Do The Continental-United Shuffle To Extend The Life Of Your Miles!

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The Continental OnePass mileage program officially ends on 12/31/11, and will wind down all operations in the first quarter of next year.

The combined program will be United Mileage Plus and it will include all of your Continental and United miles.  It will even include all elite qualifying miles that you’ve earned over the years (for United this will even include all past elite miles that until now haven’t counted towards their million miler program) to count towards million miler lifetime Star Alliance Gold status for you and a significant other.

The surviving mileage number however will be your Continental number (yay!) and the surviving website will be (double yay!), although of course it will be located at…

Got all that?

Anyway as of now Continental miles have never expired, but United miles expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months.  In the future the combined United miles will expire if you don’t have activity every 18 months, but if you have a Continental OnePass Plus Mastercard or a United Mileage Plus Explorer Visa your miles won’t expire.  (Don’t have a Continental OnePass Plus card right now?  Now may be the last time to get it and people continue to have success in getting the Continental and United signup offers bumped to 50,000 miles for spending $1 by sending a secure message to Chase after receiving the card asking to be matched to the 50,000 mile offer.)

You can use this site to link your accounts and transfer miles between your Continental and United accounts. Transferring miles from United to Continental and then back again to United will extend all of your miles for another 18 months!  Plus if you have elite status or elite qualifying miles in both program it will match it to the other program.  The names and addresses and both accounts must match for the accounts to be linked.  If it doesn’t work in one internet browser (IE, Chrome, or Firefox, etc) then try a different one.  If you still can’t get the accounts to link try calling the Continental OnePass Service center at 713-952-1630 until 9pm EST, but be prepared for 25-45 minute hold times.

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44 Comments On "Do The Continental-United Shuffle To Extend The Life Of Your Miles!"

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


Dan – If you have Continental and United miles (and no Continental/United Visa/MC), wouldn’t it make sense just to move the United miles to Continental and leave them there? Is there any benefit to moving them back to United?


When you move them back to United you see the extended expiration date, but you’re correct, there is no practical difference.

There are big differences still on booking award tickets from your Continental account or from your United account. They each have pros and cons.


Is this continental/united card hard to get? like about what score and history would i need to get approved for one?


What are the pros of booking with United?


Dan, Should i be doing a 3 browser app on all both of these and 1 more chase card? In your experience, does 3B methods work with chase?


It’s not particularly hard to get. They care more about your history though than the score you have.

An expedite fee workaround.
Besides for that booking with Continental is very advantageous.

Sure, I’ve had a few successful “3BMs” this year. Go for Sapphire Preferred as well and you’ll have over 150K United miles if you can talk your way into getting approved for all 3.


To clarify again, the Mileage Plus program is the continuing program but existing Mileage Plus numbers are going away and you’ll be left with only your old Continental number as the new Mileage Plus number?

This seems difficult for the United only members who now have to get new numbers.


Dan I have a continental credit card but I want to make now the united card so I can get 50000 points and then combine those 2 cc what other 2 cards should I open the moist points
Thanks dan


Currently, I only have a United account with all miles set to expire by 12/31/2011. Can I simply open up a Continental account and transfer them to that account thus extending expiration date? I see no reason to transfer back to United.


How do u get them to match 50k
Anything specific to tell them?


is a 2-3 months of paid on time history good enough or shud i wait longer?


@ Chris:

Yes Transfer ur miles to Continental FAST! Dont worry about Changing them back bec. they will do it any ways automatically eventually when t hey Merge. If u fell like u want to the miles in ur United account earlier then when they will do it, then do it yourself, but make sure to first put your miles NOW in Continental or else they WILL EXPIRE, Hatzlacha!


#@ Heshy- Thanks for the clarification.


So I have a flight in the New Year and i saw that on Thai airways i earn 1.5 EQM in my continental account whereas only 1.0 EQM in united account. Can i continue to earn in the continental account at 1.5 EQM or do I have to use United account?


Correct. United members without Continental accounts will get new Continental style alphanumeric numbers, so you may as well open a Continental account now to extend the life of your miles!

Sapphire, Freedom, Ink Bold, and Ink Classic can all transfer to Continental/United.


That you saw a better offer and want to get matched. The better offer is targeted, but so far its been working perfectly to get matched to.

There’s no straight answer. You may be rejected initially, but if you’re a good talker it’s very easy to get reconsideration or a credit analyst or your local Chase banker to push through an approval.

Credit to Continental, you should be fine.


What’s the deal with chase matching the 50,000 mile offer? Is it a no brainer? Or might they say no?


sam the man

how do u send a secure message 2 chase ?

Deal Guy

I only have some Continental miles, and there has been no activity, for almost a year and a half. Do you think that in as soon as the merger happens, i will find out that I have only days left for my miles? Wouldn’t that be unfair for them to do so, and not give me a 18 month notice, since as far as im concerned, if not for the merger my points not have expired, and I didn’t have the proper notice to do any activity?


Can you cancel these cards within the year and keep the points or do you have to keep them open and pay the annual fee to keep the points?


Has the date been released yet as to when the miles will start expiring? If I sign up for the cards now, will I have time to have them processed and get the bonus points before the 18-month inactivity rule will apply?


From reports on the forum everyone seems to be having success.

@sam the man:
Logon to your Chase account.

@Deal Guy:
Just transfer them to United and back.

You keep the points even after the card is cancelled.

If you have points expiring soon just extend them for 18 months with the method in the post.
If you are a cardholder your points won’t expire.


Your Welcome CHris, I had the Same issue before.


Am i the only one having an issue with the link that links united and continental accounts? I tried on 2 browsers


in siple terms, if i don’t use my Continental miles will i lose them ?


Dan, i just got my united card and i will get the 50k points only after jan 2012 so where will i get my points?? united, or continental


Call them.

Huh? Just earn or redeem 1 mile every 18 months or have a credit card and they’ll never expire.
For now, just do the shuffle to be safe for 18 more months.



I want to open the continental card before the month’s end, but I have a huge dilemma! Here goes:

I recently received a targeted 50,000 offer to my already existing continental mileage account, which I already received the bonus on. So to receive a signup bonus, I would have to open a new mileage account.

So the question is:

Do I use the targeted offer (using a new mileage number, of course) which guarantees me 50,000 miles, but puts me at risk of them connecting the dots and realizing that the code I used was sent to an existing account which already received the signup bonus, thus losing the entire bonus. Or, do I just use the regular 25,000 signup and bet my money on my secure message working?

Any input from you commenters (and Dan of course) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Is this trick for extending the life of regular miles or EQMs also which expire on 12/31/11 of each year?

I am 10,000 miles away from CO gold and would love to keep my EQMs from this past year through 2012…



Just open a new Continental account and do the regular 30K offer and send a secure message. That’s the safest route in my experience.

Only regular miles.


once 2011 is over i wouldn’t be able to shuffle the points from con to UA or i still have time

Deal Guy

As of right now, I got through to united right away, and they linked my account. Thanks.
Dan, you wrote to transfer from United-CO-United. I did the reverse, should that work?


Thanks Dan!


Dan, how do you go about sending a secure e-mail to try to have them match the 50,000 mile offer?


I tried the secure message to match the 50k and was refused. (I’ve been matched before by secure message with the sapphire to 100k)

So yeah, It might not work 😉



@Deal Guy:


When did you get the card and when did you try SM’ing?
Everyone else has had success.


Opened in July, SMed in Dec -that’s probably the reason. Either way, didn’t hurt to try.


Of course that’s the reason. The SM needs to be within a couple months of getting the card!


what an interesting blog. Please enlighten me since this is too complicated for me. Is there an advantage of having both the Continental card and the United card? I have recently opened up both and have only used the Continental card as of today. I do have 30K miles in my Continental account plus whatever I spent thus far and I sent them an email requesting that they increase it to 50K (thank you for the suggestion). Once the do (or don’t) decide to do the increase, does it make sense to merge these miles with the United account and then close the Continental card? I don’t know if there are any further bonus points that can be accumulated on the Continental card once you hit the 50K miles. Is there? I’m not talking about points that one would get for spending money like the one point per dollar but do they have like an extra 10K miles when you hit a certain spending threshold? Please advise.


I’m “resting” all my miles into CO on the off chance they will grandfather CO miles with no expiration. American did this with old miles when they changed to expirations and CO did it with Eastern miles when they merged (CO miles used to expire).

Just a possibility.


No chance, they’ve already announced that CO miles will start expiring 09/30/13.


is it worth it for me to transfer my sapphire preferred points to my continental or united account?


Why transfer until you’re ready to use the miles?


how many continental or united points do i need for a round trip ticket to israel on united/continental economy class?


40,000 for a one-way, 80,000 for a round-trip.