Credit Card Airline Companion Tickets & Passes
Some airline co-branded credit cards provide companion tickets or companion fare discounts as perks for cardholders. Taking advantage of these deals makes bringing family or friends on trips easy and affordable. Understanding how companion offers work allows you to maximize the value.
What Are Credit Card Companion Tickets?
Airline credit card companion tickets allow:
- Buying one ticket at regular price
- Getting a second ticket for minimal added cost
The second “companion fare” ticket has fees capped at a set rate regardless of normal fare price.
This makes bringing additional people on air travel very affordable.
How Do Companion Tickets Work?
When using a credit card companion fare ticket:
- Purchase one regular priced ticket on the card
- Book the companion ticket through the airline
- Pay set companion fees like $99 plus applicable taxes
- Both travelers fly together under regular fare rules
- Limited seats available for companions
The savings apply to base airfare, not taxes and fees.
Value of Companion Tickets and Passes
The value of a companion fare or pass depends on:
- Normal ticket price of the route
- Dollar cost cap for the companion ticket fees
- Number of seats available for companions
- Number of times per year the offer is available
Higher regular fares and lower companion caps provide greater savings.
Common Airline Credit Card Companion Offers
Popular examples include:
Alaska Airlines Visa Companion Fare
- One roundtrip companion fare for $121 (plus taxes)
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Companion Pass
- Bring one companion for just taxes on every Delta flight
United Explorer Card Companion Ticket
- One roundtrip companion flight for $100
Always check current offer details as specifics vary over time.
Eligibility for Companion Tickets
Typical requirements to utilize credit card companion offers:
- Must book primary ticket using eligible credit card
- Companion flyer does not need to be a cardholder
- Primary and companion travel together on same itinerary
- Limit to 1-2 companion bookings per year
- Primary and companion must be listed when booking
- Availability may be capacity restricted
Using a Companion Ticket or Pass
Follow these steps to use companion deals:
- Book regular paid ticket through airline using eligible card
- Call airline to add companion itinerary for capped fee
- Provide companion’s name and info when booking
- Both travelers check-in and travel together
- Primary ticket owner boards first with credit card used
Follow instructions carefully to ensure availability and successfully utilize the discount.
Restrictions on Companion Tickets
Common restrictions on companion fares include:
- Only valid on roundtrip domestic itineraries
- Can’t combine with other discounts or upgrades
- May block holiday or peak travel dates
- Capacity limits on number of seats per flight
- Can’t earn extra frequent flyer miles
- Non-refundable after ticketing
Check terms to avoid issues using your pass. Plan ahead to ensure availability.
Using Companion Passes Strategically
Tips for maximizing value from companion passes and discounted tickets:
- Use for expensive routes and destinations to maximize savings
- Book roundtrip flights to get full discount
- Reserve flights early to secure seat availability
- Be flexible with travel dates when possible to increase odds of booking
- Pay for flights where companion discounts don’t apply
Think about high-value routes where added people equals big ticket savings.
Comparing Airline Card Companion Perks
When choosing a co-branded airline credit card, assess:
- Dollar value of companion pass or discounted seat fees
- Number of companion bookings allowed per year
- Seat capacity and availability limitations
- Ability to combine with award ticket redemptions
- Eligible flight regions and types
Pick the program offering the maximum potential savings aligned to your common airport and route preferences.
Taxes and Fees on Companion Tickets
While base fares are capped at fixed rates, you must still pay:
- Airport passenger facility charges
- Departure or arrival taxes
- Security fees
- September 11th security fees
- U.S. federal excise tax
These taxes and government-imposed fees get charged on top of the companion fee.
Companion Pass Expiration and Extension
Most airline credit card companion passes expire one year from issue.
If you can’t use the pass in time, some options include:
- Paying annual airline credit card fee to renew
- Transferring miles to friends/family to use your pass
- Buying miles to extend for another 6-12 months
Check specific expiration and extension policies for your card program.
Using Companion Passes for Award Travel
In some cases, companion passes may combine with award tickets for added savings:
- Book award ticket for primary traveler
- Add companion on same flights by paying companion fees and taxes
This further maximizes the value of award redemptions.
Alternatives to Credit Card Companion Passes
You can also get companion discounts through:
- Airline membership level companion perks
- Buying discount companion vouchers direct through airlines
- Getting Alaska companion fare codes through credit card sign-up bonuses
- Combining regular award tickets for others when you book an award seat
Compare available deals for your common airline and routes to utilize the best recurring companion perk values.
Key Takeaways on Companion Tickets
- Provide huge savings by capping companion fares for additional travelers
- Require booking primary ticket on co-branded airline credit card
- Must follow instructions to confirm availability and utilize discounts
- Limitations exist on number of bookings and travel dates
- Choose card programs matching your typical airline and airport preferences
When used strategically, credit card companion passes offer an incredible opportunity to save substantially on airfare while traveling with friends and family.