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There’s one perk that I haven’t talked about much in the past, that I think is worth covering. Specifically, both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express offer a free domestic main cabin companion certificate upon your account renewal every year. There are some terms associated with this, though this can easily get you outsized value compared to the $195 annual fee.
When do you get the Delta companion certificate?
You’ll receive the Delta companion certificate on each cardmember anniversary month, and it should be valid for 12 months from when it’s issued. Note that you don’t receive this when you first sign-up for the card, but rather only starting with your first anniversary.
What are the restrictions on the Delta companion certificate?
Here are the basic restrictions to be aware of when redeeming a Delta companion certificate issued through the Platinum version of the card:
- It’s valid for roundtrip travel within the 48 contiguous United States
- Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or the USVI with SkyMiles accounts registered in those regions can use the certificate for travel from their home territory to the 48 contiguous United States
- You have to pay the government taxes for the second traveler on the reservation
- Companion certificates are only valid for travel in the L, U, T, X, and V fare classes
- You can’t combine a companion certificate with eCoupons
- Travel has to be completed by the expiration date of the certificate
- You have to pay for the ticket using a Delta Amex card
- In the event you need to change your ticket, you’ll pay a $200 per person change fee
Can you earn miles for and upgrade Delta companion tickets?
When redeeming the Delta companion certificate, only the primary traveler earns miles, while the person traveling on the companion certificate doesn’t. So this is great for someone who is an elite member, who travels with a family member who is a less frequent traveler.
There has been another positive change to the companion certificate this year. As of April 2017, passengers traveling on Delta companion certificates are eligible for complimentary upgrades to both first class and Comfort+ based on the status of the higher tiered member. However, these tickets are not eligible for mileage upgrades, Global upgrades, or Regional upgrades.
You can receive a complimentary first class upgrade when redeeming a companion certificate
So, how useful is the Delta companion certificate really?
I never really did much research on this companion certificate in the past since I wasn’t a Delta loyalist, but it looks like it has the potential to be quite useful. The biggest restriction here is on fare classes — the companion certificate is only valid on L, U, T, X, and V fare classes. This covers most of Delta’s cheaper economy fare classes, and excludes most of Delta’s more expensive fare classes.
I could see myself using this when traveling with one of my parents or Ford. I’ve switched some business to Delta, while they don’t typically fly with Delta, so I could still earn miles, we could still get upgrades (especially since Delta improved their companion upgrade policy), and I’d just have to pay taxes for the second passenger.
Given how expensive domestic airfare often is nowadays, essentially paying $195 plus tax to take a companion along is a great deal.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. For example, let’s say I wanted to fly from Tampa to Los Angeles roundtrip around Christmas, for travel December 20 through December 28, 2017.
The ticket for one passenger would cost $503.40, and then you could add a second passenger for just $28.40 in taxes and fees. That’s a heck of a deal.
Or let’s say you wanted to fly from New York to Los Angeles around New Year’s.
A ticket for one person would cost a steep $585.40, and then you could take a second passenger for $28.40, bringing down the average cost per passenger to ~$300. That’s a great deal.
There are some restrictions to be aware of with the companion certificate offered by the Platinum Delta Personal Amex and Platinum Delta Business Amex. For example, only select economy fares are eligible, and the companion doesn’t earn miles.
Even so, basically getting a companion to fly with you for ~$230 (when you factor in the $195 annual fee on the card plus standard $28.40 in taxes) is a heck of a deal. I plan on picking up both of these cards soon, and know I’ll get a lot of value out of the companion certificates, and that the card will be a keeper long term because of them. These are more valuable than in the past, given that you can now receive complimentary upgrades to Comfort+ and first class when redeeming these.
If you’ve used a Delta companion certificate, what was your experience like?