How to book Continental one way awards… sort of kind of…

Unlike United, Continental doesn’t allow one way award tickets, which is a huge frustration to many. However, The Points Guy outlines a way to kind of book a one way award. Basically, Continental doesn’t actually require you to book a roundtrip award, but rather an award that includes at least two pricing units. In other words, Continental does split up the cost of the award when you search on their online tool (for example, if you search for a coach award from the US to Europe, you’ll see each direction prices at 27,500 miles), though you need two pricing sectors in order to be able to book it.

So what that essentially means is that you could book an award from New York to Frankfurt for 27,500 miles, and then from Frankfurt to Rome for another 12,500 miles, for a total of 40,000 miles. It’s much cheaper than paying 55,000 miles and “throwing away” the return. Actually, you can make two useful one way tickets out of a Continental award. For example, you could book a one way ticket from New York to Frankfurt, and if you have a need for an award from New York to San Francisco later in the year, you could include that on the award as well. In coach it would still only cost you 40,000 miles (27,500 miles for the transatlantic segment, and 12,500 miles for the domestic segment).

I’m sure they’ll eventually allow “real” one way awards, but in the meantime this is a decent workaround if you only have Continental miles and need a one way ticket.

Filed Under: Awards, Continental
  1. is this for flights on Continental metal or does this apply for partner award redemptions using Continental miles?

  2. Interesting. Just a week ago, I tried to book something similar to the above on I was attempting ORD-EWR and then a month later EWR-CUN. bombed out with an error message and I assumed it was because I was mixing domestic and international. But, your last example above was Europe and domestic, so maybe errored out for another reason. Hmm…

  3. “I’m sure they’ll eventually allow “real” one way awards” I assume they WON’T allow real one-way awards. They’ll just become Mileage Plus.

    In fact I assume the reason they haven’t invested in one-way awards is precisely because the program isn’t long for this world.

  4. CO has never been great on the reward side in my experience. I really wonder how much of their program will remain in the new CO/UA program…

  5. You could also use the intra-columbia award for 8,500 miles, but the problem with that will be that it is a really short segment.

  6. SJS- Continental has the open jaw rule but does not enforce it in reality. Their engine just simply prices two portions- I have booked these online and over the phone. It may take some work, but it is doable.

  7. using this strategy would i be able to do

    SNA – ORD for one leg
    and LAX – DXB – BOM for the second leg of the “roundtrip” (using emirates for this leg).

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