Use Points to Book a Stay on Richard Branson’s Private Caribbean Island
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Update 1/18/2017: According to Frequent Miler, you’re now required to have either Silver or Gold status with Virgin Atlantic in order to be eligible to use points to book a stay at Necker Island.
From staying in an overwater villa in the Maldives to traveling on a $32,000 one-way flight in Etihad’s incredible Residence, there’s no shortage of exclusive travel experiences available these days. However, there’s one that arguably takes the cake, and it’s close to home. Enter Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, a private, 74-acre oasis just north of Virgin Gorda and east of Puerto Rico.
There are many ways of getting to the resort, as it’s in close proximity to many major Caribbean islands. The closest international airport is on Tortola (EIS), which is a quick half-hour flight from San Juan (SJU). Other options include flights from Antigua (ANU), private helicopter transfers from Tortola, Virgin Gorda and St. Thomas and private launch from Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
Normally, you can only rent out the entire island for up to 34 guests in a total of 17 rooms. However, there are several weeks each year, named Celebration Weeks, in which you can reserve just one room at the resort. And the best news is that you can actually use points to make a 7-night reservation for two guests in a Great House Room during one of the Celebration Weeks, which are listed below:
- November 30 – December 5, 2016
- January 3 – 12, 2017
- September 2 – 9, 2017
- September 9 – 16, 2017
- September 16 – 23, 2017
- September 23 – 30, 2017
You can use points from all three Virgin-branded airlines (Atlantic, America and Australia) to book your stay in the Gray House Room, which includes accommodation, all meals and drinks including alcohol, round-trip transfer from either Virgin Gorda or Beef Island (Tortola) airports, a team of 100 staff members, access to infinity pools and spas, tennis courts, water sports equipment, Wi-Fi and a DJ for one night.
All of this will cost you a hefty amount of miles, of course. In 2016, it’ll cost you 1,200,000 Virgin Atlantic points, 1,750,000 Virgin America points or a staggering 4,715,000 points from Virgin Australia for a 7-night stay. Note that the redemption rates for the 2017 Celebration Weeks haven’t been released yet, and they’re always subject to change.
Is it worth it?
If you travel a lot for business, or you simply have a stash of points laying around, this could represent a great redemption, considering you’re going to be paying at least $4,280 per couple, per night for a room on Necker Island. If you have American Express Membership Rewards points, you can transfer your them to both Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic if you’re interested in making a reservation with points. However, note that Amex has temporarily pulled Virgin Atlantic as a Membership Rewards transfer partner as the frequent flyer program undergoes some maintenances. TPG values Virgin America points at anywhere between 1.5 – 2.3 cents, and Virgin Atlantic points at 1.5 cents apiece.
Based on TPG’s valuations, if you booked the 7-night stay using Virgin Atlantic points, it’d effectively cost you $18,000 in rewards — enough for a 4-night stay at the lowest cash rate. This provides some great value, but you’ll need a huge stash of rewards — 1,200,000 for the 2016 Celebration Week, to be exact — to complete the award booking.
Would you redeem points for a stay on Necker Island?
Featured image courtesy of Necker Island.
H/T: Frequent Miler