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Save Your Family Money With an Annual Delta Companion Ticket

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 6/24/2019 The Points Guy

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Families need as many miles as possible to get everyone where they want to be, so part of our strategy to increase our mileage balances is to pull the trigger on increased card offers a few times a year. The line-up of Delta Amex cards has increased offers as high as 80,000 miles right now through July 2. That makes this a perfect time to consider whether a new Delta card should be in your family's future.

Aside from the miles you'll receive, the cards come with some great benefits. One of my favorite benefits of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card From American Express, Delta Reserve for Business Credit CardPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is the yearly companion ticket you receive on each card member anniversary. I personally have kept my Delta Amex around year-after-year in large part because of this benefit. Since families often travel with more than just one person, this is a perk that can more than pay for itself.

Annual Delta Companion Ticket Available via Platinum or Delta Reserve Amex

Platinum and Delta Reserve SkyMiles card holders receive an annual companion ticket at each renewal of the card. This benefit is extended to both the consumer and business version of the card. The companion ticket can be used on certain round-trip economy tickets within the contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands can originate from those destinations to travel to the 48 contiguous United States. (You must have an eligible address on file with SkyMiles.) If you have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex, the companion ticket is only eligible for economy-class flights, while if you have the Delta Reserve the companion ticket can be used for first class, Comfort+ or the main cabin.

This annual award is automatically deposited into your SkyMiles account the month you pay the annual fee, and it is valid for a year from the date of issuance. You still need to pay the taxes and fees on the second ticket, but otherwise this can result in a BOGO flight deal.

Fly with your favorite companion for less. (Image courtesy of Granger Wootz via Getty Images) © The Points Guy Fly with your favorite companion for less. (Image courtesy of Granger Wootz via Getty Images)

The Delta companion ticket award you receive by renewing your Platinum Delta Amex is valid in the Delta economy L, U, T, X and V fare classes. This excludes Delta’s basic economy fares (E class) and some higher coach fare classes. In my experience, this means that you can use the Delta companion ticket on a wide variety of dates and routes, but not on every single flight.

The companion certificate on the Delta Reserve Amex is valid in all those economy fare classes listed above as well as in I and Z (first class) and W (Comfort+).

For example, when I checked for eligible flights during our Thanksgiving break dates, I could not use the Delta companion ticket as the lower eligible fare classes were not available for sale on those dates. If you want to use the companion ticket, your best bet is to book well in advance and don't plan on using it on the most peak travel dates.

Save Hundreds of Dollars With Delta Companion Ticket

To show you the value of the Delta companion ticket, earlier this year I was looking into a New York City weekend trip during spring break. This round-trip nonstop flight from Houston to LaGuardia was pricing out at $420 on Delta. That isn't a very good deal, but some Friday to Sunday trips are simply sometimes pricy. The Delta companion ticket is a great way to save money when prices are expensive, as one round-trip ticket would have cost me $420, but the second ticket would have only costs an additional $28 in taxes/fees when using the companion ticket. Getting round-trip weekend tickets from Houston to New York City for two passengers for $448 + the companion voucher is a much better overall deal.

a screenshot of a cell phone © The Points Guy

Using the Delta companion ticket is thankfully pretty simple. Log in to your online Delta SkyMiles account, and if you have a companion ticket available, you should see it listed on your profile under the "My Wallet" section as a credit/certificate.

a screenshot of a cell phone © The Points Guy

From there, you can select to use the certificate and search for eligible Delta flights. You can only search for the people who are on the trip using the certificate, so additional children or travelers may have to be booked separately. You can then have their itinerary linked to yours by calling 1-800-221-1212 or reaching out to @Delta on Twitter.

If you used the Delta companion ticket in a similar manner as shown above, it can easily be worth more than the $195 annual fee (see rates & fees) you pay each year to keep the Delta Platinum Amex. The Reserve has a $450 annual fee (see  rates & fees) but comes with additional benefits including Sky Club access.

Another really cool feature of the Delta companion ticket is that it is transferable. If you can't use it, you can let someone else in the family benefit from the savings. That makes it flexible for families who don't always travel together since the card holder doesn't have to be on the flight.

The primary ticket on the reservation using the Delta companion ticket will accrue miles, but the companion ticket won't. The tickets are eligible for upgrades consistent with the SkyMiles program. However, keep in mind that if you cancel your itinerary after purchasing, you will not be able to reuse your companion certificate.

Earn Bonus Delta SkyMiles With the Increased Offer

Both the consumer and business version of the Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles cards are offering increased welcome bonuses through July 2.

According to TPG's current valuations 75,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth $900 and 80,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth $960 — and there are lots of ways for families to use those miles. That's a fantastic bonus that makes the $195 annual fee for both Platinum Delta cards easily worth it to me in the first year (Platinum Delta Amex - see rates & fees) (Platinum Delta Business  - see rates & fees). For subsequent years, you'll then receive the money-saving Delta companion certificate. While the Delta Reserve cards come with a much higher annual fee of $450, the miles earned are still worth more.

On an ongoing basis, having one of these four cards provides a free checked bag on Delta flights (for the card holder and up to eight companions), 20% off in-flight Delta purchases and awards the very valuable companion certificate beginning at the first card member anniversary.

Bottom Line

I personally got the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, one of the best travel credit cards, for its increased welcome bonus at one point, but I'm keeping it in my wallet for the annual companion ticket. If you want a big Delta welcome bonus but don't think you will make use of an annual economy companion ticket, then the 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months you can earn on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express may be a better choice. Or, if you are eligible for the business version, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months.

Does your family make use of Delta's companion certificate to save money on flights?

For rates & fees of the Platinum Delta Amex, please click here.

For rates & fees of the Platinum Delta Business Amex, please click here.

For rates & fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.

For rates & fees of the Delta Reserve Business Amex, please click here.

Featured image courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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