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You can use miles to book a stay on Sir Richard Branson's private island

Jan. 19, 2021
5 min read
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Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson's private escape in the British Virgin Islands that last year was offered as collateral to save Virgin Group, is back open and ready for guests.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

The 74-acre private island oasis north of Virgin Gorda and east of Puerto Rico recently reopened following the reopening of the BVI's borders as well as a renovation project that included the restoration and expansion of the resort's Great House and the addition of another Balinese-style house on the island called Leha Lo.

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The resort now sleeps 40 people across 15 total rooms: 11 in the Great House and four standalone villas. Each of the bedrooms in the Great House features a balcony, king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms. The master suite located on the upper level comes with a private outdoor Jacuzzi and sun deck, and there's even a bunk room that sleeps up to six children.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

Across the island, you'll find stunning infinity pools, serene relaxation spaces, bars galore, numerous elegant dining spaces, lawn games, tennis courts, a hot tub directly on the beach with space for 30 people and so much more.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

The island's team is more than happy to arrange an endless list of activities for guests, including kitesurfing, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, yoga, tennis, spa treatments, daytime excursions to nearby islands and, of course, epic parties by night.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

A Greener Island

During its closure, Necker also took the opportunity to go all-in on sustainability. The island installed three wind turbines that work together with an existing solar farm to allow the complex to run on 90% renewable energy every day. And, the island staff now have uniforms made from recycled plastic from the ocean.

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

The island has a seafood-sourcing policy that guarantees all fish served on the island are sourced sustainably, and chefs work directly with food suppliers to make sure that all animal products served come from humane and antibiotic-free sources.

Booking Necker Island

Typically, you have to rent the entire island, but from time to time Virgin Limited Edition makes certain “Celebration Weeks” available, during which you can book an individual room (you can view the available 2021 weeks here). And, these are the ones you can book with miles -- a whole lot of them.

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(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

Each Celebration Week all-inclusive package includes the following for two adults over a seven-night stay:

  • Accommodations
  • All meals and drinks (including all alcoholic beverages) -- served in a variety of locations
  • Return launch transfer from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island airports
  • Dedicated waitstaff team
  • Two freshwater infinity pools and a hot tub on the beach
  • Two tennis courts
  • Water sports equipment for windsurfing, kite-surfing, water-skiing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving and more
  • DJ for one night
  • Wireless internet throughout the island
  • BVI accommodation tax

If you want to book a Celebration Week with miles, you’ll need to commit to a seven-night stay, and it will cost you 1.5 million Flying Club miles for a room in the Great House. At current TPG valuations of 1.5 cents per Virgin Atlantic mile, that's worth $22,500. Considering you could pay up to $8,000 per night for a room, you’ll get a tremendous value for your miles.

Miles bookings are currently restricted to those who have Virgin Atlantic Silver or Gold status; however, you may be able to status match to Virgin Atlantic from another airline or hotel program. And, thankfully, you can instantaneously transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic, all at a 1-to-1 ratio. Booking with miles is only available by calling an agent directly.

Bottom line

(Photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition)

After being offered as collateral in a bid to save Virgin Group from collapse, closure due to hurricane damage and being cut off from most travelers thanks to coronavirus-related border closures, Necker Island is back and better than ever.

While there aren't many people who could afford to rent out the entire island, the ability to use miles for a weeklong stay makes this over-the-top private-island escape an ideal -- and relatively more accessible -- place to get away from everyone and everything.

Featured image by Jonathan Cosh of Visual Eye
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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  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
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Best premium travel card for value
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
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more