With holiday and 2024 travel right around the corner, you probably want to ensure you’re making the most of your money on your next big trip. One of the best ways to do so is with airline credit card companion tickets.
Essentially, in addition to helping travelers earn free flights by racking up frequent flyer miles, some airline credit cards offer companion certificates or discounts so cardholders can bring a companion along for free.
These aren’t your average BOGO deals, though. Some companion tickets are restricted to certain regions or cabin classes, while others are based on credit card spending or are only good for award tickets. What kind of companion ticket you have will depend completely on the credit card you carry.
So, let’s look at the airline credit cards that offer this as a benefit and what you’ll need to do to earn it and maximize it for your travels.
Alaska Airlines offers a companion ticket through its cobranded credit cards. The personal and business versions come with a Companion Fare, which starts from $122 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $23) and is reissued annually after spending at least $6,000 within the prior anniversary year. Sometimes they’ll offer an additional Companion Fare as part of a welcome offer.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card
Companion ticket benefit: The Alaska Airlines Visa credit card comes with a companion ticket benefit that’s one of the easiest to understand and use. Every year you carry this card and spend $6,000 within the prior anniversary year, you are entitled to an annual companion fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees, usually about $23).
The rules stipulate that the primary traveler and their companion must be booked on the same itinerary. While the cardholder does not need to be one of the travelers, you must pay for the tickets using the corresponding Alaska Visa.
The companion fare is valid for travel in economy only, and it must be redeemed within 12 months of the issue date, but travel can take place afterward.
What’s great about this benefit is that both the primary traveler and the companion will earn full mileage credit for their flights. In addition, both tickets are eligible for upgrades if you have Alaska elite status or want to use a pair of the carrier’s Gold Guest Upgrades.
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Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Annual fee: $95
Other benefits: This card earns a considerable 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, EV charging station, cable, streaming services, and local transit (including ride-hailing purchase), and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. It has no foreign transaction fees and provides a free checked bag on Alaska flights for the cardholder and up to six other guests on the same reservation. Here’s our full card review.
Official application link: Alaska Airlines Visa
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card
Companion ticket benefit: The Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card offers an identical companion ticket benefit: Spend $6,000 within the prior anniversary year and you’ll receive an annual companion fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees, usually about $23).
Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare; ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Annual fee: $70 for the company and $25 per card
Other benefits: Earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, EV charging stations, shipping and local transit, (including ride-hailing purchases) and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Receive a free checked bag for you and up to six companions. Here’s our full card review.
Official application link: Alaska Airlines Visa Business
Barclays offers two different American Airlines companion tickets through its cobranded cards.
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard and AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard
Companion ticket benefit: Every account anniversary, Aviator Red cardholders who spend $20,000 in a year will receive a $99 (plus taxes and fees) Companion Certificate for a round-trip domestic economy fare within the 48 contiguous United States. (Alaska and Hawaii residents can travel from their home state to the 48 contiguous states.)
Meanwhile, Silver cardholders can earn two of these certificates with $20,000 annual spending.
In either case, your account must remain open for 45 days after your anniversary date to qualify for the Companion Certificate.
Welcome bonus: The Silver is not available to new applicants. The Aviator Red is offering 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase and pay the $99 annual fee in full within 90 days.
Annual fee: $99 for the Aviator Red card; $195 for the Aviator Silver
Other benefits: The Aviator Red card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. The Aviator Silver card earns 3 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Both cards offer a first free checked bag on domestic flights, priority boarding, inflight Wi-Fi credits and discounts on other inflight purchases. For more details on each and how they compare, check out this post.
The information for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver and the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Companion ticket benefit: The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card has offered one of the longest-standing companion ticket benefits, and it’s still one of the best options out there. Each year, cardholders are entitled to a companion certificate for one round-trip itinerary within the 48 contiguous United States (or from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the 48 states) in the main cabin.
You must pay taxes and fees, though they’re capped at $75. Among the restrictions are that this ticket is only valid on airfares purchased in the L, U, T, X or V classes of service (so no Basic Economy “E” fares) and only the primary traveler accrues miles.
Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.
Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)
Other benefits: This card earns 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Cardholders also earn 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Cardholders get a free checked bag for themselves and up to eight companions on the same Delta flight reservation, plus 20% savings on inflight purchases and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
You can find more details on the card in our full review.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Companion ticket benefit: With its much higher annual fee, cardholders can expect a better companion ticket benefit with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. Each year they renew, cardholders will receive a companion certificate good for one round-trip itinerary within the 48 contiguous United States (with the same dispensations for folks in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands) in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ or first class. They’ll only be responsible for taxes and fees on the second ticket, up to $75.
Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.
Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)
Other benefits: This card’s main benefit is that it offers Delta Sky Club access when traveling on flights marketed or operated by Delta. (The access rules change on Feb. 1, 2025.) You also receive two one-time guest passes each year and can bring two guests for $50 each.
The card’s other benefits are mostly in line with those of the Platinum version. However, it also provides complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on the card. For more details, read our full review.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex
Delta business credit cards
Note that Delta offers business versions of the two personal cards listed above: the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card. The companion ticket benefits on these cards are identical to their respective personal counterparts above, so if you have a small business, either could be a good option for traveling with a companion.
Related: Best Delta credit cards
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®
Companion ticket benefit: The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard offers a one-time 50% companion discount to new cardholders. The companion discount is good for a full coach round-trip fare for a companion traveling on the same itinerary between Hawaii and North America.
Although this 50% off companion discount isn’t as great as some of the companion fares listed here, it still represents substantial savings for two people traveling together. In addition to this one-time 50% companion discount, cardholders are eligible for an annual $100 companion discount for round-trip travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines.
Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Annual fee: $99
Other benefits: This card earns 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store spending and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Cardholders get a free checked bag on flights operated by Hawaiian Airlines and discounted award flights.
Additionally, cardholders pay no foreign transaction fees abroad and can share miles with friends and family without a fee.
For more information, check out our full review.
The information for the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Companion ticket benefit: Southwest’s famed Companion Pass is essentially an unlimited two-for-one pass on both paid and award tickets. It’s valid for the calendar year you earn it, plus the following one. You can achieve it by racking up 135,000 qualifying points or taking 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.
The good news is that sign-up bonuses and points earned by spending on Southwest’s cobranded credit cards count toward this qualification threshold. Some savvy spending can get you the Southwest Companion Pass faster than you think.
Welcome bonus: All three Southwest credit cards offer an identical sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening:
Annual fee: $69 (Plus), $99 (Premier) and $149 (Priority)
Other benefits: Despite their different annual fees, these three cards offer a similar suite of benefits.
The Priority comes with a $75 annual Southwest travel credit. The Premier and Priority cards offer the opportunity to earn Tier Qualification Points based on spending (1,500 for each $10,000 spent annually, reducing to each $5,000 from Jan. 1, 2024) and waive foreign transaction fees.
All three offer anniversary bonuses ranging from 3,000 points with the Plus to 7,500 with the Priority. Here’s a handy comparison of all three.
Small businesses can also earn points toward this perk. Points earned on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card also count toward the carrier’s Companion Pass.
Of course, companion tickets aren’t just awarded to those with credit cards from U.S.-based airlines. Some international carriers offer cards with similar perks available to U.S. applicants. These could go a long way toward offsetting the costs of your next trip overseas.
Companion ticket benefit: Travelers who hold the British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card can earn the carrier’s “Travel Together” companion ticket every calendar year in which they spend $30,000 or more on purchases. This ticket is basically a two-for-one award ticket for round-trip travel on British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus flights originating and ending anywhere these airlines fly. It can be redeemed for any class of service, though there are some restrictions.
Only one voucher can be earned per 12-month period. The cardholder and their companion must be on the same flight in the same class of service. You will be responsible for taxes and fees on both tickets, but only mileage for one will be deducted. The credit card account must also be open and in good standing when you redeem it.
Though this can be a great deal for saving on premium awards, remember that taxes and fees on British Airways tickets can add up. Luckily, cardholders are eligible for statement credits to offset these fees: $100 for economy and premium economy, $200 for business- and first-class seats. These credits can be claimed up to three times per year.
Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
Annual fee: $95
Official application link: British Airways Visa
Companion ticket benefit: The Barclaycard Lufthansa Miles & More World Elite Mastercard also offers a companion benefit — and the great thing is that you are eligible for it after your first purchase and automatically every year after your account anniversary.
That said, it’s only eligible for economy travel from the U.S. to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It applies only to H, M, Y or B fare codes. These are non-discount economy fares, which can be more expensive than the lowest-priced option. Cardholders must also pay all taxes and fees on both tickets, which can be hundreds of dollars.
Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 award miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases and pay the annual fee, both within the first 90 days.
Annual fee: $89
Other benefits: This card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from airlines that participate in the Miles & More program, like Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines. It earns 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else and carries no foreign transaction fees.
Cardholders receive two, one-time Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers upon first purchase, plus every account anniversary after the annual fee payment. If you’re going for Miles & More elite status, primary cardholders are eligible to convert award miles into status miles at a ratio of 5:1 for a maximum of 25,000 award miles.
The information for Barclaycard Lufthansa Miles & More World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
In addition to welcome bonuses and travel perks, companion certificates can be a compelling reason to apply for an airline credit card. Before you do, though, review the terms and conditions carefully to make sure that you will be able to maximize this benefit’s value. Many companion certificates are restricted to specific classes of service, geographical regions and time constraints, which can all limit their usefulness.
However, if you find one that matches your needs, a credit card companion certificate can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on airline travel each year and might be well worth it.