updated Mar 23, 2016
This card offer has already expired! With the recent merger of United and Continental Airlines, the Continental credit card is no longer available. However, the United MileagePlus Explorer card has replaced it. Click here to read our review of United MileagePlus® Explorer Card.
The Continental credit card, specifically the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), is one of the best airline credit cards I have reviewed. This Continental card offers many perks for those who like flying with Continental or United Airlines, plus it has very attractive sign-up incentives. Not only do you get to earn miles on your flights, you also earn miles when you spend on other everyday purchases.
Even though Continental has merged with United Air Lines in Oct 2010, they will continue to operate as two separate airlines till they are granted a single operating certificate in 2012, and hence Continental's OnePass and United's Mileage Plus frequent flyer programs will continue to operate independently in 2011. To give you a better idea of the Continental card, I will do a review below and tell you its pros and cons.
Things We Like About This Card
No annual fee for the first year. The first year's annual fee is waived, but thereafter you have to pay $95 annually.
Get up to 40,000 bonus miles. You get 25,000 bonus miles after your first use of the card. This is an amazing incentive offered to new card members as 25,000 miles can be redeemed for a round-trip air ticket within the United States (excluding Hawaii and Canada)! First purchase/first use includes purchases, balance transfers, or any checks that are used to access your account, and it doesn't include cash advances.
Get 5,000 additional bonus miles when you add an authorized user to your account within two months of opening your account.
Get 10,000 bonus miles yearly after spending $25,000. If you are a big spender and use your credit card a lot, then this will be an additional benefit for you, since by using it, you earn 10,000 miles for your spending.
Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend purchasing tickets directly from Continental and United.
Earn 1 mile for every $1 you spend on all other purchases made with your card.
Redeem your miles for free flights, hotel stays and car rentals. Since Continental is a member of the Star Alliance network (the largest airline network in the world), you can earn and redeem your miles on all 28 member airlines. This means you have a much wider selection of airlines for the routes and dates you want to fly.
You can earn unlimited miles and miles don’t expire, allowing you to earn as many miles as the dollars you spend in purchases.
Get 2 annual complimentary passes to the Continental Presidents Club, Continental's airport lounge, or to United's Red Carpet Club lounge. This privilege gives you an opportunity to unwind in a relaxed setting before your flight, and you can enjoy complimentary bar service, light snacks, free wireless Internet access and other benefits at the lounge. We like. Just so you know, Presidents Club Day Passes cost $50, so you get double of this value for free! You will receive this anniversary bonus if you make a qualifying transaction during each year of enrollment. Qualifying transactions include purchases, balance transfers, and any checks that are used to access your account, and exclude cash advances. This bonus offer is only for new card members!
First checked-bag free when you pay for your Continental Airlines flight with your OnePass Plus Card. If you have booked your companions' tickets on your card as well, they will also have their first checked-bag for free, enjoying the same benefit as you have on your card. So if you are traveling with your family, you could save up to $200 per round trip for four persons.
Priority boarding. This is a new benefit just introduced to this card which I like personally. Whenever you board Continental and United flights, you will get priority boarding privileges, even if you don't fly business class!
2 Travel certificates as an anniversary bonus every year. Every year, you’ll receive two Continental travel discount certificates and two day passes to the Continental Presidents Club or United's Red Carpet Club lounge. This benefit is only for new card members, and provided your account is open.
Privileges in luxury resorts and hotels. As a Continental Airlines OnePass Plus cardholder, you get special privileges including room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and early check-in / late check-out, when you book your hotel reservations through a Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection travel specialist or online at LHRCollection.com.
Protection and security benefits. You will not be liable for any unauthorized purchases made with your card, and you get identity theft protection. You also get extended warranty protection, purchase protection and return protection.
Amazing travel benefits and insurance. This card has some of the best travel benefits and travel insurance in the market, and here are a few of them:
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. If you rent a car with your card and damage the car in an accident or if it gets stolen, don’t worry since you are covered up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.Delayed and lost luggage insurance. If you have any checked bags that have been delayed for more than 18 hours, you will be reimbursed for the emergency purchase of covered essential items. If your checked or carry-on luggage has been lost or stolen, you will receive a full reimbursement.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. If you rent a car with your card and damage the car in an accident or if it gets stolen, don’t worry since you are covered up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.
Delayed and lost luggage insurance. If you have any checked bags that have been delayed for more than 18 hours, you will be reimbursed for the emergency purchase of covered essential items. If your checked or carry-on luggage has been lost or stolen, you will receive a full reimbursement.
Concierge service. If you need someone to help make reservations and recommendations for dining, travel, entertainment and more, you can just call their concierge for assistance.
Our Least Favorite Things About This Card
Annual fee of $95 which you have to pay after the first year. If you fly frequently and use your credit card a lot, it's a minimal fee to pay for its many advantages.
No introductory offer on balance transfers or purchases. The APR on balance transfers and purchases is variable at 15.24%. To avoid paying any interest on your purchases, make sure you pay in full by the due date every month!
You only earn double mileage when purchasing tickets from Continental and United. If you want to book an airline ticket from another company, you won’t be able to enjoy the double mileage benefit. Since the double mileage benefit only applies to Continental and United, you might have to adjust your schedule when flying and the flight schedules and prices might not be the best in the market.
If you like to fly on Continental or United Airlines and are looking for a way to save on your spending, then you might want to consider the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card, which waives off the fee for your first checked-bag and that of your companions when you charge the tickets to your card. An incredible incentive for new card members is that you get a free round-trip air ticket within the United States after your first purchase with the card! To further reward new card members, they will also give you 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user to your card. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year, so you get immediate savings of $95. With many ways to earn bonus miles with this Continental card, you can redeem all those extra miles earned for free flights, hotel stays and car rentals.
With many ways to earn bonus miles with this Continental card, you can redeem all those extra miles earned for free flights, hotel stays and car rentals. In case you are wondering, this card has very similar benefits to the new United MileagePlus® Explorer Card (read our review of United MileagePlus® Explorer Card), which you can get for the same annual fee.
Katrina Gutierrez is a writer at GET.com, a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cards are rated by our team based primarily on the basis of value for money to the cardholder. The GET.com team rates each card based on its annual fee, rewards, benefits, bonus, introductory APR, ongoing APR, flexibility (in how its benefits can be used and how rewards are earned and redeemed), and other card features.