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What are Airline Companion Pass Certificates?
One of the most valuable perks of a co-branded airline credit card is the possibility to earn a companion pass certificate. This type of certificate is essentially a two for one voucher. When you book a ticket for yourself, you can apply the companion pass to have someone travel with you on your trip.
The only thing that you’ll need to cover for your travel companion is the taxes and fees on the second ticket.
However, depending on the companion pass and airline, you may only be able to apply the pass to certain classes of service and routes. There may also be certain fare codes, such as domestic economy which do not allow companion pass certificates.
Although it may seem complicated, companion pass certificates vary from airline to airline, but you don’t typically have to jump through a lot of hoops to enjoy this benefit.
How You Earn a Companion Pass
The qualifications to earn a companion pass depend on the specific airline. In many cases, you can earn a companion pass with a co-branded credit card as either part of your welcome bonus or if you meet the minimum spend requirements with your card each year.
For example, you may need to spend $10,000 on your credit card or take a certain number of flights each year.
Generally, once you receive your companion pass, it will remain valid for the remainder of that year and all of the following year. So, if you earn your pass in June 2023, it will be valid until the end of December 2024. Of course, there are exceptions to this, so be sure to read the terms and conditions for specific companion pass certificates to ensure you can maximize the benefits.
Comparing Airline Companion Pass: Which Is Best?
As we discussed, there are some differences between companion pass certificates, but some popular examples include:
There are a number of Delta co-branded Amex cards including the SkyMiles Reserve and SkyMiles Platinum cards, which offer a companion certificate each year on card renewal. Once you’ve paid your annual fee, you’ll receive your new companion certificate in your account.
With this certificate you will need to pay any government imposed taxes and fees, but these are capped at $75. The certificate is valid for one round trip main cabin ticket within the 48 contiguous states. However, there are some rules to consider.
Firstly, your companion certificate is only valid for one year from the issue date and you must purchase both the primary and companion ticket with your card. Companion seats are not available on all flights or markets and are limited to L,U,T,X and V service classes. However, both you and your companion are eligible for complimentary Medallion upgrades subject to availability.
Number of Companion Certificates
1X – 3X 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations® with 1X miles on all other purchases
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
1x – 3x 3x miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x mile per dollar spent on other purchases (1.5x miles on all purchases after spending $150,000 in a calendar year)
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
1x – 3x 3 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and hotels, 1.5 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 50,000 additional miles per year and 1 mile per eligible dollar spent on all other purchases
There are several AAdvantage co-branded credit cards that offer a companion certificate with each card anniversary. Typically, you need to meet a spending requirement on your card within the year and renew your card, paying its annual fee.
You’ll receive a domestic economy fare companion certificate for one or two companions, depending on your card. You can use this certificate when you travel and the cost for your companion is $99 plus taxes and fees. The certificate can be used for round trip travel within the 48 contiguous states.
The certificate is valid for one year from the date of receipt and you should receive your certificate within two weeks of card renewal. You can use the certificate on any American Airlines operated flight or flights operated by its subsidiaries.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
1 ($20,000 minimum spend)
AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®
1x – 2x 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants, and 1X miles for on all other purchases
1 ($30,000 minimum spend)
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
1x – 2x 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
1 ($20,000 minimum spend)
The Southwest companion pass is one of the most popular and it is valid for the remainder of the year that you earn it and for the full following calendar year.
There are no limits to how many times you can use the pass, you can use it anytime you book a Southwest flight. So for only taxes and fees, you and a friend or family member can enjoy a trip.
There are two ways to earn a Southwest companion pass; either completing 100 one way Southwest flights in one year or earning 135,00 Rapid Rewards points. You can accumulate these points using a Southwest co-branded credit card, but transferred or purchased points will not count towards your companion pass. However, there is no Southwest credit card that offers a Companion Pass as a benefit.
However, the welcome points bonus will help you to earn your pass. So, if you open one or more co-branded card accounts, you could almost immediately score a new companion pass.
The Alaska Signature card provides a Companion Fare when you meet the minimum spend requirements or if the company is running a promotional welcome bonus. When you renew and pay the annual fee, you’ll receive your companion fare into your account. You can then use your fare to book a flight with a cost of $121 or more. This works out as a $99 fare plus fees and taxes which start at $22.
The fare is valid for a round trip economy ticket on Alaska itineraries including international destinations, providing you purchase via the Alaska website. To use your fare, you simply need to sign into your Mileage Plan account and click on “Shop” under the “Discount and companion fares” section.
The Companion Fare certificate needs to be redeemed before its expiry date, which is typically 12 months from issue, but you can schedule travel for up to 12 months from your booking date. Additionally, companion fares are only valid on economy bookings, but you can upgrade your fare using elite upgrades, paid upgrades or miles. Unfortunately, you cannot use a companion fare in conjunction with an award ticket.
1X – 3X unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
1 (6,000 minimum spend)
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
1X – 3X 3 miles given for every dollar spend on Alaska Airlines as well as 1 mile for every dollar spent
Can I Add a Companion Pass to an Existing Reservation?
In many cases, you can add a companion pass to an existing flight reservation. For example, Southwest provides this option on its website.
When you log into your Southwest account and find your flight details, underneath, you should see an “Add Companion” button. You will then see the “Trip and Price Details” pre filled with the appropriate flight information.
Can You Change Your Companion Pass?
If you have a multi use Companion Pass as you get with Southwest, you can change your designated companion up to three times per calendar year.
Before you can change your designated companion, you need to cancel any reservations booked with your current companion and then you can call the Southwest helpline. The change will be applied to your account within 21 business days.
Depending on the specific pass, it is typically valid for one year. However, some passes are valid for the remainder of the year that you earn the pass and the entirety of the following year.
It may be possible, depending on the current welcome bonus for the particular co-branded credit card.
Some cards offer a pass as a welcome bonus, but in most cases, you will need to qualify for the pass with the appropriate spending on your card or by renewing your card and paying the annual fee.
In most cases, the companion pass is valid for domestic economy fares, but with the Southwest pass, you can book flights in first or business class and only pay fees and taxes for your companion.
This depends on the particular airline program, but in most cases you will not earn frequent flyer miles or loyalty points for your companion’s flight.
Again, this depends on the specific program. You would need to check the terms and conditions for your particular companion pass.