Starwood AMEX Linky (Free for first year, Earn 10,000 Starpoints With First Purchase, and 30,000 more Starpoints with your first $15,000 in purchases)
AMEX Platinum Charge Card-”The Grandaddy of credit cards” (Earn 25,000 AMEX MR Bonus Points after you spend $1,000.)
Just minutes ago Continental became the largest airline ever to change airline alliances. In doing so it’s changing a number of its policies.
A Saturday night stay is no longer required for domestic rewards, but domestic rewards are rarely a worthwhile redemption so that’s not a huge deal.
There is a new award chart and it charges the same rate no matter what airline you fly on. The chart has rates that are very similar to United’s chart. However Continental has promised not to block partner availability like United has been doing of late which will make Onepass miles that much more valuable.
Continental has a hidden bargain with their Round-The-World rewards which are valid on all 25 Star Alliance carriers as well as Continental’s other partners. Coach costs 160K miles, Business/BusinessFirst is 220K, and First Class on 3 class airplanes is 280K.
As Continental’s twice daily nonstop service from Newark to Tel Aviv has always been a popular award choice for Dansdeals.com readers I’m sure everyone will be happy to know that the cost of redemption on that route has gone down. It used to cost 90K miles in Economy and 120K miles in BusinessFirst. Now it will cost 75K in Economy and 115K in BusinessFirst. In addition you can now redeem at the same rates for travel on Star Alliance partners Air Canada and USAirways which fly nonstop to Tel Aviv from Toronto and Philadelphia respectively. Even more intriguing for some may be the new true first class service possibilities to Tel Aviv like Lufthansa offers for 145K miles on a ticket that normally sells for north of $10,000.
You can transfer AMEX MR points to Continental at a 1:1 ratio but unfortunately the Starwood transfer ratio is a lousy 20,000:12,500. If you are desperate for Continental miles from Starwood you could always sign up to have all your Starpoints automatically go directly into Continental miles at a 1:1 ratio.
The other aspect of the alliance swap means learning about redeeming alliance partner miles for travel on Continental. Below is a short listing of what some other Star airlines would charge to fly from Newark to Tel Aviv on Continental. The only issue is that most international airlines charge a fuel surcharge on award tickets…
Continental EWR-TLV Round trip award prices on Star partners:
ANA (Starwood transfer partner @ 20,000:25,000, AMEX MR @ 1:1): Coach-60K, BusinessFirst-90K
Asiana (Starwood transfer partner @ 20,000:25,000): Coach-78K, BusinessFirst-115K
Lufthansa (Starwood transfer partner @ 20,000:25,000): From US: Coach-80K, BusinessFirst-120K
Lufthansa: From Israel with Israeli address: Coach-60K, BusinessFirst-90K
Singapore (AMEX MR transfer partner @ 1:1): Coach-60K, BusinessFirst-100K
USAirways (Starwood transfer partner @ 20,000:25,000): Coach-80K, BusinessFirst-120K
Virgin Atlantic (Non-Star partner, Starwood transfer partner @ 20,000:25,000, AMEX MR transfer partner @1:1.15 or 1:1 after 10/31): Coach-80K, BusinessFirst-120K