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There’s nothing wrong with traveling solo. But sometimes, adventures are more fun with a co-pilot.
Of course, that usually means double the airfare — unless you have an airline credit card that can help cover the cost for your family member, buddy or significant other.
It’s not an easy benefit to find, but here are some cards that can help you score a companion ticket.
Nerd tip: Southwest Airlines offers the ability to earn a Companion Pass, but you won't find that as an upfront perk on any of its co-branded credit cards. Southwest cards can, however, get you closer to earning that pass. More on that below.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Our pick for: Overall value
The benefit: Companion Fare
How you get it: Automatically, each year on your account anniversary. (You can also earn the benefit before your first anniversary if you meet the sign-up bonus criteria. See below.) The card’s annual fee is $75.
Details: The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was named NerdWallet's best airline credit card of 2019, and for good reason. For starters, it offers a generous sign-up bonus: Get a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
But in addition to that upfront bonus, you'll also qualify for a Companion Fare every year you hold the card. You must book the flight through alaskaair.com, and you’ll have to redeem within 12 months from the date the Companion Fare is issued.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Our pick for: Big spenders
The benefit: Travel Together Ticket
How you get it: By spending more than $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year. The card’s annual fee is $95.
Details: You’ll have to be a big spender to snag the British Airways Visa Signature® Card’s Travel Together Ticket. But with it, you’ll get a seat for a companion on your British Airways flight — regardless of what cabin you’re in — when you book an award flight that originates from and returns to the U.S.
The Travel Together Ticket is valid for two years. But be aware that you’ll owe taxes and fees on it, and that British Airways has notoriously high carrier surcharges.
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a sign-up bonus, phrased this way: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Our pick for: Delta devotees
The benefit: Companion certificate
How you get it: Annually, once you renew your card. Terms apply. The card's annual fee is $250.
Details: With this card, you’ll score a companion certificate for a domestic main cabin round trip each year (less taxes and fees of no more than $75). Terms apply.
The certificate can be used for a companion flying on your same itinerary within the 48 contiguous states. If you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, the certificate can also be used for certain flights, but check the card’s terms and conditions for requirements.
You’ll have to book and complete travel by the date that’s listed on the front of the certificate.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Our pick for: Flying in luxury
The benefit: Companion certificate
How you get it: Annually, once you renew your card. Terms apply. The card's annual fee is $550.
Details: Unlike some other companion certificates, the one that comes with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is not limited to coach tickets. It's good for one round-trip domestic flight in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin for your travel companion (minus taxes and fees of no more than $75 for round-trip domestic flights). However, you and the person using the certificate must be flying in the same fare class. Terms apply.
You can use the certificate for fares within the contiguous 48 states; cardholders in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands may be able to use the benefit if they meet certain requirements. See the card's terms and conditions.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
Our pick for: Avid American Airlines flyers
The benefit: Companion Certificate
How you get it: Every anniversary year you hold the card, but only after you spend $20,000 on purchases in that year. (You can also earn the benefit before your first anniversary if you meet the introductory bonus criteria. See below.) The card's annual fee is $99.
Details: This Companion Certificate is good for one round-trip qualifying domestic economy fare ticket for a guest at a cost of $99 plus taxes and fees, which range between $21.60 and $43.20, per the card's terms and conditions.
Like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, this card offers its pass both as an introductory perk, as well as one that you can earn each year after that. The introductory version is easier to attain because it requires only that you make your first purchase (any amount) in the first 90 days and also pay the $99 annual fee. But the anniversary certificate, in successive years, requires that you put $20,000 in eligible purchases on the card during the card membership year.
The certificate is good for one year from when it's issued. Other restrictions apply.
Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
Our pick for: Lufthansa loyalists
The benefit: Companion ticket
How you get it: After your first use of the card for a purchase, and then on your cardmember anniversary each year thereafter. The card's annual fee is $89.
Details: With the Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®, you'll be eligible for an economy-class companion ticket upon your first use of the card and every year following, as long as the account stays open and in good standing. Be aware that you must book by phone, and also that the companion ticket is subject to restrictions, plus taxes and fees. In addition, you may also face a weekend surcharge of around $60 round trip.
Other cards that might help you
Our pick for: Fans of Southwest Airlines
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card doesn’t grant you a coveted Southwest Companion Pass outright; in fact, none of the airline’s co-branded cards will. But this card can get you well on your way thanks to its sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
All three co-branded Southwest consumer cards offer the same sign-up bonus, but the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee among them, at $69. You’ll need 125,000 points total in a calendar year to secure a Companion Pass, which lets you choose one traveler to fly for free with you (minus taxes and fees) each time you purchase or redeem points for a Southwest flight. A Companion Pass is good from the date it’s earned through the next full calendar year.
Our pick for: Traveling to Hawaii
You won't get a companion ticket outright with the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®. But what you will get is a one-time 50% discount off round-trip coach airfare between Hawaii and North America for a companion in the first 13 months that you have the card. And once you hit your first anniversary as a cardholder, you'll also snag a $100 discount on a companion ticket annually, also good for round-trip travel between Hawaii and North America. The card charges a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $99 after that.
Our pick for: Maximum flexibility
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card doesn’t come with a companion pass, but it does come with a $300 annual travel credit and a broad range of categories toward which that credit can be used, including airfare. That can go a long way toward offsetting the cost of a travel companion’s ticket when you book it with your card. Of course, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® also comes with a hefty annual fee of $550, so keep that mind when considering whether the card is right for you.
To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please visit this page.
To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this page.