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Continental OnePass Plus MasterCard

by on Tue February 28, 2012 • 27 Comments

Note: As of March, 2012, the Continental OnePass Plus credit card is no longer issued. It is replaced by the United Mileage Plus Explorer, which offers the identical set of benefits, but under the new United Airlines brand.

Free checked bag on both United and Continental flights

The card offers you one free checked bag on both United and Continental flights — a $50 savings per round trip — with just two round trips you can save the annual fee of carrying the card. This benefit also extends to a companion traveling with you as long as they are named in your reservation record. You also get priority boarding on Continental flights. This benefit will extend to United flights later this year. Note this is identical to the United Mileage Plus Explorer card — though if you want priority boarding on United flights in the interim, we recommend applying for the United card as it is tied to your United Mileage Plus number for benefits. They will both be combined next year, and both cards have the exact same benefits. Also remember you can transfer miles freely between United and Continental now.

Fair intro bonus:  Up to 40,000 miles

With no annual fee the first year, 25,000 miles after your first purchase, this is a decent offer for what we think is one of the most valuable mileage programs. You can also earn 5,000 miles by adding an authorized user to your account, and another 10,000 miles when you spend $25,000 on the card within one year.

Solid reward availability

The Continental OnePass Plus card offers several travel benefits usually reserved for more expensive cards like primary car rental collision insurance, doubling of manufacturers’ warranties, and breakfast/upgrade benefits at luxury hotels. Click here for highlights of some of the ‘fine print’ benefits you might overlook.

In essence, it is a Swiss Army knife of travel protection in case of weather delays or lost luggage, covering you for many issues the airline itself usually will not cover. This includes travel on Continental or any other airline as long as you use the card to purchase the ticket.

The Continental Airlines OnePass program offers good reward availability — a recent study found a standard mileage ticket available on desired dates over 70% of the time when using Continental’s website. This is because of Continental’s extensive ‘Star Alliance’ partners that include United Airlines, Lufthansa, and US Airways, offering you more worldwide flexibility than any other alliance.

No fee for advance date changes or first checked bag

Continental lets you change the dates of your ticketed reward as many times as you’d like for no fee, as long as you make the changes 21 days or more before departure.

Earn miles on United as well thanks to the merger

Continental has merged with with United — and your miles are safe. You can now freely transfer your miles back and forth between your Continental and United mileage accounts online, instantly.

Lower cost opportunity to earn miles with another card…

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card lets you transfer points you earn one for one into your Continental Airlines mileage account. The upside is the card has no annual fee the first year and it also lets you transfer points directly into Marriott, Priority Club (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza), and British Airways miles. It also offers the option to book any flight, hotel room, or rental car at anytime using points — your points are worth $1.25 per 100 points, better than the $1 per 100 points most no-restriction travel reward programs offer. We prefer using native miles to book rewards, as they often yield more value per mile, but many consumers like the convenience of an ‘anytime, any airline’ option for their points. This is one of the better in that category.

The downside is this card doesn’t offer the checked bag fee waiver of Continental’s card, which can be a valuable benefit if you plan more than a couple trips each year.


Annual fee: No fee the first year, $95 after
Intro Bonus: 25,000 miles after your first purchase, 5,000 more if you add an authorized user within 2 months
Earning: 1 mile per dollar spent, 10,000 mile bonus after you spend $25,000 in one year
Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee: 3%

Miles can be used for travel with: Continental Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asia Air, BMI, Singapore, South African, Qantas, Emirates, Swiss, Thai, and many more.

Other benefits:

  • Two Presidents Club Passes ($90 value) every year after your cardmember anniversary.
  • First checked-bag fees automatically waived for primary cardmembers on both United and Continental flights (a savings of up to $50 per round trip per passenger checking bags)
  • Priority boarding on all Continental and United flights
  • Primary car rental collision insurance coverage. Most cards only offer coverage secondary to your personal policy.
  • Up to $300 reimbursement for overnight delay hotel and meal expenses when you use the card to purchase travel
  • Double manufacturers’ warranty when you use the card to make purchases
  • Complimentary breakfast and room upgrades at select luxury hotels when you use the card’s agency to book
  • Lost luggage reimbursement if you use the card to purchase a ticket
The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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27 thoughts on Continental OnePass Plus MasterCard

  1. Analyn

    I am traveling with my family to Miami from Seattle next year. 5 people in same reservation ticket but did not use the onepass plus card. Am I still be able to get the 1st check baggage free and would it be for everyone in same reservation ticket?

    1. MileCards

      @Analyn – Unfortunately if you didn’t use the card to pay for the ticket you’re likely to have to pay the fee.

      Even if you did the maximum number of people with a free bag is 2.

  2. Paul

    Just wondering:
    I’ve already booked my flight on United. Seeing as how I’m getting ready to make my hotel reservations, do I get 1 mile/$1 for charging my hotel to my card, or is there a double mileage reward for booking hotels?
    (I have stuck in my head that commercial, “Easy as 1-2-3”, where groceries, gas, and other are worth different point values.) Does my OnePass MC offer anything like that?

  3. Bonnie

    I tried making a reservation with the LHF COllection and they said there were no rooms available for my travel dates. I called AMEX Platinum and I was able to book the same place with them. This is the first time I am trying out the benefits with this card and this is what happens. Not to happy. I also did not receive my two complimentary passes.

    1. MileCards

      @Bonnie- Sorry to hear you had trouble. Usually the inventory should be similar, but in some way it feels appropriate American Express had better results since it has the higher annual fee. But hopefully your experience is an anomaly.

  4. John Nahman

    I have a continental one pas plus master card, and have added my wife as an additional cardholder. Obviously, all miles earned through purchases will be credited to my frequent flyer account. If I purchase tickets, using my miles for payment, can I also charge her fare to MY frequent flyer account?

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  6. Amy Ming

    We have One Pass Plus with Continental Airline, and it is now changed to United according to this article. Does that change take place automatically? Will we be sent the new cards, or do we have to apply for them? Do our frequent flyer miles still stand? Kindly advice. We may be flying soon to Georgia. We need the information as soon as possible. Thanking you in advance.

    1. MileCards

      @Amy – Yes all of the conversion is automatic. Your Mileage Plus account number is your old Continental account number and the miles are all there.

      Your card and it’s benefits are the same. Later this year they’ll send you one that says United on it but again no change, it’s automatic, and your miles will keep going to the same account.

  7. AdamE

    I have this card and when i went onto united and purchased a flight it was not listed as an option to pay with. I selected mastercard and entered my information. Will i still get 2miles/$ spent on my flight???

    1. MileCards

      @AdamE – Yes as long as you entered that credit card number for the purchase you’ll get the 2x points.

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  9. Andy

    My family and I alternate who flies out to visit each year. One year I’ll fly to Portland, the next they will fly to Denver. I’m assuming I’ll be able to buy their tickets for them on this card, but would they also receive the free checked bags and priority boarding if I’m not with them?

    1. MileCards

      @David- Yes, they do, here are the details.

      “You will receive two (2) Club passes after account opening and every account anniversary thereafter. Please allow 8 – 10 weeks after account opening for delivery of Club passes. Please allow 2 – 4 weeks from your credit card account anniversary date each year thereafter for delivery. “

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