Both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express offer a free companion certificate each year upon renewal. This means that once per year you can buy a round trip flight for two people and pay for just one (plus taxes and fees for the other). Here are tips you need to know to get the most value from your certificates…
Update: I’m not sure when this changed, but you can now (finally!) apply eCredits to the cash portion of your booking. That’s a huge improvement since changes and cancellations (which are now usually free) often result in eCredits which are usually good for just 1 year. Hat Tip: Eye of the Flyer (and also a reader who reached out separately).
- Buy tickets early. Companion Tickets are only valid for economy discount fare classes L, U, T, X, V and, for the Reserve card only, comfort+ fare classes W, S, and premium-class (Premium Select, First Class, Delta One) fare classes I, Z, P, A, G. If you wait too long before booking your tickets, you may not find two available seats in those fare classes.
- Assign the primary ticket to the person chasing status. Only the primary passenger earns redeemable miles, medallion qualifying miles, and medallion qualifying dollars. The companion gets nothing but a free flight… and pretzels.
- Benefit from elite upgrades. Companion Tickets are eligible for complementary Medallion upgrades to Comfort+ and First Class (details here). You may also apply regional upgrade certificates.
- Use your eCredits. If you have eCredits (from previously cancelled flights, for example), you can now apply those credits to pay for the cash portion of your fare.
- Splurge for first class. This tip applies only to Delta Reserve card holders, since the Platinum companion pass can’t be used to book first class. When tickets are particularly expensive across the board (during holiday travel, for example), you may find that first class tickets are only moderately more expensive than coach. In those cases, you can use the certificates to get two first class tickets for less than two coach tickets would have cost without the companion certificate.
- Complete travel within 1 year. Certificates expire 1 year after they are issued. And to use a certificate, it is not enough to book a flight before it expires: you must fly, and complete the round trip, before it expires.
- Take the bird in the hand. Imagine that you have an opportunity to use a companion certificate for a $300 flight. You may be tempted to pass up that opportunity and wait for a flight that costs much more. But, if you do so, you risk letting the certificate go entirely unused before it expires. Unless you are certain that you’ll have later better opportunities, I’d recommend taking advantage of the small opportunity you have now rather than waiting and hoping for a better opportunity in the future.
- Be generous and book others. Just because a companion certificate is in your Delta account does not mean that you have to fly to use it. You can book the tickets for anyone. If you have a soon-to-expire certificate that you can’t use, let others know. Most people with plans to fly two people on Delta will be thrilled for the chance get one ticket nearly free.
- Earn 5X and companion fee reimbursements. A strange quirk of the Delta companion ticket is that you have to pay with an American Express card, but I’ve found (despite terms that say otherwise) that you do not have to pay with a Delta American Express card. Any Amex card will do. So, if you have a consumer Platinum card which earns 5X for airfare, you might as well use that! One great side benefit I’ve found is that the taxes and fees for the second passenger count towards the Platinum card’s annual $200 in airline fee credits.
- Live in Hawaii (or an island, or Alaska) and visit the mainland with a friend. Companion tickets are valid only for round trip flights within the 48 contiguous United States. But, there is an exception for those who live in the US, but outside of the contiguous 48 states: “Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI”.
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Does anyone successfully apply companion certificate with ECredit? I can apply ECredit at the checkout while using my companion certificate, but the checkout never went through. I called Delta, and the agents were so incompetent, and they could not solve the problem either. Thanks!
Yes it has worked in the past. Sorry to hear that it’s not working now for you!
I went to book using a companion ticket. Was looking to book first class, round trip. When I entered for 2 people, the first class ticket was $498 per person. When I went to use the companion pass, per ticket was $798. I went back and did this twice to check and sure enough the prices are being reflected as above. Basic economy was $20 higher, Comfort + the exact same and the first class, as listed above.
Has anyone else experienced this before? Not sure if I need to file a complaint with Delta, which would fall into a no response category with them.
When using a companion ticket, if my husband and I fly together to a location, but I need to now stay longer at the location than originally planned, will my husband be able to return on our original scheduled return date without a fee? Thanks.
I don’t know. I think that if you asked Delta ahead of time the answer would be no, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a nice rep could make it happen during the trip
Due to COVID AE or Delta not sure which allowed my companion certificates to carry over and they state they are transferable. I have 4 that will expire by end of year. I have a few friends, not close friends that I want to give the companion tickets. How do I make that happen without giving them access to my Delta account and/or booking the flights for them? Thank you for your help. Pam
I have no idea how to transfer them but you can alternatively just book the flights for your friends assuming you trust them enough to Venmo you the money
I have 3 companion certificates. Can I use all 3 for 4 people(including me) to travel at one time?
No but you can use two certs for 4 people.
I have to argue this one. I have “had” two companion tickets. Planned to use both for a trip with 4 of us flying. You can only book 2 tickets at a time when using a companion ticket so this is what I did. I went in to book the other 2 and the same flight was “unavailable” using the the other companion ticket. I had to book the other 2 at “full” fare to get on the same flight. If I didn’t use the free ticket there was plenty of room on the same flight. I then had to use 30k miles to reduce the price of the other 2 full fare tickets, just so we could all travel together. My other ticket expires the end of January 2023 which I know now I won’t be able to use. I’ve been a Skymiles/Am Express cardmember holder for years but this is it. Delta always seems to have a way to screw everyone over. It’s not worth the annual fee to me anymore, I’ll pay for my own luggage! One other thing, I booked these 5 months in advance….
Hi Greg – first time commenter but long time reader / listener – thanks so much for your excellent coverage through the years.
I’m glad someone finally noticed the addition of ecredits as a payment option for the paid part of a companion ticket transaction.
I have been aware of this for awhile and have a few data points to report:
(I’ve done both #1 and #2 recently and can confirm they work)
Note: Just cancel on Delta.com if using the Amex Travel method
Now one caveat to be aware of that makes this not as useful as it otherwise would be:
Ecredits aren’t always visible to in your account and if they are not then you will have to deal with the incredibly painful experience of calling Delta and booking the itinerary over the phone and applying the ecredit. This took me a whole day once.
Why don’t ecredits always show up on your account? I’d love to hear your feedback on that. I did read some speculation on flyertalk that ecredits less than $200 do not show up because $200 was the amount you’d pay to change a flight in the old days. So in the old days if you had $200 or less you had 0$ because the cost of making the chance would eat your ecredit. So Deltas system does not recognize the current change fee waiver. That makes some sense to me but I really don’t know.
Keep up the excellent work Greg!!
Sorry for the typos!
[…] Domestic first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal. See: Delta companion certificates quick guide. […]
I have a Delta Business Platinum (which I’ve used for a long time) and just opened a Delta Business Reserve account (so currently I have 2 business accounts open). I am not using the platinum account anymore, so I would like to cancel it. I paid the platinum annual fee months ago and the companion certificate is already in my Delta account. If I cancel the Platinum card now, do you think there is any chance its companion certificate will disappear. If so, I’ll just keep the account open until I’ve used the certificate, but I would prefer to just cancel it now while I’m thinking about it and “be done with it.” Thanks for any guidance you can provide!
They won’t take away your companion certificate. You can go ahead and close it.
Thank you very much! Happy Holidays!
Two things learned…Thanks Greg. First I have a lot of Platinum certs (coach) plus one first class from my personal Reserve. I cancelled both my Platinum cards (personal & business) a year or so ago and last fall I cancelled my Reserve. However, to my surprise, the Reserve 1st class cert posted to my wallet before I cancelled (during the 30 day period the AF posted). So you are saying I can still use my certs using my Amex Platinum personal or for that matter my Platinum business to pay for the other ticket?
Second lesson: So I have the companion coach certs but also have e-credits in my wallet. So take the price of a coach ticket. Then see what a 1st class fare would be and make-up the difference with e-credits and/or credit card charge?
One last remark, I would still have the Reserve card just for the free 1st class ticket IF Delta would allow multi-city (open jaw) booking. Bummer for me. Thanks again Greg!
have you tried booking a open jaw over the phone?
Have not Thanks
Keep us updated
Well I don’t have a reserve card anymore & right now the business version would be the last one. Delta right now for me no big deal. Status advancement certainly who cares? Other cards I want but no DL.
Hello! We live in Honolulu and are moving back to the mainland soon. Can I use my companion ticket for the round trip flight and then cancel the return flight?
Yes, but you probably won’t get any money or credit for the cancelled portion so it might not save you any money unless round trip flights are cheaper than one-way for that route. You can also book the return for way out in the schedule in case you want to visit Hawaii later
Can companion ticket be used for different return cities or basically two one way tickets? For example MSP to PDX but for return FCA to MSP.
No, the flights must be pure round-trip such as MSP to PDX and return PDX to MSP
Is there a list of airports available for companion tickets? Thank you!
All airports in the 48 continuous US states are available.
I have had a delta platinum card for years and never used the companion ticket. I now live in Mexico but travel to the US often. I always have one or two legs in the US. For example my wife and I are flying to Oregon, and are going through Salt Lake going and coming back. Could we use the companion ticket for the SLC to Eugene round trip?
Has anyone tried to book a flight before expiration but for travel after expiration of the certificate?
Join the discussion…Yes, we have tried to do this and you must travel before it expires regardless of when you book.
If the flights I want to book (paying full price for the first) is $489.00 can i use my companion certificate and pay the $89.00 difference?
No, you have to buy both the primary and companion ticket together at the same time
I want to buy them both at the same time but what if the ticket price is more than $400 can I pay the difference on a companion ticket.
I don’t understand. There is no $400 limit. Why does it matter if the ticket is more than $400?
My mistake I thought the companion ticket only had a value of $400.
Is it possible to book a companion ticket on Delta for multiple cities? I want to go from BYF to COS then Fly out of LAS to BUF it is not an option
No, they only allow simple round trips
If we use a Delta companion ticket to fly to a destination, is it OK if the primary traveler returns solo and the companion does not use their return ticket? Basically the primary ticket holder would be flying round-trip and the companion would be flying one-way.
I don’t think that would be a problem
What if the companion flies back solo and the primary traveler stays behind?
I don’t know
[…] post Delta companion certificates quick guide appeared first on Frequent […]
If we can use it with any Amex card, during annual renew, if I cancel the credit card, can I still use it within one year and pay with other amex card?
Yes, no problem.
Thanks for the update.
Wondering if anyone knows whether can add a lap infant onto a companion pass for 2 adults? Have tried looking online but found no answers. Thx.
Good question. I don’t know.
Yes, you can add lap infant to this
Is it still possible after 195 hits to downgrade to gold but keep the cettificate?
Yes. The certificate gets added to your Delta account. Amex won’t remove it.
Looking to change from the Delta Gold AMEX to the Platinum card, and was wondering if you know if only certain flight time are available, also what about non-stop flights? Home airport is Detroit.
Companion Tickets are valid for economy discount fare classes L, U, T, X, V and, for the Reserve card only, first-class fare classes A, and I. As long as those fare classes are available for your round-trip flight, you can book it. Detroit is my home airport too.
Can the companion ticket be used for a family member who is flying out of a different City than the Certificate holder, but both are arriving at the same destination.
No. You have to travel together the whole way.
My companion ticket expires every year on December 31st. Is there any way to change that to end of January or February?
The only way I know of is to cancel your card and sign up again in January or February. Of course you would then have to wait a year to get the companion ticket.
I’ve booked a companion fare for my husband and I to visit his family. But now my elderly mother has taken a fall and I need to make the trip shorter to be with her.
Can the dates of companion certificate flights be adjusted once booked?
BTW, appreciate your help here. Not looking forward to getting in the phone with Delta about this.
Usually the dates can’t be adjusted and if you cancel the flight you’ll also lose the certificate for this year. That said, Delta agents often go above and beyond to help when there’s a medical situation or death in the family. Call and ask.
My Platinum AMEX just renewed, so I received my new companion pass. I also still have this past years companion pass certificate, good until 1/31/2018. Can I use both companion passes on one booking? In other words, can I book and pay for my ticket and use the 2 companion passes at the same time for my wife and son?
No, you would need a separate paid ticket with each companion. Good idea though!
[…] If you are active duty living in Hawaii you can get up to 5 companion passes (Up to First Class) from Hawaii to Mainland from a annual fee waived AmEx Delta Reserve every year. There is on provision of the AmEx Reserve Guidelines that allows use of the companion pass to fly OC…: […]
Can you use a companion ticket with a miles ticket? Or does the miles ticket need to be cash ticket?
No, you have to book the two together as a paid ticket and you have to pay with an Amex card
can you use a delta miles ticket with a companion ticket? or does the other ticket need to be cash?
How long after the Amex Platinum renewal does the certificate get added to your Delta profile? I am trying to get rid of the card and stick only with Gold, so wondering if anybody has canceled Amex and gotten 195 back and still been able to use the pass which posted to Delta (maybe using a different Amex to pay)?
I think it happens around the same time that you get billed the annual fee. So, yes, you can definitely avoid paying the next year’s annual fee but still get the cert.
[…] this article here and here to learn more about this awesome […]
[…] this article here and here to learn more about this awesome […]
Do you know if I can book my flight with my Delta miles and then use the companion certificate with that flight? So- my flight- use miles, my companion flight- use certificate. Thanks!
No, you can’t. Your flight and your companion’s taxes have to be paid with an Amex card
Is there any way to pay for the primary Delta ticket using UR points? Maybe use mostly UR and then pay $1 with an Amex card? Or does booking the companion ticket require you to originate your booking from the Delta site?
No, you can’t. You have to book through Delta
Hey Greg …
I know this is an old post … Just wondering … I canceled my Delta plat card after the second fee posted got a refund… But the certificate is still showing up on my account ( I do have the Delta gold)
I am tempted to book and pay with the gold card … Do you have any experience or thoughts on this matter
Shouldn’t have any problems. Many data points on this!
Yep, no problem. You can actually pay with any Amex card.
Do you get the companion certificate exactly 1 year after your account is opened, or after you pay the annual fee the second time? I’m not planning to cancel to avoid AF for second year, but I need to book two tickets for travel in May and my card was opened on April 24. Any idea how long it will take for the companion pass to be issued?
Great question. Unfortunately, I’ve had my cards for so long that I don’t know the exact date I opened them, so I can’t answer your question. Either way it could be risky to wait until late April to book for May since it is possible that the allowed fare classes would no longer be available.
Can I use the companion fare when paying for the first fare with miles?
Is there a way to have more than 2 people on an itinerary using a companion pass?
I think so. You may have to call it in to get that done. I can’t remember if the online interface allows it and I don’t have any valid certs at the moment to test it with.
I’m a Amex Delta Gold card holder. Will I be able to book a roundtrip flight with a companion pass I bought from a friend? Say SEA to LHR? I’m just inexperienced with companion passes and didn’t know if I had to contain a Delta Reserve / Platinum card.
I believe that your friend will have to book it for you from their account. They don’t have to fly on that itinerary, but they have to be the ones to book it.
[…] After the first year, when you renew the card, you will receive a a free companion certificate. This will allow you to essentially buy two tickets to and from anywhere in the continental US for the price of one. Unlike the companion certificate that comes with the Delta Reserve card, this one only allows economy tickets, not first class. Note that the companion does not earn miles or MQMs. Also, there are some fare class restrictions to these certificates. Personally, I value this benefit at about $150. See also: Delta companion certificates quick guide. […]
[…] After the first year, when you renew the card, you receive a a free companion certificate. This will allow you to essentially buy two tickets to and from anywhere in the continental US for the price of one. Unlike the companion certificate that comes with the Delta Platinum card, this one allows purchasing first class tickets. Note that the companion does not earn miles or MQMs. Also, there are some fare class restrictions to these certificates. I like to use these certificates either on regional jets that don’t have first class or as a way to buy two first class tickets for the price of one. Personally, I value this benefit at about $250. See also: Delta companion certificates quick guide. […]
I dont understand why the companion tickets are not transferable once issued. I planned a trip with a boyfriend and we are now split up. My choice is go alone, go together and have a really akward trip, or lose it completely. The only other option I saw was to pay $200 each plus any cost over orig ticket price to change them. Considering it was only a $300 ticket that doesnt make any sense. Why does Delta care if its him or we change it to my bestie?? Same seat….
I agree that it’s a terrible policy, but it’s true with all non-refundable tickets, not just companion tickets.
I have a delta voucher that I need to use by 2/26/18 and I’ll get the companion ticket on 1/31/18. Will I be able to pay for the primary ticket using the voucher?
I think so, but I’m not 100% sure.
This would be a 1st for me. Definitely can’t do it online and I think you would have to do a large number of HUCA to get it done and maybe only if your a diamond. Always had to be paid with ANY Amex card in full.
Hi Greg hoping you can help me on this
I booked 3 one way flight from NYC to SAN using DW delta account to book with DL points and for the return 3 one way with amex bp/2 under my account. my brother in law had a delta companion ticket that he isn’t using and since I will also be traveling with a lap infant he offered for me to take it and get an extra seat for the baby. my question is can I use his companion pass without my BIL flying? and how would I go about getting it as a round trip if the reservations are under 2 diff accounts/names- is it possible? any guidance is much appreciated
Unfortunately companion tickets can’t be applied to existing bookings. You would have to cancel your current bookings and re-book as a companion ticket. Your BIL would have to book for you, but he does not have to be on the ticket.
Ok thanks!! And can I book the flight w points and get the CP or does it have to be with cash?
Sorry for the very late reply. It has to be booked with cash.
Yes, Greg. That’s correct. I was just unsure about throwing away the domestic return portion since the companion ticket has to be round trip. I didn’t think it would matter but you seem so knowledgeable that I thought it wise to ask. Thank you so much for your quick reply!
I reread my post and realized I didn’t make myself clear. We’ll be flying out of DFW to TPA to board the cruise. The portion I’m asking about is the DFW-TPA trip, not the AMS.
If I understand correctly, you simply want to throw away the return on a regional round trip flight, right? That shouldn’t affect your separate booking at all.
We will be sailing across the Atlantic and flying Delta back from Amsterdam. Can I use a companion certificate and book round trip for both of us and not use the return since we are booked on a separate PNR back home out of AMS? It’s cheaper than buying 2 one-way tickets. When I worked for Delta if someone didn’t use a flight all other down-line flights were automatically cancelled but maybe that was only if they were on the same PNR. Has anyone done this?.
How usable is the first class companion certificate? Is it limited to a very few seats or can it be used on any flight?
If fare classes A and/or I are available for your desired round trip domestic travel, then you can book it. I find that it is usually available on any flight I want if I book well in advance. If trying to book a particularly busy time and not too far in advance, you might have more trouble. For example, if I wait until a month or so before holiday or spring break travel, I sometimes find that my desired flights don’t have those seats available.
[…] Delta companion certificates quick guide […]
[…] Both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and the Delta Reserve card offer a free companion ticket each year upon renewal. That is, you won’t get the companion ticket when you first sign up, but every 12 months after that you will (as long as you keep the card). For details about these companion tickets, please see: Live in Hawaii to maximize value from Delta companion certificates (and 10 other tips). […]
Can the delta companion ticket be booked to fly from one city and back to another? Say BOS to SFO and then back to RSW?
No, you must return to your original departure city
Can the delta companion ticket be booked to fly from one city and back to another?
[…] 6, Delta companion travel has become more attractive for Delta elite members and their companions. Companion certificates previously were not upgradeable either to Comfort+ or to First Class, but they are now eligible for […]
Aloha and Mahalo (thank you) for your recent article on Hawaii travel perks for companions. Its not often we get deals
Unfortunately for us “lucky to live” in Hawaii, get totally hammered on airline tickets. Tickets are expensive and upgrades to premium economy, business class or 1st are equally costly and nearly prohibitive.
Amazing but true the cost for locals to travel interisland is $130 r/t on sale. FYI, for all intents and purposes we have only Hawaiian Air to service interisland travel. Most of us know we are being overcharged to finance Hawaiian Air expansion to Asia and soon Europe.
You can fly from YVR, SEA, SFO, LAX to Asia Business Class often for less than $2000 but from Hawaii its $3500-$5000 or more.
Europe? Forget about it…great fares and deals all the time but if you live in Hawaii, we have to pay the R/T to get from Hawaii to the departure city. More often than NOT that airfare exceeds USA to Europe portion.
HNL to LAS is economy is mostly $500-$600 or so. To Las Vegas, add another $150 if you want to fly non-stop.
If an when you get the time, more articles about how Hawaii residents get the shaft will bring more publicity to our plight. That would be good.
Here are some things you can try:
if you need interisland flights for 2, try the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit to save $100 off each round trip flight for 2 (So 2 $130 rt flights would cost $160 altogether). More here: https://frequentmiler.com/travel-companion-tickets/#VisaInfinite_top
Airline miles: While cash prices will be steep for international flights, you may be able to score reasonably priced award tickets. Some non-us based airlines treat Hawaii the same as the US mainland for the purpose of pricing awards.
[…] best companion ticket option around, it is not the only one. Far from it. After publishing my tips for using Delta Companion Certificates, I made a list of all of the companion ticket options I could think of. And it turned out to be a […]
Just doing some math on this. In order to get the companion pass for the Platinum, you have to
Pay $195 first year
Pay $195 second year
Get companion pass which is capped at $75 and can only be redeemed for economy.
Total: $195+$195+$75 = $465
So, you’re paying $465 for a companion pass if companion pass is the target for applying?
@P – sounds about right to me.
I wouldn’t do the math that way. The first year annual fee is more than covered by the signup bonus (which often comes with both miles and a $100 statement credit that is very easy to get).
So, the question is whether to keep the card after the first year for $195 per year. For those who need a Delta card for free checked bags, this card is $100 more than the Delta Gold card, so the cost of keeping the card for that group is $100 per year. For those who don’t need card perks, the cost is the full $195. Taxes and fees for the companion ticket are more typically around $40. $75 is just the most it can be.
Taxes and fees typically don’t exceed $30. If you’re only holding it for 1-2 years, sure that’s the math. But if you’re holding it longer, you’re able to amortize the first year’s fee over a longer period.
I thought you always had to be one of the travelers. Was that wrong? Did that change?
As far as I know that was never a requirement, or hasn’t been for several years at least.
What if you upgrade your delta gold card to one of these. Do you get the companion pass upon upgrade or upon renewal a year later?
Yes. Actually, it’s possible that you would get the companion pass as soon as your next renewal happens. I haven’t tested this idea, but say you’ve had the Gold card for a couple of years and the next annual fee is going to be due in about 2 months. If you then upgrade, it’s possible that you’ll get the companion pass in 2 months time.
Has anyone else tried this? Curious what others have found?
I had the Amex Gold Card, and upgraded to Platinum a few months prior to my renewal date and I received the companion pass at the renewal date for my gold card. So it does indeed work.
Great! Thanks for the info
Do you get the companion pass the first year you have the Amex Delta Platinum, or just after 1st anniversary?
Only after having the card a year.
they must pay the renewal fee before certificate is issued in their Delta wallet.
Last thanksgiving a (soon to be lost) first class companion was the only companion fare available to get our kids home. Worked out to be less than economy fare, and made them a little bit happy.
Only a little bit happy?
nice picture, it shows one of my favorite beaches in Maui, Ulua….Who needs to travel for vacation if you live in Hawaii? the Marriott nearby just got renovated and now has some nice pools including some water slides.
Can someone else other than myself (the card member) be the primary? Meaning, can I have my brother and his wife use these tickets?
Yes. No problem. You can book for them from your account.
They are getting very stingy with availability. I am trying to book JFK – SEA for 3 possible weekends in October. Though no seats are booked on some flights (only basing on DL.com seat map which I know is not 100% accurate) They have zero L,U,T,X,V tixx available……ridiculous.
Wow, that surprises me given how far in advance you’re trying to book! I wonder if they haven’t yet opened up discount fares but will later. You might be able to get a hint of that by attempting flights not as far in advance to see whether there’s a pattern of when the LUTXV seats appear.
Another option: I can’t promise anything, but one friend of mine had success calling in when it looked like nothing was available online. Might be worth a shot.
Thank you for the clarification.
Woah. How many credit card links? I thought you didn’t do that within the post.
0 affiliate links in the post. The links in the post go to pages that give more info about each card. I’ve previously linked to my Best Offers page in the past for more info, but there was no easy way to take the reader directly to the card in question. By having a separate page for each card, readers don’t have to search for info. I do this now regardless of whether I have affiliate links for each card.