I was away when the Continental/United tie-up was announced and everyone else has already commented on this already. I won’t bore you with a long blah blah blah about it, I’ll bore you with a short point:
– We’re at least a year from this being implemented.
– Many of the details haven’t been decided, so it’s difficult to know what it really means for frequent flyers. In general, Continental flyers should be happy because the Star Alliance carriers have far better international products in business & first class, so you’ll enjoy nicer travel when you’re flying on a reward ticket to Asia. The domestic upgrade situation hasn’t been decided yet, so while frequent flyers of both airlines are probably grumbling that upgrading won’t be as easy anymore, it remains to be seen what will happen. Keep this in mind: Continental’s much-touted free domestic upgrades for elites isn’t nearly as great as it sounds anymore. Upgrades on transcon flights are nearly impossible to come by at every level – Continental flyers may decide they like the United program better because (gasp) they’ll actually be able to upgrade.
As I said, it’ll be at least a year before any of this happens so we can all calm down now.