I Received My 2017 Platinum Copa ConnectMiles Membership Kit

Once upon a time, Copa used the same OnePass frequent flyer program as Continental. But then Continental took over merged with United, and in so doing, dropped OnePass in favor of MileagePlus. Like it or not, Copa then ended up with MileagePlus. From a United frequent flyer’s perspective, this was actually kind of nice since we’d get most all of the same benefits flying Copa as we would on United.

Then about a year ago, Copa seemingly decided that every self-respecting airline ought to have it’s own frequent flyer program so they announced that they would be leaving MileagePlus and forming their own program called ConnectMiles.

That was all well and good in theory, but the problem was that that all of their loyal flyers were still members of MileagePlus. So in order to get them into their own program, they offered generous status matches to pretty much any United Premier, and sometimes to anyone with status in another program.

I was able to match my United 1K status to Copa Platinum. Ben and Tiffany matched from American. A lot of our readers did as well.

Free Access to United Clubs

For me, pretty much the whole purpose of status matching to Copa was to obtain free access to United Clubs while flying domestically. I just don’t see myself actually flying Copa, or crediting miles to my ConnectMiles account. But I do value access to the United Club, just at somewhat less than what United would like to sell it to me for.

So as a Star Gold member of a foreign frequent flyer club, I now get United Club access even when flying on an entirely domestic itinerary.

United-Club-Boston

The challenge was that Copa wasn’t very prompt in sending out credentials. I waited, and waited, and waited, but never received a kit. I eventually called Copa, and they assured me cards were being mailed out. In the meantime, I’ve been using an electronic copy that I downloaded to my iPhone wallet.

My 2017 Copa Membership Kit Arrived

Well, I just received my 2017 membership kit in the mail.

CopaKit1

The kit contained a welcome letter:

CopaKit2

A booklet describing the ConnectMiles program:

CopaKit5

My Platinum PreferMember card:

CopaKit3

And two luggage tags:

CopaKit4

In other words, it’s basically identical to my United membership kit. I’m actually surprised they didn’t include the drink chits — just because United does — even though they are superfluous when flying free-flowing Copa.

It’s also interesting that Copa status is good through the end of February, rather than January. I guess they didn’t copy quite everything from United. Then again, maybe the extra month is an acknowledgement of the rate at which things happen at Copa.

Is Copa Still Status Matching?

That’s actually a pretty good question. They stopped status matching last fall, probably because they realized that everyone with a Starbucks Gold card was now a ConnectMiles Platinum member.

But then Status Matcher reports that some people have been able to match again, with positive reports from as recently as January.

Then supposedly they stopped again in February with some folks being told that they program was undergoing a change, possibly even including the name. Uh oh, I hope these guys aren’t following the lead of Alitalia!

So who knows what is going on down there.

Bottom Line

Since it’s possible to download an electronic version of your ConnectMiles card to your smartphone, having the physical card shouldn’t be necessary. But there always seems to be a few old school lounge matrons who think a piece of plastic is more legitimate than a few pixels on a screen, so I plan to carry this card just in case.

What about you? Did you receive your 2017 Copa ConnectMiles card yet? Have you had any trouble accessing United Clubs? 

Comments

  1. Have you had issues with your United MP number on your ticket but using the Copa status to get into domestic lounges?

    Seems to be very hit or miss for me.

  2. I got mine in the mail last night too!

    @Don, I haven’t personally had a problem with getting into United Clubs, but I did have a rather grumpy agent in Chicago who didn’t want to let me in (saying Copa Clubs didn’t give access to United elites), but would let me in “as a courtesy.”

  3. I received my Gold ConnectMiles credentials today. In small print, it says that it includes access to Star Alliance lounges when traveling internationally on a Star Alliance member airline. Therefore United shouldn’t give access to the United Clubs when traveling domestically.

  4. Dave F:

    From the perspective of Copa, you are flying internationally when you are traveling about the US. Saying that you don’t get access on domestic itineraries, from the perspective of Copa, would mean flying intra-Panama (I do think they have one such flight.)

    I expect that this verbiage was copied from Continental because Copa copied just about everything else regarding their frequent flyer program (and airline in general) from them. It’s legacy text meant for Mileage Plus members.

    So all this is to say that United should — and does — give access to Copa Star Golds when flying domestically within the US. And this is true if you have any other Star Gold credential as well.

  5. worked perfectly for me a few weeks ago at LAX. However the lounge attendant didn’t seem too happy. It seemed like she “knew” I was “getting one over” on United.

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