Editors note: This offer is no longer available. Despite declaring intentions to drop the Continental Airlines brand during a merger with United Airlines, the two legacy carriers still haven't hammered out all the details. Despite earning government approval to combine their operations, the airlines can't fly under a single brand until they finish integrating all of their reservations and accounting systems. Therefore, OnePass members can still apply for an airline credit card from Chase that bears Continental's name, logo, and frequent flier rewards.
Bonus offers and flight perks on Continental and United
Like Chase's other airline credit cards, a combination of signup and loyalty bonuses can lead to free travel fast. As a new cardholder, you can earn 25,000 OnePass miles after your first purchase. Adding an authorized user earns an additional 5,000 miles, and spending $25,000 in a single year adds 10,000 miles to your balance. According to Continental's published rewards, those bonus offers alone can give you enough miles for two round-trip SaverPass fares on short-haul flights.
How the OnePass Plus Card compares to other airline credit cards
Chase has cornered the market on airline credit cards over the past few years, standardizing many of its bonus offers around each carrier's frequent flier miles. Continental's own website compares this card most closely to Citibank's line of AAdvantage airline credit cards. With both cards offering many of the same perks, the comparison really amounts to which airline's network you'll fly most often.
On the other hand, many new travel rewards credit cards offer rebates on airfare and other travel expenses, regardless of the airline you fly. Cards like American Express Blue Sky, Escape by Discover, and Capital One Venture all let you earn "miles" or rewards points for everyday purchases, with bonus points for using their preferred travel vendors. If a competitive discount airline serves many of the same routes you'd otherwise fly on Continental, these cards could earn you free travel faster.
Should you switch to the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card?
Due to the merger's time frame, Chase has made this version of Continental's airline credit card available only to existing OnePass members. Therefore, you'll only be able to switch to the card if you've maintained loyalty to Continental over the past few years. However, Chase's United Airlines MileagePlus Explorer Card offers a nearly identical feature set, just bearing the new United logo and typeface. Though Chase hasn't speculated about how accounts may change once the airlines complete their merger, it's likely that customers with the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card will eventually see their cards converted into United airline credit cards at some point in the future.
The real question to ask yourself is whether United and Continental still offer enough value for you to commit the bulk of your travel budget to a single airline. For business travelers whose corporate offices have chosen United as their preferred vendor, the answer's a no-brainer. Rack up as many miles as you can on the company's dime, and enjoy the perks and rewards for yourself. On the other hand, if you're traveling mostly for leisure, you may save more money paying for your trips with a travel credit card that doesn't force you to stick with just one airline.
Highlights: Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus Card
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3% ($5 min. )
$85 $85/First year free