Amtrak, Continental breaking up; a hint for others?

Continental and Amtrak have been partners for many years, offering the ability to earn OnePass miles on certain routes in the Northeast Corridor as well as the ability to move points between both programs at a 1:1 rate. There are a number of incredibly attractive awards in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program and the fungibility of points between the two programs was a great benefit for members of both. That relationship is coming to an end at the end of the year.

The move is tied to the expiry of the OnePass program as the new United Airlines moves to their new MileagePlus program. Not too much of a surprise there as the partnership is with a program that will be dying. According to Amtrak, they are trying to keep the relationship alive with the new MileagePlus, but that deal has not yet been finalized so they are warning members now of the impending change according to UnRoadWarrior.

This announcement opens as many new questions as it provides answers.

Currently there is reciprocity between the Amtrak and Continental lounge memberships. But that is ending in February and there is not yet a finalized agreement to continue it. Amtrak’s top tier elites also get the lounge benefit and there have been many issues getting it honored in the newly re-branded United Clubs.

There’s also the relationship between Continental and Virgin Atlantic. Back when they didn’t have access to Heathrow the partnership was great for Continental. Now that they do have access to Heathrow – and flights from 6 US gateways – the value of that relationship is certainly lessened. And United has never had that partnership as they had the Heathrow slots. The two carriers both had arrangements with Emirates but both killed them. There’s also Eva on the Continental side (though they’ve applied to become a Star Alliance member) and Qatar on the United side.

Lots of open questions that still need answers. Perhaps this move with Amtrak is a hint. Or not. Nothing like the joys of speculation with minimal data to support a claim.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.