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UPDATE: The Continental OnePass Presidential Plus card is no longer available.
I received a very interesting offer from Continental yesterday that targeted me (I think) because I have transferred Amex points and I don’t have a Continental branded card. They are offering me the Presidential Plus credit card, which normally comes with a $395 annual fee, free for the first year. This is basically a free membership to Continental, United, US Airways and other Star Alliances lounges. A pretty amazing deal which I wish I could offer to all of you, but unfortunately it came with a special RSVP code that is only for me.
I thought about signing up for it, but considering it comes with no bonus miles and I already have significant lounge access with my Amex Platinum card and Delta Diamond status, I’d rather use my Chase applications for more generous offerings, like 2 free Hyatt nights in a suite, 50,000 British Airways miles or the Sapphire Preferred card – no fee and those points can transfer into 25,000 Hyatt points.
And the more I thought about this offer, the more I realized that Chase is upping the stakes and going all out to take as many customers from Amex as possible. While I don’t necessarily think Amex will waive the $450 fee for their Platinum card, I’d personally rather have 50,000 bonus Amex points and pay the $450 fee (because I value 50,000 Amex points at a minimum of $1,000) than have no points and no fee. That being said, as September 30 approaches – the last day Continental is a transfer partner with Amex, I bet there will be a more aggressive push by Amex to retain Continental customers.
One of the main questions I’ve been asked is, “Do you think there will be a transfer bonus to Continental?” and I can almost certainly say no. I just can’t see how Amex would encourage their members to redeem Amex points for Continental, because they have to pay Continental for each point redeemed. The reason why we see so many Delta promotions is because Delta owes Amex billions of dollars (check out this press release where they announced Amex was giving them an extra billion dollars for Skymiles) and the more Amex points they can convince people to redeem for Delta miles, the less liability they have with Amex. I just don’t see any reason why Amex would encourage Continental transfers.
In any case, check out the offer below and if you’d like to take advantage of it a) search your email to make sure you didn’t miss it – the subject line of mine was ‘Brian, Enjoy a Complimentary Year of President’s Club Membership’ and b) if you didn’t get targeted, call Chase and tell them you are a current Amex Plat customer and you want to take advantage of an offer you heard about. It can’t hurt to ask!