The partnership between American Express and Continental Airlines is coming to an end. The card company announced this week that it was unable to reach a deal with the airline, meaning American Express cardholders will no longer be able to redeem their AmEx Membership Points for Continental OnePass Miles.
The change goes into effect September 30, 2011, giving American Express cardholders plenty of time to alter their memberships accordingly if they wish.
“While these changes will not take effect for quite some time, we are telling Cardmembers now so that they have a year to convert any of their points to the OnePass program and can also learn more about other benefits and options available,” said Lynne Biggar, senior VP and GM of American Express membership rewards.
Continental is in the midst of a merger with United Airlines, a move that might have played into the dissolution of the deal with American Express. The inclusion of United and the pre-established deals the large airline brought with it to Continental could have complicated the talks between the card company and airline.
Another factor in the split between AmEx and Continental might have been the relationship between Chase and the two airlines. Chase offers points-for-miles deals through both United and Continental, meaning it definitely would not want AmEx to have the same kind of deal with the combined United-Continental airline. Because of the substantial investments made by all parties, Chase might have been able to tell Continental not to accept AmEx’s terms.
What AmEx Cardholders Can Do
As mentioned earlier, American Express is making it easy on its customers by giving them more than one year of advance warning. Another piece of good news: You can still earn Continental miles by using your AmEx card. If you use an American Express Centurion card, you can start earning the following benefits, as of December 1, 2010:
• Earn a $200 airline fee credit to help cover costs such as checked bag fees or changed flight fees.
• When you spend on travel, a 20% points bonus will be credited back to your account.
The bank will also release the American Express Travel App, which includes flight alerts, travel guides and an airport lounge locator. For more information on AmEx’s move, click here.