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I tried navigating the labyrinthine web sites for US Airways and Continental (both in the same alliance), and I gave up after the automated system made me rip my own ears off...

Does anyone know about the benefits of the US Airways and Continental frequent flyer programs? Are the benefits totally interchangeable? I am gold on US Airways, but lately my travels have me on Continental more for international flights, and I would like to take advantage of priority boarding, and the executive lounge (In particular at Newark).

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I'm possibly missing something, but why would benefits between two airlines that aren't in the same alliance be interchangeable? –  Gagravarr Aug 22 '11 at 9:54
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@Gagravaar I believe they are in the same alliance. –  Larian LeQuella Aug 22 '11 at 10:36
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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes, they are both members of the Star Alliance. So, for being gold on USAirways, you are automatically "Star Gold," across the entire Star Alliance network. The benefit of first class upgrades (unfortunately) is NOT one that you will be able to get when flying on Continental. That being said, most other benefits are reciprocal. For example, priority boarding? Yup! Lounge access (when flying internationally)? Yup! Free checked bag with a higher weight limit? Yup!

The next question is about miles. Because they are both in the Star Alliance, you can redeem your USAirways miles for flights on Continental, or any of the other 26+ partners they have. Same goes for anyone with Continental miles - they could redeem for flights on USAirways or any of the other 26+ partners as well. So, the key is to not have a few thousand with CO and a few thousand with US. If you're flying on Continental OR USAirways, make sure you earn miles on USAirways. It will not only help you keep your elite status, but will help you earn miles to later use on partner flights.

Be careful though... Not all flights will earn 100% of the miles you actually fly. For a full list of which "fares" will earn you miles, check out THIS LINK. It shows which Continental flights you will be able to earn USAirways miles on.

For US' other partners, THIS is the link you want to check to ensure you can earn miles. It will show you ALL of their airline partners and which flights you can earn miles on.

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I don't believe that the Continental and US Airways programs are directly integrated. It looks like you can earn US Airways miles on some Continental tickets.

US Airways and Continental are Star Alliance carriers. So, if you're a member of one of their frequent traveller programs (with sufficient status) then you'll get benefits on other Star Alliance Carriers. See the Continental Comparison for what their status corresponds to in Star Alliance terms, or the US Airways Comparison for theirs. See the Star Alliance page for details on what the different status levels offer you across all airlines in the alliance.

Because they're both Star Alliance, you'll likely have issues trying to status match between them though. Also, the complementary upgrades that certain tiers offer tend to be restricted to just on each airline's metal.

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I haven't tried it personally, but you might also try moving points back and forth between airlines using something like Points.com.

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