A Unique Time for Super Sizing Your United Mileage Balance

I thought about writing this post the boring way – by telling you about two new credit card options with United and Continental.

However, I’ve been explaining what’s happening with United and Continental to a few readers via email, so I decided that it was time to pull it all together into one concise post.

If you want to collect United (or Continental miles, for that matter), we are in a unique and beneficial point in time.

What Makes This a Unique United Mileage Earning Time?

1.  Upcoming Merger Between United and Continental

There’s a timeline in place for the merger of two airlines into one.  Those two airlines, of course, are United and Continental.

For those of us who collect miles, the important thing to note is that Continental’s OnePass loyalty program will end on December 31, 2011.  So, what happens with the OnePass program?  It will become part of the Mileage Plus program.  All OnePass and United Mile Plus reward miles, upgrades, Elite Qualification Miles and Elite Qualification Points will be part of this one single program as of 2012.

You can read full details about the award program impact here.

2.  United and Continental Credit Card Offerings

Due to the upcoming merger, you currently have an opportunity to apply for two different cards and ultimately have the miles post into one account.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Earlier this week, this card made its debut.

  • Earn 25,000 miles after first use.
  • Earn 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user in the first two months.
  • Earn 10,000 miles each year that you spend $25,000 on the card.

The mileage bonuses are in addition to perks like one free bag check and priority boarding privileges.

The first year there is no annual fee.

Without spending $25,000, you have an opportunity to easily earn 30,000 miles.

To apply or get more details, you can click here.

Continental OnePass Plus

This card has exactly the same mileage benefits as the United card, but it does not include the ‘additional perks.’

Thus, you have the opportunity to get this card and easily earn another 30,000 miles that will ultimately end up in the Mileage Plus account.

Be sure to get the Continental card before the end of the year as that card offering likely won’t be around in 2012.

To apply or get more details, you can click here.

3.  American Express Rewards Relationship with United and Continental

As of September 30th, 2011, you’ll no longer be able to transfer Membership Rewards points to United or Continental.

This means if you have (or get) Membership Rewards points between now and September 30th, you need to transfer them to United or Continental if you want to make that move.

There may still be a window of opportunity for applying for American Express cards that earn membership rewards and transferring them prior to the 30th.  It all depends on how quickly you reach your minimum spend requirement and how long it takes for your bonus miles to post.

If you do want to get some extra United or Continental points, here are some sign up opportunities to help you earn Membership Rewards points.

  1. American Express Platinum Card – Up to 25,000 points (with lots of travel benefits and a hefty $450 annual fee)
  2. American Express Gold Premier Rewards – 15,000 points.  No annual fee for the first year.
  3. American Express Gold – 15,000 points.  No annual fee for the fist year.

With all of these cards there are targeted offers of up to 75,000 points per application.  Of course, if you get the targeted offer, use that code to apply.  If you don’t get one, you can send a secure message to ask them to match the bonus.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is probably worth the five minutes of trying.

Remember, taking advantage of this merger isn’t something that can be done next year.  If you want to supercharge your United mileage balance, then consider getting the cards and transferring the points before it is too late.

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