Complete Guide to Travel Companion Tickets

If you ever travel with others, companion tickets offer the possibility of saving a lot of money or points for the second passenger.  This guide describes each companion ticket option available.  Please let us know of companion ticket options that we missed, and/or any information about these tickets that we left out or got wrong. Thanks in advance!


American Airlines


American Airlines CitiBusiness Companion Certificate

Pros: Big savings possible | Cons: Contiguous 48 states only; Economy only

Official info

How to get it: Spend $30K on your CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard within cardmember year to get at most one companion certificate per year.

Flight requirement: Purchase qualifying domestic round-trip economy fare ticket. Must be within the 48 contiguous United States. For residents of Alaska and Hawaii, the companion certificate is valid for round-trip travel originating in either of those two states and continuing to the 48 contiguous United States.

Companion benefit: Single $99 companion ticket fee plus $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees

How to book: Booking details are found on the certificate.


American Airlines


American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Silver MasterCard Companion Certificate

Pros: Big savings possible; Up to 2 companions | Cons: Contiguous 48 states only; Economy only

Official info

How to get it: Spend $30K on your AAdvantage Aviator Silver MasterCard within cardmember year to get at most one companion certificate per year.

Flight requirement: Purchase qualifying domestic round-trip economy fare ticket. Must be within the 48 contiguous United States. For residents of Alaska and Hawaii, the companion certificate is valid for round-trip travel originating in either of those two states and continuing to the 48 contiguous United States.

Companion benefit: Up to two companions pay $99 companion ticket fee plus $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees.

How to book: Booking details are found on the certificate.


Alaska Airlines


Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

Pros: Valid for any published coach fare; Upgradeable | Cons: Economy only

Official info

How to get it: Alaska Airlines credit card holders get one discount code each year. Qualifying cards: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature consumer card (US), the Visa Business card (US), as well as the World Elite and Platinum Plus MasterCard (Canada).

Flight requirement: Round-trip paid published coach airfare on Alaska Airlines or Virgin America.

Companion benefit:  Pay “from $121” (($99 base fare plus applicable taxes and fees from $22 depending on your Alaska Airlines flight itinerary).

Share benefit with others? Yes, cardholder must purchase tickets, but can buy both primary and companion tickets for others.

How to book: From the Alaska website: “You can redeem your discount code by selecting the Shop button within the My discount codes section of your My account profile. This will automatically apply your discount code to the new reservation. The discount will be reflected on the “Available flights” and “Cart” pages.”

Payment: Payment does not need to be made with an Alaska Airlines credit card. From the Alaska website: “The Mileage Plan™ member who owns the companion fare discount code must either be one of the travelers or the purchaser of the reservation. If the member is allowing two travelers to use his or her companion fare discount code, then the member’s name must match the name on the credit card used to purchase the reservation.” Alaska’s My Wallet funds (such as from a gift card or cancelled flight) can only be used to purchase travel on Alaska Airlines.

Who can use it: Anyone. If the member who owns the companion fare is not traveling, the member’s name must match the name on the credit card used to purchase the reservation.

More details: Please see: A great perk that isn’t going away soon.


American Express Platinum


American Express Platinum International Airline Program

Pros: Tickets are fully changeable / Cancelable | Cons: Requires International full fare first or business class (may be just as expensive as buying 2 discount tickets); Limited participating airlines

Official info

How to get it: Valid only for American Express Platinum, Business Platinum, or Centurion cardholders.

Flight requirement: Purchase of a qualifying full fare First- or Business-Class ticket on a participating airline must be made through Platinum Travel Service, Business Platinum Travel, Centurion Travel Service or any American Express Travel office and paid in full with an American Express Card in the U.S. Platinum Card Member’s or U.S. Centurion® Member’s name. Travel must originate in and return to U.S. gateway (may exclude certain overseas territories) or select Canadian gateways. One-way travel permitted on some airlines where routing originates in U.S or select Canadian Gateways.

Companion benefit: Companion pays $39 + ticket taxes and fees (which can be substantial.  Specifically: Companion ticket subject to government imposed taxes/fees and airline-imposed fuel/ security surcharges and fees of no more than $2,500 roundtrip.  Non-refundable American Express service fee of $39 (per ticket) applies to your full-fare ticket, the companion ticket and each additional ticket purchase and itinerary change; this fee is waived for U.S. Centurion® Members.

How to book: Book via the Platinum Travel Service, Business Platinum Travel, Centurion Travel Service or any American Express Travel office.


Amtrak


Amtrak Companion Coupon

Pros: Upgradeable | Cons: Full fare only; Blackout dates; Can’t upgrade to sleeper car

How to get it: BankAmericard Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard cardholders get one companion coupon each year.

Ticket requirement: Purchase 1 paid full adult rail fare, one-way or round-trip.  Can’t book with points. Travel blackout dates apply.  Not valid for train/Thruway series 7000 – 8999. Can pay to upgrade to Business class or First class (but not to sleeper car accommodations).

Companion benefit: Companion rides for free.  One exception: if primary passenger pays to upgrade tickets to business or first class, they must pay for both upgrades, not just the primary passenger upgrade.

How to book: Call 1-800-307-5000 and reference the eCoupon# found in your account.


British Airways


British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Pros: ? | Cons: Companion pays huge fuel surcharges; Requires award availability

Official info

How to get it: Spend $30,000 each calendar year on your British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card and receive a Travel Together Ticket.

Flight requirement: Book a reward flight on a British Airways mainline flight originating in and returning to the United States.  Important: Two award seats must be available in order to book the Travel Together Ticket.

Companion benefit: No additional Avios required for the companion ticket, but companion does pay taxes and fees up to $1,250.  From British Airways: “At time of this publication all reward flights and travel together tickets are subject to taxes, fees, and carrier charges of approximately $682-$1250 per adult in economy or $1,250 in business class based on travel from Seattle to London. *Flights subject to availability.”

How to book: Log into your BA.com account to redeem your Travel Together Ticket.


Cathay Pacific


Cathay Pacific Companion Ticket Awards

Pros: More award availability; Works with discount fares | Cons: Economy fares are not eligible

Official info

How to get it: Purchase first ticket with cash and second ticket with miles (Cathay Pacific Asia Miles).

Flight requirement: Purchase a First or Business Class ticket on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or British Airways.  Mixed class and mixed carrier Flight Awards are not applicable.

Companion benefit: Number of miles required for companion ticket is lower than the number required for a full award ticket (click here to view the award chart).  Much more availability than standard awards.  Point discounts compared to full award tickets range from 25% to 38.9% fewer points, but most are around 35% off.  Companion must pay taxes and fuel surcharges.

How to book: The primary ticket can be booked however you want, but then you must call Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to redeem points for the companion ticket. It is safer to call to purchase both at once to ensure availability.

More infoBusiness class for two: Cathay Pacific Companion Ticket Awards


Delta


Delta Companion Ticket

Pros: Valid for discount fares; Large savings possible; Tickets now upgrade eligible | Cons: Contiguous US only; Discount fares only; Companion does not earn miles.

Official info

How to get it: Both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and the Delta Reserve Credit Card offer a free companion certificate each year upon renewal.  Note that you do not get the companion certificate until after your first year of card membership.

Flight requirement: Requires purchasing domestic round-trip with the following economy discount fare classes L, U, T, X, V and, for the Reserve card only, first-class fare classes A, and I.  Companion seats must be available in those fare classes as well.  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”.

Companion benefit: Pay only taxes and fees (capped at $75).

Share benefit with others? Yes, cardholder must purchase tickets, but can buy both primary and companion tickets for others.

How to book: Log into your account and navigate to your Wallet.  In your Wallet you’ll find your companion tickets.  You can then check the box to redeem the ticket.  That will lead you to a flight search screen where you can find flights and book as needed.

More info: Live in Hawaii to maximize value from Delta companion certificates (and 10 other tips)


Hawaiian Airlines


Hawaiian Airlines Companion Discount

Pros: ? | Cons: Full fare economy only

Official info

How to get it: Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard and Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard cardholders get a one-time 50% off companion ticket.  Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard cardholders additionally get a $100 off companion ticket each account anniversary.

Flight requirement: Purchase published round-trip full fare coach. Tickets must be purchased with your Hawaiian Airlines credit card.

Companion benefit: 50% off fare (before taxes and fees); or $100 off with the $100 off companion ticket.

How to book: Log in to your Hawaiian Airlines account to look for your MasterCard companion discount then click Book Now to redeem:

Hawaiian Airlines Companion Discount Certificate Redeem


Lufthansa


Lufthansa Companion Ticket

Pros: ? | Cons: Discount fares not eligible; Economy only

Official info

How to get it: World Elite Miles & More Mastercard cardholders get one economy companion ticket each year of card ownership.

Flight requirement: Must purchase select published fares for travel departing from the U.S. to Europe/Middle East/Africa and Far East.  Economy only.  No premium economy for you.  Allowed fare classes: H, M, Y, & B. Lufthansa operated flights only.

Companion benefit: Free after taxes & fees. May incur weekend surcharge: various based on the paid Economy Class fare (generally $60 round-trip but in some instances it may not apply or the amount may be lower)”

How to book: Call a Lufthansa service center


Southwest Airlines


Southwest Companion Pass

Pros: Unlimited use while active, Works with paid and award flights, Valid for international flights | Cons: ?

Official info

Complete Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass

How to get it: Earn 110,000 companion pass eligible points within a calendar year to get a companion pass that is valid for an unlimited number of flights for the rest of the current year and all of the next.

Flight requirement: All Southwest Airlines flights are eligible regardless of fare class and regardless of whether the primary passenger pays with points or cash.

Companion benefit: Companion flies free, but must pay TSA fee.

More info: 4 shortcuts to the Southwest Companion Pass that still work

How to book: Book primary passenger first with cash or points. Log into primary passenger’s account to add companion to flight.


Virgin America


Virgin America Companion Ticket Discount

Pros: ? | Cons: Economy tickets only; Blackout dates apply

Official info

How to get it: Virgin America Premium Visa Signature get one companion ticket discount code each year.

Flight requirement: Purchase round-trip main cabin tickets on Virgin America operated flights in fare classes N, S, L, I, M, U, E, H, B, or V.  Blackout dates apply.

Companion benefit: $150 off the base fare. If the base fare is less than $150, then the discount will be lower.

How to book: Cardholders receive a discount code that can be applied online or over the phone when booking flights.


Visa Infinite


Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit

Pros: Unlimited use | Cons: Economy only; US only; Some airlines excluded

Official info

How to get it: This discount is available to cardholders of certain Visa Infinite cards, including the Chase Ritz Carlton card and the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card.

Flight requirement: Purchase economy round-trip travel between cities within the 50 United States of America with participating airlines (Some airlines, such as Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines, are not eligible for this benefit).

Companion benefit: $100 discount off two or three person itinerary ($100 off entire itinerary, not per-person).

How to book: CNB cardholders use this siteRitz Carlton cardholders use this site.

More info: Bet You Didn’t Know: A Repeatable Companion Airfare Discount with the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite.

Comments

        • I can confirm this, you do NOT need to purchase the tickets with your Alaska credit card. I just got back from my trip with my AS companion certificate yesterday, I charged the trip to my Citi Prestige card for the awesome delay/insurance benefits. Figures, my outbound trip was only delayed by 2.5 hours rather than the 3 hour delay requirement before you are eligible to charge meal/lodging expenses… would’ve been nice to have a free dinner on Citi’s dime… oh well.

  1. For AmEX IAP, the big pro is the cancellability with refund compared with discount tickets. Another con is that there are a limited number of participating airlines.

  2. One suggestion… you might want to include the annual fee for each card mentioned, since many of us only keep these cards active for the sole purpose of using the companion certificate. For the Alaska card, for example, most people would typically just cancel the card and signup again for another 30,000+ point bonus… so for someone that actually keeps the card for the annual companion cert, the REAL cost is $75 + $121 = $196.

    Also, for example, while the Barclaycard Aviator Silver card appears to have the stronger companion certificate vs. the Citi Business card, you also need to consider the fact that the annual fee of the card is double the Citi Business card. Including the annual fees of each card listed would be much more helpful to make an overall decision as to whether it’s worth keeping the card for the certificates or canceling after year 1.

    Thanks for the detailed information, great post!

  3. Got a Alaska Companion Pass code from a friend, went ahead and bought the tickets not using his card. Now I have read more and became worried that AS might not honor the tickets, though I check ticket status everyday and they are fine. Anyone has any idea?

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