Full upgrade reciprocity between Continental and United is now live!

Well, it’s official. Continental and United are now offering full reciprocity for their elites when it comes to upgrades and premium seating. Continental elites get access to Economy Plus, while United elites get access to exit rows and “preferred seating” (the first few rows of coach) on Continental. On the upgrade front, there’s full reciprocity. As a 1K you (theoretically) clear 120 hours out. It’s kind of funny that you clear earlier on Continental than on United (only 100 hours) as a 1K.

Anyway, this is pretty good news. It will definitely make my trips to New York a bit more comfortable.

Filed Under: Continental, United
  1. Great. Now in addition to understanding which United flights could bag me an upgrade, I now have to consider out which airline is more likely to put me in First…

  2. Assuming you’re flying into EWR instead of JFK?

    @mrpickles 1K (and 1P) receive 100% bonus miles on CO flights already.

  3. I want to use my SWUs on CO which has a much more extensive EU network. When can we expect to see this?

  4. I really don’t want to fly CO without the miles counting towards lifetime UA mileage. For that reason, I probably won’t step aboard CO metal unless it’s operating as UA. 🙂

  5. In reading about this, I find out that as a United 1K traveling on CO with a non-status companion (on the same PNR), our upgrades on CO are not processed according to my status. They are processed as a non-status, which probably means NO UPGRADE.

  6. So I shall now be in the market for CR1’s when I get my status matched to CO! Lord knows I would only fly UA on ps and 744 flights 😀

  7. @El_Chiflero: And I know you’ll be holding vigil for the 744s themselves to be used as p.s. aircraft. =D

  8. @Koroleon – From the little checking I’ve done it doesnt look like even CO SWU would clear on most intl flights. CO seems to actually SELL its premium cabins most of the time, except for 1 or 2 seats used for miles-upgrades if you are lucky enough to grab them.

    re companion upgrades – as a CO Plat your companion doesnt have to be on the same PNR. If they are, both of you will have to wait till the airport to clear! If they are not, you will clear as usual but you will have to request the companion upgrade at the airport. NOTE that I am not saying this applies to UA Elites – ONLY CO elites.

  9. I think there needs to be some clarification on the companion upgrades. I can’t imagine that the merged entity will continue to allow upgrades for both the elite AND companion at the respective elite window. When the two entities become one there will be a bazillion top tier flyers and hence each elite could possibly hog two UDU spots. CO has it right with telling elites to split the PNR. If companions are really concerned about sitting together then they should process at the lowest level persons status. UDU for companion is a courtesy that should only be extended at the airport. If it is important for your companion to sit in front prior to the airport upgrade then cough up the miles.

  10. travelgirldc and hunterSFO are both correct. I just spent countless hours back and forth between United and Continental’s elite desks. The 2 programs are opposite. With United, the companion inherits the highest elite’s benefits on the PNR. On Continental, the benefits are determined by the lowest elite status on the PNR. That said, United’s explanation site contradicts what actually happens if you book Continental flights through United: http://mileageplusmergerupdates.com/en/mp/ForElites/EliteUpgrades Also, if you want separate PNR’s on an already booked itinerary for your companion and yourself, United will cancel (with all the fees) and re-book; Continental will do it with no fees or changes.

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