Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Continental joins the Star Alliance!

After officially departing SkyTeam on October 24, Continental spent two days wandering in limbo before today formally entering the Star Alliance.

Continental's addition raises the number of airlines in the Star Alliance to 25, including domestic partners United and U.S. Airways and German powerhouse Lufthansa.

The Star Alliance's diverse membership, which also includes South African Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, and Japan-based ANA (among many others), means that passengers can go just about anywhere while concentrating elite and award miles in one frequently flyer program of their preference.

For Continental OnePass members, this transition means new Alliance-level benefits at one of two levels: Star Alliance Silver for OnePass Silver, or Star Alliance Gold for OnePass Gold or Platinum members.

The transition also brings several new program-level benefits to OnePass members:
  • Saturday night stays are no longer required for award travel.
  • Discounted fares purchased from third-party consolidators now qualify for 100% of elite-qualifying mileage.
  • Complimentary elite upgrades now apply to flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Hawaii.

OnePass members should be aware that they no longer enjoy complimentary upgrades on Northwest flights, which would be eliminated anyway as the merger of Delta and Northwest continues to take effect.

In addition, effective immediately, OnePass members do not earn elite qualifying mileage or points, or elite mileage bonuses, on travel with bilateral partners, including Emirates, EVA Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, Kingfisher, US Helicopter, or Amtrak.

This is a huge change for Continental and the industry. We'll see where it leads.

No comments: