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How to use the Delta companion certificate from the SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve Amex cards

by on Fri February 24, 2017 • 55 Comments
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One great perk of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve credit cards from American Express is a free companion certificate each year you renew your card.

The certificate lets you bring along a companion for free (well, almost, you pay some small taxes) on a domestic Delta flight.

There are a few things to be aware of…

  • Domestic means the lower 48 states, so flights to Hawaii aren’t possible.
  • If there’s a delay or cancellation, you can only be rebooked onto Delta flights. You can’t rebook on United for example.
  • The companion’s ticket will not earn miles, but the primary ticket will earn miles.
  • If you’re a Medallion, you are eligible for complimentary upgrades if you request them.
  • It’s fully transferable, so you can book the tickets for anyone you’d like – no need for the Amex cardholder to be on the trip.

How to book a flight with the companion certificate

Your certificates are stored online on Delta.com, and you can look up your certificates using your SkyMiles number and password.

deltacert1

Once you do that, you’ll see the certificate listed with the expiration date.

Remember, the expiration date is the date you have to complete your entire flight. So take care of the booking well ahead of then. Select the check box next to it and continue to the booking page.

deltacert2

Go ahead and do a flight search like usual. You can only book roundtrip flights with the certificate, so no one way trips are allowed.

deltacert3

Then you’ll see flight options with the price for the eligible fare. If you can’t see anything, check other dates or nearby airports. And make sure you have a 3 night minimum stay and are looking at least 14 days in advance.

The certificate is valid when you book an Economy fare in the L, U, T, X, V fare classes. That means, if some of Delta’s lowest to mid priced fares are available on the dates you’re looking at, you should see availability. The very lowest Basic Economy fares aren’t eligible for the companion certificate. 

If you’re using a certificate from the Delta Reserve card, you can also book First Class fares in the A and I classes, which are among the cheapest First Class fares, and aren’t as widely available as the Economy fares valid with the certificate. You can also book Comfort Plus fares, subject to availability.

deltacert4

Once you select your flights, you’ll see the taxes and fees you’ll have to pay on top of the price of the first ticket. In this case they come out to $28, and you save almost $500 off the total price.

deltacert5

When you enter the passenger names, Passenger 1 will be the passenger who earns SkyMiles, so make sure you put the name and SkyMiles number for the passenger you want to earn miles in that field. The certificate holder doesn’t have to be listed as ‘Passenger 1’ – it can be anyone you’d like.

deltacert6

Questions and Answers

How long is the certificate valid?

The expiration date is usually just over a year after the certificate is deposited into your SkyMiles account.

What does the expiration date mean?

The expiration is the date your trip must be completed, which means your flight back home must take place by that date. So make your booking well ahead of the expiration.

Can you use the certificate if you cancel your card?

Yes, once the certificate is deposited into your SkyMiles account, it’s yours to use until the expiration date, regardless of whether you still have your SkyMiles Platinum or Reserve card.

Can you get more than one certificate?

Yes, if you hold more than one type of SkyMiles card, like the Platinum and Reserve, you’ll receive a certificate for each annual fee you pay.

Will you earn miles with the certificate?

Yes, the primary passenger – the one paying the fare – will earn the miles. You can choose who that person is – it doesn’t have the be the person named on the certificate.

Does the cardholder need to be traveling?

No, you can use your certificate for anyone you’d like since it’s fully transferable. The Delta Amex cardholder doesn’t need to be part of the trip at all, which is a nice perk of the certificate.

Can you fly in first class?

Only if you have a certificate issued as a Delta Reserve cardholder.

Can you pay for the first ticket with a voucher?

Unfortunately you must pay for the first ticket and the taxes / fees of the companion ticket using your Delta SkyMiles American Express card.

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55 thoughts on How to use the Delta companion certificate from the SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve Amex cards

  1. Raju m asokan

    If I buy a ” Fly confirmed for less” ticket for myself using AE Delta Reserve card, will this satisfy the cash purchase requirement to use the companion certificate?

    Reply
  2. Melissa

    If my father is letting me and my husband use his companion certificate (since its fully transferrable), do I need to book it through his account, or can I book it through my account?

    Reply
  3. Abby

    If I signed up for this card in August 2017, would I receive the Companion Certificate in January 2018 after a new year? Still a little fuzzy on the process of how this certificate is offered. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Abby

    If I signed up for this card in August 2017, would I receive the Companion Certificate in January 2018 after the new year? Still a little fuzzy on how the certificate is offered after renewal/annual fees.

    Reply
  5. Keith Bray

    If I use the companion certificate and book a round trip can I then go back to that reservation and pay for Comfort Plus seating?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Keith – If it’s a Platinum certificate, then no – the only way would be to get the complimentary upgrade you would get as a Medallion member. If it’s a Reserve certificate, you’d have to book the Comfort Plus fare at the time of booking.

      Reply
  6. John Ewing

    I have booked a flight using a companion ticket for my brother-in-law and I…his wife just suffered a major medical setback and will not be able to utilize the companion ticket. Is it possible to use that companion ticket for a friend? if not, am I still able to use the ticket I have already paid for?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @John – Unfortunately once it’s booked it’s locked in with that person. You can only change to a different date / flight / destination with the same companion plus a change fee for both passengers.

      Reply
  7. Adam

    Since it only allows you to book the companion ticket in the main cabin, do i have to option at any point to upgrade both tickets to economy comfort?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Adam – If you are a Medallion member you’re eligible for the automated upgrades you normally get on cash tickets. If you’re not, only the Delta Reserve companion ticket lets you book economy comfort.

      Reply
      1. Leah

        Thank you! And if I’m trying to use it for a flight in November and it’s saying there are no flights available for this reward, are you aware of a timeframe when flights open up for use with companion certificate? When I called Amex, the girl assured me to keep checking, it was early and they would open up. This makes me nervous to wait to book my trip.

        Reply
  8. Tom W

    I have a Delta Companion ticket (will use for my wife and me) and a Delta American Express Card.
    May I add an additional passenger(s) (paying full fare) to reservation to take advantage of first bag free for all passengers on same reservation as person making reservation and owning Delta American Express card.
    Thanks
    Tom

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @tom – Good question – while the online terms say you have to be in the same reservation, some phone agents say an airport agent can give the OK if the itineraries are all the same. So, don’t count on it 100%, but worth a try.

      Reply
  9. Mike

    If i book a Round Trip with my companion Certificate from ATL-JFK-ATL can the ”Companion” stay in New York and not use her return Ticket but myself can i come back alone on the return Trip?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mike – Officially

      “If the primary ticket or the Companion ticket is cancelled, both tickets will be cancelled and the Companion ticket will not be reissued. Subject to the fare rules of the primary ticket, the value of the primary ticket, less a $200 administrative service charge and any fare difference, may be applied to future travel.”

      So if an agent decides to cancel her ticket when she doesn’t show up, there’s a chance yours gets cancelled as well, but you get the remaining value of your ticket less $200.

      Whether that won’t get enforced in the heat of boarding…we can’t make any guarantees.

      Reply
  10. Barbara Higgs

    Can I use my free companion ticket to get tickets departing in SLC, arriving in Omaha,(return) departing from Kansas City, arriving in SLC? (Multi City)

    Reply
  11. Ruth Monson

    Can the companion ticket have a different return date? Going to the same destination leaving together coming home different dates?

    Reply
  12. Jimmy

    Thanks for the informative post!

    A couple of questions:
    1) Is it possible to combine Delta e-credits with the Reserve companion certificate?
    2) Can the itinerary (2 passengers) be upgrade eligible to Comfort+ or First based on the primary passenger’s status (Diamond)?

    Basically, I’m wondering if I can use my two Delta e-credits (totaling $405) to pay for one ticket and use the companion certificate for the second ticket and have both passengers be upgrade eligible based on my Diamond status.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Jimmy – Unfortunately no, you need to pay for the ticket with your Delta SkyMiles Amex.

      As for upgrades, yes the automatic upgrades based on status are available now (a new feature this year) for both you and the companion. You can request them in the booking process.

      Reply
  13. lindsay

    I hope you don’t mind 3 questions!! 🙂

    1) Is there any way to “stack” your companion tickets? Like….”bank” one ticket so I can book two and use two in the same renewal year? Kind of like a timeshare?

    2) How much more than a year is the companion ticket good for? If your renewal period is May….does it expire in May, June, August, December?

    3) Is the renewal date determined by my original “fee” date for my Gold card, or will I get a new date based on my upgrade date to the Platinum?

    Thanks so much, your article was so helpful!!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @lindsay – Unfortunately no way to let them extend beyond the expiration date. There’s a bit of overlap though since the expiration is usually about 14 months after they’re issued, so one issued in May is good through the end of June. So you could have a couple months there where you have two certificates, but the expiration date is also the last day you can travel, so you’ll be booking really last minute for the certificate that’s about to expire.

      And as for your renewal date, will probably need to call about that with your specific account. It’s usually tied to when the fee is assessed.

      Reply
  14. goplayoutside

    Can i pay the difference between main cabin fare and first class for my companion, if i want to fly first class?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @goplayoutside – Unfortunately not. But on Delta companions now get medallion elite upgrades with the same priority as you, so if you’re a medallion, your companion will get the same chance of an upgrade you have.

      Reply
  15. Jeanne Rogacki

    I just upgraded my card, do I have to wait the entire year before I get the companion ticket? I understand the certificate is for the main cabin, can you pay the difference to sit in first class or comfort seats? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Jeanne – It’s on on renewal, so yes you’ll wait a year. And the certificate only allows for ‘complimentary’ Medallion upgrades, unfortunately there isn’t a way to pay for an upgrade with cash or miles.

      Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Cat – You can fly from AK to the lower 48 with the certificate if you live in AK. But your trip has to start in AK.

      Reply
  16. Mary

    Do these initial miles add on on to my already earned existing miles to fly with a companion first class to Europe?
    Are these frequent flier miles only for Delta? So if I make reservations on Delta for example and they need me to connect with a Southwest for example…will the miles cover the Southwest portion? Or would that portion have to be paid for seperately?
    Please email my answers to me if possible.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mary – The companion ticket doesn’t apply to international first class fares. It’s just for flights within the lower 48 United States. But the miles you earn as the first passenger are the same you’d earn from flying – there’s nothing extra or less.

      Delta miles can be used for Delta flights, as well as its partners, which include Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and Aeromexico. Southwest is not a partner with Delta, so that would have to be booked and paid separately.

      Reply
  17. Jonathan Hirt

    Is there a way to book 3 tickets on the same reservation, pay for 2 and use 1 companion certificate?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Jonathan – No – you’d book two on one reservation, then the other separately. But you can call to have them associated on the back end. It won’t be completely tied, but agents will be able to see it.

      Reply
  18. Dave Henry

    Can i use “pay with miles” for my ticket and use a companion ticket for my wife, MKE to Palm Springs?

    Reply

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