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UPDATE: Continental is now a part of United.
Not surprisingly, Continental announced today that they are moving to the new United award chart and will begin allowing one way awards. I assume they will also allow awards on all partners, so I look forward to possibly booking a Virgin Atlantic one way award this summer for an upcoming trip. Unfortunately, these changes don’t go into effect until June 15, 2011, so if you need to book a one way award now, I recommend transferring to your United account.
Like United, they will also be increasing the amount of some awards (like coach award to Europe going from 55,000 to 60,000) and decreasing others (like business class to Europe going from 105,000 to 100,000).
The area that gets the biggest increase is in paid upgrades. Mileage and cash copays are generally rising across the board.
In general, I think Continental and United are making a much smoother transition than Delta and Northwest. People will generally reject change, no matter what it is, but I don’t think United and Continental flyers are collectively losing out on a ton of benefits. With all mergers, some will come out more ahead than others, but I don’t see the changes as draconian – at least not yet!