Clarification on the Continental 25,000 Mile Credit Card

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I’ve received lots of email over my post suggesting that it is best to not apply for the Continental One Pass card for 25,000 miles even though that card will no longer be available in a few days.

To clarify commonly asked questions

Once the Continental card converts to the United Explorer card (because Continental and United are merging), you will likely NOT be able to get the sign-on bonus for the United Explorer card.

That’s because Chase usually lets you get the sign-on bonus ONCE per card type.  If Chase thinks you already have the United Explorer card (even though it was a converted Continental OnePass card), you run the risk of not getting the sign-up bonus on the United Explorer card.

The sign-on bonus on the United Explorer card has been 50,000 miles after your 1st purchase for most folks who have even 1 United mile in their account (very few unlucky ones don’t see the offer even with a few miles in their account).

This is a great deal and is one of the 12+ cards which have a 50,000 mile or more sign-up bonus in the Hot Deals tab.

So why sacrifice 50,000 miles from the United Explorer by applying for the Continental card with 25,000 miles?  You’re also limited in the number of Chase cards which you can apply for in a year, so it doesn’t make sense to apply for a Chase card for only 25,000 miles.

Each credit card application has an opportunity cost, and applying for the 25,000 mile Chase Continental card almost certainly means fewer miles on another Chase application.

The only time when I’d recommend applying for the Chase Continental card is if you already have the United Explorer card and are willing to take a chance that the terms, which indicate that you won’t get the bonus on both the United Explorer and Chase Continental card, won’t be enforced.

A reader has been able to get the sign-up bonus on both the United Explorer and Continental OnePass card after July 19, 2011, but both were targeted offers.

Bottom Line:  It is hard to let 25,000 miles slip by, but I suspect that most folks will benefit from waiting.  Patience and planning always pay off.

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40 responses to “Clarification on the Continental 25,000 Mile Credit Card

  1. You are NOT limited to the amount of Chase cards you get in one year. Stop spreading erroneous info.

  2. This caught my eye “You’re also limited in the number of Chase cards which you can apply for in a year,”– please tell me how many in a year?? I am wondering when do I need to worry ??as I now have 15 cards ( 12 in the last 12 months )from chase and want to get a few more , please advise –tks

  3. I think MP was referring to the normal 1-card-per-month rule at Chase. I’ve had 12 personals and 4 biz cards in the past 12 months and even gotten a couple in less than 30 days thru phoning.

  4. no such thing as one a month from chase , i have gotten 3 in same month , depends on many things , if i was 21 and starting out and never had or only have one c.c , they limit you like any bank would , if i was with chase 30 years had all kinds of accounts with them they would treat me different –

    I do not think anyone on the “blogs” know for sure and it is all a lot of speculation –sometimes they are right —and —-i have read many bad( miss info) replies from bloggers — not intentionally!! — yet i have never read “I DO NOT KNOW” will try to find out

  5. I like your blog, but this is incorrect information and bad advice.

    First of all, there is a good chance that Chase will match the CO offer to 50k, as they have been doing so for quite a while now…

    Secondly, you can do a double app for BOTH the UA and CO cards now, and get 100k. Once the CO card is terminated, you will no longer be able to do this, and your best bet will be 50k.

    My opinion is exactly the opposite of yours: if you don’t yet have the UA and CO cards, do a double app for them NOW, before it is too late. If you already have the UA card, then get the CO now before it is too late!

  6. Should I ditch my old United MileagePlus Visa? Would it get converted to an Explorer card?

  7. When I called the reconsideration line, I was denied approval due to having been approved for four cards in one year. The rep mentioned that the max number if approval is four in a year.

  8. Finally, readers decide. It is always good to know the two sides of one thing, isn’t it? I agree nothing is impossible and the case is different from individual to individual, but do not sound like there is guarantee you can get both bonus. Simple enough, if you want to risk it, just do it. It is not wrong to show readers risk and give some personal advice.

  9. The max # of Chase cards is a total YMMV type of thing. I’ve been told (twice) by two different Chase CSRs that I (personally) couldn’t have more than two new cards every 4 months, which isn’t true for everyone. Then the CSR proceeds to offer to cancel an older card to “make room” for a new card, which makes absolutely no sense if the rule was “new cards.”

    There are no hard and fast rules to this biz. You can either roll the CSR dice and call back, or play by the “rules” as reported to you.

  10. I agree with D. You always run a risk of things not going your way. I wonder if someone were to apply for the Continental Card between now and March 3rd if it would be mailed as a United Plus Explorer Card in the 7-10 business days it takes to arrive via USPS??? I have been a CO card holder for the past three years so when I applied for the 50,000 miles United Mileage Plus card I was eligible for the bonus. I did have to call the reconsideration line though because I was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred three months or so before this app.

    I believe that all situations are different and I also believe that every rep handles the calls differently. There are also a lot of factors that come into play, income, length of credit history in general, length of credit history with a particular bank, creditworthiness,etc. etc, plus the amount of inquiries for whichever credit agency that particular bank pulls your score from. Also, Chase seems to be more lenient with my husband and I because between the both of us we have Chase personal cards, a Chase Ink Bold for business, savings account, checking account, business checking and savings accounts, etc. etc.

    Bottom line is it depends on the situation and nothing can be guaranteed from the experience I have had with the miles/ points game and the banks.

    • @ace – Most folks can get only 4 to 5 open cards with Chase at any time. Surely, you’re not suggesting that you can get an *unlimited* amount of cards with Chase in a year? Or have 15 to 16 open cards with them?

      – As others have pointed out, it will vary based on your history with Chase, negotiating skills, income, credit rating etc. Do you currently have 12 open cards with Chase? If so, that’s quite a bit. At some

      @tassojunior – That’s good to know, but did you have all 12 open at the same time? Also, I suspect that you have a fairly long credit history.

      @Opinion – I prefer being conservative – especially when I stand to gain from the referral commission. I also haven’t read many instances of Chase matching targeted offers, so I don’t want to tell folks that they can apply for the 25K offer and then get matched to the better offer. Again, I’m not sure how you can get 50K from the CO card by doing a double app since the 50K CO offer is not public.

      @Matt MSP
      – At some point I suspect it will get converted, and Chase has already started providing incentives (a few thousand miles) to convert to the United Explorer card.

      – I’d call again and see if you can get approved. I doubt there is a hard cut off (4 apps), but suspect it depends on data specific to each individual.

      @Li – Good points. And there may be other offers in the next few months which may be harder to get if you used a Chase application for the 25K offer.

      @MJLouise – I agree with you. It is YMMV, but you also have to be realistic in the number of applications you make. I’m certainly not going to recommend that folks apply for 10 Chase cards a year, because it is unlikely that an average person will get approved for all of them. Yes, you can negotiate and call the reconsideration line to move credit etc., but you are limited to the total number of card they’ll let you have open at any one time.

      @Corinne – I agree with you completely.

  11. Did the United MileagePlus Explorer card bonus just drop from “up to 60K” to “up to 40K”? My mileage plus account still shows the ad for “up to 60K” but when I click on it, it takes me to a page showing 40K. It was showing 60K on the landing page yesterday, but I got my Sapphire Preferred Card in mid December so I thought it might be too early for me to apply for another. I hope I didn’t miss out!

  12. Will my old CO Chase card automatically become a Uniteed Explorer Card. Do I need to cancel my CO Chase cards before 3/3. And apply for the UA explorer to get the bonus

  13. This post is so, so wrong. There is absolutely NO downside to applying for the Continental card. If you send a secure message within 90 days, Chase will bump the Continental OnePass to 50k so, the honorable blogger, is seriously mistaken. If anyone wishes to forego an easy 50k miles, then go right ahead.

    “Thank you for your message regarding the Continental Airlines One Pass Plus Card reward program. I apologize for the delay.

    I have reviewed the application that you completed and the enrollment offer attached to that application states you will receive 25,000 enrollment miles and 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user after your first purchase
    within 62 days of the account opening. In addition, you received the first year annual fee waiver of $95.00.

    With the continual changes and promotional offers for many credit card products we at Chase will always consider allowing the newest promotion to be applied to any qualified accounts that were opened within the previous 90
    days of the offer. Because we want the Continental Airlines One Pass Plus Card to continue to be the Card of Choice, I added 20,000 miles to the account to match the offer. The adjustment will appear on the next billing

    It has been my pleasure to assist you. If you have any further questions, please reply using the Secure Message Center.

    Its that easy.

  14. FWIW, I was told by a Chase underwriter that Chase looks at the amount of credit they are extending to you, not the number of cards.

    • @Henrik – Thanks for sharing your experience and for posting, because you offer a different interpretation than mine.

      Sometimes I have to make a recommendation based on judgement (like in this case) and I realize that there could be different interpretations based on the available facts. Good deal with your extra 20K miles!

  15. How long does the status last? 1 year I’m assuming.

  16. My guess is that the reason people have so many differing reports about their experiences with Chase is that people’s incomes vary widely. Perhaps with an income of, say, $300K+, Chase might allow 12 active cards, but for others with more modest incomes, the number of cards allowed will be much lower.

  17. Your question was “Do you currently have 12 open cards with Chase? If so, that’s quite a bit.” –Yes 12 open , (oldest is 25 years) and plan to apply for two more in march

  18. Good for Stan. But as Darius has said umpteen times, having 12 open Chase cards and applying for them all within a few months is definitely not the usual . In fact the vast majority of personal experiences I’ve read about usually entail running into some opposition from Chase after 3 or 4 cards have been opened within a few short months. Add my own to that list. That’s great that a few of us can have an unlimited amount of cards with Chase but for most of us mere mortals, we need to be a bit more cautious. And I don’t think your advice is going to be held in much esteem for too long if you were to commonly advise others based on the exception as opposed to based on the general rule. IMHO.

  19. I’ve never had more than 5 Chase cards open at one time. I always recycle the credit limits and avoid the annual fees.

  20. Hi, were the winners of the Hyatt points announced yet?

  21. CanadianMillionMiler

    I think Daraius’s advice is solid and measured for us mortals. I followed his advice in applying for the Continental card yesterday given that I already got approved for the United Explorer’s card last month and do not mind “a credit enquiry”, it’s worth the risk for me since this is just my 3rd Chase card and the card is going away. I didn’t get instant approval and the application is still being processed. Hopefully if not approved, Chase will reallocate some of the credit line from existing cards to get me approved Eventhough I am not targetted, I am also hoping to get 50K from Chase Continental, there are quite a few who reported on Dansdeal forum that they got the 50K after after a secure message or by calling Chase to match.

    Regardless of the result, thank you Daraius for your analysis and advice. I’ll keep the forum posted on the result.


  22. The amount of Chase cards is limited by your available telephone minutes calling the recon line.

  23. Quite frankly, if Dariaus were to tell people to apply for Chase cards at-will at not worry about anything, I’d say his advice would be reckless. His advice, to be careful with you Chase inquiries, is solid. The particular limits will vary from person to person.

    Personally, Chase started giving me crap on about my 4th application or so within a year. (Had the old UA and Marriott, and closed the Marriott card before I knew what I was doing. When I applied for the BA card, I think I had to call the recon line, which was easy-peasy. However, getting the Sapphire Preferred card was a PITA; the first rep told me to f off (she wasn’t exactly pleasant about it) and the second grilled me pretty hard. The second even mentioned looking at my student loan payments to make sure they weren’t in deferral. Wow. However, they approved my United Explorer card without much difficulty. I did get the “decision pending” for that one, but they approved it without me having to call. I suppose that could be that they actually do have a history with me now, so they know something about my spending and payment habits.

    OTOH, I’ve been hitting up their business lines. I got the Ink Bold 50k offer before they switched over to the 5/2/1 offer, but then they targeted me for the Ink Classic. (Okay…) I did get the Continental *Business* card, which was approved yesterday (they gave me the “wait and see” message, but when I called, they had already approved it.) The Business Explorer card doesn’t come with the same limiting T&C that the personal one does, so my opportunity cost of wasting this inquiry is rather low.

    So, I think Dariaus’s advice is solid, particularly for those customers who are new to Chase.

    P.S. I generally apply for cards with a particular redemption reason in mind. If I’m “saving” up for an award (in this case, 2 J tix to Asia) I’ll pay the annual fee upon renewal if they kick me enough miles.

  24. CanadianMillionMiler

    @Daraius I called Chase using the number on the back of one of my cards today to inquire about my application but they said that the card was still being processed and it could take upto 30 days to get an answer. I politely thanked the agent and hung up and called the credit department (recon line) I asked if somehow the application could be expedited as from what I understand Chase stops rocessing Continental card on March2 and from March 3 onward all pending new Continental applications will be approved as United cards which would render my signup bonus null and void since I already got a United card last month and you can`t have the bonus miles twice. The agent said there was nothing she could do and I would have to wait until the application goes through normal processing. She didn`t appear too interested to help or to carry on the conversation. She sounded rush.

    I chose not to argue with her and thanked her for her time and hung up and called back the recon line, this time a nice gentleman picked up the phone and asked again if my application could be expedited, he asked me to hold on for a few minutes and he was going to check where it was at. After about 5 minutes, he came back and asked if I was going to be ok if he were to take some credit line from my Marriott card and applied it to the Continenal card, I said it would be fine and stated $5K credit line transfer when asked how much I wanted. So he then took a few more minutes then came back and asked me to speak with the verification department which verified my personal information. At the end of the process, she congratulated me and said my card has been approved and I should receive in in 7-10 days. I was told that I will be receiving a Continental card with 30K miles (25K+5K). They have noted on the account that I have requested to match the recent offer of 50K miles but said that there was no guarantee I would get it but to check back in a few days to see if their marketing department will approve my request.

    Thanks for all the advise and help Daraius!


    • @N – That could be one factor.

      @STAN – That’s great. Know that I am jealous!

      @Chris @Dan – My point exactly! Most folks seem to run into a limit around the 4 or 5 card mark, but there do seem to be some workarounds. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      @tassojunior – Thanks for sharing.

      @Marc – Yes, they were announced yesterday.

      @CanadianMillionMiler – Thanks for sharing the details. Hope you get matched to the 50K offer! I too have noticed that sometimes you have to call in more than once to the reconsideration line.

  25. Just thought I would add my data point – I researched this pretty throughly before applying, and my experience was almost identical to the one Henrik mentioned above – no real downside to applying as the match is still available (the response I have hear was from today).

    Thank you for your inquiry. Please be advised that we will
    be happy to honor the richer premium of 50,000 miles once
    you have received your first billing statement that shows
    your initial enrollment bonus. Please keep in mind that if
    your original enrollment included 5,000 miles for adding
    an authorized user, you will need to make sure you add
    that authorized users name within 62 days of the account
    open date. Once all of the original enrollment incentive
    miles have been added to your account you can respond to
    this e-mail and we will add the additional 20,000 miles.

    It has been a pleasure to review and respond to your
    inquiry. If you have any further questions, please reply
    using the Secure Message Center or feel free contact us
    at the phone number listed on the back of your card. .

    Thank you and have a great day! -Chase

    Hopefully everyone who did apply is able to replicate these results and receive the 50k points for the final Continental cards.

  26. CanadianMillionMiler

    Success with bonus mile matching!

    Another Datapoint: I applied for the Chase Continental card on Frebruary 27th, 2012 and the card was approved on March 1st (prior to the merger). Thanks Daraius and others here for your advice. I am glad I took my chance with a credit enquiry and applied within the available limited window to get the extra 50K Continenal miles that are now United miles. So 100K total United miles from the UA and CO signup bonuses. Secure message from Chase follows:

    Dear CanadianMillionMiler,

    Thank you for contacting Chase about your account ending
    in xxxx.

    Once you have made your first purchase and the initial
    enrollment bonus miles have posted to the account we can
    then match the 50,000 enrollment bonus offer. Please
    contact us at that time so we can make the necessary
    adjustments to your account.

    If you have any further questions, please reply using the
    Secure Message Center.

    Thank you,

    Ms. Mile Matcher
    E-mail Customer Service Representative


  27. Hi Darius,

    I bumped into your site just a month ago. I like what you post or rather say how you write in detail. I hardly ever post in any of the blogs . But the reason I am writing is I am going to score 50000+5000+25000+5000=85,000 UA miles which is so helpful for our family travel which is otherwise a dream.
    I read the above post abt the continental card on Feb 29th and the comments. I decided to do double app of CO and UA after reading Mr Opinion comment .But I didnt get instant approval for both cards. Then I was worried and read some other blogs and thought that it is of no use to apply both cards etc etc. I didnt get time to check back what other comments were posted here. But yesterday I recieved the UA card in the mail and chase letter that I cannot be approved for CO card. Then I started reading your blog last night to see what others are doing as the merger is complete. then I read like whoever called before march 3 were approved. I was so upset why didn’t I check back the blog .So today morning I called the chase reconsideration line with great hesitation and they approved instantly by closing my British airways chase card.He said he can transfer some of the credit limit from BA card to this one.But anyway my BA card annual fee is due next month.So I closed it. It was so easy.I am so glad I called them. Good news is my card is going to be united explorer master card. I was quite surprised when he first said your UNITED card will arrive in 5 business days . I asked him how can I get 2 united cards as I was already approved for 1 UNITED card. then he said the new card is UNITED EXPLORER MASTERCARD replacing the continental master card and the other one I was approved is UNITED EXPLORER VISA card. I am so happy that I read Mr Opinion comment and applied. I will get 25,000 miles after first purchase and 5000 miles for adding an authorized user. Thank you so much to you and MR Opinion once again. Keep up the good work you are doing.

  28. CanadianMillionMiler

    @anonymous Congrats, don’t forget to try sending a secure message to Chase asking for a bump up to 50K miles for your continental application so you get 100K+ united miles in total. By the way how did you get the extra 5K for the United application? I was told that they don’t give additional miles for adding an additional user on that card.

  29. @Canadian Million Miler Thank You. I requested the rep who approved my UA master card to bump up to 50K miles. He told that is not possible but I can get an additional 5k for an additional user. Can you explain how can I send a secure message to Chase for a bump up to 50K miles. For UA explorer visa card, the rep who verified my card told me I can get an additional 5K for an additional user.

  30. CanadianMillionMiler

    @anonymous – Go to and log on to your account, to the right of your name you will see “Secure Message Center” and send your requestthem to match 50K Continental offer. I had posted the positivr response I got from them (refer to my previous posting on this thread). Here is what I wrote (feel free to use/modify it as you see fit:

    “Yesterday I got approved for the Continental card which I
    applied on February 27 with a signing bonus of 25K+ 5K
    miles. However, I recently came across a few discussions
    online in various forums that there is a better offer of
    50K Continental miles, I would like to request that Chase
    kindly offer the miles matching of 50K miles that others
    have recently been able to get matched.

    Thank you kindly for all your help and I look forward to
    hearing from you.

    Warmest regards,


  31. CanadianMillionMiler

    @anonymous – Did you get it confirmed that you will get an additional 5K miles (adding additional user) for the United card? I called Chase and they told me that if you received 50K United Explorer offer, you are not eligible to get another 5K for adding additional user. Please advise.


  32. @CanadianMillionMiler—I called Chase again after reading your comment. You are right. There is no additional 5k miles for adding an authorized user. I remember the rep saying you get 5k miles if you add an user.So I did . whatever sorry for the confusion. Thank you for writing about the secure message center. I will write to them and see what happens. I will update once I know.

  33. @CanadianMillionMiler thanks for posting that template email. I was able use it to get the 25+5K matched to 50K. I’ll post again when the miles on both cards actually post to my accounts.

  34. CanadianMillionMiler

    @loveofpeace – Congratulations on your success! Glad to hear that my template worked out for you and hope you get all the miles posted soon!