The Delta companion certificates you can get from credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can easily be worth double the annual fee on both cards … but only if you can find the flights to put them to use. Fortunately, Delta just made that task much easier with one simple – but important – change.
For years, you'd have to search one day at a time to try to. Nothing available for roundtrip flights from New York City (JFK) to Miami (MIA) on Nov. 17 and returning a week later? Start your search over and try again.
But Delta just added a price calendar function when you're searching for flights using a companion ticket, allowing travelers to pull up to a month's worth of flights in one quick glance. It might seem small, but it's a critical improvement: That change can help you zero in on flights that are eligible for this perk, especially when shifting by just a day or two from an initial search.
The strings around using these certificates have made them frustrating for many travelers, as only specific fare classes are eligible. With planes filling up and airlines nearly selling out seats as travel demand surges in 2022, finding a domestic flight that qualifies has felt impossible lately to many Delta flyers who have unused companion tickets from the last two years.
Here's how this new feature works.
How to Search with Price Calendar
Rather than starting your search from the Delta.com homepage, you'll want to begin by selecting your Delta companion certificate. And you'll want to do it on desktop – not via the mobile app.
Log in, click your name, and select “My Profile.” If you've got an unused Delta companion certificate, you'll see them under “Certificates, eCredits & Vouchers” along with any outstanding Delta eCredits from canceled flights.
Clicking on the certificate in your profile will allow you to begin the booking and redemption process. Pick the certificate you want to use and then click “Continue.”
From there, just enter the route you're looking for … and remember, these companion certificates are only valid on flights within the continental U.S. – Alaska and Hawaii are off-limits, as are the U.S. territories. Make sure to click “My dates are flexible” before starting your search.
Unfortunately, there are no fares eligible to use a companion ticket on these flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Denver (DEN) on Sept. 8, returning Sept. 14. Just a week ago, Delta would have merely shown a blank screen with grayed out availability. But here's what you get now.
By allowing travelers to pull up a calendar view, Delta now shows you that leaving just one day earlier or later makes these certificates available to use on these flights to Denver next month. Better yet, it also highlights the cheapest fares available over that initial one-week span.
You can take things even further by selecting “Price Calendar” after you search, pulling up a full month's worth of flights for whatever trip length you set.
These flexible dates and price calendar functions have been around for years, whether you're looking for a cheap flight using cash or trying to redeem some Delta SkyMiles. By looping that in with companion tickets, Delta just made it much easier for flyers to find flights that are eligible to put those certificates to use.
Basics on Delta Companion Certificates
These certificates can be gold – but only if you know what you're getting.
You won't get your companion ticket right off the bat when you open a new Platinum or Reserve card account. It starts once you've held either the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card for a full year.
Exactly what you can get depends on which card you've got.
- The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card‘s companion certificate is good for one main cabin, roundtrip fare in the continental U.S.
- The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card‘s the companion ticket can also be used for Comfort Plus and domestic first-class airfare.
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.
You also have to charge the first fare (and the taxes and fees of the second) to an American Express card. It doesn't necessarily need to be the Delta Platinum or Reserve SkyMiles card. However, using a Visa, MasterCard, or any other credit card will not work.
Simple enough, right? But all this doesn't mean that you can buy any roundtrip ticket and use your Delta companion certificate to bring a buddy for free.
You have to find a specific type of fare class in order to apply a Delta companion certificate. That's the reason why many searches when trying to use Delta companion tickets come up empty: Those specific fares just aren't available.
- With the Delta Platinum Card, you can only book fare classes L, U, T, X, and V in the main cabin.
- On the Delta Reserve, you can book all those fares plus fare classes I, Z, and W – first class and Comfort Plus tickets.
Other Tips to Put Your Delta Companion Tickets to Use
This change is, pardon the repetition, a game changer for using Delta companion certificates. With one simple tweak, it's much easier to find the flights
But there's still plenty more to keep in mind to make sure you're getting the most out of this benefit.
- Book early! The closer you get to departure, the harder it's going to get to find flights that qualify for these companion certificates.
- Use Delta eCredits to pay for your portion of the trip! Sometime in the last several months, Delta added the ability to apply Delta eCredits to the paid ticket even when redeeming a companion fare. Put those canceled trips to use to get even more out of your companion ticket.
- Pair it with a cheap international flight! One of the best ways to use these certificates is to book positioning flights to get from your hometown airport to a major hub in order to hop on a cheaper fare abroad.
- Book a trip for two others! If you won't have time to use your companion ticket yourself before it expires, there's nothing stopping you from booking a trip for two (for the price of one!) for friends or family!
Read our full guide on how to maximize Delta companion certificates in 2022 and beyond!
It's a small change with a big impact.
Delta recently added the ability to search for flexible dates when using a companion certificate, making it much, much easier to find flights to book a BOGO trip rather than letting certificates go to waste.
This is a great improvement! Another significant one would be the ability to book more than two tickets, as right now the system only allows for two (paid fare plus companion), requiring to do separate reservations for a family – it would be nice able to pay for three and get four, for example. It seems minor as the reservations can be combined later, but it’s a major headache having to do multiple reservations and then combining them.
Thanks for this article. I am interested this benefit. What steps should I take in order to upgrade from the Gold Platinum American Express Card? Do you happen to know if this is possible?
This is great!
Great tips, thanks!
Do you have only “round trip” as a choice to use this companion ticket? I wanted to book multicity ticket from Boston to Washington state and then drive to San Jose Califonia and fly back to Boston from San Jose. It only gives me round trip ticket choice. Any workaround to that?
Received different results than you did. After following the instructions line by line, I received this message “Oh no! We’re sorry, but we are unable to process this request online. For assistance please click the “Message Us” button on the Need Help opens in a new tab page and a reservations representative will support you.\n#100800_SMR”. Different kind of message and not a matrix of dates and money
Just don’t expect your luggage to go to the same destination.
Hi is it possible to send my companion certificate to my dad out of state in Minnesota to come fly out to California to visit me? Or do I need to be with them?
You don’t need to be with him but he would need a companion in order for you to be able to redeem a companion certificate for his flight.
While Delta says that you can apply an eCredit to these bookings, the site doesn’t actually allow this. You can’t select the companion cert and the eCredit at the same time before searching. There is a note that says the eCredit can be added at the time of checkout, but this too is a lie. I’ve been sitting on a 14.88 credit forever that can’t be applied to these fares.
This does work. You don’t select the ecredit until you are at checkout. I successfully did this last month.
Question – the Delta FAQs clearly state that the AMEX Delta branded card must be used, the first time, “can be used,” the second time, “must” be used with clear wording that it’s use for all of the costs is required. Also the marketing for these Delta cards presents the companion pass as a benefit when the Delta card is used to pay. Yet this guidance as well as other guidance (non-Delta, non-AMEX) all indicate that a Delta card is not required, just any AMEX card. What is the story around this? Is the Delta software simply not smart enough to flag a non-Delta card and thus clears AMEX card numbers, which seems to be an easier tech screening versus trying to discern a Delta card from any other AMEX card? Or something else? Seems to be important given that violation companion pass rules such as skipping the return has been documented to result in the fare being clawed back, etc.
Hard to say for sure since, as you note, there is conflicting information even on Delta’s own resources. But it’s been possible to use a non-Delta Amex for many years without issue, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
i tried today using Hilton Amex card. No go. Must be a delta Amex
one more thing to tell your readers; this companion fare will not be refunded if you cancel in 24
Calendar gone! Looked really bad since they blacked out just about everything around thanksgiivng and last 2 weeks of December……and the covid extensions end on Jan. 31. ouch!
The calendar function is still working for me. Be sure you select “My dates are flexible” before starting your search.
Thank you so very much! I was going around in circles until I found your article!
Thank you so much for this!!! I spoke to multiple Delta representatives that had no answer to my question around how to find fares that were companion certificate eligible. This tutorial answered all my questions. Appreciate it!