Nick sums up today’s announcement that United and Continental miles can be freely transferred between accounts and elites can enjoy status with both airlines perfectly–I have only my own two cents to add.
Word came this morning from Scott O’Leary, UA’s Managing Director of Customer Solutions:
Hi Everyone, as most of you know, United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass will continue to operate separately until we until they’re combined in 2012. As a result, we’ve received requests from members to be able to transfer miles and combine Elite earnings between accounts. Today, we’re pleased to give you, our power-users, a sneak preview of our new self-service tools that do just that.
Specifically, you can:
- Transfer redeemable miles between your OnePass and Mileage Plus accounts. Give it a spin at united.com/transfermymiles or continental.com/transfermymiles (both take you to the same place).
- Match Elite status and combine Elite earnings for your OnePass and Mileage Plus accounts. For those of you who have Elite Qualification miles and segments/points in both OnePass and Mileage Plus, you can now combine these earnings to earn Elite status, Regional Upgrades and Systemwide Upgrades. Go to united.com/combinemyactivity or continental.com/combinemyactivity for all the details.
As usual, we’re grateful for the feedback and your patience during this prototype stage. Enjoy!
Here’s a couple reasons why this is great news:
1. Elite fliers on Continental and United can now enjoy elite status on both carriers–allowing, for example, a United 1K to enjoy Platinum status on Continental as well, meaning he can compete with other Platinums (based on fare class) for upgrades and does not have to wait until all of them are upgraded before he gets a shot at first class.
2. Starnet blocking is essentially dead–at least for now. If you run into any blocking on UA, simply transfer your miles to Continetnal and you’ll be able to book your desired award. As Nick mentioned in the link above, CO also has partners that UA doesn’t have like Cape Air, Kingfisher, and Virgin Atlantic (and vice-versa).
And a couple areas of concern:
1. Upgrades will become harder now for 1Ks and Premier Executives flying in lower fare classes. Currently 1Ks and Premier Execs have upgrade priority over Continental Plats on United flights. Now that CO Plats that earned over 100K EQMs will have 1K status, upgrades will become even tougher.
2. All I am going to say for those with silver/Premier status is…enjoy Economy Plus and your free checked bag.
We see again today that Continental and United are moving closer to full-integration. Take advantage of this deal to enjoy elite status on both carriers in 2011.
I may cancel my LH F award, and look at booking Virgin Atlantic upper class. Seems like it would be a fun airline to travel on. Is there any advantage (besides the redemption ops) to a 1K matching to CO Plat? And disadvantages?
@FriendlySkies: I can think of no disadvantages. The only other advantage is a better spot on the upgrade waitlist when you’re flying on CO, since Plats take priority over 1Ks.
@FriendlySkies: Advantage is that if you decide to fly on CO metal, you will now be competing with Platinums instead of being behind them for upgrades. There is really no disadvantage that I have seen for matching, however the disadvantage in general is that there will not be as much airline segregation in upgrade priority so you will CO Platinums competing with you for upgrades instead of being behind you.
cool. So any online tools for searching Virgin Atlantic awardspace?
I have a LH F award on the books….maybe change to VS while its an option.
thanks both Nick and Matthew for the summary
I’m not too concerned about CO FFs sniping upgrade spots from UA flyers on UA metal for two reasons:
In other news, if you are UA flyer and have not yet signed up for a CO credit card … now is REALLY the time to do so. I jumped on the 50k promo in Feb and wasn’t expecting the miles to hit my UA balance until early next year, so this transfer bonus is a nice surprise.
Thanks for the tip. This was perfect timing, I pounced and found CO saver award flights for a summer vacation that I was going to cancel due to lack of saver seats on UA!
Does UA charge a fee for booking an award ticket within 21 days the way CO does? I can’t seem to find anything on united.com to that affect but I’m wondering if it’s too convenient of a loophole that I could just transfer my OnePass miles to MileagePlus and book a basic award there for no fee. Am I missing anything?
@Seth: UA has eliminated close-in ticketing fees on award tickets.
So if one has a reservation with both CO and UA legs on it and one is a 1K, does it make more sense to have a UA number in the res or a CO number? I understand that for CO upgrades having Plat as opposed to 1K in the res probably is better, but what about UA? Won’t having 1K trump CO Plat? Or are they all considered the same level now?
@Marcus – I don’t think there is a good answer to your question. You are right – on CO metal, the CO Plat will trump the 1K status. But, in reverse, it’s even worse. If you leave your CO Plat number in the reservation you are behind not only 1K’s but 1P’s as well on the UA flight. So I guess it depends on the length of each segment, seat, load, meals and other issues as to which upgrade you want to have a better chance of securing.
Finally did this myself–wow…so easy.
Any idea on how long CO OP takes to reflect the new status?
@Joe: Two weeks for me–I was surprised. Still haven’t got the elite kit in the mail yet.
@Matthew: It takes a little longer to get the elite package, came about a month and a half after I matched, and includes 2 luggage tags and 4 CO currency coupons.
Appreciate the care taken by United to honor the faithful customers of Continental. I am pleased with the smooth transition of OnPass Elite qualification to MileagePlus program. Thank you