Chase Continental OnePass Plus Card: To Cancel or Not to Cancel

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It is pretty common knowledge that Continental Airlines and and United Airlines are merging.  The process is set to be finalized early in 2012.  What that means is that existing Chase Continental OnePass Plus credit cards will likely be transitioned to the United MileagePlus Explorer card sometime in early 2012.  For some people that will just mean a different name on their credit card, but for those who are interested in squeezing all the miles they can out of sign-up bonuses (like most of us!), that can be problematic.  Essentially, if your Continental Onepass Plus card converts to a United MileagePlus card, you will no longer be a new MileagePlus Explorer card customer.  That means you may very well miss out on ever getting a sign-up bonus for the card, even if you never actually received one to begin with.

Million Mile Secrets wrote yesterday about the best courses of action with these cards given a few different situations.  Today I’m going to share what we decided to do in our situation, and why it may be the best course of action for your family.

First, I will share what I am doing with my Continental OnePass Plus card.  I have had this card for a few years, and it actually gets a fair amount of action in my credit card rotation.  Since I value Continental/United miles so highly, before the Chase Sapphire Preferred card came out this was my primary card.  As a result, many of my automatic payments are still scheduled on this card.  I am okay with that since it gives a 10,000 mile bonus after spending $25,000 on the card within a year.  However, the main reason that I am not cancelling my card is that I fly Continental/United pretty regularly, and very much appreciate the free checked bag and priority boarding (which is currently coming through as Elite Access – though that seems to be a “temporary” Continental glitch) benefits that come with the card.  The checked bag benefit alone saves us hundreds of dollars per year.  I don’t want to be without that benefit for a few months while I wait for a good United card offer to come around.  I’m also not thrilled at the idea of losing my account history with this card.  So, my card will just probably have to convert to the United card.

My mom’s situation is a bit different.  She got the Continental card about 10 months ago, so she is coming up on her anniversary where we may have cancelled anyway.  She doesn’t need the baggage benefit or elite access as much as I do, so not having those benefits for a period of time won’t be a big deal to her.  She recently was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, so she isn’t quite ready to apply for another Chase card.  If it were time for her to apply for a new Chase card, we could just use the Continental card, and its credit line, as a bargaining chip to get the new card open, if needed.  However, since she isn’t in the market for a new card right now, we are just going to cancel her Continental card outright before the end of 2011.

Even though we are closing that card, we still don’t want to lose the credit limit that it comes with.  Not only does it help her credit utilization ratio to keep the credit line, but we also want to have it as a bargaining chip for future Chase card applications, if needed.  So, about two weeks ago she called to have the majority of her Continental card credit line moved to her new Sapphire Preferred card.  She left just a $1,000 credit line on her Continental card.  The next step will be to call and see if she will be offered a retention bonus to keep the card open. In the end, she will close her Continental card and will have only lost a small fraction of the credit line she had on the card.  She could probably even get them to move that last $1,000 over, but it probably isn’t worth the effort in her case.

We are hoping that there will be an improved public offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer card early in 2012.  If so, she will definitely be applying for that card.  If several months go by and there isn’t a better offer than the 30,000 mile offer that has been around for a while, then she will probably eventually just go for that offer.  It is certainly better than just having your card covert and not get any miles at all….at least in her case.

Just in case you are looking to get in on the Continental OnePass Plus card before it heads into an extinction, here is the link for the 30,000 mile bonus after first use.  The sign-up bonus isn’t completely amazing, but the benefits can be worth it if you fly Continental/United with some regularity, but don’t have elite status.  I would recommend reading the above mentioned Million Mile Secrets post to see if applying for Continental card now might make sense in your situation.  I will receive a commission if you sign-up for the card using my link.

What will you be doing with your Continental OnePass Plus card?  Cancelling before it converts or allowing it to convert to the MileagePlus Explorer card as scheduled?

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  1. I called the other day to do just this. I was offered 2500 miles to keep my card, and after checking with the higher-ups, the man helping me said I would get a letter giving me the option of switching to a United card before anything was done with my Continental card. So I kept it for now. I’m a little doubtful on the letter thing, but I like free miles, so I’ll “think” about it for a while.

  2. Just a heads up, the Continental card doesn’t actually come with Elite Access, only priority boarding (after elites), it’s just that at the moment Continental’s systems aren’t set up for priority boarding so they give Elite Access until it’s implemented (priority checkin/security). If you fly on United you only get the boarding and free bag.

  3. The dont think the credit line of the Continental One-Pass card matters. It is kind of a charge card, the limit is not reported to the credit unions

  4. If you fly United/CO frequently, don’t you have elite status with them, at least the lowest tier, which would give you at least one free bag next year? Also, I guess I’ve never tried this with chase, but could you keep you account history “alive” by converting the Continental card to something else that chase offers? (I’m not sure if chase lets you do this or not, but I know Citi does).

    I agree that there is a strong argument in your case for keeping the card, since it’s a lot of work to shift over automatic payments and such. Although something else just popped into my head. if you’ve had the card for a few years, you must have the old OnePass card right? So shouldn’t you be eligible to get a signup bonus on the MileagePlus Explorer card too (in which case I suppose you should apply for that card before the CO one converts).

  5. My gf cancelled her CO MC today, and was offered a $100 statement credit to help cover the upcoming annual fee…we cancelled anyway, as we’d rather bank 50K UA miles for a new UA Explorer account.

  6. Quick question — when do the 10k bonus points post after 25k annual spend? I’m thinking of canceling my card (fee will hit in March) but if the 10k posts soon after the 25k spend (as opposed to at year end), I will wait as I can have $25k spend posted on the card in Q1 2012.

  7. I called CO onepass plus card (11 months old) two days ago to cancel, before the end of the year to avoid annual fee. The CSR offered 3 options. $100 credit, 10000 miles, or 2 presidents club card. I took the 10000 miles and kept the card (my spending on the card for the 11 months was close to 20,000). Applied for the UA Explorer card yesterday to bank on the 30000 miles. Hope it goes thru without a hassle.

    P.S. It was great to use the miles in september on CO for a Business class Kathmandu trip and returning via Manchester (a week in UK) in Economy. Used up 120000 onepass miles for the value of $5000.

  8. I was also in same situation as your Mom. I called Chase and asked to cancel and move credit line over to another card. Rep#1 said no way, can’t be done. I politely said thanks I will think about it. Called back 5 min. later and Rep#2 said no problem and moved it over immediately to Chase Sapphire and cancelled card! Learned this from Rick…if you don’t like one reps answer, try, try again! Happy Holidays and I am really enjoying your blog…one of the first everyday!

  9. I had to cancel my Continental card to get the Sapphire Preferred approved. I had too many cards with them that I had received this year!! right now I have 4 open and I just applied for the Chase Freedom since I opened a checking account! I did not get instant approval so I hope they will allow me to cancel my Southwest/and or Hyatt card to get the Freedom! Then I am on hiatus with Chase for the next year!!!

  10. Couple of things you can do:

    1)Move credit line to another Chase card (sounds like you already did it)
    2)Product switch Continental OnePass card into another card. Chase might be fussy about it and reject the request, but hang up/call again until you find someone willing to help you.

    Btw, closing a card doesn’t automatically mean you will lose it’s history. It will remain on your profile for next 10 years.

  11. @Amanda, that would be nice if they sent a letter first. Then we would all have fair warning and could act accordingly. Enjoying thinking about your free miles. Ha ha. 😉

    @Steve, thanks for pointing that out. I should have clarified that that is how it has been working/is working. I will be a little sad when they “fix the glitch.” Will update the post to clarify that – thanks!

    @AS, it is a regular credit card for me, but the reporting to the credit bureaus isn’t the only reason I would want to preserve the line anyway. I also want to keep the credit line as a bargaining tool for future cards, if needed.

    @Oliver, ha ha. Yeah, I’m a bit of a weirdo.

    @Jerry, I do fly enough with them to at least have lowest tier status for sure, but since so many of my flights are on points, I don’t earn the elite qualifying miles required for status….at least not yet. We’ll see what happens in 2012. I could apply for the United card, but I think I have hit my Chase limit for a while. If they come out with an awesome offer in a couple months, I may go for it. Just can’t do much quite yet.

    @David, you didn’t want to take the $100 and consider not cancelling? 😉 I agree that in the end $100 isn’t worth 30,000 – 50,000 bonus miles for a new sign-up.

    @Walt, I usually hit mine toward the end of the year, so mine hits at the end of the year either way. However, it seems to post very quickly after I hit the 25K, so I am under the impression it would hit pretty quickly no matter what time of the year you meet the spending requirement.

    @Sreeman, good job!

    @deedee, good job sticking with it! It was not a big deal at all when my mom called to move it over. Just explained she wanted to do more shopping on the Sapphire Preferred (which was true) and it was a done deal. Glad it worked for you, too!

    @Kelly S, I think a lot of us are on Chase hiatus. 😉

  12. I know this is off topic but just a reminder that soon we also have to discuss the future of BA card after the massive “enhancements” of their program.

  13. Ok, got a question for you all. I applied for a Chase Sapphire and was approved for one in early November. A few days later I received an email from Continental offering 50K points with any purchase, there was no minimum. I applied for that early December and was approved. What should my strategy be in trying to also get the United card as a new customer to take advantage of their miles offering. Please help! Thanks.

    • @elgeorgino, the bad news is you may not be able to get in on both. There is some wording in the Terms and Conditions of some of the offers that you can’t get a sign-up bonus on both if you get both of them after 7/19/11. However, some of the terms haven’t had that language, so there is a chance…….but not a guarantee. I also would not try for it if you have a history of just getting cards for the sign-up bonuses with Chase. My advice would be to hold tight and see if maybe the conversion isn’t until a few months from now. If so, then that may give you a chance to try for an Explorer card. It would be a real gamble though.

  14. well i understand the hitting the limit bit 🙂 I’ve only started accumulating miles via credit card in the past year, but i have had many AMEX and Chase applications, so I think i might have to take it easy with those two companies for a bit.

  15. I have a question for you. Both myself and dh have the continental cards, which we got in September. I also got the United card, but haven’t received bonus miles from that. I had read the terms and conditions, as I always do and didn’t see anything excluding bonus miles if you already have one of the cards. So, I called them and the rep said I will receive a letter within 7-10 business days. That was yesterday, so we’ll see. Anyways, my dh is an elite silver which don’t get a free bag internationally, so he needs access to the continental card to receive this benefit. My question is, can he use my continental credit card (instead of his, I’d like to cancel it) when purchasing his airline ticket and still receive the benefits?

    • @Miriam, I can tell you in my case my husband does not usually get a free checked bag when the ticket is bought using my card unless I am also traveling. Every now and then he is able to show his card and get it waived, but I don’t think it is supposed to work that way.

    • @andrew, I am honestly not 100% sure, but I would say if you didn’t get either card after July 2011 and neither card is an Explorer Card then you have a decent shot!

    • @sasha, the 50K isn’t officially a public offer. It is targeted and then some have been “tricking the system” a little bit to get it to work for them. There are threads about it on Flyertalk and I believe that Million Mile Secrets also recently did a post about it. Hope that helps some!

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