Nowadays airfare is so expensive, it sometimes costs a small fortune just to fly somewhere your spouse or family. Credit cards with companion tickets are one way you save money when you are traveling with others.
Let’s take a look at your options for 2013. Please keep in mind that with all of these, you will still have to pay any applicable government taxes and fees on the second ticket for your companion (fortunately those are pretty reasonable on domestic flights).
Delta Airlines companion ticket:
Some (but not all) of the the Delta AmEx cards include a companion airfare benefit that you get once per year of membership.
- The Platinum Delta Skymiles card has a $150 annual fee, but it comes with an almost free companion ticket each year of cardmembership (you just have to pay the applicable taxes and fees on the second ticket). It can be used for a roundtrip Economy Class flight within the 48 contiguous United States. That alone makes the card worth it, but when you consider the included benefits like Zone 1 Priority Boarding and the ability to check your first bag for free… this card is money well spent, even if you only travel once per year. Terms and Restrictions apply. Here is the current offer for it.
- The Delta Reserve card has a $450 annual fee so it will only make sense for diehard travelers. You get a companion voucher once per year, but unlike the card above, with this one you can redeem it for an Economy or First Class fare within within the 48 contiguous United States. Even though the annual fee is high, this is definitely worth it if you use the voucher for a first-class flight (because you know how much those flights cost normally). Terms and Restrictions apply. Here is the current offer for it.
Or for a more in-depth review, you can compare all 3 Delta SkyMiles cards side by side here.
US Airways companion ticket:
Their Premier World MasterCard has an annual fee of $89, which is pretty reasonable considering that it scores you two companion tickets per year for $99 each. The benefits aren’t too shabby either… zone 2 priority boarding, first class check-in, and once per year a US Airways Club day pass for free.
I think this would be most useful if you have a family of 4 or more. Mom and dad could buy tickets for themselves and the 2 kids could fly for $99 each thanks to the vouchers.
Virgin American discount benefit:
This is a bit different than the others. As a cardmember, once per year you can buy a companion ticket and get $150 off the price. So rather than paying a pre-determined amount for the airline companion ticket, this credit card gives you a straight $150 off. I’m a huge fan of this card for several reasons:
- The annual fee is only $49
- Your points are worth more. Each points is worth a pretty consistent 2.2 cents towards award airfare.
- There are no blackout dates and no seat restrictions
To see the current bonus offer, check out my Virgin America review.
The Platinum Card from American Express:
For those that travel internationally and fly business class, then this charge card’s companion ticket offer is an incredible value even though it has an annual fee of $450.
Simply purchase a qualifying international business or first class ticket thru AmEx and you get complimentary companion airfare for free (you just have to pay the applicable taxes and fees on the second ticket). As you know getting an almost free business or first class ticket for international travel may save you thousands! Check out our review of the Platinum Card from AmEx to find out more.
Alaska Airlines companion ticket:
Once per year cardmembers can purchase a companion ticket for $99. It’s annual fee is $75 which is a bit less than the other guys, but I’m still not a fan of this card. Why? Because it is issued by Bank of America, who is stingy with benefits and notorious for bad customer service.
This article was written or last updated November 13, 2013