Traveling to Space? First Stop is New Mexico

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Virgin Galactic is getting closer to becoming a reality and will be launching you into space as early as late this year from the Spaceport America in New Mexico. Spaceport America’s vision is to unlock the potential for space travel to everyone, and with 18,000 acres of space including a 12,000 foot spaceway, they have plenty of room for expansion and are already home to Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo along with SpaceX’s Falcon 9R.

From my scientific research which has included watching movies such as Armageddon and Gravity, I guess you can’t just hop on the space shuttle and take off and need to spend some time learning how to do things like float around in a zero-gravity environment. So Virgin just announced that they have partnered with Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces as the preferred hotel for its passengers during their training.

The hotel looks comfortable enough with rooms starting at $88, but certainly doesn’t convey the sense of luxury you’d expect if you’re paying a small fortune for your ticket to space. So in response to the presumably long list of VIP’s and celebrities that will be lining up to Instagram their way into space, the hotel will undergo renovations to create ‘Executive Suite VIP Wings’ with concierge service. They have also contracted with World Class Gourmet of Las Cruces to provide catering.

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That just leaves one last detail…the cost. The initial pricing for a ticket on Virgin Galactic will run you a cool $200,000. But there is a mileage redemption option available – you can cash in 2,000,000 of your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, but just for the chance to win a prize drawing for a trip with Virgin Galactic. Unfortunately, only miles earned flying Virgin Atlantic are eligible to be used, so it’s not an option to transfer them over from Amex Membership Rewards.

This is certainly the biggest mileage redemption option I’ve seen, with a week on Necker Island as a distant second at 1,200,000 miles. So if you’re itching to get to space and don’t want to pay the $200,000 price tag, time to start mileage running on Virgin Atlantic. By my calculation, if you fly 5,500 miles everyday for the next year, you’ll have enough!

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