Update: Emirates Skywards miles can no longer be redeemed at Wolgan Valley. Damn!
Emirates Wolgan Valley resort is a high-end luxury estate in the Blue Mountains, a few hours drive from Sydney. It’s an exclusive resort set in the highland bush, with it’s own land and dramatic views. When it comes to aspirational stays, I reckon this could be up there with the best of them – just check out some of the images later in this piece – and noone I know has really clocked you can use points here.
Rates for paid stays are pretty expensive, pricing at at least $700+ per person, per night, and there’s no mainstream hotel loyalty program to take advantage of to try and get in through cheaper routes – however, they do partner with Emirates Skywards for earn and burn, and there’s an opportunity here.
I’ve been interested in the place for a while, so this week set about properly researching the loyalty redemption options to see whether there’s a way to get there cheaply – and it turns out while it’s not cheap, it’s also not bad value compared to what you’d pay in cash at 65,000 Skywards miles per room, per night.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort Features
Well, there’s this ridiculous setting…
…with this ridiculous main pool.
The suites are in independent, private outbuildings…
…with an on-site spa to keep you busy.
The whole place is on a 7,000 acre reserve, with two activities daily included in your stay to keep you busy. Quoting their website:
The experiences available to guests includes a broad range of guided tours including hiking, mountain bike adventures, historical tours, wildlife viewing and four wheel drive touring. We also offer a comprehensive range of inclusive and non-inclusive horseback activities and an engaging children’s program of nature based activities.
For more check out their Experiences page.
You’ll also receive what looks like an amazing dining experience with your stay – the nightly rate includes a gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Some local wines and beer are also included with meals, and all non‐alcoholic beverages are complimentary.
Finally, they also offer helicopter transfers from Sydney airport, which would be pretty damn amazing.
Rooms and Suites at Emirates Wolgan Valley
Only the Heritage Suites are available on points, so I won’t go into detail on the other room types here, but needless to say they are pretty vast multiple bedroom affairs which would cost you a small fortune.
The Heritage Suites though are 83 square metres, one bedroom with living area, fireplace, private swimming pool, garden, and deck/verandah area. They are available as twins or doubles. And, they are available using 65,000 Skywards miles per night.
Paying with Cash vs Points
Cash rates are priced per person with special offers usually starting no lower than $700 per person, per night. Nights are usually pricing out at $1,000+ per person, per night for the Heritage Suite, so your 65,000 Skywards miles gets 2x the value when used for two people.
Here’s an example of cash pricing for some sample dates next year – $2050 per night for 2 people.
Given that price, you’re getting a 3.15c per point value out of your 65,000 Skywards miles, which to me is pretty good.
How to earn the Skywards Miles needed for a stay
There are a few credit-card options for Australians looking to earn Skywards miles.
The most effective method to get their quickly would likely be the Citibank Emirates World MasterCard though – with a 40,000 Skywards Mile signup bonus currently on offer and halved annual fee for $149 for the first year, and 1 point per $ earned on spend (1.5 miles per $ on overseas transactions).
Current Emirates Skywards World Mastercard Offer
The Citi Emirates World Mastercard has up to 60,000 bonus Emirates Skywards Miles with a halved first year annual fee on offer. This is the only direct-earn card in the market for Emirates Skywards miles with lounge passes, Emirates limo transfers, and complimentary travel insurances.
- 60,000 Skywards Miles
- Complimentary Emirates lounge and chauffeur transfer each year
- 1 Skywards Mile per $1 on eligible Domestic Spend up to $3,000 per statement period, and then 0.5 Skyward mile per $1 spent up to $10,000 per statement period
- 1.25 Skywards Miles per $1 on eligible International Spend (uncapped)
- 1.5 Skywards Miles per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased via emirates.com
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 9 months
- $149 annual fee for first year (halved)
- Spend using your card in the first 90 days to receive 50,000 Skywards Miles, and spend a minimum $500 on emirates.com during the same period to receive additional 10,000 miles
- Offer expires: 31 December 2019
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American Express Membership Rewards cards, such as the Platinum Edge or Platinum Charge – points can be transferred over to Skywards at 4 Membership Rewards points to 3 Skywards Miles, so a one night stay would cost you 86,667 Membership Rewards points.
The Citibank Prestige Visa also earns Skywards miles at a rate of 0.8 Skywards miles per $ on domestic spend.
Outside of credit cards, you could look to transfer points over from Starwood Preferred Guest as well – maybe using the current SPG buy points bonus to top up your account..
Availability, how to enquire and book
There’s a handy form to use for redemption enquiries which are handled by the Emirates Skywards team – head here, then find the ‘Spend Miles’ button and log in to enquire.
You can also try emailing [email protected] directly.
There are some blackout dates for points redemptions too, mostly over the major public holidays.
Summary – should you use Skywards Miles at Emirates Wolgan Valley?
Want a unique experience in country New South Wales? This is a place to target.
You’d probably want to stay two nights minimum at the lodge to make the most of the trip, unless you stay in the Blue Mountains for a night surrounding a night at Wolgan Valley to maximise a single night stay and avoid travel time.
65,000 Skywards miles I think is a bit of a bargain given that everything is all-inclusive in that rate – food, activities, the works – along with the potentially unique experience.
I’m very tempted to aim for a stay here at some point in 2015. Have you stayed at Emirates Wolgan Valley Lodge, and if so what did you think?