Loyal to paradise: All you need to know about the Maldives’ Border Miles program
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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 Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy
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