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Travel

The Maldives has launched a national loyalty program for frequent visitors, with three elite levels

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It’s not every day that an entire country launches a tourist loyalty scheme. However, the Maldives did just that last fall with its Maldives Border Miles scheme, which rewards visitors with points depending on how much and how long they stay. The amount of points earned corresponds to different levels of elite status, which grants tourists special treatment when they arrive in the tropical island country.

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas’ underwater restaurant and wine cellar.

The Border Miles programme is rolling out three tiers of elite status with related tier benefits as the Indian Ocean nation opens up to vaccinated travellers with fewer restrictions. Although the programme may not be enough to persuade anyone to make the long trip, it is a unique way to keep in touch with travellers while still providing a branded programme to increase awareness that the company is open for business. When it comes to perks, most guests are more likely to associate with a hotel brand’s own loyalty programme, but the effort is still commendable.

A beach pool villa at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, which will open shortly.

Before arrival, visitors can register for the programme online and receive 50 points for crossing the border, plus an extra five points for staying the night (up to a maximum of 30 nights). The Border Miles programme offers 30 bonus points to travellers who spend special occasions in the Maldives, such as a wedding celebration (or anniversary) or a birthday.

If you travel between June 1 and August 31, you can earn an extra 20 points, and if you travel during the Eid holiday, you can earn an extra 10 points. Doing business with program partners also earns visitors five points. The majority of Maldivian resorts are located on private islands, essentially creating a resort bubble.

Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort’s spa cabana, which won a top prize in the 2020 awards.

Unlike conventional loyalty schemes, where points are redeemed for rewards, Border Miles points accumulate to gain different levels of elite status. With each rank, you’ll get more benefits, although minor ones and the points will add up (unlike traditional loyalty programs where the tally toward elite status typically restarts each year).

After winning 500 points, you can advance to the “Aida” (bronze) stage, which entitles you to a three to ten percent discount at participating hotels, resorts, and restaurants like Dusit Thani Maldives and Hard Rock Cafe Maldives. It also includes a complimentary island tour and a meeting with a local family, which is an excellent way to learn about the culture.

The water bungalows at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

When you hit 2,000 points, you can upgrade to “Antara,” which gives you a five to fifteen percent discount at participating partners as well as fast-track immigration on arrival and departure.

After winning 4,000 points, you can upgrade to gold status, which grants you access to fast-track immigration lines on arrival and departure as well as a 10-20% discount at participating partners.

A two-bedroom overwater private pool residence at the Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

The country is doubling down on attracting visitors by providing a Covid-19 virus vaccination programme on arrival. The Maldives are a long way from the United States, so this initiative is most useful to those who live in the Middle East, Asia, or even Europe, as they are closer to the Maldives and have nonstop flight options. Even so, if Americans return many times over the years, they will benefit from the benefits that come with this loyalty programme.

Gulhifushi Picnic Island is a private retreat for guests to enjoy their own beach and picnic time at Anantara Veli Maldives Resort

The Maldives is the perfect retreat for an alfresco holiday with plenty of room for privacy and relaxation as the world slowly reopens to travelers.


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