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

By Julian, author of Devil’s Advocate

 

In my experience, one of the most overrated credit card benefits is the companion airfare discount. It seems these deals always manage to feature a slew of caveats that make the perk a lot less valuable than advertised. Sometimes there are huge fuel surcharges (British Airways) or you have to buy a full fare unrestricted ticket (Amex) or there are blackout dates (the old US Airways). Whatever the issue, there are often too many hoops to jump through in order to justify taking advantage of the benefit.

crystal visa infinite

Greg the Frequent Miler has recently written about his experiences with the City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite card and I’ve been toying around with one as well. The card has all sorts of flashy high-end benefits, such as lounge access, a $250 airline credit, and so on. But when I saw that one of the perks happens to be a $100 discount on companion airfare, it was fair to say I was skeptical.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered the discount was not only completely unrestricted, but also incredibly easy to book. The only requirement is that you book a domestic roundtrip in economy. And best of all, you can use this benefit as many times as you’d like.

Searching for flights.

If you’ve got a CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card, you can find the link to the $100 companion airfare discount in the lifestyle section of the CNB benefits portal at http://www.myvisainfinite.com/ppp-public/infinite, or you can browse to it directly at http://www.visadiscountair.com/CNB (h/t to rizrizriz at Flyertalk for the links).

When you get to the landing page, the first order of business is to enter your name and Crystal Visa credit card number to confirm your eligibility for the discount.

crystal visa infinite

In case you’re wondering… yes, I tried several other Visa cards but only the actual CNB Crystal Visa number worked to allow me to enter the booking portal.

Once inside the portal, the main search function is extremely basic. All you enter is departure and arrival cities, travel dates, and the number of companions you’ll be bringing. Note that you can put up to 5 passengers on one booking, though you’ll only receive the $100 discount on the overall total, not per passenger.

crystal visa infinite

After a few moments, you’ll get a list of search results, which you can filter by number of stops, airline, airports, and departure times…

crystal visa infinite

But is it really cheaper?

Of course, when examining the results from a third-party search engine, we always want to ask ourselves how these prices compare to the airfare we could get by booking directly with the airline. If the third-party search engine is tacking on a few extra bucks for no reason other than to drive up the base cost (I’m looking at you, Citi ThankYou program) then the discount might be negated.

So it’s important to compare the results, which I did by running an identical search on Google Flights…

crystal visa infinite

As you can see, the results are almost identical. In fact, the Crystal Visa Infinite search engine actually came up with a few cheaper Delta options, though I could probably have found those by expanding my Google Flights results to include longer connections.

I performed a few additional searches just to be sure, but it appears the Crystal Visa companion search engine is returning almost all the same prices as the airlines themselves. Nice!

From this point, all you have to do is choose your flights and you’ll be taken to the Review page. The great thing about this discount is it’s deducted from the airfare right at booking, so you don’t have to wait for any credit later on down the line.

crystal visa infinite

But whose companion does it have to be?

According to the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite terms and conditions, you are required to be the primary traveler on these companion discount bookings. However, in practice the website appears to allow you to specify any name for both passengers, so whether that requirement is being enforced is unclear. Since I was booking for myself in this particular case, I didn’t have the opportunity to test it… yet.

crystal visa infinite

But you will definitely have to pay for the tickets with your CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card — you can’t substitute in another credit card as the card number field is locked with the card you entered in order to access the site at the top.

crystal visa infinite

Of course, since the Crystal Visa Infinite offers a bonus category of 3x points for travel purchases, it’s not much of a burden to be required to use the card to book the tickets. As far as how much the points are worth, Greg the Frequent Miler did an extensive analysis on that question which you can check out here.

With so many heavily touted companion airfare discounts being so difficult to use, it’s awfully nice to find one that’s easy and so unrestricted. The CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card continues to impress me, with the only downside being how difficult it is to get. But if you can acquire one, it will definitely pay for itself several times over.

Did you know about the repeatable $100 companion airfare discount on the Crystal Visa Infinite?

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Other Recent Posts From The “Bet You Didn’t Know” Series:

A Little Noticed Improvement to Google Flights

3 Methods To Transfer Avios Between Iberia and British Airways

Updates on Amex Offers Auto Tweets & the Virgin Visa Shopping Cart Trick

Find all the “Bet You Didn’t Know” posts here.

Last updated on December 20th, 2018

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Anthony
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Anthony

Is this card still offering the 100k point sign up bonus? Do you still have to go to a branch to sign up?

Devils Advocate
Member
Devils Advocate

The 100k bonus is currently not available, but no word on whether it might come back.

Nick L.
Guest
Nick L.

I see that the signup bonus last year is no longer available, is there a new signup bonus available?

Devils Advocate
Member
Devils Advocate

Not yet.

james
Guest
james

It seems like Google Flights includes taxes while the Visa portal doesn’t, so the prices are not really the same

Devils Advocate
Member
Devils Advocate

Those screenshots are from two different searches, so while it makes it look like the taxes aren’t included, they do appear to be when you get airfares in the original search. Apologies for the screenshot confusion.

Mel
Guest

The Alaska BofA credit card offers a companion ticket for $129 and I was able to use it for 2 other travels, just had to pay for it with my card, even though the fine print says the card holder has to be one of the travelers.

Trevor the Penguin
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Trevor the Penguin

Huge question – do these book in the system w/the airline like a cash ticket so that I am eligible for elite-status upgrades? And are they booked directly with the airline to earn your miles?

For example, I have the Delta Platinum personal card in my wallet, got the companion pass, but it completely excludes you from Medallion comp upgrades.

Devils Advocate
Member
Devils Advocate

Good question. I do believe they will book as regular tickets that earn miles and elite status, but I can’t confirm that just yet. I’ll let you know when I fly the ticket.

Noname
Guest
Noname

DA – any update on this? Thx

HoKo
Guest
HoKo

Any updates here?

Wright
Guest
Wright

Thanks for the heads up on this.

Is there a way to make it work on one-way flights?

What about Southwest?

Devils Advocate
Member
Devils Advocate

Unfortunately no one ways and no Southwest.

Thermador Appliances
Guest

Asking questions are in fact nice thing if you are not understanding anything entirely, but
this article offers nice understanding yet.

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[…] Save $100 on each 2 (or more) person round trip domestic flight purchased through this website.  We reported this feature previously, here: Bet You Didn’t Know: A Repeatable Companion Airfare Discount with the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite. […]

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[…] Use the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite flight discount for $100 off two or more round trip flights (details here). […]

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I wished I lived in a state where they had a branch so I could get one. Don’t see a link for the application online.

MelsAntiqueJewelry.com
Guest

Does anyone know if two Authorized users would get the $100 discount if they were to buy tickets?

trackback

[…] through the Visa Discount Air portal. The discount can be used an unlimited number of times.  See this excellent post that Julian wrote last year for more information on booking this discount.  Note that flights must cost more than $100 each before the discount is applied. and you need […]

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[…] from $83 round trip in United basic economy — but you can do even better by using the Visa Infinite Discount Air benefit to book 2 people on JetBlue for $114.80 round trip. That’s a pretty good excuse to […]

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[…] though note that regular economy isn’t that much more (and may work out even if you are booking for two people and you have the Visa Infinite Airfare discount of the Chase Ritz-Calrton card or the CNB Crystal […]

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[…] via OTAs like Priceline, Expedia, etc. As noted above, these flights are also available via the Visa Infintie Discount Air program, which is only available on the Chase Ritz-Carlton card (portal link here) and the CNB Crystal Visa […]

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[…] $100 companion fair discount, this can be repeated […]

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[…] $100 companion fair discount, this can be repeated […]