Although United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass won’t be combined into a single program until next year, frequent flyer members can now freely transfer their miles between accounts and combine their elite activity.
There are a few restrictions to keep in mind when transferring miles. You can only transfer miles once per day in 1,000-mile increments, up to 200,000 miles per transfer. You can only transfer miles between OnePass and Mileage Plus accounts in your name and you can always move the miles back if you change your mind, but you will need to wait 24 hours. Most transfers will post immediately, but some transactions may require additional processing time. Your name and address must match to be eligible to transfer miles.
Members can also combine their elite activity. If you’re an elite member of OnePass or Mileage Plus, the other program will match your elite status. Also, any elite-qualifying miles or segments earned in 2010 in Mileage Plus will be added to the elite-qualifying miles or points you earned in OnePass. For example, if you earned 20,000 OnePass EQM and 5,000 Mileage Plus EQM in 2010, those miles will be combined and you will receive 2011 OnePass Silver and Mileage Plus Premier status. You must register to combine your elite status earning and designate either OnePass or Mileage Plus as your primary account for upgrades for the year.
You will receive your regional and systemwide upgrades only in your designated account, not in both accounts. If you don’t register, you will continue to earn elite status based on your activity in each separate program and your elite-qualifying miles, points or segments will not be consolidated.
Bottom line: Continental OnePass and United Mileage Plus are getting closer to becoming a unified program and members who don’t have enough miles for an award in one program may benefit from being able to combine their miles before the programs officially merge. If your miles are close to expiring, you can transfer miles to keep the account active. And elite members will now be able to combine their elite activity, which may even bump you up an elite level this year if you flew frequently on both United and Continental last year.