Ultimate Guide: Delta Companion Certificate, 2024 Update

If you fly Delta frequently, having a co-branded Delta credit card in your wallet is advantageous. While the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is popular, two more costly and beneficial cards may be worth considering for one substantial benefit: an annual Delta companion certificate.

These Delta companion certificates work like a buy-one, get-one perk on a yearly basis. Used well, these benefits can be incredibly valuable. Unfortunately, many flyers with one of these certificates in their wallet have been having difficulty actually using them lately. The biggest complaint is that when they try to apply their certificate, the searches come up empty.

Putting your Delta companion certificate to use just got easier, though. Delta has introduced a new price calendar feature to make it simpler for you! With it, you can now easily search for available flights and take full advantage of your companion ticket. I cover that more later on in this guide.

Got a Delta companion ticket, or considering the latest Delta credit card offers? Make sure you use them to the fullest with our helpful hints and tips!

delta companion certificate delta one cabin

What is the Delta Companion Certificate?

Looking to get the most from a Delta credit card? Consider getting a Delta companion certificate—one of the best benefits you can get!

Enjoy the benefits of these two top-of-the-line Delta credit cards with some need-to-know caveats. You get a companion ticket after the first full year, and you need to renew it every year in order to keep it.

For a full breakdown of how the six Delta credit cards offered by American Express stack up, please see my article on the Best Delta Credit Card Options for Churning.

How does the Delta Companion Certificate Work?

If you have the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, you will receive a companion ticket after your first full year with the card.

The companion certificate is valid for one main cabin round-trip fare in the continental United States if you have the Platinum card. It can be used for Comfort Plus and domestic first-class airfare if you have the Reserve card. It’s important to note that these certificates are a “use-it-or-lose-it” benefit. Be sure to book and take your trip before it expires or it will lapse. Ask me how I know.

Note from John: I accidentally let one of my round-trip main cabin Companion Certificates lapse last year. While it would have only been a couple hundred dollars in savings, it was a bummer to see it disappear.

Keep in mind that the paid fare will earn SkyMiles and Delta Medallion Status credits, but the free fare won’t. If either of you holds Delta status, you will both be eligible for complimentary upgrades. Additionally, the first fare (and taxes/fees of the second) must be charged to an American Express card. Other credit cards including Visa and MasterCard will not be accepted.

It’s also important to note that the Delta companion certificate cannot be used to buy any roundtrip ticket. The terms and conditions must be met before bringing a buddy along for free.

Which fares qualify for Delta Companion Certificate use?

Finding the right fares with a Delta companion certificate doesn’t have to be hard — if you know the fare class rules. For members of the Delta Platinum Card, only fare classes L, U, T, X, and V in the main cabin are eligible for use with a companion certificate. For members of Delta Reserve, all of those fares plus fare classes I, Z, and W – first class and Comfort Plus tickets – can be used. If you’re confused about fare classes like most of us, Thrifty Traveler has a fantastic explanatory guide on them. Also, CWSI has a fantastic chart.

Don’t miss out on the incredible benefit of having a Delta companion ticket. Just make sure you find the specific type of fare class that is eligible!

It’s getting tougher to reap the benefits of a Delta companion ticket in the current environment — especially with airfare on the rise and fewer cheaper fare classes available during peak season. Even Basic Economy fares are off-limits for passengers with companion certificates.

Don’t despair! We’ve got plenty of helpful tips to help you make your certificate work for you. Read on for more comprehensive information.

Using Your Delta Companion Certificate

You’ll receive an email from American Express notifying you that your companion certificate is available. To access it, simply login to your Delta profile at Delta.com, and the certificate will be stored in your wallet under “Certificates, eCredits & Vouchers”. Conversely, hop right there with this URL.

delta companion certificate certificates and ecredits screenshot

When you’re ready to book your trip, simply click on the certificate in your profile, confirm that it applies, and you’ll be nearly all set for a discounted getaway. Just pay the government-imposed taxes and fees on top of the cost of the first fare (which may vary depending on your destination). No need to designate a companion in advance like with a Southwest Companion Pass either!

delta companion certificate from and to page

However, there are some additional things to keep in mind when booking your trip with a Delta Companion Certificate application.

Can Companion Certificates be bundled with SkyMiles when booking?

Unfortunately, Delta Companion Certificates cannot be used in tandem with SkyMiles redemption. This is also something I personally found out the hard way when I assumed I would be getting some free flights.

When using a Delta companion certificate, the first ticket must be paid with an American Express card — you can’t use Delta SkyMiles. Be sure to double-check that it’s a paid fare before booking.

Can Companion Certificates be bundled with eCredits when booking?

Delta recently added a great new feature: the ability to apply Delta eCredits to the paid tickets when using companion certificates. This is especially beneficial for those who have been collecting credits due to COVID-19 cancellations, with many extensions allowing them to last through 2024.

Use your eCredits and companion certificates together, and you’ll get two birds with one stone: overall incredibly less expensive flights!

When booking with a Delta companion certificate, start by selecting it as usual. Then search and choose your flights. When you reach the checkout page, select “Use eCredits” to make use of credits to offset the cost of the paid fare.

delta companion certificate and ecredits shown on screen

Apply up to four eCredits to your flights online easily with Delta. If you need to use more than four, simply call Delta and use as many as you’d like. Don’t forget, there must be a balance left over after applying the credits – which can be done once taxes and fees of the companion ticket have been paid. Once that’s taken care of, complete the booking process by paying with an Amex card.

Is someone else able to use my Delta Companion Certificate?

Most Delta companion certificates obtained through its SkyMiles credit cards are transferrable. So if a cardholder finds that they won’t be able to make use of the perk, they don’t have to worry – there’s no rule requiring them to take the trip. Nevertheless, it’s always preferable for the cardholder to use their free perk in the first place.

photo of empty delta seats on a plane

Tips and Tricks to Maximize Companion Certificates

Looking to get the most out of a Delta companion ticket? We have some advice for you. Despite their value, these tickets have become harder to redeem in recent years, with many travelers struggling to find compatible fares.

But don’t worry – here’s the best way to make use of your certificate. With a bit of patience and some savvy search methods, you can turn your Delta companion ticket into a great deal. The four tips and tricks mentioned below will be:

  • Finding the right fares with the ITA Matrix
  • Maximize benefit by purchasing the most expensive possible ticket
  • Being flexible and planning ahead is crucial
  • Combine your Companion Certificate with international fare deals

Finding the right fares with the ITA Matrix

Not sure how to locate the elusive L, U, T, X, and V fares in order to make use of your Delta companion ticket? Look no further – ITA Matrix is here to save the day.

With this powerful tool, you can quickly and easily pinpoint flights that work with your certificate – no need to search route after route on Delta’s website. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it.

Need to make the most of your Delta companion ticket? Here’s an easy way to do it with ITA Matrix:

  • Think of ITA Matrix as a powerful Google Flights alternative that can help you locate L, U, T, X and V fares
  • Head over to ITA Matrix and plug in the basics of your trip. Be flexible with dates and select “See calendar of lowest fares”
  • To search for compatible flights, copy and paste this code in the outbound and return extension code fields: f bc=L|bc=U|bc=T|bc=X|bc=V (or f bc=I|bc=Z|bc= W if you have Delta Reserve Card)
  • Narrow down your results by choosing only Delta flights
  • Once you see promising options, move over to your Delta account, select your companion certificate, enter those dates, and hit search!

Maximize benefit by purchasing the most expensive possible ticket

Make the most of your Delta companion ticket by thinking big! Any main cabin (or first class, if you have the Delta Reserve Card) round-trip flight within the contiguous U.S. are eligible so long as they fall into one of the fare classes mentioned previously.

Cross-country flights and some short-haul trips can get quite pricey, however, airfare fluctuates rapidly so it’s difficult to predict when to get the best value for your certificate.

With the Delta Platinum Card, make sure to book a flight costing at least $250 (the annual fee). The same applies to the Delta Reserve Card – except the ticket needs to be at least $550 in order to make the annual fee worth it.

Note from John: Myself and my wife each have a Delta Reserve card now. We are at the point where we try to travel first class whenever possible for the pure convenience aspect. We live in Johnson City, Tennessee now, so our plans are to use one Companion Certificate for a first-class round-trip flight to Las Vegas, and the other for a first-class round-trip flight to Seattle. The longer the better, and these should both be a close to $2,000 value, if not more.

With proper utilization of this benefit, you can easily cover the cost of your annual fee with just one use and even get up to $300 or more in value out of it. Plus, all those included on your itinerary will have free checked bags. The companion certificate is valid on any travel within the continental United States, so there are plenty of redemption opportunities to maximize its value!

Being flexible and planning ahead is crucial

Looking to make use of your Delta companion certificate? Be sure to leave plenty of time for searching – the closer you get to departure, the fewer flights will qualify.

It’s unpredictable as to how far in advance is necessary. However, it’s best to allow yourself at least a 3-6 month search window. And don’t forget that the tickets must be booked and taken before your companion certificate expires!

Combine your Delta Companion Certificate with international fare deals

It’s worth considering utilizing your Delta Companion Certificate to lower associated costs with international getaways. At times, there are rock-bottom Delta flights to a variety of less-commonly-traveled international destinations, such as Reykjavik, Santiago, or Prague.

However, if your home airport location doesn’t qualify for the extremely low pricing that pops up from time to time, the cost associated with getting to those airports in question may make this deal seem a lot less enticing for travelers. This is where a Delta Companion Certificate can come into play.

Leverage your Delta companion ticket to optimize your positioning flights, explained more in detail with this guide from Thrifty Traveler. Book that affordable international getaway from another city, then use your certificate to score a cheaper fare from home to that destination. Doing so can help you save more on travel and enjoy amazing experiences abroad! Just be careful not to enter skiplagging territory.

inside of a delta plane with two aisles

Delta Platinum Amex vs Delta Reserve Amex

There are some advantages and disadvantages when comparing the Platinum and Reserve Delta American Express credit card options. This is especially true when weighing the pros and cons of annual fees with the associated Companion Passes in question in this guide.

Note from John: As a personal point, I currently have the Reserve Delta American Express. I recently upgraded after deciding to switch to a first-class focus for air travel. We spend most, if not all, of our travel time in either Comfort+ or first class lately, and a free main cabin ticket would not have done too much for us. My wife also recently upgraded her card from Platinum to Reserve.

About the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express

delta skymiles platinum american express

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express is one of our top picks for Delta cards, and you can thank the companion certificate for that. As mentioned above, it can easily get you $300 or more in value each year. And if you stick with the card for a full year, you’ll even get the benefit.

But there are other great benefits too! You have the chance to earn 50,000 SkyMiles & 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 within six months. Plus, every time you spend 3x SkyMiles on hotels and Delta purchases, 2x SkyMiles on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and receive a $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck renewal every four years – five-year validity included!

You can also make the most of your international layover with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card. Not only can you get into a Delta SkyClub for just $39 per person, but you also have access to complimentary checked baggage for anyone on your itinerary, and no foreign transaction fees. All for an annual fee of $250 And if you play your cards right, the companion ticket will easily offset that cost.

About the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express

delta skymiles reserve american express

If you’re a frequent traveler, there is no beating the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card from American Express for its sheer value. With a companion ticket that can be used for Comfort Plus and domestic first-class tickets, it’s worth every cent of the annual fee.

As an added bonus, you can earn 50,000 SkyMiles & 10,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 within six months – plus you get your companion ticket after your first full year with the card.

You can also get the most out of your international travels with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card from American Express. Not only does it earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, but it also gives you complimentary access to both Delta Sky Club and Amex’s incredible Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges when you book through them.

Plus, you’ll get a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years – membership in both programs is good for five years! All this comes with an annual fee of $550.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Delta Companion Certificate

With something somewhat complicated like Delta’s Companion Certificate, there are bound to be questions above and beyond what I have covered here. Below are some of the more commonly frequently asked questions I have received from users.

Note from John: Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered above or below? Feel free to drop me a line here and ask whatever you’d like!

Are there other rules associated with the chosen Delta Companion and the Pass

Looking for the small print when it comes to Delta Companion Pass? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The pass is only eligible on Delta, Delta Connection carrier, and Delta Shuttle flights – excluding all other Delta-designated codeshare flights and flights on partner airlines.
  • A valid Delta Companion Certificate provides one round-trip Main Cabin companion ticket with the purchase of certain adult round-trip fares within the continental United States. However, this cannot be used on tickets with fees of more than $75 for a roundtrip domestic flight (max 4 segments).
  • You can combine Companion Certificates and eCredits in a single transaction. But, bear in mind that this certificate can only be used for new purchases. It is not applicable to previously issued tickets.

Can my Delta Companion Certificate be given to somebody else?

Want to pass on your unused Delta Companion Certificate but don’t know how? Here’s the deal: you don’t have to transfer it, because when you book a reservation with a companion ticket, the tickets are already assigned to them and their companion.

Keep in mind that once issued, Delta Companion Certificate cannot be transferred.

inside a delta flight focusing on the delta companion certificate

Our Final Thoughts on the Companion Certificate

Get more for your money when you use the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. Both come with great companion ticket benefits!

Knowing the details of these certificates is important if you want to make the most out of them. It’s true, they’ve become tougher to use but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beneficial in 2024 – look out for clever ways to utilize them!