||Oct 26, 09 11:02 pm
Ask UA Insider: Star Alliance Announcements & Discussions
Hi Everyone, well it’s finally official… Continental is now a Star Alliance member! This marks an unprecedented move from one major alliance to another, and as you might imagine, the amount of preparations that has led us up to this point has been extraordinary. Yes, there’s going to be some bumps as we complete our transition, and we appreciate your patience while we cement everything in place. As usual, we will look to our feedback channels as issues pop up (especially here on FlyerTalk), and will do our best to correct them quickly.
For those of you who want to keep up on today’s festivities,
be sure to follow us on Twitter
. Information about our Star Alliance joining ceremony webcast and other good stuff will be tweeted throughout the day.
Now, for the stuff we couldn't talk much about... until now.
I’ll do my best to touch on the big hits. Here goes…
The mileage earning charts for our new Star Alliance partners are now posted on continental.com. Shouldn’t be any big surprises here. In addition, you can now add frequent traveler numbers of our fellow Star Alliance members for new and existing bookings.
Lots of updates on this front. Here are the highlights.
- New Online Reward Charts… at last. You’ve waited long enough (especially you sbm12 and eagle92), now take it in. Our new Interactive Reward Charts are ready for you. Enjoy!
- Online reward redemption. As many of you know, we have a goal to have as many of our partners available online for reward booking as possible, and in the coming year, you’re going to see a lot of improvements on this front. In the mean time, we have our starting lineup of partners that may be redeemed online, in addition to Continental. They are: Copa Airlines (including Aero Republica), United Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, SAS Scandinavian, bmi British Midland, TAP Portugal, LOT Polish Airlines, EgyptAir, Air China, Blue1, plus inter-island add-ons operated by Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air. With these partners in place, you should see plenty of green on the reward calendars (despite some intermittent availability issues we're still working through). Stay tuned for further expansion! Reward bookings for all other partners, as well as three-cabin First Class rewards, will need to be booked over the phone. We look forward to adding online booking for these rewards in the coming year.
- Two partners not yet ready for redemption. There are two Star Alliance members that we will not have redemption capability on day one. They are: SWISS and Shanghai Airlines. We expect SWISS to be available for reward redemption by early/mid-November. Shanghai Airlines will likely take longer.
- Qantas partnership to end. Many of you saw this coming, and the date has been set. Continental’s OnePass partnership with Qantas will end on December 17, 2009. After this date, OnePass reward redemption and mileage earning on Qantas will no longer be offered.
- Expanded First and Business Class SaverPass availability for Platinum members. Continental Platinum Elite members will now have access to expanded SaverPass inventory for First, BusinessFirst, and International Business Class on Continental flights. Previously, this benefit only included BusinessFirst itineraries. Now it applies to all front cabin itineraries on Continental-operated flights.
- Star Alliance Upgrade Awards. We’re pleased to introduce Star Alliance Upgrade Awards. While our OnePass Upgrade Rewards are a better value for travel on Continental and Copa, our new Star Alliance Upgrade Awards give you an option to redeem miles for upgrades on 16 of our fellow Star Alliance members. Please note that upgrade amounts are per-segment (not per one-way) and in most cases, upgrades awards are only valid in conjunction with Y and B class fares. For redemptions amounts, refer to our updated OnePass Travel and Upgrade Reward Charts PDF. For more information and online redemption, go to our new Star Alliance Upgrade Awards page.
Our Presidents Club and Star Alliance Gold members have quite a bit to look forward to...
- Expanded lounge access for Presidents Club members. Presidents Club members and up to two guests or immediate family will now have access to United Airlines Red Carpet Clubs and US Airways Clubs without any same-day ticket requirement. In addition, members will have access to hundreds of lounges operated by Star Alliance members when departing on a Star Aliance flight. I hope you’ll agree, this is a major improvement.
- Lounge access for Star Alliance Gold members. As mentioned before, our OnePass Platinum and Gold Elite members are considered Star Alliance Gold, which among other benefits, gives access to most Star Alliance member lounges (including contract lounge locations) when departing on a same-day international Star Alliance itinerary. There are over 800 lounges in all. Have at it!
That's it for now. Thanks for your patience while we complete this transition, and we hope you’ll enjoy this new chapter in Continental’s history. And yes, there’s still more to come...