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Selected Chase credit card holders gained even greater access to transatlantic travel this month, with the announcement that Ultimate Rewards members can now transfer points to Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club program. In a statement to reporters, Chase officials confirmed that accountholders with Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold credit cards can now exchange a block of 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points for 1,000 Flying Club Miles.
According to published redemption guides, members of Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club can redeem 35,000 miles and pay $660 in government required taxes and fees for an economy class round trip between New York and London. However, thanks to relationships between Virgin Atlantic and a host of travel partners, Chase cardholders can convert their Flying Club Miles into free travel on Hawaiian Airlines, Gulf Air, Virgin Australia, and Virgin America. Through Chase's discounted redemption program, a Flying Club member can often convert 40,000 miles into a ticket worth about $500.
In a statement to reporters, Virgin Atlantic spokesman Alan Lias expressed excitement at the opportunity for Chase cardholders to experience his company's new UK domestic flights. The expanded route map now enables passengers to fly via London Heathrow to destinations such as Edinburgh, Manchester, and Aberdeen. "We like to give our customers an extraordinary experience," Lies said, "whether it's our complimentary food and drinks service, our award-winning inflight entertainment or our phenomenal cabin crew."
Chase Sapphire Preferred members earn a base reward of one point per dollar spent on everyday items, with double points for travel and dining purchases. Cardholders can earn an additional rewards point for every dollar of travel booked through Chase's Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel reservation service. Therefore, a cardholder who spends about $14,000 per year on travel can potentially earn enough rewards points for a free round trip ticket on Virgin Atlantic.
By comparison, a Virgin Atlantic travel rewards card offered by Bank of America offers 3 miles per dollar spent on Virgin Atlantic itineraries. Although both cards offer a similar rewards earning structure, Chase Sapphire Preferred customers can earn bonus points when booking flights on any participating airline, not just on Virgin Atlantic.