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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 • 95 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 and Alaska aren’t possible. But if you are a resident of Hawaii or Alaska you can book from your home state. International destinations aren’t allowed.
  • 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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95 thoughts on How to use the Delta companion certificate from the SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve Amex cards

  1. Henry GONZALEZ

    Can I book a third paying passenger on the same reservation? First fare + Companion + Second Fare (either pay or skymiles for second fare)

    Reply
    1. rosiland

      rgov. Can I use miles rather than dollars to partially pay for my main ticket and still qualify to use the companion ticket

      Reply
  2. Mikayla

    Do you and your companion have to be traveling to and from the same destination?
    i.e. we leave separate but meet in the same location, then fly home separately?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Larry

    Hi, looking into getting the Platinum card, the two of us only travel between OKC and Michigan a few times a year, but the companion certificate would help with costs significantly. Unfortunately I am only seeing the seating classes as NV (for basic) and SW (comfort+). I am to understand that I could not use the certificate for these flights?

    This would also be my first miles card if I do sign up, so this may be a silly question. Can you pay in partial miles and the rest of the balance in money, or does it need to be fully paid either way?

    Reply
  4. Bill H

    Trying to use my companion cert, but also pay extra to upgrade to delta comfort seats. Can’t find that option as I go through the online forms.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Bill H – Unfortunately those Plat certificates can’t be used to book Comfort Plus seats. If you are a Medallion level flier you are eligible for an upgrade like you would be on a regular ticket though.

      Reply
  5. Rob L. (Almost a Million Miler)

    Our family typically flies each year to the East Coast in June. Unfortunately, I upgraded to the Platinum Card in May — which means that I can NEVER use my companion certificate for this travel. (AMEX issues the companion certificate on your card anniversary date.)

    Just spoke with Amex Customer Service and they honestly said there is NOTHING that can be done & you should cancel your card… After 19 years as a Delta AMEX card holder, it’s hard to believe that the best option to “reset” my anniversary date is to cancel my card and reapply.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.

    Reply
    1. Gennie T

      In my experience, securing reservations for mileage or companion seats (which are limited on each flight) requires making the reservations as far in advance as possible — (9 – 11 months in advance). A particular flight is put onto the worldwide air flights schedule about 330 days before the flight. Because we use mileage or companion fares for Round Trips, I have to wait until the RETURN flight is in the system — then I can book the Round Trip flights.
      We have to use our companion fare DURING its one year length …. so it has been used, but the actual trip can take place AFTER it has expired. My Delta Amex card also expires in May ……. and my Alaska Visa card expires in June (too close for my comfort, but I can still use them for our summer and winter trips.
      > Example > I just used my Alaska Companion Fare (good from July 1 to June 30) 2 weeks ago to book a Christmas 2018 trip to Costa Rica because the return on December 30th was not available in the World Air Flight Schedules until Feb. 4th. *** 3 people = I companion, 1 mileage and 1 full fare, plus all the taxes/fees) The “companion fare” I used will expire in June, but we will be making the December vacation flights about 5 months after it expired! *** the Alaska rep explained to me how to do this ***
      > Now …… I plan to use my Delta American Express companion certificate the same way. Mine will renew in May 2018, we will take a summer trip next year in 2019 and those flights will be on the world schedules — so my August 1st 2019 RETURN flights will be available in the system to reserve about June 26, 2018 (when my May certificate is available). I plan to use my current (May 2018) Delta Companion to books our flights for July to August, 2019. So our summer month away will happen in 2019 — but will be booked with my May 2018 companion certificate.
      Then repeat this planning way ahead process each year using your current certificate for the following year – future vacation.
      ******* We all need to “book” our flights during the one year length of the Certificate — but the flights do not have to happen during that year!

      This is long, but I wanted to explain as clearly as possible. Hope it helps you.

      Reply
  6. Lance Goodman

    Hi–I plan on purchasing a Delta Reserve Companion Ticket traveling to FL in March. If my companion decides to stay longer to book his own return home, will I still be able to travel home on the return portion if my companion elects to stay longer? Just want to make sure they would not cancel my return portion if it’s apparent my companion is not returning with me

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Lance – Hard to say – it’s not in the spirit of the companion ticket – but it’s not as obvious as say your companion not joining you on the outbound leg and trying to then board the return leg.

      Reply
  7. Caio

    Can I pay using my Amex Delta SkyMiles Gold card (not the platinum one, which I don’t have it anymore)?

    Thanks,
    Caio.

    Reply
  8. Bsturt

    If I am the card holder and purchase a flight and use the companion ticket for my wife on the same itinerary but then I miss the flight, is she still able to fly?

    Reply
  9. Peter Bailey

    My companion is uncertain of his schedule for September. Can I buy my ticket now and book the companion certificate at a later date?

    Reply
  10. Paulina

    Understanding that you cannot fly from mainland US to HI on companion ticket, could I do a two week round trip from DTW to LAX (using companion ticket) and then do a RT ticket within that two week period from LAX to HNL (paying cash or w/miles)? IE – 3/1am- DTW to LAX; (3-1pm – LAX to HNL; 3-13 HNL to LAX); 3/14 – LAX to DTW.

    Reply
  11. Ana S

    Can I use this certificate if the person is departing from a different city but has the same destination as the ticket that is paid for (my ticket)?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Marilyn – There should be just like any other Delta flight reservation, when you look at ‘My Trips’ on Delta.com.

      Reply
  12. Rake

    I have had a platinum card for several years, i have not used the companion certificate yet. Can I use certificate for year 2017 for travel in January and certificate 2018 for travel in April.

    Reply
  13. Mary

    I used mileage to get a ticket and wanted to use my companion ticket but was told I would have to use mileage on the companion ticket as well. Is that true?

    Reply
  14. J Rivard

    So do I 1st book the campaign certificate then book my seat or book my seat then campaign certificate. And did I understand that you book as early out as you can . Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  15. 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
  16. 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
        1. MileCards.com

          @Kim – It’s the 48 contiguous United States only. We were incorrect about Canada and apologize for the confusion.

          Reply
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. Ruth Monson

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

    Reply
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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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