The companion certificate awarded annually to Delta Amex Platinum and Reserve cardholders can be a great benefit. But a few restrictions, rules, and “Can I…?” questions may make it confusing or difficult to redeem them.
Below are some questions and answers we hope will help!
What is the Companion Certificate?
The companion certificate is a perk Delta Platinum Amex and Delta Reserve Amex cardholders receive annually — beginning the second year of membership (as Amex likes to call it).
You do not receive the companion certificate (or “BOGOF,” as we call it, for “Buy One, Get One Free”) the first year you hold the card.
Put simply, it allows someone to fly a free (plus some tax/fees) on one roundtrip with a paying passenger who applies the companion certificate.
They are valid for US domestic travel only on Delta Air Lines (Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or the USVI.).
People with a Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (See Rates and Fees) and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card can use their companion certificate for coach/Main Cabin bookings with available fare classes.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (See Rates and Fees) and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card members, meanwhile, can use their companion certs for:
- Coach/Main Cabin with available fare classes
- Comfort+ with available fare class
- First class with available fare classes
We’ll cover “available fare classes” in a few minutes.
Do Only Personal Delta Amexes Get the Companion Pass?
Both the personal and business flavors of the Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards receive the companion pass.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
When Do I Receive It?
Generally, a few days after your second year’s annual fee is billed.
Where Do I Find the Delta Amex Companion Certificate? Is It a Physically Certificate That’s Mailed to Me?
There are two ways to locate your companion certificate: what I like to call “The Shortcut” and “The Scenic Route.”
The Scenic Route:
- Go to Delta.com
- Log in to “My Delta.”
- Look for “My Wallet.”
- Click on “Credits and Certificates.”
The Shortcut (my preferred method):
- Bookmark this page that takes you directly to “Credits and Certificates.” Use that link when logged in to Delta.com SkyMiles account. Done!
Can I Use the Companion Certificate Multiple Times?
No. They are single-use certificates. Once you redeem one, it’s gone for the year.
Can I Have More Than One Companion Certificate at a Time?
Yes. I hold all four of the above credit cards and annually receive a companion certificate for each.
Does the Delta Amex Companion Certificate Expire?
Yes. And this part is VERY IMPORTANT:
Your trip must be completed by the date stated. It’s not like other Delta certificates (bump vouchers, etc) that give you a year during which you can book travel for a date up to another year in advance.
If There Are Two Seats Open on a Delta Flight, Can I Use the Companion Certificate?
The companion certificates are limited to certain fare classes. The companion cert page (again, accessed via this link) will show you what itineraries are eligible for booking.
The Platinum and Reserve companion certs are eligible for L, U, T, X, and V domestic Main Cabin/coach fares.
The Reserve’s cert may also be used for:
- Comfort+ W fares
- First Class I and Z fares
Inventory may not always be available for flights you want. That’s pretty much my only gripe about the companion certificate.
Does the Cardholder Have to Fly on the Companion Certificate Reservation?
The cardholder doesn’t even need to know the people flying on the companion certificate. (I did this for my neighbor’s grandsons so they could come home for Christmas after their grandfather died. Never met ‘em and don’t remember their names.)
The cardholder — or someone with access to the cardholder’s SkyMiles account — must book the ticket.
Are There Any Other Trip Requirements?
Most companion certificate fares require:
- advance purchase of up to 14 days
- three-night minimum stay
- 30-day maximum stay
How Do I Redeem the Companion Certificate?
Go to the Credits and Certificates page you bookmarked. Click the checkbox next to where the cert says “OPEN.” And continue from there.
So I Can’t Call Delta and Have a Phone Agent Book a Companion Certificate Flight for Me?
I’ve been told you can’t. Rene said it’s worked just fine. I’ve also spoken to a few Delta agents who are happy to help book Companion Certificate reservations.
Given that Delta IT is, you know, Delta IT, you might not see all the available fare classes available for companion certificates. In other words, you may want to conduct your own search separately from the Credits and Certificates page, find a qualifying itinerary, and then call Delta to see if they can help book it.
Does the Companion Pay Any Fees?
Yes. Taxes, surcharges, and other miscellaneous charges are not waived. The limit, though, is $75. Personally, I’ve never come close to paying that much.
Do I Have to Pay with a Delta Amex?
No. And you shouldn’t. Delta Amex cards reward you only two or three SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta (depending on which Delta Amex you hold).
You can do way better than that.
The companion cert’s terms & conditions say “Primary Ticket and Companion ticket must be purchased with your Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.”
The only card type you must use is an American Express card.
Pay with any darn Amex card you want (and anyone’s Amex card, even). Personally, I use my Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees) because it earns 5X per dollar spent directly with airlines.
Can I Pay with SkyMiles?
Nope. The primary fare has to be paid for with real money. Here’s one instance where Delta doesn’t want you using SkyMiles as currency.
Unfortunately, it’s not like Southwest’s companion pass which can be used with award tickets.
Can I Use a Voucher to Pay for The Primary Ticket?
Can the Companion Certificate Be Used on All Delta Flights?
Only Delta (and Delta Connection) flights departing and arriving within the 48 contiguous United States are eligible.
That goes for both the Platinum and Reserve BOGOFs.
Is the Cert Good Only for Non-Stops? Or are connections OK?
Trips with connections are fine. (I’ve done it many times) Delta will show you what trips are available for Companion Certificate travel.
It does not work, however with multi-city trips or open-jaws.
This is a Lot of Information! Does Anyone Help with Booking Delta Amex Companion Certificates?
Our good friend Adam and his crew are experienced with booking Delta Amex BOGOF trips and happy to help you!
How Many People Can Be on My Companion Certificate Reservation?
Just two: the paying passenger and complimentary companion.
However, you can certainly book travel for others (friends, family, etc) on the same trip. Just be sure to link everyone’s reservations.
The easiest way (in my opinion) is going on Twitter and sending a direct message to @Delta. And ask them to link the reservations.
They will need:
- SkyMiles numers (if applicable)
- Traveler’s names
- Travel dates
- Departure and destination cities
Read more about linking in this post Rene wrote a few years ago when a different Chris asked about the topic.
Can I Use More Than One Companion Certificate for, Say, a Group of Four People on a Trip?
I’ve done it multiple times — but booked separately and on multiple reservations. (Keep in mind the fare price may go up after the first booking. Or an eligible fare may not even be available.)
For example, my mother-in-law and I use a companion certificate to book flight 1234. We’re issued PNR/confirmation number ABC123.
My wife and daughter will use another companion certificate to book the same flight; they’ll be on PNR CBA321.
Then we link the reservations using the above method.
Where in a Delta Airplane Can I Sit Using a Companion Certificate?
The standard, cash fare seating rules apply to companion certificate bookings.
If you’re a general SkyMiles member, you can reserve any available non-preferred Main Cabin seat.
Silvers and Golds can get any available Main Cabin preferred seat (i.e. exit rows).
Platinums and Golds can get any available Main Cabin seat (including preferred) and then upgrade (almost instantly) to C+ if they wish.
Can I Earn SkyMiles?
The person flying as the paying passenger will earn:
- SkyMiles/redeemable miles (according to their status tier).
The companion doesn’t earn anything — but is flying for free. That’s not a bad gig.
Can I Get Upgraded?
If the primary/purchasing passenger is a Delta Medallion, yes. Upgrades clear according to status level and the usual rules.
However, the companion must be at least a SkyMiles member or partner airline elite member. Otherwise, the twosome will not be eligible for upgrades.
If I’m a Platinum or Diamond, Can I Apply Upgrade Certificates?
You can apply both Regional Upgrade and Global Upgrade certificates to shoot to the tippy top of the upgrade list for something like a Delta One transcon. But I’d recommend saving those for an intercontinental trip!
What If I Have to Cancel My Trip? Do I Get the BOGOF Credit Back to My Account?
Even if I Cancel Within 24 Hours of Booking?
Every data point I’ve read and heard indicates Companion Certificates are complete and final the second they’re booked.
Bad News! My Companion Got Sick and Can’t Go. Can I Still Use the Ticket Even Though I’m the Primary/Paying Passenger?
Technically, no. The terms say if one person has to cancel, the trip’s off. And, of course, you lose the companion cert until your next one is issued.
However, we’ve heard of people calling the Medallion desk or reservations line and asking them to split the reservation into separate PNRs. Tell them the situation and very nicely ask if they’ll help.
Don’t Put Yourself In that Situation
Emergencies pop up from time to time. Stuff happens, as the saying goes.
But don’t put yourself in a situation where you may have to cancel a trip, especially like this one.
Please listen to my advice on this. I speak from experience and cannot stress this enough: do not apply a Companion Certificate to travel involving a friend, family member, associate, or colleague who:
- has an erratic schedule
- is flaky and unreliable
- isn’t in good health
No joke — we’ve expressly forbidden a certain person in my close travel group from ever again being on a Companion Certificate itinerary.
Can I Change a BOGOF Trip?
Yes. If the fare increases, the primary/paying passenger will be on the hook for any fare difference. Plus, they’ll be responsible to pay for any increased taxes based on price differences.
Will I Lose My Companion Certificate if I Cancel My Delta Amex Card?
Amex will say yes and tell you not to cancel your card.
Once it’s in your account, it’s yours.
Can I Sell My Companion Certificate?
You run the risk of Delta canceling not only your Companion Certificate but also your SkyMiles account altogether. That kind of abuse might kill the ability for us to book tickets in other people’s names, etc.
What Else Should I Know?
As someone who now has to pay for a child, I love the companion pass. As long as one of the tickets is priced at $251 (for the Delta Platinum Amex companion cert) or more, we come out ahead of the annual fee.
Honestly, I hold the Delta Platinum Amexes simply for the companion passes. They save me that much money.
For the Reserve card’s companion cert, being able to buy first class can come in quite handy. If your schedule is fairly inflexible but there’s no Main Cabin companion cert inventory, two higher-priced coach seats may cost about the same as using the BOGOF for a first class seat and a free companion seat. Plus, the primary/paid passenger earns an MQM bonus because it’s a first class fare. And, most of all, you’re sitting in first class!
Use your certificates and have fun!
You can read the rest of the companion certificates rules and regulations here.
Questions? Data Points?
Anything you’re still wondering? Anyone have data points to contribute?
Please share in the Comments section below!
Welcome to a regular feature on the Eye of the Flyer blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured above, please visit the following links:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (See Rates and Fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (See Rates and Fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (See Rates and Fees)
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card (See Rates and Fees)
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