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Chase Continental Presidential 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.

The quest to earn additional frequent flyer miles has disillusioned many travelers. Banks and airlines have started to take notice, offering non-mileage rewards and perks, including free checked bags, priority check in, and discounted tickets.

The Continental Airlines Presidential Plus Card from Chase exemplifies this trend. The card offers plenty of frequent flyer miles, and many other non-mileage benefits.

Key Features

  • Earn OnePass Miles. For every dollar charged, cardholders receive one mile in the OnePass program and double miles on Continental flights. Cardholders can redeem OnePass miles for flights, car rentals, hotel stays, and merchandise.
  • Free Checked Bags. Checked baggage fees have become an unavoidable expense for most travelers. However, cardholders who book travel on Continental Airlines using the Presidential Plus Card do not pay fees for their first and second checked bags. This benefit applies to eight other companion passengers listed on the same reservation.
  • Presidential Club Membership. Cardholders receive full memberships to Continental’s Presidents Club lounge, which normally costs up to $475. Cardholders also receive membership privileges at United Red Carpet Clubs, US Airways Clubs, and more than 200 affiliated lounges worldwide.
  • Priority Service. Cardholders receive priority check in, boarding, security screening, and baggage service.
  • Luxury Travel Perks. Cardholders receive complimentary memberships in the Avis President’s Club, including free rental car upgrades and exclusive discounts. Customers also receive Gold Passport status with Hyatt hotels. Finally, customers receive free breakfasts, late checkouts, and other amenities when staying at one of the properties in the Luxury Hotel and Resort collection.
  • Earn Elite Qualifying Miles. For every $5,000 spent, cardholders earn 1,000 Elite qualifying miles. Cardholders who obtain Elite status in Continental’s OnePass program receive upgrades and other perks.
  • $95 Statement Credit. In addition to bonus miles, this card offers a $95 statement credit after the first qualifying purchase.
  • Travel Insurance. This card offers additional insurance that includes coverage for trip cancellation, lost baggage, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
  • Purchase Protection. Eligible purchases made with this card receive price protection, merchandise return protection, and extended warranty coverage.
  • Annual Fee. This card includes a $395 annual fee.
  • Interest Rates. This card has an interest rate equal to the Prime Rate plus 9.99%.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. The 3% fee charged for all purchases processed outside of the United States ended February 15, 2011.

Advantages

  1. Great Perks. Cardholders receive Elite travelers’ priority benefits. With the exception of free upgrades, cardholders enjoy just about every other perk afforded to frequent flyers.
  2. Checked Bag Fee Waiver. One trip can save cardholders hundreds of dollars when a large group of family or friends travel together. Unlike many other cards that only waive checked baggage fees for a single bag, this product also covers your second piece of luggage.
  3. Useful Lounge Benefit. Having access to a private lounge comes in handy, especially when dealing with canceled flights or major delays. Passengers can stretch out and relax, or work in peace, enjoying the quiet atmosphere of a private lounge.
  4. Statement Credit. The $95 statement credit helps mitigate the cost of the first year’s annual fee.
  5. No Foreign Transaction Fees. International travelers benefit from the elimination of this hefty fee for purchases made outside the U.S.
  6. Miles for Merchandise. Cardholders can redeem miles for deeply discounted items including electronics, fitness equipment, and housewares using the Miles for Merchandise website.
  7. Opportunities to Earn Double Miles. Cardholders earn double miles on Continental flights, and for qualifying hotel stays and car rentals.
  8. Unlimited 2 for 1 Business Travel. Business travelers can buy one full-fare BusinessFirst airline ticket and receive one companion ticket at no additional charge.
  9. OnePass Auctions. OnePass members can participate in exclusive online auctions, using miles to bid on event tickets, merchandise, and special offers.

Disadvantages

  1. Uncertain Future. Continental’s acquisition by United is currently underway. According to news releases from the airlines, United’s Mileage Plus program will survive the merger, while the OnePass program will be phased out. The programs may change, but your miles will still be honored by the airlines, and participants can transfer miles between programs. The future of the Continental Airlines Presidential Plus Card is unclear.
  2. Annual Fee. The $395 annual fee is expensive, especially if cardholders plan to only use this card to earn a few extra miles. Cardholders who travel frequently will receive the greatest benefits from using this card.

Final Word

OnePass miles will eventually become part of United’s frequent flyer program. In the meantime, customers have the opportunity to use this credit card to waive baggage fees and and to travel in style. This card offers more than just a way to earn a few extra bonus miles. If you can afford the steep annual fee, all of these perks make the Continental Airlines Presidential Plus Card a compelling product, for as long as it remains available.

What have your experiences with Continental Airlines Presidential Plus Card been like? Do you feel that the benefits justify the annual fee?

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, or airline. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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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  • Politux

    I love the card, and i love nothing about the merger. Excellent benefits and even more excellent customer service from the card. I hope this doens’t change with the new united cluster.

  • Jon T.

    Dealing with Chase relative my Presidential Plus account has been a continuing nightmare for the past several months. Based upon discussion,the Chase Master Card database was (hacked) compromised and as a result Chase has hounded my wife and I relative to changing our account, which we prefer not to do. As a result, the card has been deactivated repeatedly without prior notice relative to purchase, prearranged recurring payments (utilities, phone, etc.).
    We have spent hours on the phone trying to reactivate the card and get merchants paid.
    I have spoken to 3 Chase reps. within the past 32 hours relative to charges and a recurring payment that was not paid at 8:09 pm. today 5/13/13.
    I’ve requested to talk with a Chase V.P. repeated with no success, therefore Chase doesn’t care about its customers and certainly dies not have a customer friendly service attitude.

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