Earlier this week I published a roundup companion ticket opportunities: The Complete Guide to Travel Companion Tickets. We have also recently published a few options for getting great business class flight prices. For examples, please see the following:
- How to find great business class fares with Google Flights
- Build your own business class fare sale with vacation packages
- Business Class to Europe + 7 hotel nights for $2225: Investing in Marriott Travel Packages
Another approach to fly up-front for less, is to use companion tickets so that two can fly for the price of one. Let’s take a look at each companion ticket that can be used to fly up-front…
Cathay Pacific Companion Ticket Awards
With this companion ticket award, you must purchase a First or Business Class ticket on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or British Airways and then use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to book the second passenger. The miles required for the second passenger are less than those required for a full award ticket, and companion ticket award availability is supposedly much better.
My take: If you’re flying business or first class for work, this is a great way to bring along a companion cheaply. Or, if you want to fly Cathay Pacific and can find reasonable business or first class pricing, this can be a great way to book the exact flights and dates you want without having to worry as much about award availability.
For more details about this companion ticket and how to qualify, please see: Cathay Pacific Companion Ticket Awards.
British Airways Travel Together Ticket
The BA Travel Together Ticket provides a way to book two international award flights for the price, in miles, of one. Unfortunately, you do have to pay taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges for both tickets. Due to their very high fuel surcharges, premium award tickets with British Airways are always best thought of as a way to use miles, not to get the flight for free, but to save money on the ticket. By using the Travel Together Ticket, you can save a lot of miles.
My take: You can often do much better by using miles to fly business or first class with airlines or miles that do not incur fuel surcharges. However, if you really want to fly British Airways, and if you can find award availability for two, this is a good way to do so.
For more details about this companion ticket and how to qualify, please see: British Airways Travel Together Ticket.
American Express Platinum International Airline Program
This American Express Platinum International Airline Program is a companion ticket that is good for international business and first class flights originating in the United States (and select Canadian gateways). The primary passenger must buy a qualifying full fare first or business class ticket on a participating airline. The companion pays $39 + ticket taxes and fees (which can be substantial).
My take: The full fare requirement, plus the need to pay taxes and fees for the second ticket, can make this option more expensive than buying two discount business or first class tickets from the get-go. This option is best when you truly need refundable tickets, or when an employer is paying full fare anyway.
For more details about this companion ticket and how to qualify, please see: American Express Platinum International Airline Program.
Delta Companion Ticket
The companion ticket that comes with the Delta Reserve card is valid for both economy and first class tickets. 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”.
My take: This is a good way to fly domestic first class for less. Hawaii residents can potentially get huge value by booking lie-flat first class seats available on certain routes (Honolulu to Atlanta, for example). Similarly, those who fly Delta’s premium transatlantic routes (LAX to JFK, for example), can book Delta One tickets for almost half price.
For more details about this companion ticket and how to qualify, please see: Delta Companion Ticket.
Alaska Airlines Companion Fare
The Alaska Airlines companion ticket is limited to flights flown by Alaska Airlines or Virgin America. The companion ticket can be used to buy any coach fare, including upgradeable coach fares. One can use this companion ticket to buy two coach tickets for the price of one, and then use miles or elite status to upgrade. Currently, upgrades are available only on Alaska Airlines flights.
My Take: This is a good way to save on domestic first class, or first class for two to Hawaii. Keep in mind, though, that Alaska does not have lie flat seats (or anything close to it) in first class.
For more details about this companion ticket and how to qualify, please see: Alaska Airlines Companion Fare.
American Express Platinum Card 2 for 1 was very useful for many who travel for business purposes. Although fare is higher, companion could fly with economy fare (tax comes to that).
It is a shame they stopped this fare. Their new fare, subsidized according to them, is not competitive.
I would urge AX to bring back 2:1 fare
greg + nick. thank you so much for putting this resource up. totally huge. really appreciate you listening to your readers and making very helpful posts such as this. very happy to see this post come thru. thank you again!
Thanks for the positive feedback!
[…] Use companion tickets for business and first class flights […]
Does BA offer a Travel Together award with the girl in that picture? It might be worth the fuel surcharges
I think you’ll have to spend a lot more on the BA credit card to get that award package.
Thanks for the info.
Are these all about award tix? or are they cash tix? I know Amex is $; the others (Cathay) are a bit ambiguous.
Maybe the next time you’d mention the “transfers in” programs for each of these FF programs. I know, I know, I’m being lazy, but it sure would help.
All of these except the British Airways option are cash tickets initially. You must purchase a ticket for most of the options above. Here’s a quick re-hash for clarification:
The Cathay companion is added using miles (the initial ticket is purchased in cash, the companion added with miles). Cathay is a transfer partner of Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You points and Starwood Preferred Guest. Additionally, if you fly paid flights you can credit your miles from flights on OneWorld airlines (like British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas, Japan Airlines, etc.) or other partners like Alaska Airlines. They also now have a credit card for US customers that comes with a 25k mile sign up bonus.
British Airways is the one option above that is an award ticket (using miles for the first ticket) — but the fuel surcharges and taxes are very high and you do need to pay those. British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards (though not 1:1 anymore) and Starwood Preferred Guest. They also have a shopping portal for US customers where you can earn miles. They also have a credit card for US customers issued through Chase.
The Delta companion fare is a paid ticket in certain fare classes — click the link in the post for more information about which classes count.
The Alaska companion fare is also a paid fare — you pay the fare for one person and add the companion for $99 + taxes/fees (starts at $121 total). This one is interesting because they allow one-way, open-jaw…all sorts of crazy routes where you can essentially build a couple of trips for the price of one. You could then upgrade with miles if you want — or if you have status, you may get upgraded for free (I recently got upgraded to first class for free on a companion fare by having MVP Gold status). If you’re looking to accumulate Alaska miles, their credit card awards 30k miles after first purchase or they are a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest. They also have a shopping portal.
Wow – thanks for the comprehensive compendium.
BA used to also have a 2-for from its credit card. Cash purchase.
Great article, do you know if any other airlines do this Trying to get fro Sydney to Dublin, Cathy would be good but can’t get that many miles
There must be something that would work for that, but none come to mind. Most of my info is quite US starting-point oriented