Frugal Travel Guy this morning offers clues about upcoming credit card bonuses.
1. He says that July 19 and July 26 are scheduled announcement dates.
2. He’s been “asked to remove ads for the United Mileage Plus Signature card and the Continental OnePass card by 4 PM on the 18th. Looking forward to sometime on the 19th”
First, a bit about how he’s hearing this. He’s got ‘referral links’ up on his site, when you use those links to sign up for a credit card he’ll earn a commission. (I don’t really play at this, but it seems fair to me, as long as you’re still signing up for the best-available bonus might as well let a friend grab a commission for your doing so, and it’s a wonderful thank you for the information he’s provided.)
There are representatives of the companies that are letting their affiliate marketing partners know what offers are coming, in order to prepare them to push those offers, and of course they let marketing partners know when existing offers need to be taken down.
Announcements are generally embargoed, but Frugal Travel Guy has shared the basic details which I imagine aren’t technically against the rules for him to do. His marketing contacts tell him new offers on specific dates, and what needs to be taken down, combine the two and you get a pretty good idea of what to expect.
In this Milepoint thread I connect some of the dots. I don’t do the credit card referral links, I’m not even a member of these services so I am not getting the same emails that Rick is, but what I expect is not a lot of huge surprises.
As with most United-Continental changes, first priority has been about aligning the differences in the programs. In this case, Chase has been the issuer of both the United and Continental credit cards. There’s at least one benefit they’re killing, double miles for online shopping through the Continental portal (the reason I’ve kept my Continental Mastercard!). That’s already been announced. But since they did announce killing that benefit, haven’t announced killing others, and are making an announcement shortly that they’re heavily promoting one would imagine that means (1) keeping benefits rather than killing them, and (2) rolling them out across the combined airline’s co-branded cards.
At least that’s my speculation. So, what does one airline’s card offer that the other doesn’t? I’d guess those will get harmonized — and in this case simply extended across to the other carriers’ card offerings. But it makes little sense to add anything to the Continental cards at this point, with the program itself months away from disappearing, the announcement must be about what benefits get added from the Continental side to the United side.
My pure speculation is that credit card harmonization issues follow the rest of the United-Continental changes, which is they figure out which elements of the program to keep as part of the combined entity and that takes up the majority of their attention before they’re really positioned to extend much in the way of new, earth-shattering benefits.
Here are the key things I’m watching. The Continental Presidential Plus Mastercard offers lounge membership (United has a card that does the same) and no foreign currency transaction fees. It comes with Avis Presidents Club and Hyatt Platinum status. Even the standard Continental Mastercard comes with primary rental car collision coverage, a rare benefit (I still use my Diners Club card for this). The Continental Presidential Plus card also offers bonus miles for elites flying Continental. It’s the most unified premium card product that either carrier offers, it’s a true signature product, and they need to reassure their most premium cardholders what their future holds.
I could be wrong of course and we will know within the next couple of days whether I need to eat these words. It’s not based on inside information, just taking the ‘clues’ that Rick is offering and pairing it with what we’ve seen about how the integration of the two frequent flyer programs has proceeded to date.
Personally, I do have both a United Visa and a Continental Mastercard. The nice thing about integration is that I’ll be willing to drop one, which will make it easier for me to get another Chase card when there’s a sufficiently lucrative bonus for doing so.