There are just a few hours left until my hometown airline is gone (at least in name). While I hope that the transition is smooth and seamless, I totally agree with Gary from Free Frequent Flyer Miles when he posted this suggestion on Milepoint to save screen shots of your Continental and United mileage accounts today. The chance you would ever need them is probably remote, but it takes 5 seconds to take screen shots, so it’s not a bad idea. If you are flying with Continental/United this weekend, I would also go ahead and print out copies of your itineraries, just in case. I’m not recommending Y2K level hysteria here, just be smart and put in a few extra seconds of preparation – just in case.
As a final reminder about the OnePass Plus and United Explorer credit cards, if you got your Continental OnePass Plus card before 7/19/2011, and are interested in getting the sign-up bonus for the United MileagePlus Explorer card before your Continental card potentially converts to a United card, I would give some strong consideration either applying for the United MileagePlus Explorer card now, or at least cancelling your Continental card before it can convert. Word on the street is that it will take a few months to convert all the Continental cards to Explorer cards, but I would personally not want to take that gamble. With the airlines officially becoming one tomorrow (3/3/12), I would act quickly if you are in that position.
Update: Based on a comment and some posts in this Flyertalk thread, it may already be too late to cancel your CO card and hope for it not to convert. It may well be that applying for the UA card now is the only way you will get that sign-up bonus if you already have the CO card. Not trying to incite panic, but just be aware there are multiple reports of Chase CSRs saying that it is already too late to avoid conversion of your CO card.
The best public offer for the United card right now is 40,000 miles (10,000 of which requires $25,000 spent on the card in the first calendar year). However, lots of folks, myself included, were able to get targeted for a 60,000 mile offer by moving at least one mile into their United account, so give that a shot before going for the public offer. One of my friends, Friendly Skies (photo courtesy of his Facebook page), was recently targeted for a 65,000 mile version of the United card (the extra 5K came from adding an authorized user), so it is possible there will be some increased bonuses on the Explorer card as the two airlines officially become one. If you want to hold out for a potentially better offer, just cancel your Continental card now and sit tight on applying for an Explorer card. Don’t forget to move the available credit to another Chase card before you cancel your Continental card.
To keep up with any system issues related to the merger, you can follow this thread on Milepoint. I bet it is going to be a long weekend for some CO/UA folks! Fingers crossed for a smooth transition, and so long Continental. Thanks for being a big part of my own flying history.