This is hands down the worst frequent flyer news of the year so far. Continental has just announced that as of February 13, 2012, they’ll be discontinuing their OnePass partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Per the announcement:
Effective February 13, 2012 we will discontinue our OnePass partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Mileage accrual benefits are valid for travel through February 13, 2012. Please refer to the Mileage Credit Request Form for information regarding obtaining missing mileage credit. OnePass reward reservations for travel on Virgin Atlantic must be confirmed and ticketed by February 13, 2012, and they are valid one year from the date ticketed.
I think we all saw this coming, though I was hoping it would be later rather than sooner. I’m not so concerned about the mileage accrual side of things, though redeeming OnePass miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class was always a real bargain. Virgin Atlantic has a phenomenal business class product, and their lounge in London is one of the best business class lounges out there.
Anyway, you can still make reservations for travel over the next year, though if you need to change your reservation after February 13, it will need to be for travel on a different airline that’s still a OnePass partner airline.
Keep in mind that you can use Continental miles to fly from the US to Asia via Europe, so you could conceivably book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from Los Angeles to London to Tokyo for 60,000 miles one-way, for example.
The worst part of this news is that I think once this relationship ends, there will be no way to redeem miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic without paying fuel surcharges.