Copa used to majority owned by Continental and they used Continental’s OnePass mileage program instead of having their own program. They even adopted a very similar logo to Continental’s. When Continental moved from SkyTeam to the Star Alliance they brought Copa along with them. When Continental merged with United they brought Copa into MileagePlus and the globe logo continued to be used by both airlines.
However they’ve had disagreements with Copa about the elimination of distance based mileage earning in MileagePlus and Copa is now launching their own program that will earn miles based on distance flown. Alas most United fares don’t earn full credit for distance flown, so the program doesn’t replace Singapore as one of the best places to credit your United flights to for 100% mileage earning.
For now you can’t transfer any miles into Copa, though I’d imagine that we’ll see transfer partnerships in the future.
You can get 4,000 miles for enrolling in the Copa program here.
You’ll get 1,000 miles instantly for enrolling and another 2,000 miles instantly for completing your profile after creating your account for a total of 3,000 miles that will post instantly. Another 1,000 miles will post with the hard launch of the program in July.