The Continental/United merger may not be officially consummated for several months, if ever. In the meantime, what should you do to make sure your frequent flyer points with the two airlines don’t fly the coop? Consumer Reports has some tips to protect your miles, including cashing some of them in right now, before any changes are made to the reward structure.
Some other tips to keep those precious points intact:
Make sure the info each airline has on you is consistent. If you are a member of both United and Continental programs, you’ll end up with a fatter points total—if the two properly combine your accounts.
Make your voice heard. In the next few months the two companies will decide which goodies to keep from each plan. “One thing I know about the people who run reward programs, they want to know which benefits their loyal customers like best,” says Linda Young, managing editor of Inside Flyer.
One upside according to CR, is that the two airlines “have already taken steps to combine their rewards programs. Continental recently switched to the Star Alliance reward group; United is also a member, so flyers can now earn points on either airline’s flights. And Chase runs both credit-card reward programs.”
Still, the spend-em-while-you’ve-got-em approach may not be a bad idea. As CR warns: “AprÃ¨s merge, the cost of flights and the number of points needed to earn freebies could go up.”
What to do with your Continental and United frequent-flier points [Consumer Reports Money]