As a corporate benefit, most of the hotel chains offer heavily discounted room rates to their employees, and sometimes such rates can be extended to their family and friends. For example:
- Hilton has a Family & Friend rate which offers 50% off BAR. You still earn points and enjoy elite benefits, but there’s a quota per employee per annum and you are restricted from writing negative reviews
- Hyatt offers a heavy discount too but you won’t earn points or credits
- IHG’s F&F rate is not as cheap, and you won’t earn points or credits
Marriott’s counterpart, called Explore, is probably the most generous as the discounted rate can be extremely good and there are virtually no restrictions whatsoever as long as you qualify; in the meantime you also enjoy full elite benefits plus earn points and night credits.
There are two types of Explore rate available (you can check the rates by entering the respective promo code on Marriott’s website):
[Family Rate / MMP]
The Family Rate (code MMP) is the better of the two but also with a higher bar. It’s basically the employee rate but can be also used by their partner, parents, siblings and children. Given how restricted it is you can imagine that not many people will qualify.
On the other hand, the saving is substantial.
Most Marriott hotels, if not all participate in the Explore program, including the Bvlgari hotels although they are not part of Marriott Bonvoy.
However, MMP availability can be a little difficult to find when the hotel is busy. Many times they are also limited to standard rooms only, which is understandable given how low the rates often are.
[Friend Rate / MMF]
The Friend Rate (code MMF) is by definition open to friends of Marriott employees and therefore has a much lower barrier.
Unlike MMP which is typically a fixed rate, MMF is more often a discount against the BAR. The discount varies massively depending on the property.
Although not common, some hotels do go far and beyond by offering a very generous MMF rate. The Great Northern is an example as you can see from the screenshot above. Another UK pioneer is Sheraton Edinburgh, which costs solely £86, an incredible saving compared to the normal rate.
Since the discount is not as heavy, MMF tends to be more available and sometimes applies to premium room types too.
The Marriott employee needs to fill out an Explore form for you to benefit from the program. An Explore form is valid for two months and would look like this:
If you have a friend who works at Marriott, it makes total sense to ask for a form from them when you make travel arrangements. You’ll need to present the form for verification when you check in.