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How to Earn Continental Miles

continentalplaneGiven Continental’s recent move to a new airline alliance, it seems only fitting that they should be next on our list of airlines to talk about in our series of articles about the various ways you can earn frequent flyer miles.

Thankfully, for anyone who’s a longtime Continental customer, the only things that have changed have to do with the airline’s OnePass frequent flyer program other airlines on which you can earn miles – the rest of the ways Continental lets you earn miles have stayed the same.

Still, if you’re at all concerned about your Continental miles in light of the recent Star Alliance move, be sure to find out what Continental’s move to Star Alliance means for you – and, for even more information, go to the airline’s website or talk to someone who works for the airline to get all your questions answered.

And now that you’ve got all that information squared away, let’s look at how to earn Continental miles.

Air Travel
As mentioned, Continental is now part of the major airline alliance, Star Alliance. This means that the airlines on which you’ll earn miles good for travel on Continental have changed – but, as always, flying Continental is the easiest way to earn miles with OnePass.

When OnePass members fly on Continental, they earn the actual miles flown rather than a certain minimum or maximum number of miles. The number of miles you earn above that, however, depends on the class of seat you buy and – sometimes – how much you pay for that seat. A discounted economy class ticket, for instance, will earn you fewer miles overall than an economy class ticket for which you pay full price.

At the very least, you’ll earn the actual miles flown and one point toward qualifying for OnePass “Elite” status. The miles flown can also be used toward your Elite status. At most (with a first class or business class ticket), you’ll earn 150% of the actual miles flown, all of which can be used toward qualifying for Elite status, and you’ll earn two points toward Elite status as well.

As an interesting aside, Continental has a policy that no one paying full price for a ticket in coach class will be given a middle seat. If you do end up in a middle seat after paying full fare, you’ll be awarded 2,500 OnePass points by way of an apology.

Some of the other airlines on which you can earn OnePass points are listed below – the number of miles you can earn on each depends on the airline, so you’ll need to look up each airline on the Continental OnePass website (linked below) for more information.

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • bmi
  • Emirates
  • Egyptair
  • EVA Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Spanair
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • Thai Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotel Stays
The list of hotels at which you can earn OnePass points is very long, indeed, so there shouldn’t be any reason you can’t find a hotel on your next trip that will help you get that much closer to an award with Continental. Not only that, when you’re ready to cash in your miles, you’ll have lots of hotels to choose from (should you want to go that route).

Some of the hotels in the Continental partnership program are listed here; like the airline partners, the number of miles you can earn with each stay depends on the individual hotel. Be sure to do your homework before you travel so you know you’re earning the most miles possible.

  • aloft Hotels
  • AmeriSuites
  • Baymont Inn & Suites
  • Best Western
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Comfort Inn & Comfort Suites
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Days Inn
  • Doubletree Hotels
  • EconoLodge
  • Embassy Suites
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Hampton Inn & Hampton Suites
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Holiday Inn Express & Holiday Inn Hotels
  • Howard Johnson
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Microtel Inns & Suites
  • Radisson Hotels
  • Ramada Worldwide
  • Sheraton Hotels
  • Sleep Inn
  • Super 8
  • Travelodge
  • W Hotels
  • Westin Hotels
  • Wyndham Hotels

Car Rentals
You’ll no doubt start to see a pattern here… With car rental companies, it’s also a nice long list of companies you can rent from and earn miles toward your OnePass account – and, like the hotels and airline partners, the number of miles you’ll earn depends on the car rental agency. Do your research to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Here are the car rental companies that have partnership agreements with Continental:

  • Alamo Rent A Car
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar Rent A Car
  • Hertz
  • National Car Rental
  • Sixt Rent A Car
  • Thrifty Car Rental

Credit Cards
Continental has several choices when it comes to mileage-earning credit cards and debit cards you can get – including working with more than one bank, and offering cards to the residents of more than one country. These are the cards available to residents of the United States – if you live somewhere else, please visit the OnePass credit cards section (which is here) to find out more about what’s available to you.

  • Continental Airlines Presidential Plus World MasterCard – Earns 1 mile for every $1 you spend; earns 2 miles on car rentals, hotel stays, and direct Continental purchases; earns twice the miles on all ShopOnePass purchases; members check 2 bags free.
  • Continental Airlines World MasterCard – Earns up to 25,000 bonus miles with new membership after first purchase; earns 1 mile for every $1 you spend; earns 2 miles with certain merchants; earns twice the miles on all ShopOnePass purchases; members check one bag for free.
  • Continental Airlines Presidential Plus World MasterCard for Business – Earns 1 mile for every $1 spent on most purchases; earns 2 miles for every $1 spent on direct purchases from Cotinental, dining, gas, and office supplies; earns 2,000 Flex Elite Qualification miles for every $25,000 in purchases.
  • Chase Continental Airlines Business Debit Card – Earns 25,000 bonus miles for opening a certain Chase checking account; earns 1 mile for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases.
  • Chase Continental Airlines Debit Card – Earns 25,000 bonus miles for opening a certain Chase checking account; earns 1 mile for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases (or 1 mile for every $2 spent, if you choose a card with a lower annual fee).
  • KeyMiles Debit Card – Earns 4,000 bonus miles for opening a certain KeyBank account; earns 1 mile for every $2 spent.
  • American Express Membership Rewards – Earns 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 charged to your AmEx card (you can then redeem those Membership Rewards points for OnePass miles at a rate of 1 point = 1 mile).

When you’re ready to cash in your miles and take a vacation, you might just want to kick back and let someone else do all the heavy lifting – in which case, a cruise might be just what the doctor ordered. The good news is that if you’re interested in taking a cruise more often than just when you’re redeeming miles, you can actually earn more miles while you’re on vacation if you book your cruise through the OnePass program.

If you book your cruise vacation with a OnePass cruise partner, you can earn up to 10,000 miles – plus 10,000 more miles if you pay for that cruise with one of your Continental credit or debit cards. The number of miles you earn for the cruise itself depends on how long the cruise is, so for a trip of 1-5 nights you’ll earn 1,500 miles. For a trip of 13+ nights, you’ll get the maximum 10,000 miles.

Some of the cruise partners in the OnePass family are:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean

Continental has an online shopping “mall” of sorts, like many airlines these days, where if you buy something from one of the participating retailers through that site you earn OnePass miles. The list of retailers you can access through the ShopOnePass site is extensive, and includes places you probably shop already.

The miles you’ll earn with the merchants at the ShopOnePass site varies depending on the merchant, but it’s very clear when you browse the site how many miles each one gets you.

In addition to the ShopOnePass site, there are a couple of “grocery partners” where you’ll earn miles for the money you spend on groceries. At Randalls, you get 125 miles for every $250 you spend. And at ShopRite, you get 1 mile for every $2 you spend.

Financial & Real Estate Services
If you’re in the market for a home loan, a new home, a mortgage refinance, or an investment plan, you might as well earn miles at the same time. With each of these partners, using their services can earn you big miles on OnePass:

  • Chase Financial Products
  • LendingTree
  • Sharebuilder
  • TD Ameritrade

Other Mile-Earning Possibilities
There are some ways to earn miles that end up in the “miscellaneous” category because they don’t really go anywhere else – but it’s important to pay attention to that category so you don’t miss out.

Some of the partners in the OnePass “other” category are:

  • Amtrak
  • SNCF (French Rail)
  • e-Rewards Opinion Panels
  • Direct Energy
  • Thanks Again Network

>> Learn more about the Continental OnePass program at their official website

photo by scot_w_9