Continental’s Premium Credit Card

The more I look at the Continental Presidential Plus MasterCard from Chase, the more interesting it looks — for a certain segment of frequent flyer.

The $375 (gulp!) annual fee, though $300 in the first year, comes with Continental Presidents Club membership – which also gets you access to Northwest and Delta clubs. The similarly priced American Express Platinum card comes with this same lounge access plus access to American Airlines AAdmiral’s Clubs and other benefits (like the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and domestic companion airfare benefit) not matched by this card.

However, for flyers seeking elite status on Continental, it offers the best credit card elite status perk I’ve seen with any airline: up to 28,000 elite qualifying miles per year through spending on the card, and best of all you can drop those elite qualifying miles into your Continental account in 2,000 mile increments whenever you choose. (It looks to me like you could even save these up for a couple or even three years if you wanted, as they appear not to expire.)

What’s more, the card comes with Avis President’s Club status — which offers a guaranteed two car class upgrade and guaranteed availability. It’s one step below Chairman’s Club and used to be a perk afforded only to Amex Centurion cardmembers and to a handful of lucky beneficiaries through corporate contracts. (Although the benefit can apparently be accessed by anyone online, which I’ll explain in a followup post.)

Finally, a friend emails that the card comes with complimentary Platinum status with Hyatt and fast track to Diamond status (top level Hyatt status in just 6 stays). This benefit isn’t mentioned anywhere on the card website, and I haven’t verified it, but if true would be a real world-class offering that on the whole would seem to justify the price for a Continental flyer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Any confirmation of the Hyatt status? If it’s true, it’s a clincher for me getting this card; if not, it’s a deal-breaker…

  2. I had just gotten one of the regular Continental cards when they made me this offer, and I jumped at it. A primary reason, as you said, is the elite miles. You didn’t point out that you get these miles very slowly: 2000 miles per $25,000 spent! But it’s a very nice perk because I figure eventually I will fall 1900 or 3900 or .. miles short of a tier and this will push me over the top.

  3. @pfcouvar – coincidentally today I received a flier from CO/Chase about a new benefit, automatic platinum level membership in Hyatt. But no mention of a fast track to Diamond level.

  4. One more comment from the doghouse.

    I noticed some fine print recently, leading me to check something with Chase. Their FAQ on this card says: “Annual charge volume is based on the enrollment date of the Presidential Plus card, not the calendar year. What this means is that the count resets to $0 on your anniversary date!!

    I had a very long conversation this morning with one of their reps today. I wanted to verify that I was just over, rather than just under, this threshold as my date approaches for the first year. And I said that knowing that I am now over, I have a strong disincentive to use another card for the next few weeks rather than have the balance reset. For instance, my local mall will give me 10% back in gift cards for using Discover. When I thought I’d get elite qualifying miles for using the CO card, I was going to forego the Discover offer — no more!

  5. Semi related, but what do you think of the other new CO product, the TravelBank card:

    I saw it at EWR last weekend and wonder if its the sign of a new-ish trend in cards. In the mean time, I’m going to jump on the AA one — between miles there and from SPG, I’m good for a while. Gold through ’09 on AA and will sort out my SkyTeam status soon.

    PS, this is travellingcari from FT – I don’t want a 2nd TypeKey account

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