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Top Airline Credit Cards With Companion Tickets

May 7, 2019
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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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.

Best overall: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Miles don't expire on active accounts
    • Free checked bag

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $75

    APR

    • APR: 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
    • Cash Advance APR: See Terms

    Bonus Offers

    Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • NEW - 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
    • Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
    • Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
    • Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year! EACH YEAR on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com.
    • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • Get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Alaska Airlines Hotels.
    • Earn unlimited miles and travel with no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.

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 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more 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.

MORE: Full review of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Best for big spenders: British Airways Visa Signature® Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Most valuable for those who fly British Airways or oneworld partners
    • High airline surcharges

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios. Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios
    • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
    • 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, you will then earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
    • Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!

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 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios. Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

» MORE: Full review of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Best for avid American Airlines flyers: AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

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.

Best for Delta devotees: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The benefit: Companion certificate

How you get it: Annually, once you renew your card. Terms apply. The card’s annual fee is $195. (This offer is no longer valid on our site).

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.

» MORE: Full review of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Best for flying in luxury: Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

The benefit: Companion certificate

How you get it: Annually, once you renew your card. Terms apply. The card’s annual fee is $450. (This offer is no longer valid on our site).

Details: Unlike some other companion certificates, the one that comes with the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express 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.

» MORE: Full review of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Best for Lufthansa loyalists: Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

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 Barclaycard 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.

» MORE: Full review of the Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

Other cards that might help you

For fans of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Anniversary bonus
    • No blackout dates or seat restrictions

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Has foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $69

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
    • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
    • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
    • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • Earn unlimited points that don't expire as long as your card account is open.
    • All points earned with either card count towards Companion Pass.
    • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
    • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.

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 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

All three co-branded Southwest 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 110,000 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.

» MORE: Which Southwest Airlines credit card should I get?

For maximum flexibility

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • High rewards rate
    • High value benefits
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $450

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
    • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

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 $450, so keep that mind when considering whether the card is right for you.

» MORE: Full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

All information about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. These cards are no longer available through NerdWallet.