Less Than 2 Weeks Until Old Continental Miles Expire For The First Time Ever; 10 Ways For You To Extend The Life Of Your Miles

Update: Now less than 1 week remaining to find old Continental accounts and get them active.

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Related:
When Do My Miles Or Points Expire?
Miles Expiring? Pick Up A Magazine Or Newspaper Subscription!

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Continental’s defunct OnePass mileage program did not have an expiration policy.  United’s MileagePlus program required activity every 18 months. Of course when the programs merged in March 2012 they sunk to the lowest common denominator and the United policy stuck.

Now those converted OnePass accounts will expire on 09/30/13 for the first time ever.

I was enrolled in the OnePass program at the age of 4 in 1989.  Expiring miles aren’t one of my problems, but it’s entirely possible that you have an account that is also decades old that you forgot about.

You can call United to have them lookup your account number.  You may even want to call to find out if you have multiple account numbers as you may have had an old Continental account that was not properly merged with your United account.  They can look up accounts with your name and zip code though if it’s an old account you’ll have to remember the zip code that you originally supplied.

When I called for my grandparents they found multiple old accounts which I had United merge into a single account for each of them.  They probably signed up on several flights for the miles but never followed up.  It is definitely worth calling to see if they can find multiple accounts before those miles are all erased.

Once you have your account info you’ll have several options to get some quick activity which will keep all of your miles alive:

1. United Explorer and Club cardholder’s miles never expire. The card comes with 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 and 5,000 more miles for adding a free additional user.

2. You can transfer points to United at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards.  These cards include Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire (Non-Preferred), Chase Freedom and business cards like Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Cash.  You or your spouse needs the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold to actually make the transfer to United.

3. You can get a free magazine subscription starting at just 300 miles.  This will extend the life of your entire account balance for 18 months.

4, You can get a free newspaper subscription. In Baltimore you can get the Sun for 800 miles. In Chicago you can get the Tribune starting at 515 miles. In Los Angeles you can get the LA Times starting at 1,560 miles or the LA Daily News starting at 800 miles. In Atlanta you can get the Journal-Constitution for 1,542 miles. In NJ you can get the Star-Ledger from 1,196 miles. Etc.

5. You can use miles to download items from United’s digital media store. For example you can download Matisyahu’s One Day for 115 miles which will extend your entire account.

6. You can buy a $25 Restaurant.com certificate for 500 miles.

7. You can donate 500 miles to a charity.

It’s always better to spend miles then to collect miles as the airlines are always good about collecting your miles which makes it a safer bet. But here are some other options if you’re brave and trust the miles to post on time…

8. It’s generally a terrible idea to transfer Starpoints to United. While transfers to airlines like American, British Airways, Delta, and USAirways are at favorable 20K:25K ratios, transfers to United are at a painful 2:1 or 20K:12.5K ratio. But if you have SPG Platinum status you can transfer 2 Starpoints into 1 United mile.  SPG Golds must transfer at least 1,500 points at a time and non-elites have to transfer at least 2,500 points at a time.

9. You can buy items from the United mall though these likely won’t post until after 09/30 and they don’t always wind up getting posted..

10. You can credit miles from a past car rental or hotel stay to United. Just contact the car rental agency or hotel and give them your mileage number.  Even when miles have already expired they can be retroactively unexpired by crediting a past rental or stay.  I once credited a past Avis stay to my mother’s American account from before it expired in order to retroactively get back every mile that had expired.

11. And finally, you can always redeem miles for a ticket.  Award tickets start at 5,000 miles (E.G. one-way HNL-OGG), so you’ll need at least that many for this option.  Once the miles are deducted (this can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours) your account will reflect a new mileage expiration in 18 months from now (currently 03/31/15). You have to logout and log back into your account to see your new expiration.

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United does give you 24 hours to cancel award tickets and you can click to cancel the ticket and then click thorugh a few screens to immediately redeposit the miles and receive a refund of the miles and taxes paid.  Even once you cancel an award ticket you maintain the extended expiration for your entire account.

Before and after…

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36 Responses to “Less Than 2 Weeks Until Old Continental Miles Expire For The First Time Ever; 10 Ways For You To Extend The Life Of Your Miles”

  1. Mendel Says:
    1

    Beware of trying to extend United miles by booking an award and cancelling within 24 hours. I did it a few months ago, and whild initially the miles showed up as extended for another 18 months, a few weeks later they suddenly expired.

    ReplyReply
  2. Dani Says:
    2

    I have and use daily a United/Continental visa credit card with over 150k miles, can I assume this prevents the miles from expiring? Any ideas on a better way to take these miles elsewhere to do more with?

    ReplyReply
  3. Moshe Says:
    3

    I had a zero balance. Too bad, I probably didn’t credit flights back then.

    ReplyReply
  4. simi Says:
    4

    my onepass acct automaticly converted to united and it says expiration 12/31/13 does your post apply to me or am i good until the end of the year

    ReplyReply
  5. bayla shoshana Says:
    5

    Thank you for this notice! I would have lost 62,000 miles!

    ReplyReply
  6. Dan Says:
    6

    @Mendel:
    Interesting, I’ve never heard of that before.
    Did you wait for it to show that it was ticketed before canceling?
    What did you wind up doing?

    @Dani:
    Correct.
    Why would you want to take the most valuable airline miles elsewhere???

    @simi:
    You should be good until then.

    @bayla shoshana:
    Excellent, thanks for posting!

    ReplyReply
  7. everythingjosh Says:
    7

    There is another way to extend the life of your miles. That is by selling unwanted gift cards through plastic jungle and receiving United miles in exchange. This may also be helpful to someone who is falls short of a rewards ticket and needs a way to fill the gap. Note that the overall miles value you’ll get for the gift cards is not so great. Here’s the link- https://www.plasticjungle.com/united/web-exchange/gcWelcome

    ReplyReply
  8. Bernard Goldsmith Says:
    8

    Can you give me the telephone number to call to see how many miles I had left on my Continental Account to be transferred to United. Also to see if I had more than 1 account with Continental
    Thank you, Bernie

    ReplyReply
  9. Dan Says:
    9

    @everythingjosh:
    Plastic Jungle is DEAD. I’d be very wary using that.

    @Bernard Goldsmith:
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=call+united+airlines

    ReplyReply
  10. Charlie Says:
    10

    Thank you Dan… I would have never known this !! Just had them merge my accounts. 14k miles I would have lost.

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter !!

    Thanks again…Charlie

    ReplyReply
  11. everythingjosh Says:
    11

    I haven’t tried it myself, but in the letter found on their home page, they say they have decided to cut out their previous business model of a gift card exchange. Now they are instead dealing with corporate partners (i.e. -united), and you can therefore exchange unwanted gift cards for United miles or other gift cards. https://www.plasticjungle.com/letter-to-customers.

    ReplyReply
  12. Mendy Says:
    12

    tried downloading a song for 115 miles, but it didnt allow me, any idea why not?

    ReplyReply
  13. Dal Says:
    13

    If I’m getting e rewards deposited into my account is that enough or do still need go do something do my miles don’t expire I have98,,000 I wouldn’t want that to expire

    ReplyReply
  14. Question Says:
    14

    Dan,
    how can i merge my wife’s account to my account, or can i change the name on my account to match her account?

    ReplyReply
  15. Sam Says:
    15

    Is there any way to merge everyone in my family’s accounts into one account?

    ReplyReply
  16. I LOVE DAN Says:
    16

    Dan, I just kept my miles from expiring by using https://www.opinionmilesclub.com. It really works! Took me about 15 minutes to do a survey and now my miles don’t expire till 3/31/2015 according to my account on united.com

    ReplyReply
  17. chani Says:
    17

    I have over 80K but doesn’t expire until 2015 but I also apparently have 4K that will expire at the end of this month. I don’t remember my pin for it so I need to fax them some info to get a new one. Apparently I haven’t used it since 1990 (when I was 6). Thanks Dan for saving my 4K!

    ReplyReply
  18. Mendel Says:
    18

    @Dan: Yes, it was ticketed and I had a ticket number. The miles are still expired and I will probably reinstate them close to the 18 month deadline.

    ReplyReply
  19. dave Says:
    19

    Dan- you really had a united account when you were 4? are your parents prophets? 🙂

    ReplyReply
  20. jj1000 Says:
    20

    @dave: Who do you think made him who he is today?

    ReplyReply
  21. Dan Says:
    21

    @dave:
    Lol, proof is in the pudding:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Screenshot_2013-09-25-12-27-30.png

    @jj1000:
    😀

    ReplyReply
  22. beeweegee Says:
    22

    @Dan: You can actually get a magazine for 300 miles, not 400 – Siempre Mujer. I’ve used it and sent it to a random address, don’t want it coming to my house 🙂

    @Mendy: Are you a cardholder?

    ReplyReply
  23. elikay Says:
    23

    Just made a donation on my dad’s account and it is still showing 9/30 expiration…

    ReplyReply
  24. Mendy Says:
    24

    @beeweegee: nope

    ReplyReply
  25. elikay Says:
    25

    Expiration extension posted today…
    @Dan PJ actually is still (partially) alive https://www.plasticjungle.com/partner-page

    ReplyReply
  26. beeweegee Says:
    26

    @Mendy: I think you need to be a cardholder to use United’s Digital Media Store.

    ReplyReply
  27. adina Says:
    27

    I subscribed to a magazine but my balance is the same. How long does it take? Will it be before the miles expire?

    ReplyReply
  28. adina Says:
    28

    @adina: never mind- it just showed.

    ReplyReply
  29. John Says:
    29

    I tried purchasing a magazine on Saturday night right after midnight. I got an email confirmation right away from the magazine place, but as of today, no sign of the miles being deducted from my United account or the deadline being extended. I called United, and spent a long time on the phone with them. They mentioned it can take up to 10 business days to hit the united account. I asked them to check if there was anything pending, and held while they did so. They could find no record of any mileage usage. Their suggestion was that I either buy a restaurant certificate or donate mileage to charity which they could do for me on the spot. With no other choice, that’s what I did, and then cancelled the magazine subscription – never was much of a cigar aficionado anyway:)To their credit, the magazine place let me cancel my subscription no problem.

    ReplyReply
  30. DANFAN5773 Says:
    30

    @Bernard Goldsmith:

    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20506

    ReplyReply
  31. Mark Says:
    31

    Any kosher restaurant locations listed in the NY NJ area?

    ReplyReply
  32. malkie Says:
    32

    Hi Dan,
    I only found out about United miles expiring today. I have 100k. When I called United to complain that I had no notification, they basically said “Too Bad. You can buy them back for $300.”

    Is there anything I can do to get them back without paying?

    ReplyReply
  33. Happy Says:
    33

    i have the same question as malky in the post above.

    ReplyReply
  34. yosele Says:
    34

    I called United on time to check on my accounts, but my wives account I forgot to check.

    I logged in yesterday, to find 12K miles that had expired, I called , and asked to have it reinstated, I had an option of paying $50 to have ’em reinstated. but the call got cut off.

    I HUCA’d, and the next rep asked me if I had any activity lately, my wife flew AC on a trip starting 9/30 !!!!

    The miles will be reinstated!!!!

    ReplyReply
  35. Israel Minzer Says:
    35

    Can you provide a service for a fee if I wanted to fly somewhere and I have assorted mileage programs available. Could you find me the best deal utilizing the lowest amount of points?
    Ty

    ReplyReply
  36. BRAD Says:
    36

    I DIDNT PAY ATTENTION AND MY ONE PASS ACCOUNT EXPIRED IN SEPTEMBER OF 2013.

    I WAS TOLD I CAN PAY A FEE TO GET BACK MY MILEAGE. WHAT TELEPHONE NUMBER DO I CALL ABOUT THIS. I HAD 95,000 POINTS IN MY ACCOUNT.

    THANK YOU

    BRAD

    ReplyReply

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