Merge your United and Continental Elite Miles and Transfer Award miles

While United and Continental have been aligning benefits and partners since the merger, there are still differences in the programs that members must deal with, such as one-way awards, upgrade priority, or even being able to use particular partners.  However as of today, those issues are a thing of the past.  According to CO Insider,  you are now able to status match and combine EQM/EQS between the programs immediately with weekly sweeps so that your total qualifying balance is combined in both programs and used for determining your status.  Now the savy flier no longer needs to be lower on the upgrade list, just because they are flying the merger partner instead of their home airline.  Thus a 1P on United will now also be a OnePass Gold or Platinum (depending on EQM earned last year) and so instead of being behind OnePass Elites, will be at the same level and thus more likely to receive an upgrade.

Now, let's say that you flew 75,000 miles credited to Continental last year, and 25,000 credited to United.  Your Status is currently Continental Platinum and United 2P.  With this merging, while you keep your Platinum Status, because your status is combined, you have now achieved United 1K.

As a reminder, here is the upgrade priority for United metal flights:

  • United Global Service
  • OnePass Presidential Platinum Elite
  • United 1K
  • United Premier Executive
  • OnePass Platinum
  • OnePass Gold
  • United 2P
  • OnePass Silver

And for Continental Metal:

  • OnePass Presidential Platinum Elite
  • United Global Service 
  • OnePass Platinum
  • United 1K
  • OnePass Gold
  • United 1P
  • OnePass Silver
  • United 2P

The real benefit for this is the heavy Continental fliers (over 100,000 miles) who are taking a flight on United.  Now you will be able to fly as a 1K (and this includes Red Carpet Boarding) and jump up the chain so that you can now actually expect to see an upgrade on an Airbus A320.  And the reverse is true for United Members on Continental, especially those who flew more than 75,000 miles last year but not enough to make 1K.  While it may seem minor, with all of the full flights, even a slight improvement in your upgrade list standing can make the difference between getting the upgrade, and sitting in cattle class.  They are also going to be sending out cards for your matched status so you can have a collectors item, be it the last elite card with Continental, or the last elite card with the tulip.  

Now I know Some Continental fliers are hurt by this with the potential for a huge influx of new Platinums into the system which some accuse of not offering enough upgrades due to all of the special upgrade offers that are available before the official upgrade window.  However, the trade-off is that you now jumped a few levels on United metal so instead of being number 5 in the upgrade order, you are now number 3, and only behind the big spenders.  Also, because this benefit is currently in beta, it is not being advertised anywhere but the frequent flier message boards and blogs that follow those boards.  Also, you do not lose your Platinum Status on Continental, you just gain the appropiate status on United.  The really cool part about this is if you flew 100 segments last year, you get 1K for this year, even with the requirement change for 1K for next year.  Below is the full comparison chart for what you earned last year, and what status you will have on both airlines:

EQM EQS United Status Continental Status
25,000-49,999 30-59 2P Silver
50,000-74,999 60-89 1P Gold
75,000-99,999 90-99 1P Plus Platinum
100,000+ 100+ 1K Platinum

Thus there is no loss of benefits, only a gain of the status that you would have earned if you put all of your miles into that airline's program.  Of course for next year, the levels are by the requirements published for the 2011 earning year.

But the part that is really exciting is the mileage transfer option.  Mileage Plus members can now transfer their miles to redeem on Virgin Atlantic, Kingfisher, Eva Air, Copa, AeroMar, and Cape Air.  OnePass Members gain access to Qatar, Aer Lingus, Jet Airways, and Taca.  Now you can redeem on whichever airline serves your redemption needs, and benefit from all of the flying you do.  You can also take advantage of the bonus opportunities to get the most out of your other mileage earning activity.  

While the mileage transfer has been expected for a while, the Status Merging which was expected to be at the end of the year is happening now, which is quite a surprise.  I look forward to the time where my flying puts me on Continental and I will be able to enjoy my status as a new OnePass Gold.


Edward Finger July 18, 2011 at 08:03 pm

Once the final merger has taken place, will your miles continue to expire as have in the past on Mileage Plus? Miles on Continentals OnePass program never did. Just curious!

Nick July 18, 2011 at 09:19 pm

According to Gary, they will follow United's expiration policy unless you have the new United Visa.

Jordan July 31, 2011 at 07:50 pm

So, 75000 miles on OP earns you 6 Systemwide upgrades. Can a United 1P with 75000 miles get the SWUs without having to qualify for 1K?

Mike August 2, 2011 at 02:49 pm

@Jordan, OnePass only awards SWUs once reaching 100,000 miles just like UA.

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