Maximizing Your Delta Companion Ticket with the Platinum SkyMiles Card

Delta Companion Ticket

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If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, odds are you’ve got a co-branded credit card from American Express in your wallet.

And while the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is a popular choice among the suite of Delta cards thanks to free checked baggage and priority boarding, there’s another card in the mix. Just one step up is the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, and it’s worth considering for one big reason: an annual companion certificate.

Think of it as your once a year, buy-one-get-one plane ticket benefit. You’ll get this perk after your first full year with the card. Play it right, and you can get far more value than the card’s $195 annual fee out of this great benefit.


How the Companion Certificate Works

You won’t get your companion ticket right off the bat – it starts once you’ve held the card for a year.

On your first card renewal period, you’ll get this companion certificate good for one main cabin, round-trip fare in the continental U.S.

Once that time comes, you’ll get an email informing you the certificate is now available. Log in at Delta.com, and you’ll find it’s been automatically placed in your Delta profile wallet under “credits and certificates.”


Delta Companion Ticket


Clicking on the certificate in your profile will allow you to begin the booking and redemption process. No need to designate your travel companion ahead of time!

But there is an important restriction to keep in mind when using this great perk. The companion certificate only works for fare classes L, U, T, X, and V in the main cabin. That means basic economy fares are off-limits, as are some of the cheapest priced economy fares.

Depending on where you live and when you’re flying, these restrictions can make it more difficult to get a lot out of the companion pass.


Delta Companion Ticket

Look for the fare class to make sure your ticket qualifies for a free companion.


Thrifty Tip #1: Feeling lost? Read up on how fare classes work.

Once you’ve found it, make sure your companion certificate applies and voila – a nearly free plane ticket! You’ll pay just the government-imposed taxes and fees ($5.60 each way in the U.S.) in addition to the price of the first fare.

The paid fare will earn SkyMiles and Medallion Status credits, but the free fare will not. If you’ve got Delta Medallion status, both of you will be eligible for complimentary upgrades.

And remember: These Delta companion tickets are a use it or lose it benefit! Pay close attention to the expiration date on your certificate, and be sure to use it beforehand. It’s not enough to book before it expires – you have to actually take the trip before it lapses.

And one final important restriction to keep in mind: You have to charge the first fare (and the taxes and fees of the second) to your Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.

This is all very exciting, but how can you make sure you are maximizing the value of this benefit? Here’s how.


Buy the Most Expensive Ticket You Can!

Start thinking big to make the most out of your Delta companion ticket.

Any round-trip, main cabin flight within the lower 48 U.S. states will qualify. And some will be better options than others to maximize the value of your certificate.

Cross-country routes and even some short-haul flights consistently tend to be the most expensive. But airfare dips and skyrockets so wildly, that can be hard to predict.

Here’s the bottom line: Make sure you book a flight that costs $195 or more per ticket. That’s the key to making the annual fee on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card worth it.

We’ve regularly been able to get $300 or far more of value out of the companion certificate. And that’s before factoring in the value from free checked bags for everyone on the itinerary! You can use the benefit for any travel in the continental U.S. so there are endless redemption options that will maximize the value of the ticket.


Use it When Your Travel is Limited to Specific Dates

We urge travelers to be flexible when making travel plans to score the best deals. But that’s not always possible.

So if you need to be somewhere on a specific date or are booking last-minute, the Delta companion ticket is a great way to offset the potentially higher fare. Holidays and weekends are typically high-traffic times, with higher fares to match.


Delta Companion Ticket


On a recent vacation to Portland (PDX) over Labor Day weekend, we were disappointed when prices from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) clocked in at $389 per ticket in economy. We had specific days needed to travel, and award availability using Delta SkyMiles was equally brutal.

So we were able to utilize the companion ticket to lower the price to $417 total – roughly $208 per ticket after taxes and fees. So while I paid the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card’s $195 annual fee, I got $361 in value out of the companion ticket. I’d call that a win.


Pair it with an International Fare Deal

Consider using your Delta companion ticket to lower the costs of an international getaway.

We recently featured a great deal on flights to Singapore (SIN) on Singapore Airlines from San Francisco (SFO) for $556 round-trip. But if SFO isn’t your home airport, the cost of getting there on specific days could make the deal look less attractive. Enter the companion certificate.

Positioning flights can add expenses to even the best flight deals, but smart use of the Delta companion ticket can make the best deals from major international airports more realistic.

Just beware that you will forfeit the companion certificate if you wind up canceling your itinerary. So if you’re not sure about that international trip or booking an insane mistake fare, make sure to wait until your itinerary is fully confirmed before booking the domestic flights.

Thrifty Tip #2: Long layover on your international journey? The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card can get you into the Delta SkyClub for $29 per person. If you don’t already have a card that includes lounge access, this is a great way to access the Delta SkyClub.


All About the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card by American Express is one of several options for Delta cards, but it’s among our favorites.

That’s due in large part to this companion certificate, which can easily net you $300 or more in value every single year. You’ll get the benefit after your first full year with the card. But there are other perks to the card, too.

Starting on January 30, 2020, the card will offer 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both hotels and on Delta purchases. It will also earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. You’ll also get a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.

Thrifty Tip #3: Confused about the difference between SkyMiles and MQMs? Read our guide to learn about using SkyMiles and earning Delta status.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card will also get you free checked baggage for anyone on your itinerary. And you’ll never pay pesky foreign transaction fees.


Delta Companion Ticket


Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express. 


Bottom Line

If you fly with Delta even a few times a year, the $195 annual fee on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express Card can pay for itself multiple times over. Even though the annual fee increases to $250 on January 30, 2020, the companion certificate is a fantastic card benefit for Delta fliers and can be quite valuable when used right.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

13 Responses

  1. Maria Sukamto says:

    Very clear explanation

  2. Mary Wiebold says:

    Hello. I was just ready your information about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card. Let me understand, you stated that if one spends $3000 in 3 months one will earn 60,000 SkyMiles. Are you referring to someone who just opens up a new credit card for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card or just by spending $3000 within 3 months? I just spent close to $9,000 in one month. Does that mean I qualify for the 60,000 miles? I am just trying to understand what was written. Thank you.

    • Kyle Potter says:

      Hi Mary,
      You’re only eligible for this bonus if you’ve just signed up for the card. If you already hold the card and continue to spend on it, you’ll just earn 1-2 SkyMiles per dollar.

  3. gregillinois says:

    Tried 6 different 2019 round trip from BZN to ORD. Nothing-nada-no flights.

  4. Snuckles says:

    How do you pair the companion certificate with an international deal? Trying to understand how much this certificate would lower an international flight. How do I locate international flights where I can leverage this certificate? Thank you for ANY insight you can provide.

    • Nick Serati says:


      The certificate only works for travel within the contiguous 48 states.

    • Lisa says:

      You would use the certificate to get to a larger airport that has regular good deals out of the country. Example: use to fly to JFK and hop another flight to Ireland. Or use to get LAX and find deals to Singapore as they specified.

  5. Ann says:

    In order to use the free companion pass, can I buy a second tickets using points? Or it’s cash only?

    Is it true the companion pass comes available prior to paying the annual free? Does it mean I can cancel the card, but still use the certificate for the whole year?

    Thank you!

  6. Gretchen says:

    Does the companion pass have an expiration date?

  7. Lynne Winters says:

    How can my niece use my companion ticket if I’m not also flying.
    She would use it and book her fiancé’s same flight full price on Delta.

  8. Lorrie Robb says:

    I hate that it has a maximum stay of only 30 days. Had anyone been able to get around this restriction? We are staying in Florida for 7 weeks and would love to use it!

  9. Dave says:

    When you use a companion ticket you have to book the flights on a specific Delta page. When comparing the cost of a flight on the the specific Delta as opposed to booking a flight on the general booking page, I found that each ticket cost $200 more for the same flight that I was booking between Salt Lake City and Detroit. There is probably something in the small print of the card holder’s agreement that addresses this, but the “free” companion ticket isn’t totally covered by the cards annual fee.

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