More Changes to the Combined United-Continental Frequent Flyer Program

The sheer volume of changes that have to move forward to integrate the United and Continental frequent flyer programs are staggering, I’ve provided updates recently here and here on some of what we now know.

In the past few days several other minor progress items and changes have revealed themselves.

  • United Systemwide upgrades (upgrades which can be used on any United flight, including internationally, provided you buy a W coach fare or higher; given primarily to 100,000-mile flyers) can now be used on Continental.

  • Continental Onepass members get to keep their current 8 character account numbers. Presumably United members keep their 11-digit numbers. Unclear is which number members will keep when they have both a United and Continental number and accounts are merged. (US Airways and America West members kept their own numbers with that merger, I believe technically my 7-digit US Airways number has leading zeros in their system.)

  • United Premier members can now pre-reserve exit row seats. Previously this benefit was limited to Premier Executive (50,000 mile flyers) and higher.

  • Free and easy extension of your United miles. Via Keith if you transfer your United miles to Continental, that counts as activity that resets the expiration date of your miles. Then of course you can move your miles back. When Northwest and Delta combined, everyone got 1 mile which extended the life of their miles. Of course, Delta Skymiles no longer expire.

More to come!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, to add to the “Premiers able to reserve exit row seats at booking” point, the other shoe dropping there is that non-elites can now buy those same seats at booking; in essence, a benefit decrease (reduced “best economy seat inventory”) for all levels of United elite flyers.

  2. Free and easy extension seems that it would only exist till Onepass ends, 12/31/11 no?

  3. Just wondering if anyone can confirm: Does the new chase united/continental card have a prior cardholder exclusion that would prohibit bonus being awarded to previous chase united cardholders?

  4. @Ali the terms and conditions of the general offer say that past United cardholders are ineligible for the bonus. Of course we’ll have to wait just a short bit to see what happens in practice.

  5. Can’t Believe it, been reading this site forever, and now Gary linked to my milepoint first post!

    I was told i was the first one to use a United SWU on CO Metal that morning…maybe i should get a plaque or something 🙂

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