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This article was last updated Feb 28, 2012, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
Note: As of March, 2012, the Continental OnePass Plus credit card is no longer issued. It is replaced by the United℠ Explorer Card, which offers the identical set of benefits, but under the new United Airlines brand.
Free checked bag on both United and Continental flights
The card offers you one free checked bag on both United and Continental flights — a $50 savings per round trip — with just two round trips you can save the annual fee of carrying the card. This benefit also extends to a companion traveling with you as long as they are named in your reservation record. You also get priority boarding on Continental flights. This benefit will extend to United flights later this year. Note this is identical to the United℠ Explorer Card — though if you want priority boarding on United flights in the interim, we recommend applying for the United card as it is tied to your United MileagePlus® number for benefits. They will both be combined next year, and both cards have the exact same benefits. Also remember you can transfer miles freely between United and Continental now.
Fair intro bonus:
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open plus $100 statement credit after your first purchase..
Solid reward availability
The Continental OnePass Plus card offers several travel benefits usually reserved for more expensive cards like primary car rental collision insurance, doubling of manufacturers’ warranties, and breakfast/upgrade benefits at luxury hotels. Click here for highlights of some of the ‘fine print’ benefits you might overlook.
In essence, it is a Swiss Army knife of travel protection in case of weather delays or lost luggage, covering you for many issues the airline itself usually will not cover. This includes travel on Continental or any other airline as long as you use the card to purchase the ticket.
The Continental Airlines OnePass program offers good reward availability — a recent study found a standard mileage ticket available on desired dates over 70% of the time when using Continental’s website. This is because of Continental’s extensive ‘Star Alliance’ partners that include United Airlines, Lufthansa, and US Airways, offering you more worldwide flexibility than any other alliance.
No fee for advance date changes or first checked bag
Continental lets you change the dates of your ticketed reward as many times as you’d like for no fee, as long as you make the changes 21 days or more before departure.
Earn miles on United as well thanks to the merger
Continental has merged with with United — and your miles are safe. You can now freely transfer your miles back and forth between your Continental and United mileage accounts online, instantly.
Lower cost opportunity to earn miles with another card…
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card lets you transfer points you earn one for one into your Continental Airlines mileage account. The upside is the card has a $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 annual fee and it also lets you transfer points directly into Marriott, Priority Club (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza), and British Airways miles. It also offers the option to book any flight, hotel room, or rental car at anytime using points — your points are worth $1.25 per 100 points, better than the $1 per 100 points most no-restriction travel reward programs offer. We prefer using native miles to book rewards, as they often yield more value per mile, but many consumers like the convenience of an ‘anytime, any airline’ option for their points. This is one of the better in that category.
The downside is this card doesn’t offer the checked bag fee waiver of Continental’s card, which can be a valuable benefit if you plan more than a couple trips each year.
Annual fee: No fee the first year, $95 after
Intro Bonus: 25,000 miles after your first purchase, 5,000 more if you add an authorized user within 2 months
Earning: 1 mile per dollar spent, 10,000 mile bonus after you spend $25,000 in one year
Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee: 3%
Miles can be used for travel with: Continental Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asia Air, BMI, Singapore, South African, Qantas, Emirates, Swiss, Thai, and many more.
- Two Presidents Club Passes ($90 value) every year after your cardmember anniversary.
- First checked-bag fees automatically waived for primary cardmembers on both United and Continental flights (a savings of up to $50 per round trip per passenger checking bags)
- Priority boarding on all Continental and United flights
- Primary car rental collision insurance coverage. Most cards only offer coverage secondary to your personal policy.
- Up to $300 reimbursement for overnight delay hotel and meal expenses when you use the card to purchase travel
- Double manufacturers’ warranty when you use the card to make purchases
- Complimentary breakfast and room upgrades at select luxury hotels when you use the card’s agency to book
- Lost luggage reimbursement if you use the card to purchase a ticket