Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
Continental Airlines Presidents Club access will end at the end of September, 2011 for cardholders of The Platinum Card from American Express. They’ll also lose the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points into Continental miles come next September. To make up for it, American Express is offering a $200 annual credit toward airline change, baggage, lounge, and other fees.
Here’s our recommendation on a game plan if you value lounge access:
1. Amex Platinum holder, frequent Continental or United flyer
If 80% of your travel is with Continental anyway, your best bet is to keep your Amex Plat until September of 2011, then switch to the Chase Continental Presidential Plus credit card that offers lounge access to all Continental/United clubs for an annual fee of about $375 ($75 less than Amex Platinum). Chase handles United credit cards, so the Presidential Plus lounge benefit will remain after the Continental/United merger, though the card name may change.
Amex will prorate your annual fee when you cancel so you won’t be double paying. Chase branded cards will be the only way you can earn Continental or United miles — Amex will no longer have mileage transfer into Continental OnePass next October.
2. Not yet an Amex Platinum holder or member of airline club
If you’re only using Continental a few times a year, and primarily earn miles with another carrier like Delta, you may want to stick with the American Express Platinum. It still gives you access to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways lounges (basically every major carrier except the new United/Continental). You will also get a $200 annual credit toward airline fees. That includes any lounge visit fees, meals purchased on board, change or luggage fees. Effectively it turns your $450 annual fee into just $250. However we only recommend the card if you value lounge access.
3. Amex Platinum holder, infrequent Continental flyer
In your case, you’re coming out well in this deal. If you don’t use Continental lounges often you’ll still get the $200 annual credit toward airline fees and enjoy the usual benefits of the card, sans Continental mileage transfer.
Wild Card: Ameriprise World MasterCard
The Ameriprise World Elite MasterCard carries a $150 annual fee and has ‘Priority Club’ membership included. Priority Club gets you into 600 airline lounges worldwide free of charge. It includes all Continental, most United Red Carpet, all US Airways, and many international lounges. The catch is you have to pay a fee of $27 for each guest you bring in.
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