Continental and United complimentary elite domestic upgrades

I joined OnePass more than 20 years ago and still have my original card, which includes the Eastern Airlines reservations number and logo on the back. I also signed up for the Continental Airlines Chase checking account & have been accruing miles for my purchases, as well as earned 25,000 bonus miles. So, I suppose it’s about time to take my very first Continental Airlines flight ever. Yes, that’s right, I’ve never flown Continental.

In scouring through airfares to get a jump on 2011 mileage, I came across a couple of unbeatable mileage runs on Continental coming in at 2.46 cpm and 3.36 cpm. You’ll remember from my recent post that any mileage run around 3 cpm is fantastic, and the one I got for 2.46 is just unheard of. I’ll delve more into the exact routings another day, so for now I’ll get to the point of this post.

With the merger, Continental and United are granting elites from either carrier the benefits they deserve, for the most part, and upgrade reciprocity is one of them. I was able to secure exit row seats on all my Continental flights in the event upgrades don’t come through, but was still unsure of where I fall in the rankings. Here they are:

Each carrier is favoring its own elites first in the pecking order for the upgrades, which makes total sense. The upgrades will clear so long as upgrade space is available at the times shown before departure. So for me as a 1K, I’d clear at the 120-hour mark behind Continental’s top two tiers and United’s Global Service members. United’s premium service flights (p.s.) are still excluded from the complimentary upgrade program, and Continental only allows free upgrades to Hawaii on its flights from California.

I’m looking forward to finally flying Continental, even if I am 20 years late and just before the name is no more.

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