In a series of gains, American Express has at least one big loss to put under its belt. That is, its reward program with the airline Continental will be coming to its end as of Sept. 30. This has been a year in the making now, so it should not come as a big shock to customers.
Credit card holders will, come that date, no longer be allowed to use their American Express for putting points on their Continental OnePass frequent flier accounts. Why? Because JP Morgan Chase has bought out the rights for its own card carrying public to redeem points, thereby forcing their major competitor out of the picture somewhat entirely.
The former CEO of Continental Airlines, meanwhile, is shaking his head at the decision on both parties, American Express and Continental itself.
“It was a decision they had to make. We’re going to see the results and, you know, they saved a lot of money by not bidding more, but they’re going to lose a lot of people,” said Gordon Bethune, former CEO, to CNBC.
He went on to stress that frequent flier programs in the past have often roused loyalty among the public. “It’s the upgrade. It’s getting your bag first. It’s not sitting in the middle seat,” he explained as to why exactly customers are so drawn to this vein of programs.
American Express customers will still be eligible for frequent flier mile programs at several other airlines, including Delta.
“Despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement with Continental to continue these benefits beyond September 30, 2011,” said Lynne Biggar, a senior vice president at American Express. This press release came out in September 2010.
Customers should act fast: they have until the end of the month to bank on the AmEx-Continental rewards program. If they don’t, their points will be proved null and void.