The awesome CO Insider posted on FlyerTalk about upcoming OnePass changes, and they’re overwhelmingly positive.
First let’s go with the really, really, really interesting news. Continental has released their award chart for next year, and it’s surprisingly reasonable! Given that Continental is joining Star Alliance I was expecting award prices to be crazy expensive, since they will all of a sudden have access to so much award inventory yet insist they won’t block any partner award space. Surprisingly enough, the award levels for first class are basically the same as what United charges. Don’t get me wrong, there are better value programs out there still, but this is good. For example, first class to Europe or Japan will cost 135,000 miles, while first class to North or South Asia will cost 145,000 miles.
The other good news is that the partnerships Continental has with Emirates and Virgin aren’t ending, so you can continue to redeem miles for travel on those two carriers even when Continental joins Star.
Now, on to the other news, per the thread on FlyerTalk:
OnePass Platinum and Gold = Star Alliance Gold
This was expected. In the past only Platinums had top tier SkyTeam status, which meant Gold members didn’t get lounge access when traveling internationally. Not anymore.
Same-Day Change fees will be waived for Platinum Elite members.
It’s about time!
No more Elite upgrades on Northwest Airlines.
And finally we know the date. I was hoping they would continue to offer reciprocal upgrades until Continental leaves SkyTeam at the end of October, but the Northwest upgrades will actually go away on October 1.
Full Elite Qualification is back. Effective Oct. 27, you’ll earn 100% Elite Qualification Miles and full Elite Qualification Points on discounted fares, regardless of where they’re purchased. To all of our loyal corporate travelers: message received
Smart! For the longest time Continental only offered 50% elite qualifying miles on discounted tickets booked anywhere but continental.com. I think this also means it’s safe to assume that United isn’t switching to the Continental model on this.
Anyway, there are some other changes which you can read about through the link above, but that’s the exciting stuff.
Now to dream for just a minute — any chance this will pressure United into reconsidering Starnet blocking? Could it be that it will be Continental pressuring United into discontinuing this practice? Keep in mind that if Continental doesn’t block any partner award inventory, it’s in their best interest for United Mileage Plus members to have full access to the inventory, since that will leave less for OnePass members, which means Continental has to pay less to partners. Hmm….