Richard Branson’s Necker Island used to sit alone as the most aspirational destination achievable with frequent flyer points. But now there’s a new contender: North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles.  At first glance, Necker and North Island have a lot in common. Each is an all-inclusive, super exclusive, and crazy expensive resort destination on a small private island.  These are places where you’re likely to find the rich and famous.  Sir Richard Branson lives and works on Necker Island, while North Island was where Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned.  Now, in both cases you can go too, if you have enough points…

Necker Island main pool. .  My wife and I spent a fantastic week on the island in 2016.  You can read about our adventures here.

The Point Price

Necker Island

Price: 1.5 Million Virgin Atlantic Miles for 7 Nights

You can book a Necker Island Celebration Week for 1.5 Million Virgin Atlantic Miles.  This covers two people for 7 nights all-inclusive.  Only certain weeks are Celebration Weeks.  These are usually held in the off-season (October/November), but sometimes Necker Island adds Celebration Weeks at other times of the year.  Most Celebration Weeks run Saturday to Saturday.  You cannot pay less for fewer days.

Point bookings for Necker Island are restricted to those with Virgin Atlantic Silver elite status.  Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to earn Silver status with the Virgin Atlantic credit card.  See: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive.

Cash comparison: Necker Island usually charges $35,000 for a Celebration Week.  At 1.5 Million Virgin Atlantic Miles, the per point value works out to 2.3 cents per mile.

North Island

Price: 358,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points per Night

Marriott is currently charging 358,000 points per night to reserve a 2 bedroom 2 bath villa on the North Island.  Up to four people can share the villa but there’s an extra charge beyond 2.  Marriott’s Stay for 5, Pay for 4 (5th Night Free) Awards only reduce the price by 85,000 points.  It appears that Marriott is treating the point price as being 85,000 points for the base room plus 273,000 points per night as a mandatory upgrade.  So, with the 5th Night Free, you save 85,000 points for the base rate, but not the upgrade fee.

Cash comparison: North Island charges approximately $6,800 per night after taxes for up to two people per villa or about $6,100 per night for the senior rate.  If we compare 385,000 points to the cheaper $6,100 rate, the per point value works out to 1.6 cents per point.

This shows the discounted Senior rate when paying cash. Only after selecting the room do you see the extra charges: 280.50 Euros “Service Charge” and 701.25 Euros estimated government taxes and fees.

If you have more than 2 people in your 2 bedroom villa, North Island charges an extra 1,000 Euros per night per person plus taxes (so, really, 1,150 Euros per night per person).  When shopping for a room, you won’t see that extra charge until you click the room you want and then click to view details.  This extra fee is included whether you pay cash or points.  Note that children under 13 are free.

What’s Included?

Necker Island

Necker’s website lists the following inclusions:

  • Your accommodation
  • All meals and drinks (including all alcoholic beverages) – served in a variety of locations
  • Return launch transfer from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island airports
  • A dedicated team of staff
  • Two freshwater infinity pools and a huge hot tub on the beach
  • Two floodlit tennis courts
  • Water sports equipment so you can go windsurfing, kite-surfing, water-skiing, sailing, snorkelling and even SCUBA diving plus much more
  • Disco DJ included on one night
  • Wireless internet throughout the island
  • BVI accommodation tax

I can confirm that the only charge besides the miles required to book the island was for optional massages.  Everything else was included.  Some included extras that come to mind that are not listed above:

  • Daily laundry service
  • Off-island excursions
  • Watersport lessons
  • Tennis pro lessons

North Island

North Island is advertised as an all-inclusive, but their rates page (found here) shows different bed & breakfast rates, half board rates, full board rates, and all-inclusive rates.  It appears that points get you the Bed & Breakfast rate which apparently means that lunch and dinner are extra.

The following are explicitly included in the B&B rate:

  • Private butler 24/7
  • Complimentary use of one island buggy per villa
  • Island “a la carte” breakfast in the privacy of your villa or at our restaurant “LaidBack”
  • Complimentary guided hikes, morning yoga sessions or snorkeling upon request
  • Access to all our children facilities and unique activities such as tortoise adoption, tree planting, treasure hunts and much more
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • All non-motorized activities and equipment: stand up paddle, 24h gym, kayaks,…

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