AMEX & ContinentalOn Wednesday, I received an email from Continental Airlines, soon to be United Airlines, that in about a year, the deal they have with American Express will no longer be in effect. They said:

Effective Oct. 1, 2011, Continental Airlines will no longer participate in the American Express Membership Rewards and Airport Club Access programs.

American Express Cardmembers can continue to transfer Membership Rewards points to their OnePass accounts through Sept. 30, 2011.The Presidents Club will continue to accept valid Platinum and Centurion cards for admittance to lounges through Sept. 30, 2011.

Here are the details from Continental and here are the details from American Express.

The only reason I pay the $450 annual fee is for access to the Continental Lounges. Yes, I use the AMEX points for flights and other things, but I can do that with other cards.

Of course, I don’t have to make any decision today. I will wait and see what happens when the United/Continental merger is complete, but I suspect it will mean no more AMEX needed for me.

I will likely switch all my business spending to the Continental Airlines Presidential Plus Card for Business. It offers pretty much the same perks plus more, especially for what is most important to me, flying on Continental. I’ll get access to the airport lounges for both Continental and United. I’ll get bag fees waived (I do anyway cause I have elite status), I’ll get more miles and seems like I’ll get EliteStatus without needing to fly so much.

AMEX is saying they are giving us other new options in exchange of losing Continental. That includes a $200 Airline Fee Credit, 20% Travel Bonus and an iPhone app. But honestly, there are conditions and I doubt I would ever meet those requirements.

So I suspect a month or so prior to the deadline, I will transfer my AMEX points to Continental miles and get the Continental card (if it is called that after the merger) and start accuring miles and points on that card.

It’s too bad AMEX but flying on Continental is just that important to me.

Website Comments

  1. chris

    I recently got the Continental presidential card for just that reason Barry (pres club). the funny thing about it is that people have to get used to the card type. there are no embossed numbers it is only printed on there, on the same side as the strip. most people look at me and are like, I need your CC not a miles card. kind of funny. again though great card with good benefits as you outlined – also get to use the Red Carpet club from United now…

  2. Michelle

    Yes, I opened this letter from Amex yesterday, and I’m really annoyed about it because the day before, I opened two new Amex business credit cards! The letter says we will still be able to buy flights using miles from Amex, but we won’t be able to transfer miles from Amex into the OnePass accounts, something we have done frequently.

    That said, last year when we wanted to use miles to fly to Brazil on Continental, we couldn’t do it because Continental had no reward seats available 8 months before our trip. We ended up using the Membership Rewards points to buy tickets on Delta, which has no restrictions on rewards seats.

    This is certainly going to make things complicated, i.e., we’ll have to think, “do I want Amex points for this purchase or Continental points?”

  3. Dov

    What about Canadian Platinum Amex members. We are losing our access to Continental lounge and getting nothing to replace it. No $200 credit, No 20% bonus on point transfers. Hello Amex Canada, give us the same the US cards get!!!

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