Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.
Each year Platinum and Reserve cardholders receive a free companion ticket, but many cardholders get confused about how exactly the companion ticket works, where it can be used, and even how to redeem it.
Both the Delta Reserve and the American Express Platinum card offer their companion tickets upon annual renewal of your card which includes paying the annual fee. The American Express Platinum card’s annual fee is $195. In this case, the companion ticket may very well offset that. The Delta Reserve card has an annual fee of $450. Depending on where you are flying — and where in the plane you plan to sit — the companion ticket might not save you much.
Perhaps the biggest caveat is that, in order to use the companion ticket, you need to book your travel through the Delta website. You cannot use a discount fare-finding site such as Kayak, Kiwi, or Expedia. This could result in slightly higher fares for your paid ticket — and a slightly lower value for your companion ticket.
Delta SkyMiles Companion Tickets
Delta’s SkyMiles Loyalty Program offers one companion ticket to cardholders of Delta Reserve cards when they renew their cards each year. The certificate is provided automatically after each annual renewal. The companion ticket is touted as a great deal — after all, it’s a free flight. It’s not an open ticket, however, nor a straight “buy one, get one free” offer. Yet if you use it correctly, you can bring a companion along on a flight, for free.
The companion ticket is only good on domestic flights within the 48 continental U.S. states and Delta Reserve cardholders can use that companion fare in Main Class, Delta Comfort, or even First-Class flights (with an eligible upgrade). You do, however, need to pay baggage charges and any government-imposed taxes or fees on the flight — up to $75 per flight.
In addition, these tickets are subject to the blackout dates of the primary ticket that the companion ticket accompanies. If you need to cancel either ticket, then both tickets will be canceled, and a $200 administrative service charge may be applied to any future travel if you reschedule.
American Express Companion Tickets
For the American Express Platinum credit card, the terms are slightly different. For Platinum cardholders, companion tickets are only good for Main Cabin travel in the 48 continental states, and not all routes are available. If you live close to a regional airport such as Eau Claire, Wisconsin, or Missoula, Montana, you may not be able to use your companion ticket until you reach a larger hub such as in Seattle or Minneapolis. For some travelers, this means taking a short commuter flight to the nearest hub at their own expense, before beginning their companion ticket travel.
In addition, if you are a resident of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you’ll need to be traveling to the U.S. mainland. The address on your Delta Skymiles account will need to show an address originating in one of those locations.
Like the Delta Reserve companion flight, the Platinum certificate does not allow stopovers, open jaws, or circle trips. It means that, for example, you can use the companion ticket for a trip that runs from Los Angeles to New York with a three-hour layover in Denver if you choose.
To take advantage of the companion ticket, you must fly to one destination, and then return from that city to the same one you began from. You cannot use it, say, for a trip in which you plan to fly from Los Angeles to New York but stop in Denver to visit family for a few days, then drive to Minneapolis and pick up the flight to New York.
How to Redeem Your Companion Ticket/Certificate
To redeem your companion ticket, first log on to Delta.com, and go to the “My Delta” link at the top of the page. Next, click on “Credits and Certificates” in the “My Wallet” box. You’ll see all available certificates there. If you have been awarded a companion certificate, this is where you will see it.
Choose the companion certificate and click “Continue.” You’ll be taken to a search page where you can look for eligible flights and book your trip.
You may have also received an email or letter from Delta after your annual renewal, letting you know that your companion certificate has been issued. Within the letter will be a redemption code. You can go to the certificate redemption page, enter your code, and book your travel there.
All certificates have an expiration date, usually one year from the date of issue. So you’ll need to ensure that you book your travel before that date.
Delta companion tickets for both the American Express Platinum and the Delta Reserve card come with several caveats. To travelers who don’t fly often, the companion ticket might not be worth the price of the annual renewal fee. For those who fly frequently, however, especially if you live near a major airport or hub, it can be a fantastic perk that pays for itself and allows you to get a free flight for one companion every year that you renew the credit card.
>> Read More: Should You Upgrade Amex Platinum Delta to Delta Reserve?
For more information about the American Express Companion Ticket program, call 1-855-551-2113.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
Best Credit Cards by Type
Credit Cards by Brand