Necker Island and the 30% transfer bonus dilemma


Oy.  Amex is offering a 30% Membership Rewards transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic this month, but the offer is targeted.  I was targeted for the offer, but my wife was not.



Why does this matter?  Some readers may remember my idiotic quest to earn 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic miles so that my wife and I can spend a “free” week on Richard Branson’s private island.  In case you missed it, or care to review, here’s what has gone on before:

Necker Island Room

But, I know you’re not going to go and read all of those posts (I don’t blame you).  Instead, here’s the short version:

  1. I decided to do this really stupid thing
  2. There are three primary ways for me to earn enough miles: sign up for Virgin Atlantic credit cards, spend money on Virgin Atlantic credit cards, and transfer points from transferable points programs.
  3. I’ve already signed up for lots of Virgin Atlantic credit cards
  4. I signed up for a 150K Membership Rewards offer with the idea that I would transfer those points once a 30% bonus came along
  5. My wife signed up for a number of cards, and also qualified for a couple of good Citi retention offers
  6. When Citi offered a 25% transfer bonus from ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic miles, my wife transferred her ThankYou points to me and then I took advantage of the transfer bonus.
  7. In my latest post on this topic I said that I would earn the rest of the needed miles through Virgin Atlantic sign-up bonuses

Necker Island PoolEven though I earned over 150,000 Membership Rewards points from a signup bonus with the intention of transferring to Virgin Atlantic miles, I’m not at all sure that I want to do that.  In a recent post, I wrote the following (this was about transferring ThankYou points, but it is still relevant):

I was hesitant to transfer my valuable transferable points to Virgin Atlantic, but I finally decided on an approach that makes it easier: I’ll transfer my wife’s points rather than my own.  Even though my wife’s transferable points are just as valuable as mine, and I fully manage both sets of accounts, it’s somehow easier for me to give up her points.  It doesn’t make any sense, but there you go.  In return, I’ll invite her to accompany me to Necker Island.

So, now I have a tough decision to make.  I won’t transfer my wife’s Membership Rewards points since she wasn’t targeted for the 30% bonus, but I could transfer my own.  Should I do it?

Totals to-date

Currently I have 622,000 Virgin Atlantic miles banked and I’ll soon earn 190,000 more after meeting the minimum spend requirements on a few cards.  Plus, I have reasonably concrete near-term (e.g. within the next 3 months) plans for acquiring about 240,000 more miles.

Adding all of the above together gets me to 1,052,000 miles.

I would still be 148,000 miles short.


I could, of course, wait and sign up for a couple more Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  At this point, there really isn’t much of a rush.  Necker Island redemptions are only available during “Celebration Weeks” which tend to be in the late summer and early fall.  Yes, hurricane season.  See why this quest was so stupid?  So, I’m likely to take my “free” week in September or October of 2016.  Unless Virgin Atlantic increases award prices before then, I have plenty of time.

Alternatively, I could transfer 114,000 Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic now.  With the 30% bonus, I would get 148,200 miles.  My wife and I currently have a combined total of 620,000 Membership Rewards points, so 114,000 would hardly be missed.  On the other hand, Amex has a few fantastic transfer partners.  It feels like a waste to blow my points on Virgin Atlantic, even with the 30% transfer bonus.

Necker Island

What do you think I should do?

Should I speed things up and transfer Membership Rewards points?  Should I, instead, go slow and steady with future signup bonuses?  I have until October 31 to decide.

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