Changes to Continental OnePass Elite Program

Nov 17, 2010

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Continental announced some major changes today that brings their program closely in line with United. These changes mostly affect their top tier flyers. Big things to note:

1) System-wide Upgrades can no longer be used on cheap fare classes S, T, K, L and G in BusinessFirst markets

2) You now need 120 segments, instead of 100, in order to reach top tier.

3) Members will earn two Regional Upgrades after completing 75,000 EQMs or 90 EQPs. Two additional Regional Upgrades will be issued for every additional 25,000 EQMs or 30 EQPs. Regional Upgrades, valid for upgrades to First Class, can be confirmed as early as the time of booking. This is a positive for Continental flyers, but a negative for most United flyers who got 8 regional upgrades a year for flying 10,000 miles a quarter. Now they need to wait until they hit 75,000 EQMs and will only earn 8 CR1s if they hit 150,000 EQMs.

4) United/Continental is confirming their elite program in 2012 will have 4 levels: 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, 100,000

5) The merged airline is moving towards the Continental style “higher fare for upgrade” model, which is probably going to be more profitable in the long-run

6) Not a peep was mentioned about Economy Plus. I wouldn’t be surprised if Economy Plus is eliminated in order to pack more seats on the plane and instead elites are guaranteed exit rows/bulkheads, which is what most airlines do.

Overall, my feeling is that most United/Continental flyers will be negatively benefited by these changes. A few uber-flyers may see a nominal change in the amount of regional upgrades, but for the most part, flyers will have to fly and pay more to get the upgrades they have become accustomed to getting.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.