This very interesting email came today from Continental Airlines. Why so interesting? They are announcing System Wide Upgrades for their top level elites similar to the ones offered by American Airlines and United – good on virtually any fare class. Notably, Delta is the biggest carrier not offering this benefit (they have SWUs but they are only available on fare classes costing many multiples of discount coach).
As well, they are launching a new published tier that is linked to a published spend threshold rather than miles flown. Probably a smart move. The email follows:
We are pleased to announce these upcoming OnePass Elite benefits effective for earning Jan. 1, 2010:
Platinum Elite members who earn at least 100,000 Elite Qualification Miles (EQMs) or 120 Elite Qualification Points (EQPs) will earn four, one-way electronic System-wide Upgrade certificates. These certificates can be used in conjunction with any published fare on Continental, Continental Micronesia or Copa Airlines flights and are not subject to additional fees.
Learn more about System-wide Upgrades.
New Elite level — OnePass Presidential Platinum Elite
Presidential Platinum is a new invitation-only Elite tier designed to reward Continental’s top Platinum Elite members with some exciting new benefits. Members who achieve this level will be given all the benefits of a Platinum Elite member, plus top priority in Elite Upgrade recognition and flight standby, a dedicated VIP phone line and an annual fee waiver on the Continental Airlines Presidential Plus(SM) World MasterCard(R) card subject to credit approval. The Presidential Plus card is available to members residing in the mainland U.S. and Alaska.
The initial spending qualification will be $30,000*, and Elite members will be able to track their eligible spending at continental.com starting mid-year 2010.
Learn more about Presidential Platinum Elite status.
We look forward to rewarding our Elite members with these new benefits, which will be available for redemption and fulfillment mid-year 2010.
Sr. Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution
*$30,000 is the inaugural spend threshold for 2010. In subsequent years, this threshold may change in order to preserve the exclusivity of this program.