Chase Ultimate Rewards adds Virgin Atlantic as transfer partner

Today's big news in the world of rewards programs is the addition of Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club program as a transfer partner of Chase's flexible Ultimate Rewards points, earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus credit cards.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points have two obvious uses: transfers to HIlton HHonors and upgrades on aid fares.

Hilton HHonors Transfers

Virgin Atlantic points can be transferred to Hilton HHonors at a 1 : 2 ratio, which can be useful for topping up your HIlton account before you make an award redemption (the transfer to Virgin Atlantic is instantaneous; the transfer to Hilton can take up to 30 days).  However, his is not the most lucrative way to earn Hilton HHonors points, since unbonused spending on the basic co-branded Hilton American Express card earns 3 HHonors points per dollar.  It's still a great option for those without the American Express or with more Ultimate Rewards points than they can use, and increases the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards points even more.

Upgrades on Paid Virgin Atlantic Fares

If your employer buys you flexible Economy (Y, B, R, L, U, or M fare classes) or remium (W or S fare classes) on Virgin Atlantic, then you can use a very reasonable number of Flying Club miles to upgrade one or two cabins, although you also have to pay the difference in taxes and fees, which are upwards of $200 per leg.  This could certainly be worth doing for the experience of Virgin Atlantic's "Upper" class cabin, as shown in this fairly entertaining promotional video.