood is now part of Marriott.
Here are the brands the new Marriott STARS Program includes:
- St. Regis
- Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- The Luxury Collection
New STARS Benefits are:
- Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two guests per room
- Complimentary basic Wi-Fi
- Hotel credit valued at $100 once per stay
- In-person warm welcome
- Personalized welcome amenity
New Marriott Luminous Program
Marriott's new Luminous Program encompasses some of Marriott's mid-tier hotel brands, similar to the way Hyatt Prive includes select Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency properties, yet requires a minimum 2 night stay to receive Hyatt Prive benefits.
Unfortunately in Marriott's case, rather than requiring a minimum night stay to receive all the same benefits, certain properties will not participate in the hotel credit benefit.
Here are the brands the new Marriott Luminous Program includes:
- W Hotels
- JW Marriott
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Westin Hotels
- Le Meridien
- Renaissance Hotels
- Tribute Portfolio
New Luminous Benefits are:
- Complimentary daily breakfast for up to two guests per room
- Complimentary room upgrade, based on availability
- Welcome amenity
- Early check-in and late check-out, based on availability
- Complimentary basic Wi-Fi
- Enhanced amenity at select hotels: hotel credit valued at $100 once per stay
Unfortunately, we won't know until July 1, 2019, exactly which hotels are participating in the Luminous Program, and which will offer the enhanced amenity of the $100 hotel credit.
Which Rates Qualify for STARS and Luminous Rates?
Typically the Best Available Rate (BAR) is the one that qualifies for benefits–this is the same as the flexible rate that can be cancelled. All member-only rates, AARP and other specially coded rates and promotional rates do NOT qualify for the benefits.
Do Marriott Elites Earn Points and Elite Credits on STARS and Luminous Rates?
Yes, elites earn points and elite credits on all STARS and Luminous rates. Be sure to provide your Marriott Bonvoy number to TravelSort or the luxury travel agency making your reservation.
What's the Advantage to Marriott Elites of Reserving with STARS or Luminous?
For all STARS hotels, and for the Luminous hotels that offer the enhanced amenity of the $100 hotel credit, this is credit that elites don't get on their own even with status.
For Marriott elites reserving a Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve or EDITION property, breakfast isn't included as a status benefit, so that would be an additional perk elites wouldn't get otherwise. And even in the Autograph Collection, St. Regis and Luxury Collection properties that offer breakfast for two as a welcome amenity, elites who book with STARS or Luminous will be able to select another welcome amenity, since breakfast will already be included for them.
Why Doesn't STARS Offer a Space Available Upgrade as a Benefit, the Way Virtuoso and AMEX FHR Do?
I asked this question of my Marriott contact, who replied that the reason it's not written in as a benefit is that virtually all the STARS properties (Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, BVLGARI, Edition) operate at very high occupancy levels, so upgrades are infrequent and they didn't want to set clients up for disappointment. The recommendation remains: book the room or suite you'd like to stay in, as upgrades are often not available due to other guests having booked the higher category room or suite.
That said, when an upgrade is available, Ritz-Carlton STARS guests enjoy top priority, ahead of AMEX FHR and Virtuoso guests, so ironically, it's best to reserve via STARS if you want the best chance of a potential upgrade, even though a space available upgrade is not a listed benefit.
Are There Free Night Offers That Combine with Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous Benefits?
Yes, there can be, just as there were for select hotels under the Ritz-Carlton STARS and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. STARS and Luminous Agencies are able to see these offers in the new STARS site.
What are your questions about the new Marriott STARS and Luminous Programs?
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