Table of Contents
What are StarHOT rates?
Starwood Hotels & Resorts employees’ family members can get discounted rates for personal leisure travel (though not for business travel) at participating properties all over the world. For years, these rates were named StarHOT, but since Starwood and Marriott merged, they were renamed to Explore. The Explore program currently has rates set at $49, $69 and $89 per night, depending on the property and dates.
The Explore program in more detail…
Explore rates can only be booked by Starwood or Marriott employees on behalf of their immediate family members. In the past, immediate family members were named as your spouse, domestic partner, children, sibling, parents or parents-in-law but they now also include a domestic partner’s parents, too.
An Explore reservation can only be booked by the actual employee. To do so, you need to log onto the ‘Bridge‘ website using your Starwood username (also called ONE ID) and your password.
Nevertheless, anyone can actually check the cost of a stay using this rate on the Explore program page, which is especially useful for family members to check themselves before the employee then books the stay for them.
Do StarHOT rates always save you money on your Starwood hotel booking?
To compare the Explore rate with the usual rate for your hotel booking, enter your destination city or hotel here on the Explore program page and add your dates and number of guests.
We searched Starwood properties in New Orleans and selected the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel for our dummy booking for later this year, which came out at just $69 plus taxes and charges when using the Associate Explore Rate. The estimated grand total came out to $82.87.
While searching for your hotel booking, the Explore program site shows you the usual cost for the same stay as an SPG member booking the prepaid rate, and in this case that would be much more, at $240, or an estimated grand total of $281 instead!
So booking the Explore rate for $82.87 total including taxes and charges means you save $198.13, or 70.5% off this particular one-night stay, which is quite a result!
What else do I need to know about using StarHOT rates?
You can pay a dollar extra by booking the Starwood Associate Relief Fund Explore Rate, and your dollar is automatically donated to the Starwood Associate Relief Fund.
While using the Explore rate is said to always save you money on your Starwood hotel booking, it is clearly stated as only to be used by full-time or part-time Starwood or Marriott associates or the family of Starwood or Marriott associates.
Note that you may not earn points or stay credit or receive elite benefits by using the Explore rate, so you should always weigh up the monetary saving with any potential loss before making your hotel booking.