Just earned 25,000 Continental OnePass miles

The weeks since the Ann Arbor Fair Do a few weekends ago have been miles rich for me. A while back I used to ignore lucrative offers if they weren’t for my preferred frequent flyer program. The more I look at the offers out there, the more I diversify because it really is so easy to rack up miles. 25,000 miles here, 50,000 miles there, all for only a few bucks and a few hours of my time. Do that once or twice a year and you’re looking at a free international first or business class ticket. This is something that Frugal Travel Guy and Gary have mastered.

I’ve started churning credit cards (120,000 miles and counting), and today I signed up for a Chase checking account, for which I earn 25,000 miles once all is said and done.

Of course opening up a checking account was a 45 minute adventure at my local Chase branch. The “personal banker” could at best be described as a dud. “Hmm, you must like to travel. I’m the opposite, I’ve never left the country.” Then we started to talk about the debit card as such, and he told me that the merchant fees are lower on credit cards than debit cards. “Well the people at my nutrition store tell me to swipe it as credit, so it must be.” Yeah, right.

Anyway, all I had to do was open a checking account with a $100 deposit and get the Continental Chase debit card which comes with a $25 annual fee, and I’ll have to make five payments with the card without using my PIN. I’ll be back next week to open up a business account (which will be a sole proprietorship in my name) and will bring my dad so he can open a personal and business account as well. This can apparently be done once a year each for your personal and business accounts. So that’s 50,000 Continental miles a year just for that. Add a credit card or some transferred points and you’re looking at an award in no time.

If you want to open up a personal checking account with this offer you’ll want to use this link, and if you want to open a business checking account you’ll want to use this link. Seriously, this is a total no brainer.

Comments

  1. I definitely want to do this, but I already have a Chase checking account… is this offer good without linking a direct deposit? Also, what do you have to do/show to open a business account? I *do* do a bit of freelance work… šŸ™‚

  2. You should be able to do this even if you already have a Chase checking account, you just have to fund it from a non-Chase account. No direct deposit is required. As far as a business account, just tell them you do some consulting on the side and it’s a sole proprietorship, with the name of the business being your name. Just tell them you want to separate your personal and business finances. That’s what I’ll do on Friday, and I’ll report back on how it goes.

    Also, I believe you can make the initial deposit into the account with a Mastercard/Visa and have it count as a purchase. I’ll try that on Friday as well with my Mastercard that has the cash advance limit set to zero.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong on any of the above.

  3. I’ve been tempting to do this. Have you tried the AA Citibank checking account offer? It seems that the CO and Chase deal is simpler to setup.

  4. I already had a Chase United Mileage Plus checking account (from last November) when I did this in May… The only rule is that you can only do one “promotional” checking account per calendar year. (business and personal each count separately so it’s really 2: 1 personal and 1 business.)

    The continental one is WAY better organized than the United one. It shows mileage earnings right on the chase website – the United one doesn’t. Plus with the united one they opened a new MP account and credited the miles to it. It took calling them every month for 6 months and them swearing it’s fixed before they finally fixed it, but now it’s broken in another way: they aren’t giving me the 2 miles per $ spent on .bomb. UGH! It took forever for the United miles to post, but the chase ones took WAY less time to post than they claimed in the T&Cs.

    When they asked me why I want 2 personal accounts I told them 1 was to keep charges reimbursed by my employer separate. They seemed satisfied with that excuse.

  5. Do you know if this CO debit card gives one free bag on Continental like their CC does? This might make it more attractive (at least until they join star and they’ll have to give me the normal *Gold luggage allowance).

  6. If you find out how to make the initial deposit using your credit card please let us know. I’ve done this with Citibank (I managed to get them up to $50,000) which yielded a lot of miles but I’ve never heard of Chase permitting this.

    Keep us posted.

  7. @ imm2b — While I would prefer American miles if the deal were the same, the Continental deal is MUCH simpler and also nets you more miles.

    @ HunterSFO — Great points, and thanks for the info.

    @ Tom — It sure does. That’s potentially valuable….

    @ sbe — It’s funny you mention that. As I was opening my account the guy asked how I wanted to make the initial funding. I asked whether it would be alright to use a credit card. He goes “I guess so, but I’ve never seen anyone do that before. You really seem to like miles.” When I gave him my credit card he said he selected check as the form of payment earlier, so I didn’t make a fuss out of it. I will try using my credit card when I open up my business account, though. I set the cash advance limit to zero, so I have nothing to lose. I’ll report back. Does anyone have any experience with this?

  8. One thing you can do with your Continental miles, in case you don’t pick up enough for your premium international flight, is convert them 1:1 into Amtrak guest rewards point. You can go Tampa to New York in a roomette for 15K points and in a bedroom for 20K — both with first class service, of course (I’d love to try these out). Works out to a redemption rate of 3 and 4.5 cents per point, respectively. And these rooms seat 2 people šŸ™‚

  9. How do you change the cash advance limit for an AAdvantage Citi Bank card? I was on-line earlier in the week and couldn’t even find what my cash advance limit was, let alone change it. I’ll look again.

  10. @ Ron — That’s definitely an interesting idea, although I consider myself more of a plane enthusiast than a train enthusiast, to be honest.

    @ Rochester Rich — I have no clue how to do it online, but if you call they can change it or tell you what your cash advance limit is.

  11. @Super — naturally, the longer the journey, the higher the value, because you get more treats and service. Assuming you’re in it for the experience, of course.

  12. @ Rochester Rich – I was looking for the same yesterday. I found that if you look at your monthly statement online, it has the cash advance limit listed.

  13. I just ran through the account opening process online to see if, perchance, it could be worked that way. Alas, after entering the coupon code, I was informed that it was “invalid, expired, or has already been redeemed.” Since there are no Chase brances in my state, i guess I’m out of luck.

  14. I just got both accounts.

    The banker hadn’t seen this deal before, and was new to Chase since the location was a previous WAMU location. They also tried to up sell me on the Business debit card to the one which costs $65 a year. But without it, you still earn the extra 15k with 5 transactions.

    So looks like I’ll get 50k for $25 as soon as I get the debit cards and make the required transactions.

    The banker did note that if I don’t incur 5 transactions per month on the debit cards I’ll incur a fee. I can fix that by simply cancelling once the points post to the account. Does this sound right?

  15. Does this offer work in California and can you open the account online? I also am wondering if they run your credit report when opening a chase account. I’m thinking of buying a house soon and would not like to have another inquiry on my credit report.

  16. Sorry, you can’t apply for this offer online, and as far as I know this offer works in CA. I don’t believe they run your credit report for this, but I might be wrong.

  17. Went to my local (CA) branch yesterday with the continental 25K mile coupon. Apparently, California WaMus are STILL WAMU and are not chase until October. Therefore, no reward debit cards, and especially no bonus.

    My question is, if I open my business checking account now, come october can I then apply for one of the miles cards and get the big bonus? Or is it only for opening a new account?

  18. I think it only applies to new accounts, so I would just wait until October. You can do this once per calendar year (AFAIK), so you’re not losing anything by waiting.

  19. I’m getting mixed messages about the Business Account. Does the business account require the $65 card?

  20. @ weeklyflyer — The offer says the following, so I’m going with yes.

    “Get another 15,000 bonus miles3 after your first qualifying purchase4 if you open a Chase Continental Airlines Business Debit Card (annual fee applies)5”

  21. Hey folks — just did this at my local Chase branch (which used to be WaMu). I think things may have changed a bit:

    1) The debit card is now $65.
    2) They could only deposit money into my account via cash advance, and since I have it set to $0, they couldn’t do it.

    25,000 miles for $65 is still a great deal, but the $25 is gone, at least from where I am (New Jersey).

  22. @ Sung — Were you singing up for a business or personal account? The personal account gives you the option of a $25 or $65 debit card, while the business account only has the $65 card.

  23. just a quick update for california folks…i went in to chase today and they gave me a date of october 26 when the wamu system converts to chase and hopefully the coupon code works for the promo. thanks lucky for finding this.

  24. @ Dan — It’s insane how easy the miles are, isn’t it?

    @ chontz — Thanks for the update. That should make lots of people happy. šŸ™‚

  25. @lucky — sorry for the delayed reply. You’re right, I didn’t ask for the $25 debit card. However, I did get an additional 2500 miles. But it’s curious — here’s how the miles deposits went:

    09/08/2009 Continental Debit Bonus 10,000
    08/31/2009 Continental Debit Bonus 12,500

    I opened the account on 8/14/09. Is this how your deposits went, too? Did they come piecemeal? I’m missing 5000 (the second deposit should’ve been 15000, I thought), but I wonder if they break it down into chunks to make you keep your checking account open.

  26. @ Sung — Mine posted a bit differently. I also had two separate postings, but they were on the same day and both were for 12,500 miles.

  27. The business link does not give a coupon code…aren’t we required to give the banker a unique coupon code before we get the miles?

  28. I just went to my local chase bank to open the accounts: business and personal and… personal is no good in California. For some reason the business one is not a problem.

  29. I have been trying to get the continental bonus through chase, and it says my coupon code is invalid, I have refreshed my browser and received another code…but still says invalid….any suggestions?

  30. FYI: I also was unable to open the accounts back in August because I’m in California. But the October 26th date mentioned above did seem to be the turning point; I successfully opened the personal account two weeks ago and the business one today.

  31. Hey I just have a question. I wan to open a Chase Contintental Preferred debit Card and get 25,000 miles but how do I reedem my miles? Lets say I want to go to Europe next year and the total mileage for the roundtrip is 11,000…would that mean that I would travel free and still have 14,000 miles? Or how does this work? Im a little confused and it sounds too good to be true….

  32. @ Daniel — You’re right, that would be too good to be true, unfortunately. You typically earn a mile for every dollar you spend on a credit card, every mile you fly, etc., but that’s not how redemptions work. The cost of an award ticket is dependent upon the airline’s reward chart. You can find Continental’s award chart here:
    http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/onepass/rewards/travel/rewardTravel.aspx

    As you can see, a trip to Europe would cost 55,000 miles in coach and more for first or business class. Hope that helps!

  33. Ben,

    I have friend I am helping to plan a Tahitian cruise for their honeymoon. The air component of the cruise would be on Air Tahiti Nui.

    Any experience with them or know of anyone that has?

    If you have, any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  34. hi, has anyone of you opened a second checking account with chase and gotten the miles? I already have one account with chase and it’s my main account. I don’t want to close is and open a new one just for miles because it would be a huge problem for me.
    thanks
    konrad

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