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Chase Continental OnePass Plus Credit Card Review

By Jason Steele

This card has been discontinued since the merge of United and Continental Airlines. See the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card for the new version.

Airline-affiliated travel rewards credit cards have evolved to the point where customers are now expecting far more than just frequent flyer miles. Every year, banks and airlines strengthen their symbiotic relationship in order to generate more revenue from their mutual clients. In order to entice these passengers to use their products, the airlines’ credit card offerings now contain baggage fee waivers, bonus miles, and even cash back.

The Chase Continental Airlines OnePass Plus card offers customers all of the above and more. Given Continental’s ongoing acquisition by United Airlines, the real question is, how long will this card exist?

Key Features

  • Sign-Up Bonuses. New applicants to this card receive 25,000 OnePass miles after their first purchase. They may also receive an additional 5,000 miles by adding an authorized cardholder at no cost. Additionally, new customers receive a $50 statement credit.
  • Earn OnePass Miles. For each dollar spent, cardholders receive one mile in the OnePass system. Two miles are earned on purchases from Continental.
  • Additional Mileage Bonus. Cardholders receive an additional 10,000 bonus miles when their annual spending reaches $25,000.
  • Free Checked Bag. Cardholders can have a single free checked bag on all flights purchased with this card.
  • Additional Travel Perks. Cardholders receive priority boarding when they renew their card. Once the card has been renewed, customers also receive two lounge passes and several round trip ticket discounts.
  • Interest Rates. Applicants receive a variable APR, equal to the Prime Rate plus 10.99%.
  • Annual Fee. This card waives the $95 annual fee for the first year.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee. Charges processed outside the United States incur a 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • Travel Protection Services. The Chase Continental Airlines OnePass Plus card provides travel protection for cardholders, including trip cancellation coverage, lost luggage coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver, and roadside assistance.
  • Purchase Protection Services. The OnePass card doubles some manufacturers’ warranties for items purchased with the card. In addition, the card reimburses cardholders for eligible lost or stolen items purchased with the card.

Advantages

  • Bonus Miles. The Continental brand and the OnePass program will be assimilated with United’s Mileage Plus program by the end of the year 2011. You can instantly transfer miles between programs to get the most from this program. Existing United customers can obtain the 30,000 bonus miles and the $50 statement credit, even if they already have one of United’s co-branded cards.
  • Great Non-Mileage Perks. The non-mileage perks include priority boarding, a free checked bag, lounge passes, and a variety of discounts.
  • Annual Mileage Bonus. If you use this card for your daily expenditures, or for company-reimbursed business travel, there’s a good chance you will meet the $25,000 spending threshold each year, and thus receive 10,000 bonus miles.
  • Waived Annual Fee. The Chase Continental OnePass Plus card waives the first annual fee.
  • Special Offers and Promotions. Cardholders can sign up for special promotions and offers to earn bonus miles. Programs include earning double miles for ordering merchandise from designated online retailers, and earning bonus miles for staying at designated hotels.
  • More Ways to Redeem Miles. OnePass miles can also be redeemed for hotel stays and car rentals.

Disadvantages

  • High Interest Rates and No Introductory APR. Like most rewards cards, this card has high interest rates. This card is only for people who always pay their balances in full, and on time (i.e. how to use a credit card & rewards wisely).
  • High Foreign Transaction Fee. The 3% foreign transaction fee is egregious. Chase has waived this fee on many of its travel rewards cards, but they haven’t eliminated the foreign transaction fees on the Chase Continental OnePass Plus card.
  • Annual Bonus Limits. The 10,000 bonus miles are a one-time bonus each calendar year, no matter how much is charged to the card.
  • Annual Fee. The hefty $85 annual fee will have to be paid annually after the first year.
  • Double Mileage Limitations. Cardholders only receive double miles for flying on Continental Airlines. Flights booked on other airlines won’t receive bonus miles.

Final Word

Receiving sign-up bonuses near the end of a frequent flyer program is a strategy commonly used by people who take advantage of frequent flyer programs to travel for free. When Continental and United’s merger was approved, many people assumed that they could transfer miles between the two airlines. United and Continental both use Chase for their credit cards, so it is possible that this product will survive the merger, with a different name.

The Chase Continental OnePass Plus Card offers a host of valuable and innovative travel benefits, and it is up to you to seize the offer while it is still available.

Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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