Delta first class: great companion ticket deal (glitch?)

Delta First Class DiningI stumbled upon something surprising the other day.  Thanks to my Delta Reserve companion ticket, I was able to book two people into domestic first class for less than the price of a single economy ticket.

Holiday High Prices

Most years we visit family in southern Florida after Christmas.  And this year we thought we would book our trip very early rather than waiting until prices skyrocket later on.  But, it turned out that prices were already sky high. The best round trip prices Google Flights could find for our preferred dates were $571 per person on Spirit or $736 per person on Delta.  JetBlue, meanwhile, wanted to charge an unbelievable amount: $1213.

For many reasons we prefer to fly Delta rather than Spirit.  But our preferred flight times were even more expensive than the best Delta price shown above.  We would have to pay $810 per person to secure economy seats!

One approach I often use to cut prices on these flights is to apply the companion ticket earned each year from the Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve credit cards.  Even though my wife and I, combined, have four such cards, we only had a single unused companion ticket.  We had a single Delta Reserve companion ticket, which allows booking into either economy or first class.

When I applied the companion ticket and searched for flights, something very surprising happened.  First, the system only allowed me to select first class, presumably because eligible coach fare classes were not available.  This was only slightly surprising (this far in advance of the flight, I’d expect all fare classes to be available, but maybe the cheaper fare classes get loaded into the system later?).  The really surprising thing was that first class, when booked with the companion ticket, priced lower than coach!  And this wasn’t just for one flight.  Almost all departure and return times priced the same.

As you can see above, I was able to book two people into first class for $724.80 total.  That’s just $362.40 per person!  I checked and double checked that the dates, times, and flights were exactly the same as those that were otherwise advertised for $810 per person in economy.

I expect that prices will drop for these flights at some point given that they are uncommonly expensive today.  But, just in case they don’t go down, I went ahead and booked the companion ticket shown above.  Even if prices do drop, $362 per person for economy is a great price for holiday flights to Florida.

Double Checking

After booking the companion ticket, I couldn’t test this weird phenomenon anymore.  The only way to see the companion ticket price is to try to apply one.  But, I was fresh out of companion tickets.  So, I contacted a friend that I’ll call Mike (because that’s his name) and asked him if he had a Delta Reserve companion ticket available.  He did.  He then confirmed the exact pattern shown above.  Single person prices for holiday flights from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale were crazy expensive.  Companion ticket first class prices, meanwhile, were reasonable.  In fact, some of the images shown above come from his experiments.

A single glitch or a broader opportunity?

I don’t know whether I stumbled upon a single example where this works, or if this happens elsewhere.  If it wasn’t a single glitch, the opportunity may still be limited to holiday travel, travel that spans a year boundary (the outbound was late December and the return early January), flights between Detroit and Fort Lauderdale, etc.  And, until I get another Delta Reserve companion ticket, I can’t test this on my own.

I need help from readers!  Do you have a Delta companion ticket?  If so, please test out flights that you’d like to take to see if there are any situations where the companion ticket costs less for two people than a single ticket for one.  My guess is that this only works with Delta Reserve companion tickets, but it would be worth checking out Delta Platinum companion tickets as well.  Those can’t book into first class, but maybe they too offer better prices under similar rare circumstances.

If you test this out, please report your findings in the comments below.  Ideally include the following info:

  • Type of companion ticket (Reserve or Platinum)
  • Routes and dates tested
  • Results

Thank you!

More info

For more info about Delta Companion tickets, please see:

Delta companion certificates quick guide

And, for more information about the credit cards that offer first class companion tickets, see:

Or for economy-only companion tickets, see:

 

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Greg,

    I booked our Thanksgiving and Xmas tickets and found the same thing. My economy ticket to fly with my family was $300 more than the combined companion ticket price for 2. Love it.

    • Awesome! Do you mind telling us the routes? Also, “Mike” tells me that he found this on a couple of other routes (DTW-MIA in Dec, DTW-PHX in Nov). The interesting thing is that in all cases the primary passenger fare after taxes, but before adding the second passenger, fees came to $696.40. That might be the magic number to look for.

      Was that the same for you?

  2. Just FYI, “Mike” emailed the following:

    I was doing some random checking and found two points to share

    1. Your dates, same results to Miami $696
    2. Some random dates in November to phx $696 (sorry no screen shot)

    WHY $696 ?? Interesting

  3. I’m so confused. Does the AMEX Platinum (the alleged Holy Grail of cards) give a companion ticket? I can’t seem to find anything that’s newer than March, 2017 to address it. And even in the March, 2017 postings online, it’s silent. If I have the choice between an AMEX Platinum or the Reserve, of course I want the Platinum. There’s a lot of value in getting a 2 for 1 ticket!

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