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If you often travel with friends or family, scoring a discount for your flight companion can make booking much more affordable. Fortunately, some airline credit cards offer companion passes and discounts as benefits.
They go by a variety of names: companion pass, companion certificate, companion fare, companion ticket and more. And although most airlines offer a discount only for you and your travel buddy, there are ways to earn fully comped tickets.
Curious as to which airlines and cards offer the most help when it comes to cutting down on companion travel costs?
Here’s a rundown of some of the best companion pass offers today.
Southwest Airlines Companion Pass
Southwest’s Companion Pass is quite possibly the most popular on the market — and can save you a ton of cash. For just taxes and fees (roughly $5 per one-way ticket), you can bring a companion with you on any trip for the duration of your pass, which extends through the end of the year you earn it, plus a full calendar year after.
By timing your Companion Pass status wisely, you can have up to two full years of nearly-free companion travel. But you will want to plan ahead to make sure you take full advantage of the benefit.
The best part? There’s no limit on the number of times you can use the pass. After you’ve earned it, you can use it each time you book a flight with Southwest. You should see an option to add a companion to your flight for no additional ticket charge after you purchase your ticket.
How to earn the Companion Pass
There are two ways to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass:
- Completing 100 qualifying one-way Southwest flights within a year
- Earning 135,000 qualifying points through Southwest Rapid Rewards
Points earned through Rapid Rewards will count toward the pass, but any points that are purchased, transferred or converted from another loyalty program will not apply. Using a Southwest co-branded credit card is a great way to maximize your spending toward a companion pass, if that’s your goal. Here are a few to consider:
American Airlines Companion Certificate
For frequent American Airlines flyers, American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards give you a few companion certificate options.
American’s companion certificate allows you to bring along a guest on one round-trip main cabin domestic ticket for $99 (plus taxes and fees).
The certificate expires after a year and is only valid for flights within the continental United States. And make sure you read the offer carefully; some details can vary depending on the card you use.
How to earn the companion certificate
There are a few different credit cards you can use to earn a companion certificate with American Airlines.
With the following cards, you can earn the certificate for one companion after you spend $30,000 or more in a year and renew your card:
You can also earn a certificate with the cards below when you spend at least $20,000 annually and your account remains open for 45 days following your anniversary date.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®* (with this card, you’ll earn a companion certificate for two guests at $99 each, plus taxes and fees)
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®*
When you meet the qualifications, American Airlines will send you a companion certificate with specific booking details.
British Airways Travel Together
British Airways offers its own version of companion passes, called Travel Together Tickets.
This British Airways offer is eligible when you book reward flights with the Avios you earn. With the ticket, you’ll receive a second seat (of equal value) to bring a friend along on a future trip — paying only taxes, fees and carrier charges. Alternatively, you can use the ticket to pay just 50 percent of your British Airways Avios value when you book a reward flight without a companion.
The offer is reserved for British Airways reward flights that originate in and return to the United States. You should also be aware that taxes, fees and carrier charges on international flights can often exceed $1,000, so the Travel Together offer certainly varies in value.
How to earn the Travel Together Ticket
Using a British Airways Visa Signature® Card*, you can qualify for the companion ticket by spending $30,000 in a single calendar year (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31).
After qualifying for the ticket, it is good for two full years.
Delta Air Lines companion certificate
Delta’s co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit cards offer a few different options for earning its companion certificate.
The certificate allows you to bring along a travel buddy on a single eligible round trip domestic flight. You are still responsible for paying taxes and fees, but these charges are capped at $80.
How to earn the companion certificate
If you’re an eligible Delta cardholder, you’ll receive a companion certificate each year of membership upon the renewal of your card. There are currently four eligible cards:
You won’t receive a certificate until you renew your card membership, so it’ll take waiting until your second year to reap the benefit. Once you’ve been awarded the certificate, you have until your next renewal date to take advantage.
Hawaiian Airlines companion discount
As a Hawaiian Airlines cardholder, you can earn one-time or annual companion discounts on flights with the airline.
Each of the eligible cards offers a one-time 50 percent discount on a single roundtrip coach fare ticket for a companion flying with you. But two of the cards also offer an annual $100 discount off a companion’s roundtrip coach fare ticket. These discounts apply to travel between Hawaii and North America booked directly with the airline.
The one-time 50 percent discount is eligible for 13 months after opening your account and annual $100 discounts are good for 12 months after each anniversary. Unfortunately, the 50 percent off doesn’t apply to taxes, fees or surcharges.
How to earn the companion discount
Here are the exact discount offers from each eligible Hawaiian Airlines credit card:
- Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®* (one-time 50 percent off and $100 yearly companion discount)
- Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard®* (one-time 50 percent off and $100 yearly companion discount)
- Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®* (one-time 50 percent off companion discount)
Alaska Airlines Famous Companion Fare
Eligible Alaska Airlines cardholders can earn the airline’s companion fare after meeting certain requirements.
The companion fare offer is good toward one round-trip coach companion fare. You’ll still pay a $99 base fare, plus taxes and fees (starting at $23), and the companion fare must be on the same itinerary and same booking as your purchased ticket.
How to earn the companion fare
When you sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card you’ll get the following offer, Get 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.
This is a less-rewarding welcome offer than the previous one, which was 70,000 miles and the companion pass after $4,000 in spending in the first 90 days. However, we’re happy to see that the required spend reduced in correlation to the reduced value, as well.
You can also qualify with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card*, which has a welcome offer of 50,000 bonus miles plus a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in your first 90 days, plus Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23).
After you earn the welcome bonuses on these cards, you can keep earning the companion fare discount code by spending at least $6,000 on your card each year.
Lufthansa companion ticket
With Lufthansa’s co-branded rewards card, you can get one companion ticket each year.
These tickets are eligible for economy class bookings departing from the U.S. to eligible international destinations. You’ll still have to pay taxes and fees, but you’ll be gifted a fully covered ticket each year you hold your card membership.
To reserve a seat with your companion ticket, you’ll have to call the Miles & More Companion Ticket Service at 866-461-5399.
How to earn the companion ticket
You’ll need to be a Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®* cardholder to score Lufthansa’s companion ticket.
When you sign up for the card, you’ll be gifted your initial companion ticket after you complete your first purchase. Afterward, you’ll receive an additional companion ticket on each account anniversary if you hold your membership.
Lufthansa’s companion offers are good from the date they’re issued until your next account anniversary.
The bottom line
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a once-in-a-while traveler, your pocket will feel a little heavier when you’re able to bring company along at a fraction of the cost.
While each airline offers ways to save when traveling with friends or family, you can really maximize your savings by planning ahead and taking full advantage of your preferred airline’s deals.
*The information on the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard®, Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card and Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.