Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
We like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card credit card because its version of the Ultimate Rewards program lets you transfer points one for one into one of our favorite airline mile programs, Continental Airlines. We’ve rated it the best credit card for airline miles.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a 25,000 introductory bonus. That’s enough for one of the best rewards out there: upgrading a flight across the Atlantic with Continental Airlines. That costs just 20,000 points, plus a copay with Continental depending on the fare you purchase. It’s never more than $500, and sometimes zero. But this is for a flight that normally costs $3000 or more.
We recently redeemed to enjoy Continental’s BusinessFirst service on a flight from London back to the United States. See what a treat those 20,000 points can be…and find out what goes on behind the secret curtain of first class…
The seat…lie flat and the most comfortable in the sky
Continental just introduced a brand new lie flat seat on many of its international first class cabins. Everyone faces forward, the seats are private but still allow for conversation with your travel companion, and they are incredibly soft and roomy.
The service: The golden age of flying still exists
Flying Continental’s BusinessFirst service is in some ways a throwback to the golden age of flying. In fact, in many ways it’s superior to the golden age — back then they didn’t have seats that turned into full beds or the hundreds of movies on demand.
And Continental still treats the meal experience in old-school fashion. Check out the full five course meal Continental serves on its international business first class flights…
To start…warm nuts and champagne. Then an appetizer demitasse of soup and shrimp.
Sorry…ate the shrimp before taking the picture. You’ll also receive your choice of breads from the bread basket.
Now a fresh salad and then the ‘chef’s selection’: juicy rack of lamb.
That’s a real rack of lamb, bone and all. Delicious and surprisingly tender. Continental always offers a ‘chef’s selection’ choice on its menu, and we’ve never been disappointed. It’s always in the grand tradition of flying in the early jet age of the 1960s. The salad had a nice champagne vinagrette.
And time for dessert. Sumptuous cheeses and the ice cream sundae cart
Not sure what it is about airplanes and ice cream sundaes, but there’s something immensely gratifying about a basic sundae with your choice of all the toppings while you’re cruising at 37,000 feet. And don’t forget to try the selection of cheeses, cut before your eyes on the special cheese cart, and served with your choice of port wine or cordials.
Oh, and yes that’s a fresh baked cookie with milk. They bring that by in the middle of the flight in case you want one with your nap.
A taste of the high life without the price. That’s why we love miles.
A reward like this is a great treat if you’ve never had a chance to try first class travel internationally. Don’t worry, we’ve managed to bear with flying in coach since, but sprinkling a treat like this in makes it much more fun to know you don’t have to be rich or an important businessperson to get a taste of it. You just have to be smart with your miles and offers.
Continental is one of the few airlines that lets you upgrade an international ticket on even its lowest fares. There is a copayment of up to $500, but that’s often a better deal than some airlines like Delta that require you to buy one of the most expensive coach fares ($2500 or more) just to be able to use miles for an upgrade.
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