Maldives Releases Details Of First-Ever Country Elite Status

In the fall the Maldives announced the world’s first frequency program for visiting a country, Border Miles. Given the importance of tourism to their economy, it makes sense to encourage repeat visitors.

They’ve now detailed earning and benefits for their elite tiers.

  • Bronze “Aida” requires 500 points and nets you discounts on certain accommodations and dining.

  • Silver “Antara” requires 2000 points and adds fast track immigration in addition to bigger discounts.

  • Gold “Abaarana” requires 4000 points adds bigger discounts and freebies at a couple of resorts.

Here’s how you earn points:

  • 50 points per border crossing
  • 5 points per night that you say (up to 30 points for 6 nights on a single visit)
  • 30 points for coming on a honeymoon, birthday, or wedding anniversary
  • 20 points during the off season of June 1 – August 31
  • 10 points during an Eid holiday
  • 5 points for activities with partners

Earning status is cumulative, not for activities during a year – but it takes a lot of activity. In my first six Maldives trips I’d have accumulated a total of 480 points – not quite enough for Bronze status which would get me a 5% discount at places I’m not interested in going, or late checkout subject to availability at a hotel I’m unlikely to stay.

Fast Track immigration is the only really useful benefit, for those flying economy. The discounts and freebies are nice – if you’re planning to stay at one of a small handful of partner properties anyway like the Dusit Thani, Cocoon, or You & Me.

Ultimately it takes too long to earn benefits, so isn’t worthwhile for most travelers, and the benefits themselves are weak outside of Fast Track which premium cabin travelers generally receive anyway.

The idea of frequent visitor cards, usually expediting immigration but also offering discounts on activities, isn’t new. Structured earning of immigration elite status is a novel twist. It’s a great concept but there doesn’t appear to be enough investment behind execution. Presumably the partner properties are either offering benefits for free (in hopes of attracting guests) or are even asked to fund the program.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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