The Benefits of Continental’s Entry into Star Alliance

Continental is a Star Alliance member now, and they’re promoting the news on Twitter with a sweepstakes. You just need to follow @Continental and tweet something with the hashtag #StarTreatment to enter. You can do this up to 5 times a day through November 3rd for more entries to with 2 business class tickets to any Continental destination or one of two $1000 Continental Vacations gift cards.

The big news of course is Star Alliance lounge access, and earn and burn in the Star Alliance. Especially burn. Continental was miserable for redemption as part of Skyteam, but now members have access to the wonders of the Star Alliance — including first class products, something Continental itself doesn’t offer.

A real kudos to the Continental IT team, they’ve made redemptions on United Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, SAS Scandinavian, TAP Portugal, LOT Polish Airlines, EgyptAir, Air China, and Blue1 possible online. And they also offer inter-island add-ons operated by Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air as well. This is something that’s not even in the IT chute over at United, as far as I understand, and I don’t think it’ll be available at US Airways any time soon either. (I’d love to see Singapore, ANA, Asiana, Lufthansa, Turkish, and Thai a part of this. A man can dream…)

SWISS and Shanghai Airlines are not yet redeemable, although Swiss is supposed to be available come next month.

As part of the changeover to Star Alliance, the Continental – Qantas partnership ends December 17. No big loss, they already killed the value in it when they increased the price of a first class award from 135,000 miles to 285,000 miles. (It was that massive change, among others, that led me to assume the Continental chart would be expensive for Star Alliance awards. So I was truly pleased to be wrong.)

This is a good week for the frequent flyer world.

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. Gary

    Any benefit for UA 1K’s with tons of UA miles?

    I haven’t flown Continental in years.

    Thanks for the report.

  2. @Kevin, not really, the benefit is for CO flyers who find their miles all of a sudden worth something!

    You can now earn and redeem on CO, but that’s not huge. And it does mean CO flyers will be competing for those Star Alliance award seats.

    The only hope is another US carrier NOT blocking Star Alliance awards could convince UA to change its ways…

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