Transfer Miles Freely And Elite Status Match Between Continental And United!

Plus Transfer AMEX Points To Either Airline!

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-If you transfer your United miles to Continental and then back again to United you will extend the expiration date of your miles by 18 months! If you leave them in Continental they currently do not expire at all!
-Continental and United are synergizing many of their policies on 06/15 and some of the advantages of each program listed below may no longer apply after that date.

Originally posted on 03/07:

Chase United Visa Signature: Get 30,000 Miles For Spending $1, $50 Cash Back, And First Year Free!
Chase Continental OnePass Plus Mastercard: Get 30,000 Miles For Spending $1, $50 Cash Back, And First Year Free!
Chase Sapphire: Get 53,210 Miles For Spending $3,000, And First Year Free!
-Get Your First Year Free, Triple Points On Airfare, And 16,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points After Spending $1,000 On The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card!
-Getting To Israel Using AMEX Membership Rewards Points!
-Continental: Take Advantage While You Can…
-Click here to read about and apply for all of the benefits of the Continental OnePass Plus Card

You can now transfer miles back and forth between your Continental and United mileage accounts!  The names on both account must match exactly.
Want to know more about the differences between the programs? Scroll to the bottom and I’ll highlight some of them.

You can now for a limited time transfer AMEX points into United miles!  Just transfer to Continental and then to United!
AMEX points must be transferred to Continental no later than 09/30/11.

Transfer Miles Linky
If you get an error online you can also call Mileage Plus Customer Service at 800-421-4655 or OnePass customer service at 800-554-5522 to manually make a transfer or request a status match.

-You can transfer miles only once per day, in 1,000-mile increments with a limit of 200,000 miles per transfer. (Smaller amounts of miles can be transferred by calling United or Continental over the phone.)
-You can transfer miles only between accounts in your name.
-If you change your mind, you can wait 24 hours and move the miles back into their original account.
-Transferring miles won’t affect your elite status in either program.
-Transferring miles does not consolidate your accounts.
-You can also leave your miles in both accounts. Your accounts will not be combined until the end of 2011.

You can also match your status and combine elite miles between the 2 programs as well!

Elite Status Match/Transfer Linky
Use your Continental elite mileage number when flying Continental and your United elite mileage number when flying United to maximize upgrade benefits.
-If you’re currently an elite member of one program, we’ll match your status in the other.
-If you qualify for higher elite status or a match to equivalent elite status, please wait 7-10 days for this information to appear in your online account. Your new card will arrive in the mail four to six weeks after we update your status.
-Combine your elite activity to qualify for a higher elite status in both programs.
-When you register, you’ll make a one-time designation of either your Mileage Plus or OnePass account as your primary account for upgrades for the year. This is where the Regional and Systemwide Upgrades you earn in 2011 will be deposited. You can receive these upgrades in one account or the other, but not both.
-Registering does not link or combine your Mileage Plus and OnePass accounts. Your Mileage Plus and OnePass accounts will remain separate throughout 2011.
-Only EQM, EQS or EQP count toward your elite status. Award miles and bonus miles do not qualify.
-Registration is optional. If you do not register, you will continue to earn elite status based on qualifying activity in each separate program.
Each program’s miles have their own advantages. For now you can take advantage of whichever suits you better by transferring miles back and forth freely!

-Both airlines belong to the Star Alliance, so you can book travel on any of the dozens of Star Alliance airlines with either program’s miles.
-Continental has always allowed you to have a free stopover and an open-jaw. United used to allow only one but they have just recently matched Continental policy and will allow both on an itinerary, so no difference these as well.
-Be sure to compare both charts as there are some differences between rewards in some regions of travel.
Continental Award Chart Linky
Continental Interactive Award Chart Linky
United Star Alliance Award Chart Linky
United Other Partner Awards Linky

Continental OnePass advantages over United Mileage Plus:
1. Continental has more generous routing rules than United. For example Continental will allow you to travel to Australia via Asia, where availability is significantly better. United requires you to fly directly to Australia. In general Continental will allow more roundabout routings which makes finding availability much easier if you know how to search for creative routings.
2. Continental allows you to change award tickets for free if it is done over 21 days before your flight as long as you don’t change the origin or destination city. This includes changing connecting cities. On United a change to a connecting city will incur a $150 charge per ticket.
3. Continental has much lower award fees. Cancellation of an award ticket is just $75 (or significantly less if the miles came from an elite member’s account). United charges double that.
4. Continental Plan B allows you to book a BusinessFirst Saver award ticket even if there is only Coach Saver avaialbility. If BusinessFirst avaialbility opens up you will be automatically moved to BusinessFirst. If you don’t wind up sitting in BusinessFirst you will get a mileage refund. More discussion on this in the DansDeals Forums.
5. Continental has no “maximum permitted mileage” policy. If you can find award seats be designing your own roundabout routing it can usually be booked. On United there is a “maximum permitted mileage” policy, although they have just recently been moving towards a more generous policy by allowing people to exceed the maximum permitted mileage by 15%.
6. Continental allows you to book travel on any Star Alliance or partner airline if they have award avaialbility. United on occasion uses Starnet blocking and won’t let you book partner travel if they don’t feel like it.
7. Continental allows you to book travel on non-Star Alliance partner carriers on the same itinerary and at the same rate as Star Alliance carriers. United has separate award charts for non-Star Alliance partner carriers that make them much more expensive than Star Alliance partners and won’t let you book travel on alliance and non-alliance partners on the same itinerary.
8. Continental’s agents are all located in the US. If you aren’t elite on United you will be routed to their offshore agents who can be very hard to understand at times.
9. Continental charges significantly fewer miles (160K coach/220K business /280K first) for an around-the-world award than United charges (200K coach/300K business /400K first).
10. Continental gives all Elite members significantly expanded coach saver award availability (XN) and coach (YN), first (FN), and businessfirst (FN) last seat standard award availability. Continental also gives Platinum Elite members expanded first and businessfirst (O) saver award availability.
11. Continental allows you to book many more partner airline flights online than United does, thus avoiding phone booking fees. Although a manager from either airline should be able to waive the fee if you push hard enough due to the fact that it can’t be booked online.
12. Continental miles don’t expire. United miles expire after 18 months of not having account activity.
13. Continental counts all elite miles towards lifetime million miler status, even if it was flown on a partner airline, purchased on, or earned via the Presidential Plus credit card. United only counts miles that were actually earned by flying on a United flight.

United Mileage Plus advantages over Continental OnePass:
1. United allows you to book one-way travel at half the rate of round-trip travel. (Stopovers aren’t permitted on one-way travel)
2. United doesn’t charge any expedite/close-in fees on award tickets booked within 21 days of travel. Continental charges varying amounts up to $75 for these depending on the elite status of the redeeming member’s account.
3. United offer miles and money options for some flights to stretch your mileage balance with a cash supplement.

Any other advantages/disadvantages that I missed? Hit the comments and I’ll update the post!

HT: David, via the DansDeals Forums and UAInsider via FT

Leave a Reply

44 Comments On "Transfer Miles Freely And Elite Status Match Between Continental And United!

Plus Transfer AMEX Points To Either Airline!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


My wifes continental account has her maiden and married name. Her united account only has her married name. Will the transfer work?


No, you’ll need to call Mileage Plus Customer Service at 800-421-4655 or OnePass customer service at 800-554-5522 to update the account to have the exact same name.


It worked!!
Thanks Dan.


CO let’s you book international online.
UA may, (I’m not sure), but you definitely can’t book partner travel online.
If you book an award ticket from an elite CO account, you have better availability and benefits.



I have 60,000 Amex points that I need to use this month (because I have to cancel the card). I dont plan on traveling anymore for the rest of 2011. I was always planning on transferring them to Continental. The question is with upcoming merger does that still make sense? Thanks


It’s impossible to say at this point what the combined program will look like come 2012.
I see the fact that Continental execs will be running the airline as a good sign though.

They are keeping Economy Plus and United has made routing rules and combining classes of service on an award more generous of late, so I’m hopeful future changes will be positive as well.

The major airlines make a killing off mileage programs, it’s one of their most profitable segments. They won’t want to kill their golden goose, that’s for sure.


couly you post a link for transferring amex miles? i can’t figure out how to do it…


how do i match my continental status to united?
also, my wife changed her name, but her continental account has her maiden name still. how can she change it?


There’s a link in the post for the elite status match.
Read comment #2 for phone numbers.


If my united miles are set to expire, will transferring miles to continental (and maybe back to united) extend their life?


Continental miles don’t expire, so you can always just leave them there for the time being.
I’m not yet sure if transferring them back and forth back to United will extend their life or not. Seems like it should, but they may not count that as activity.

continental advantage

offers food on long domestic flights


@continental advantage:
Not as of 03/01/11.


Can this transfer system be used as a way to combine multiple CO accounts? For example, transfer from 3 CO accounts into 1 United account and then transfer the combined balance back to CO. They all have the same name. It’s just easier than contacting CO to do it.


dan is it ok to open a continental and a united credit card. this way ill get 60,000 miles


You can try and let us know.

Chase usually makes you wait 30 days between card applications.


@Dan – I’m top tier on Alaska and was wondering if this status match strategy would work: match to Continental (on a 90-day challenge), then match from Continental to United (to hopefully get a full year match) via their elite status match link. What do you think?

david s

If I currently have Continental gold elite will this give me united status for 2011 as well?


Dan — I have to give you serious kudos for your great tips and suggestions. I’ve made your site one of my daily stops. Thanks.

But even bigger kudos for dealing with so many questions (day after day after day) that are very easily answered by simply reading the first post. it would be great if folks would take a deep breath and simply read through the initial posting carefully before posting questions. Just sayin.


Sigh…if only.
Thanks for the kind words!


United let you book hotels & car rentals with miles


Which one is more valuable for the guys who buy miles ?

Deal guy

Continental matches United in Economy- NO MORE PRETZELS


@continental advantage:
They used to advertise: “Eat. There’s starving people on other airlines.”


if i’m silver at united gold at continental can i merge it to get platinum


who UA or CO give more elite miles for LH FLIGHTS


how long will it take to post to the other mileage account?


If you have enough combined elite miles.

It depends on the fare class of your ticket.

The miles transfer instantly.


Is this dead or is there an updated link?


Which link isn’t working?



Thanks a lot for posting this info. I just did the status match with United and was upgraded to their top tier. I fly a TON on Continental and made Presidential Platinum this year and United equates this to “Global Services” level. So thanks again for the tip and I have tried to include a link to the chart here for anyone else wondering about the status level matches.



Will the 777 Business First flat-seat planes still fly from Newark to TLV?


@dan- My credit was just extended on my chase Sapphire card. Is there any way I can ask to transfer the extended credit over to a new Continental Card? If yes, who do i call?


Dan I have 84,000 Hilton Honors points that are doing nothing for me. Can/should I transfer them to a more usable program?


just transferred amex membership rewards to continental. Different names on accounts they gave me no problem


@Dan I”ve Got aeroplan miles any way of transfering them over to continental since they are both star alliance


are there any airlines that will give bonus miles for transferring from amex? (besides delta)


Dan you wrote: “12. Continental miles don’t expire. United miles expire after 18 months of not having account activity.”

Last month I rec’d an email from mileblaster saying my 7k CO OP miles were going to expire in 6 months. I freaked and transferred them to UA and now I’m wondering about this after reading your post. Was mileblaster wrong?

Newbie UA Business Flyers? (long) - FlyerTalk Forums

[…] Originally Posted by globalgirlster The advantage of CO vs. UA is huge, especially for OP who is not a 1k yet. Check out this link below. It has a great summary of the difference. […]


the sapphire link is the same as the onepass link


Yup, they’re wrong.

Thanks, fixed.


Can you make less-than-24-hour stopovers on united one way like on continental?

fan of dan

My wife got a offer for cont. 50000 miles 3 weeks after cancelling her old one (in order to b approved for sapphire) does it make sense they will give her another sign on bonus?