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Loyal to paradise: All you need to know about the Maldives' Border Miles program

April 19, 2021
5 min read
Conrad Maldives
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Next to airline miles and hotel points, the Maldives has created a whole new category of loyalty programs: one where you earn rewards for visiting the country. Called Border Miles, the program, which was first announced by the country's tourism ministry in September 2020, rewards you for the number of stays and duration of each stay.

This sounds exciting, especially following the news that vaccinated travelers can enter without testing for COVID-19 and that the Maldives will even offer travelers the vaccine. Like most programs, tourists can earn miles as well as status levels, rewarding them with perks with Border Miles. Let's take a closer look at this program and see how you can benefit.

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Earning Border Miles points

To start earning Border Miles, you need to enroll in the program. That can be done online or before traveling when you submit the mandatory Traveler Health Declaration. After registration, you're set to earn.

With Border Miles, you earn points each time you cross the Maldives border. Entering the country counts as a border crossing, so every time you visit, 50 points will be deposited in your account. Aside from that, you also earn 5 extra points per night spent in the Maldives, with a maximum of 30 nights per visit.

Related: Where to stay in the Maldives using points and miles

Next to the regular stay points, you can earn extra points for visiting the Maldives on special occasions:

  • 30 additional points if you visit for a honeymoon, wedding anniversary or birthday;
  • 20 additional points if you visit between June 1 and Aug. 31; and
  • 10 additional points if you visit over an Eid holiday.

These special occasions are stackable, so it pays to celebrate both your wedding anniversary and birthday on the off-season if that works out for you. Say, for example, you spend 20 nights in the Maldives during a birthday in the off-season, you'd get 200 points.

Finally, extra points can be obtained through booking services through a variable list of partners, for example, a scuba diving school or an adventure tours company.

You could be earning Hilton Honors points next to Border Miles at the Conrad Maldives (Photo courtesy Hilton Conrad Maldives)

Elite status and perks

Points do not represent an individual value, and nor can they be redeemed. Instead, points are used to determine your elite status tier. Border Miles has three tiers: Aida, Antara and Abaarana. The level you are at is determined by the total amount of points you have accumulated over your lifetime.

Aida

You will become an Aida elite member after reaching 500 points. Aida refers to a bright star in the local language. As soon as you reach Aida status, you will be eligible for a 3%-10% discount on select hotels, activities and restaurants.

Antara

When you reach 2,000 points, your status will be upgraded to Antara. In Dhivehi, Antara means prestigious or attractive. The benefits at this status level are more prestigious as well, offering fast-track immigration upon entering and leaving the country. Next to that, discounts are higher as well: You'll get 5%-15% off on select hotels, activities and restaurants.

Abaarana

By earning 4,000 points, you will acquire Abaarana status. At this level, named after a Dhivehi word given to monarchs, you are awarded the best benefits. Next to the fast-track immigration service you already had at Antara status, your partner discounts will improve to 10%-20%.

Bottom line

If you like the Maldives and are planning a trip there already, this loyalty program could be a little nudge to book your trip. However, if tourists will decide on visiting the Maldives over another destination purely for the benefits of the program is doubtful, since the perks are relatively limited at this time.

Currently, fast-track immigration might be the most attractive perk. To reach that, you might need upwards of 10 trips to the bucket-list — and very expensive — destination. Once you reach Antara status for fast-track immigration, there is little to no incentive to upgrade to Abaarana status. However, with the structure of varying benefits offered by partners, this could improve in the future. Since the main drawback to a trip to the Maldives is the high price of inter-island transfer, a discount on those services might sway travelers who are debating between different remote island chains.

All in all, with the Maldives currently being virtually the only country allowing vaccinated visitors without a negative test and free jabs upon arrival might be bigger drivers for the tourism industry. But, might as well pick up some Border Miles points along the way.

Featured image by (Photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases