Here is my guess of what we will see happen.
Continental Airlines credit cards will become a thing of the past either later this year or the beginning of next year. If you want to add to your United account, apply for Continental cards before they’re gone. I would start with the Chase Sapphire℠ Preferred Card as they have the largest sign-up bonus at present: 50,000 points. They convert one to one into Continental miles.
My next application will depend on who puts out the next big bonus, either an American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card , The Platinum Card® from American Express, or a new larger, improved bonus on the
Continental Airlines OnePass® Plus Card (link expired). For now, get the Sapphire Preferred card and wait it out a month or two for the other cards to increase their bonuses. I can feel it in the air. Any Continental miles Chase has purchased in advance won’t be much good to Chase when the merger is complete. I’m guessing they are still sitting on a boatload of CO miles.
And after these two applications, you still have the United Mileage Plus® Visa Signature® Card card to obtain. As evidence of the increasing bonus offers, I just got a targeted offer as a United MP Elite for 50,000 frequent flier miles. First time cardholders only, though.
At the present bonus levels you will accumulate 50K+15K+30K+30K=125,000 miles in one program. That sounds like a first class ticket to me.
And the service from Chase is really improving all around. The Sapphire Preferred card gives 25% more on travel redemptions and a 7% annual bonus. I love talking to a real human being on the phone and I saved quite a bit since I encountered no foreign transaction fees while we’re traveling in Europe. And I have also noted an improvement in the responsiveness from the Chase secure email center as well. They really have taken over the credit card market while Citi seems to be very tentative in attracting new customers.
In short, get the Continental cards first, or the ones that transfer into Continental miles first. Remember that the transfer from Amex Membership Rewards to Continental miles ends on September 30th. That should be incentive enough to have you do cards that earn or can be converted to CO miles first. Remember the combined airline will be the largest in the world. You might as well have a few miles and future miles-earning credit cards with the biggest there is.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases