United's Miles Program Combines with Continental's as of March 3

Attention miles club members of both Continental and United: Starting this Saturday, March 3, United takes one of the last steps in its merger with Continental as it officially combines the loyalty programs of both airlines.

Continental Website Also Disappears Mar. 3

‘Miles are Safe’

The single frequent flyer miles program will be known under the current United name of MileagePlus, and Continental’s old OnePass will cease to exist.

United’s website repeats these reassuring words over and over again: “Your miles are safe.” If you had miles in both programs, they are being combined.

As air travel analyst Rick Seaney noted, “United pretty much said they were going to take the best parts out of both programs.” He added, “In theory, the two programs are also gaining value because members will now have the benefit of the merged airline’s extended reach which means more destinations.”

That said, there are some changes ahead for miles program members.

What Will Change for Flyers

New account numbers:

  • If you had a United MileagePlus account number only, you should have received a new 8-digit number, and this is your account as of March 3. PIN numbers will also be assigned.
  • If you had a Continental OnePass account number, this will be your new United MileagePlus account number.
  • MileagePlus credit cards are still good to use.

Airline Frequent Flyer Programs: How They Work

New cabin names:

  • United Global First: The new name for first class
  • United Business: The new name for business class


  • Requests can be made to go on the waiting lists for Mileage Upgrade Awards, Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades until 24 hours before departure. After that requests are made on the United website or  reservations.
  • For Mileage Upgrade Awards that require co-pays, the co-pay will be collected when requesting the upgrade. If not upgraded, the co-pay will be refunded and miles re-credited for no fee.
  • On certain flights, Premier members on full-fare economy Y and B fares and Premier 1Kmembers on M fares are eligible for instant upgrades at time of ticketing.

Account balances and tracking miles:

There are new systems in place and the United website explains this thoroughly.

More Merger Changes – For Southwest and AirTran

Changes Coming to United Airport Lounges

Don’t look for the old Continental Presidents Club – or the United’s Red Carpet Club, either for that matter. These VIP lounges are being rebranded as United Clubs and you’ll start seeing the new name in airports around the world starting this weekend.


Published: March 2, 2012