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Continental Presidential Plus MasterCard adjusts benefits for United merger

by on Thu July 21, 2011 • 9 Comments

Continental Presidential Plus MasterCardUnited / Continental Airlines’ online representative on FlyerTalk shared new terms for the Continental Presidential Plus MasterCard to align it with features it will carry when the merger with United is complete.  On the margin, we view it as a net reduction in benefits for elite members of Continental’s frequent flyer program. You no longer receive a 25% added elite bonus on miles flown, and the elite qualifying miles are now capped. You can only apply them to the first 75,000 of elite miles each year, which means you can’t use them to achieve the 100,000 mile status level.

The card now feels geared toward frequent flyers who aren’t quite elite status level flyers with Continental. If you’re an elite flyer you already get the priority boarding and security privileges the card offers and a substantial discount on Presidents Club membership. In that case you may be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn miles, which offers the flexibility to transfer miles into United, British Airways, Hyatt, and Marriott points. Then try buying United Club membership separately.

Below is what they’ve shared.

New benefits

Book any seat, any time, on any flight. If seats are available for
sale, they can be redeemed at the EasyPass (or equivalent) reward level. There
are no restrictions or blackout dates – a benefit that will be reserved for
Cardmembers and Elite travelers beginning in early 2012.

Book reward seats close to your departure date without a fee.
Spur-of-the-moment travel plans? No problem. Effective sometime in Q1 2012,
we’ll waive the fee for booking reward tickets 21 days or less prior to
departure. This benefit is reserved only for Cardmembers and certain Elite

Double miles on United tickets. You currently earn two miles per $1
spent on tickets purchased from Continental. Now you’ll enjoy the same benefit
on tickets purchased from United. In addition, you’ll continue to earn double
miles on hotel stays and car rental purchases.

Inside Access From Chase. Access to exclusive events and unique
activities with Inside Access from Chase.

Recently Introduced Benefits

Upgrades on Reward tickets for Elites. OnePass Elite members who are
also Cardmembers are eligible to receive upgrades on domestic reward tickets
already when traveling on Continental. This benefit will be available on United
flights too in Q2 2012.

Free checked bags on Continental and United. Your first and second
checked bags are already free on flights operated by Continental when you pay
for your tickets with the Card. Now, you’ll enjoy the same benefit on tickets
purchased from United.

No foreign transaction fees. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees on
purchases made with the Card.

Continuing Benefits

Lounge membership. Receive full club membership, including
President’s Clubs, Red Carpet Clubs and future United Clubs.

EliteAccess travel benefits. EliteAccess® travel services are now
known as Premier Access travel services. You’ll continue to receive all the
benefits of EliteAccess on Continental flights, including priority check-in,
express security screening where available, priority boarding and baggage
handling. Beginning Fall 2011, you’ll enjoy Premier Line travel services on
United flights which include priority check-in, express security screening where
available and priority boarding. The priority baggage benefit you currently
enjoy on Continental will be available on all United flights.

The Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection. Access to The Luxury
Hotel and Resorts Collection, which offers exclusive cardmember amenities
such as complimentary breakfast and space-available upgrades at a selection of
over 700 of the finest hotels, resorts, lodges and spas around the

Premier travel and purchase protection. Access Premier travel and
purchase protection, including primary auto rental collision damage

Miles don’t expire. Beginning January 1, 2012, this benefit will be
exclusive to Cardmembers.

Concierge Services. 24/7 Concierge Services.

Benefit Changes

Flex Elite Qualification Miles (Flex EQMs) will have an expiration
date. Flex EQMs earned after January 1, 2012 will expire 39 months after
they are deposited. Specifically, Flex EQMs earned beginning after this date can
be used at any time during the calendar year in which they were earned, plus
three additional calendar years, and will then expire if not redeemed. Flex EQMs
earned prior to January 1, 2012, will continue to have no expiration date.

Flex Elite Qualification Miles may not be applied beyond the 75K EQM
threshold. Starting with the 2012 Elite program, Flexible EQMs can be
redeemed to achieve up to Platinum Elite status (or equivalent). Flex EQMs
earned prior to January 1, 2012, will continue to have no expiration date. The
earning ratio remains the same (1,000 Flex EQMs for every $5,000 you spend with
the Card).

Number of companions eligible for free checked bags. Free checked
bags will apply to you and one additional person traveling on the same
reservation effective January 1, 2012. This change does not apply to OnePass
Elite members.

Elite mileage bonus to be removed. The 25% Continental flight mileage
bonus for OnePass Elite members will be discontinued sometime in Q1 2012 (you
will not get the bonus for flights after this date). In the interim, you will
continue to receive this benefit only on Continental flights.

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 the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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9 thoughts on Continental Presidential Plus MasterCard adjusts benefits for United merger

  1. cece

    Where can I read the details of the car insurance coverage. Trying to find out if there is coverage in Italy on this card…

  2. Rachel Farrell

    When I first purchased the Presidential Plus card, one of the benefits was 2-for-1 first class international flights. Is that still a benefit?

    1. MileCards

      @Rachel – Yes it is. Just note when they say international they mean overseas international on flights that have their ‘Business First’ service. And also beware that the 2 for 1 is only good on ‘full fare’ tickets. Often it’s cheaper to buy two discounted Business First tickets ahead of time rather than buy one full fare and get one free.

  3. michael kamalian

    I am a gold member and have also a presidential plus card. when tryed to book a flight ewr to sxm me and a couple, I was not able to do so I was told that united allows only one companion the third person had to me booked separatly and not enjoying elite member traveling privileges

    1. MileCards

      @Michael – Yes, the baggage benefit for the credit card and your Gold Premier status is only for one companion. However…as a Gold Premier you get a bigger allowance than the credit card gives you. You get 3 checked bags free, and your companion gets 2 bags free. So…you have 5 bags total you can check in. If you and your companion are checking less than that, have your friends give you some of their bags so they can be checked in under your free allowance.

      The Premier Access boarding / security line privileges should only show up for you, because they are tied to your personal MileagePlus account number, though as a Gold you get higher priority boarding than what the credit card offers.

      The United boarding rules let you as a Gold bring a companion to board earlier (see the ‘tip’ at the bottom of the link below) but getting another couple entirely might be challenging. Defeats the integrity for other elite members and people who paid for the credit cards. But you’re always welcome to try by asking the gate agent politely. You can also get free Extra Legroom seating for one companion, but no more than that via your Gold Premier status.


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