Necker Island award same price, but harder to get

After my trip to Necker Island, I learned that Virgin Atlantic was considering increasing the 1.2 million mile award price.  I published the news here: Necker Island award price probably going up. Last call for 1.2 million miles.  Well, I finally got official notice about the change and it’s not what I expected…

Necker Island award: Branson chokes Greg plus thought bubble

The good news, for my 3 or 4 readers who were hoping to do this, is that the award price is not going up.  It is still 1.2 million miles:

Virgin Atlantic Necker Island Award Spend Miles

The bad news is that Virgin Atlantic threw in a new requirement.  They made sure this new requirement was visible to all by listing it last on the terms & conditions (which you have to click to view):

Virgin Atlantic Necker Island Award Terms and Conditions

See number 7? You now must have Virgin Atlantic Silver or Gold status to book the Necker Island award.

How to get Virgin Atlantic Silver status

Fortunately, getting Silver status isn’t too hard.  You just need to earn 400 tier points in a 12 month period (actually it is a 12 to 13 month rolling period, but that’s confusing so let’s just say 12 months)

Virgin Atlantic Silver Status Requirements
You can get those tier points by flying Virgin Atlantic:

Virgin Atlantic Tier Points Flying Virgin Atlantic

Or by flying Virgin Atlantic partners, such as Delta:

Virgin Atlantic Tier Points Flying Delta

Personally, though, I would do it through Virgin Atlantic Black Card credit card spend:

Virgin Atlantic Black Card Earn Tier Points

If you sign up for the 90K offer which is really a 70K or 75K offer (see: An analysis of the Virgin Atlantic 90K offer), then you’ll have to spend $12,000 within 6 months to get the full signup bonus.  The key is to spread out that spend so that you spend no more than $5,000 per month.  Here’s an example:

  • Month 1: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + 20K miles from signup offer)
  • Month 2: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 3: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + 50K miles from signup offer + qualify for year-end 7,500 point bonus)
  • Month 4: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 5: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + qualify for an additional year-end 7,500 point bonus)
  • Month 6: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 7: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 8: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + Silver status)

A more rewarding option is to sign up for the same Virgin Atlantic 90K-ish offer twice within an 8 month period:

Repeat the following with each card:

  • Month 1: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + 20K miles from signup offer)
  • Month 2: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 3: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + 50K miles from signup offer + qualify for year-end 7,500 point bonus)
  • Month 4: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)

An even better option is to get the same Virgin Atlantic 90K-ish offer three times within a 9 month period:

Repeat the following with each card:

  • Month 1: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points + 20K miles from signup offer)
  • Month 2: Spend $5,000 (earn 50 tier points)
  • Month 3: Spend $2,500 (earn 25 tier points + 50K miles from signup offer)

With one of the 3 cards, you’ll have to spend $2,500 more either in Month 3 or later to get the final 25 tier points required for Silver status.  Unless, of course, you earn a few tier points by flying…

 

 

 

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I wonder if this is a result of someone pointing out to Sir Bronson (and blogging about it) that flying on Virgin was not previously required.

    • I would have thought so but the timing is wrong: Virgin Atlantic stopped accepting award bookings in order to change the award before I talked with Richard (and probably well before my trip but I don’t know exactly when they made the cutoff)

      Also Richard thought it was funny. I’m sure he wasn’t bothered by it at all.

      • Zero chance. Guy has posted 30? maybe 50 articles on it. And is beating this dead horse for content. Otherwise he might have to tell some of the actual secrets he is using currently for himself.

  2. I am all for what you did to get to your goal of 1.2 million miles. But the 1% get upset when they see someone who not at their status work the system to be placed within their realm. Sir Bronson was prob. Really impressed with your effort but figured lets throw another hoop for them to jump through

    • That’s a reasonable assumption. I was concerned that the paying guests would be upset. But the actual guests on the island soon learned about what I did and they were all enthusiastic (I didn’t set out to tell them, but I wasn’t going to lie when they asked). Most were from England and were bummed that most of the great opportunities are US based.

      • Greg, that seems to confirm my assumption that most of the people using points for Necker Island were UK-based business travelers taking their spouses on a “here’s the payback for all that work travel” special vacation using their accrued Virgin Atlantic points.

        Like they said, very difficult to earn so many points through credit cards in the UK/EU because interchange fees are lower, thus miles/points are lower.

  3. Do the other Virgin properties you wrote about recently also have this added stipulation in order to book with miles or is it just Necker? Thanks.

    • No, just Necker Island. Virgin Galactic has even tougher rules (which they’ve had for a long time): “Only miles earned on Virgin Atlantic Airways flights qualify for eligibility into the draw and may be used for Virgin Galactic flights.”

  4. I got my $20,000 Virgin Galactic deposit (flight was supposed to be in 2010) refunded, so I could use it for something more pedestrian–cloning my dog.

  5. Why would you have told him the truth?? I wondered that when I first read your article. Now, I know it was definitely a bad idea. You kinda ruined it for everyone else. Good job! :/

    • I was sure that he wouldn’t mind, and I’m still sure of that. He thought it was funny. The timing of the change doesn’t support the idea that our conversation had anything to do with this change: Virgin Atlantic stopped accepting award bookings in order to change the award before I talked with Richard (and probably well before my trip but I don’t know exactly when they made the cutoff)

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