Continental terminating relationship with Virgin Atlantic as of February 13, 2012

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.

Filed Under: Continental, Virgin
  1. I had the opportunity to fly LAX-LHR on VS Upper class and then on to BKK in TG F all for 70k miles if I recall correctly, was all that I could ask for. Too bad this product wont be available to CO members after Feb.

    Is this a result of the United merger or do you think the split was initiated by VS?

  2. @ RPM — I suspect it’s because of the merger. After all, they’re taking the “best of both worlds,” right?

  3. @lucky – Its a part of the merger and ATI with *A. Why would United pay to have people fly on a non-JV carrier over the atlantic when they could route you on either their flights to LHR or on a *A carrier to a 3rd destination.

    What I do hope is that UA does not keep those damn MPM rules that CO never had.

  4. According to Andrew at FTG even through Hawaiian Airlines advertises the award on Virgin Atlantic using HA miles, apparently their CS reps can’t book it or it is not allowed. You might want to verify that.

  5. Knew it was probably coming, but was secretly hoping VS would finally join an alliance and keep the relationship going (and add others)…my gold status is useless outside of VS flights!

  6. Wow! I just booked 3 UC tix using CO miles to LHR and return for this Summer. Lets just hope I will not need to make any changes after Feb 13.

  7. Thanks again Lucky for getting me the VS Upper Class segment on my CO award to Thailand via Europe later this year. It was nice to be able to mix that with TG F and OZ F. Too bad they do not have a Clubhouse at LAX, although they use the NZ lounge there, which should be nice.

  8. Same question as @Mike, How would one go about finding award space on VS now that CO will not display any because the partnership is over.

  9. I doubt Continental would end this relationship if United was considering on adding Virgin to Star. Ones this mean Delta and Virgin are getting closer working together again?

  10. @ Number21 — I don’t think there was ever a reliable source saying that Virgin would join Star. There’s no way United would want that, given what a strong presence they have there, and they have veto rights. I do think Virgin is probably considering joining an alliance, but regardless I’m willing to bet this relationship was terminated on the United/Continental side.

  11. The worst part for Onepass members: Virgin had the only flights between Miami and London to get Onepass miles. There are still no Star Alliance flights between Miami and London! Virgin was the only way to get those miles without changing in NYC or somewhere. Bad news. 🙁

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