Continental Announces Some Program Changes to be Effective August 17th

Continental is making a bunch of changes effective August 17th (and no promises that more changes won’t follow… just not in the next 30 days).

  • No more award holds. Even Delta lets you hold an award online, just not over the phone anymore. No holds at all with Continental, but they’ll refund your miles and taxes/fees if you cancel within 24 hours. The exception is if you don’t have enough miles in your account, then you get a three day hold so you can transfer miles in. (A pretty good reason not to keep any miles in your Continental account, you get more accomodation out of Onepass than if you have a large mileage balance.) There are no more holds on paid tickets, either, except group tickets and tickets purchased using Western Union, cash or eCertificates.
  • Award change and redeposit fees go up to $150, with Platinums still exempt.
  • There’s a $75 fee for all redemptions within 21 days of departure, except that Platinums continue to pay $35 for travel within 4 to 14 days, and $50 for travel within 3 days of booking.
  • Upgrade co-pays increase $50 to $100. So now it costs $500 each way in addition to using miles to upgrade the least expensive international (and Hawaii) coach tickets

One MIle at a Time says ” it could be a lot worse.” Although, to me, increasing the upgrade co-pay is really, really bad. Intenrational upgrades now $200 more expensive roundtrip? Upgrades are what miles are for….

But the gift of the program doesn’t change. Continental is not the program for international upgrades. The only reason to bank with Continental is if you need elite status for the complimentary upgrades. And that really only makes sense if you can achieve top tier, and especially if you live in Houston…

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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