Earlier this week, Chase issued one new credit card (the United Mileage Plus Explorer Visa) and modified the sign-up incentives for another card (the Continental Airlines OnePass Plus MasterCard).
The two cards, it turns out, have virtually identical features.&#0160; The sign-up incentives are the same as well.&#0160; And the cards themselves even look alike — from a distance, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart.
The similarities are not surprising, given that we are in the final stages of the integration of the United and Continental frequent flyer programs, at the end of which there will be a single program that retains the Mileage Plus name.
Both cards feature the following:
- Free first checked bag
- Priority boarding (after elites, before general boarding)
- Two airport lounge day passes annually
- Upgrades on award tickets for elites
- Primary rental car coverage
- Travel insurance
- Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
The United card also exempts cardholders’ miles from expiring, and promises: &quot;No limitations, restrictions, or blackout dates on Standard MileagePlus awards… a benefit that will be reserved for Cardmembers and Elite travelers beginning in early 2012.&quot;&#0160; The former suggests that the new program will carry over United’s current 18-month expiration policy for non-cardholders, versus Continental’s policy of allowing miles to persist indefinitely.&#0160; And the latter signals that non-cardholders will not have access to all unsold seats, even when redeeming at the higher Standard award levels.
The sign-up bonuses for both cards: 25,000 bonus miles after using the card for the first time, plus 10,000 bonus miles every year after charging $25,000.
Although the sign-up bonuses are less than compelling, the cards’ benefits are more robust than those available from other card issuers at the same price point.&#0160; So while this might not be the best time to apply for them, these cards are sure to find their way into the wallets of many United and Continental loyalists.
Other Posts of Interest
- New AAdvantage Credit Card Includes Lounge Access, Elite Miles
- Southwest’s Big Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Comes With 50,000-Point Bonus
- American Express Adds Value to Pricey Charge Cards
- Foreign Transaction Fees Are an Endangered Species
- British Air Card Now Offers 50,000 Bonus Miles, No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Continental Boosts Value of Its Frequent Flyer Credit Cards
- Delta Credit Card Permits Flyers to Bypass Bag Fees
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