American Express Parts Ways With Continental/United Rewards Program

Whenever you get an email from your credit card company notifying you of changes in your rewards program, odds are you’re not about to read some great news about fantastic benefits awaiting you. American Express told customers its Continental/United rewards program, which allows access to lounges, is flying away this week.

The email reads:

Effective Oct. 1, 2011, Continental Airlines will no longer participate in the American Express® Membership Rewards® and Airport Club Access programs.
American Express Cardmembers can continue to transfer Membership Rewards points to their OnePass accounts through Sept. 30, 2011.The Presidents Club® will continue to accept valid Platinum and Centurion cards for admittance to lounges through Sept. 30, 2011.

Customers have until Sept. 30, 2011 to transfer their Membership Reward points to OnePass miles, explore other options for club admittance and select a OnePass mileage earning payment card.

If this is affecting you, how will you handle the change? And what credit card gives you the most miles for your bucks?

(Thanks, Dan!)


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  1. eirrom says:

    Is the plan expiring in 2010 or 2011? The beginning of the statement says “Effective Oct 1, 2011”.

    Big difference between the two.

  2. jonquil says:

    Actually, I am completely blissful because Saturday I found out that my Amex points can be used at Amazon checkout. The exchange rate isn’t fantastic, but an exchange rate to something I actually use, and use frequently, is much better than an exchange rate to something I’m only vaguely interested in. None of their gift cards are at businesses I patronize and I avoid travel.

    By comparison, every time I’ve considered using Amex points to shop in their store, I’ve discovered that the merchandise they have available is obsolete — for instance, last spring, when they started offering the Kindle, they were offering most recently discontinued model, with wi-fi one generation back.

    • jonquil says:

      Agh. Hit submit too soon. Make that “data service one generation back” — the previous model didn’t have 3g.

    • jake.valentine says:

      I was excited when I saw that Amazon was taking Membership Rewards Points for payment until I saw the exchange rate. Good Lord! It is absolutely horrible. I am trying to figure out how to de-link the accounts now. I’ll stick with Home Depot gift cards for the 1,000 point = $10 rate. You are right though, there aren’t many good choices for me either in reference to what companys that you can get a gift card from. Its becoming less and less worth it to pay that yearly fee.

  3. evilpete says:

    The presidents club access was one of the few actually useful perks

  4. Sudonum says:

    I plan on canceling my AMEX platinum card at that time and go back to using the Green card. The Continental Presidents Club access was the only reason I kept it.

    • nbs2 says:

      If that was the only reason, why not go with the Chase/CO PP? I pay a lower annual fee, and have generally the same benefits (except for the loss of the other non *A lounges). Additionally, if I just feel like going plane watching, I can get a gate access pass from the TA in a couple minutes.

  5. 3rdUserName says:

    I’ll be done with Amex when this takes effect, the airport lounge access was the only thing keeping me a member..

  6. ZeGoggles says:

    The club access was part of the Amex Platinum card. Sad to hear.. but the letter I got, in my opinion, makes up for it. I will now get $200 a year towards one airline to spend pretty much how I wish. I can use it for bag fees, an in-flight meal, booze (I think), change-fee, etc.

    A little bit before this, they sent a letter out stating that I now had access to US Airways clubs regardless of what airline I was flying that day. Not a big deal to most I suspect, but big for me… I use DCA a lot. DCA is US Airways turf.

  7. jdmba says:

    What is “Continental?” Do they still fly. As long as Amex holds on to American, I am a fan!

  8. jake.valentine says:

    The reasons to keep my Amex are dwindling. I thought the Amazon acceptance of points would be awesome until I saw the crazy exchange rate. Time to start weening myself off of the platinum card. I’ll tell them I am downsizing them from my inventory and cutting costs……