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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