With the traditional falloff in travel beginning after Labor Day, airline marketing departments have perked up and are rolling out special offers designed to make the best of a bad situation.
The latest is Continental's new "Mileathon" promotion.
Between September 1 and December 31, OnePass members will earn credits for completing various qualifying transactions on continental.com, including enrolling in the program; using online check-in; and booking flights, hotel stays, and car rentals. The credits can then be converted into bonus miles, up to a maximum of 100,000.
Credits range from a single credit for checking in on Continental's website to 50 credits for signing up for a Continental Presidential Plus World MasterCard (annual fee: $375). Bonus miles are awarded as follows: 500 bonus miles after earning five credits; 1,000 bonus miles after 10 credits; and so on up to 100,000 bonus miles for 200 credits.
Registration is required before earning credits, and must be completed by November 30.
There is also a prize for the top earner in each partner category: "a dream vacation for two including First Class or BusinessFirst airfare, hotel accommodations and more."
Continental's offer has two especially attractive features. First, you have a full four months to rack up credits in different categories. And second, the maximum payoff—100,000 bonus miles—is generous enough to make it worthwhile to jump through a few hoops.
If this sounds familiar, it may be because it's similar to US Airways' current "Grand Slam" promotion, which awards up to 50,000 bonus miles for partner transactions completed by November 15.
Hoops? Let the jumping begin.