Delta Companion Certificate Rules and Guide [2019]

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While Delta has some awesome flight attendants that go out of their way, it also provides a unique credit card benefit called the Delta companion certificate. Issued once a year, you can use the companion certificate to have someone fly with you for free. Basically, you’re own BOGO flight deal.

In the article, I will explain how to get the Delta companion certificate and how to use the Delta companion certificate along with the limitations, rules, restrictions, and what you can do with the Delta companion certificate. 


What is the Delta companion certificate?

The Delta companion certificate is a certificate that can be used to buy two roundtrip tickets for the price of one plus taxes and fees of the companion ticket. That means, you essentially get an extra ticket for free when you buy one ticket, which can save you hundreds of dollars. 

The Delta companion certificate is given as a benefit to cardholders that hold certain Delta co-branded American Express credit cards. It’s a similar concept to the Alaska Airlines companion pass that is given by their co-branded credit card. 

Below I go into detail about the Delta companion certificate outlining everything you need to know.


How to get the Delta companion certificate

The only way to get a Delta companion certificate is to hold one of the Delta co-branded American Express credit cards that offer the companion certificate as a benefit.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $195 (not waived)
  • Annual 1 time main cabin companion certificate
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card allows you to earn the companion certificate along with other benefits like annual MQMs and waiving the MQD requirement. These are all on top of standard benefits like a free first bag and priority boarding. This card currently comes with a limited time 75K mile offerread more about these limited-time offers that will be expiring July 2, 2019! 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $195 (not waived)
  • Annual 1 time main cabin companion certificate
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The business version of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has the same benefits as the personal card. It is great if you don’t want to take a Chase 5/24 slot.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $450 (not waived)
  • Annual 1 time first class, Comfort+ or main cabin companion certificate
  • Delta SkyClub access
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The Delta Reserve Credit Card gives you more unique benefits when flying Delta than other Delta co-branded cards like Delta SkyClub access, increased MQMs, and more flexible companion certificate as it allows you to redeem for first class, Comfort+, and main cabin.

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $450 (not waived)
  • Annual 1 time first class, Comfort+ or main cabin companion certificate
  • Delta SkyClub access
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The business version of the Delta Reserve Credit Card is exactly the same as the personal version with all the same benefits. This card would be great if you don’t want to take a Chase 5/24 slot.

When you get your Delta companion certificate

Each of these cards gives the Delta companion certificate as a benefit once you have the card for one year and it renews with the annual fee hitting your statement.

Example, if you apply for one of the cards above on July 30th, 2019, you will receive the annual companion certificate when your annual fee hits July 30th, 2020. This means you have to pay two annual fees, one at sign-up as it’s not waived the first year and then again at your card application anniversary date. 

Once you are eligible to receive the companion certificate, it will show under your account’s eCertificates and eCredits page or by typing in the certificate number manually.


Delta companion certificate ticket rules and restrictions

Rules for the Delta companion certificate are pretty strict and are as follows:

Destination and itinerary restrictions

  • The companion certificate can only be used within the contiguous 48 states, unless you’re a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands then you can originate from your state or territory outside of the contiguous 48 US states.

The companion certificate can only be used within the contiguous 48 states. That makes it rather limiting if you wanted a more expensive use to Hawaii or Alaska as getting one ticket for free to Hawaii or Alaska can save you hundreds. However, if you’re a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands you can originate from your state or territory.

An example would be, if you live in Hawaii and want to go to New York, you can use the companion certificate originating from Hawaii, but cannot use it from New York to Hawaii.

  • Must be used for a roundtrip ticket.

Roundtrip tickets also make it rather limiting as you might just want one-way or multi-city, but cannot use the certificate for either of those.

Expiration and deadline

  • Valid for one year from the issuing date. Cannot be extended and must be used before the certificate expiration date.
  • Travel must be completed before the expiration date.

Eligible fare classes

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards can only use the companion certificate for fare classes L, U, T, X, and V (economy class, aka main cabin and not basic economy.)
  • Delta Reserve Credit Cards can only use the companion certificate for fare classes I and Z (first class) and W (Comfort+) and L, U, T, X, and V (economy class, aka main cabin and not basic economy.)

Rules like these limit the companion certificate when it comes to peak travel season to popular destinations, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, as only discounted fare classes work with the certificate.

Back when I wanted to use my companion certificate to get from Detroit (DTW) to Los Angeles (LAX) I couldn’t use the certificate during Christmas 3 weeks in advance as the fare classes weren’t available. Luckily, other times of the year I have no trouble using the certificate on short notice.

Passenger requirements

  • The certificate must be redeemed from the account it was issued by, but travel doesn’t have to be completed by the certificate holder.

The one positive aspect about the companion certificate, besides saving you money, is the fact it can be used for anyone. The only thing you have to remember when using the certificate is the fact it must be used from the account that it is issued for.

For example, I can use the certificate that is issued for me for two of my friends and I don’t need to be flying with my friends.

Payment methods

  • You cannot use eCredit with the companion certificate.
  • You must use an American Express credit or charge card to pay for the flight.

Upgrades and mileage earnings

  • The companion doesn’t earn any miles, MQMs, MQSs, or MQDs only the primary ticket can earn miles, MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs.
  • Medallion complimentary upgrades and regional upgrade certificates can apply to companion certificates allowing you to get upgrades as a medallion elite.

Luckily you can receive your Medallion benefits when using the companion certificate, but you cannot use miles or pay for upgrades when using the companion certificate.

Taxes and fees

  • The companion only has to pay taxes and fees up to $75.

Steps of how to use the Delta companion certificate

It’s fairly easy to use the Delta companion certificate if you’re following the rules stated above.

Step 1: Finding your Delta companion certificate

To use the Delta companion certificate go directly to eCertificates and eCredits and login at the bottom of the page. Yes, you can search for the certificate by the certificate number first, but Delta requires the certificate holder to login. So, it’s best to log in at the beginning.

If you want to find just your Delta companion certificate, you can find it in the email sent to you from Delta when your companion certificate is issued. This would also be around the same time as the credit card anniversary.

You can see your issued certificates and eCredits when you are logged in. It will show what fare classes you can use your certificate for, expiration date, and the conditions. Remember you cannot use other eCredits with your companion certificate.

Select the companion certificate you want to use and click continue.

Step 2: Searching for a Delta companion ticket

When the certificate is applied, the certificate should show at top of the page after hitting continue. This will display all relevant information like the expiration date and certificate number. 

Below enter in the departure and arrival airport information you desire with the dates you wish to travel. Once you’re finished, click “find flights”.

Notice the passenger count is already set to 2 passengers, that cannot be changed to more passengers.

When searching for the flights, the results shown is what you can use the certificate on. That means, if the flight you are looking for is not showing, then there is no availability based on the fare classes not being available.

Notice I am using the companion pass issued by the Delta Platinum SkyMiles Credit Card. That means only main cabin economy tickets will be available for me. If I was using the Delta Reserve companion certificate, then it would be showing first class, Comfort+, and main cabin economy.

Step 3: Paying for the Delta companion ticket

After selecting your departing and returning flights, you will see the summary page. Only taxes and fees are charged for the companion.

Be aware, you can only use American Express credit or debit cards when the companion certificate is applied. You cannot use eCredit or gift cards when it’s applied.

However, you can use any American Express issued card, it doesn’t have to be the Delta co-branded American Express cards. I love to use my American Express Platinum Charge Card so I can earn 5x Membership Rewards points when purchasing tickets directly from airlines.


Delta companion certificate FAQs

I know the companion certificate can be confusing at first. So, I made this simple FAQ section to hopefully answer all your questions.

Can I pay with miles while using my Delta companion certificate?

Unfortunately, no. You cannot pay with miles when you have your companion certificate applied. You can only pay with any American Express issued card.

I recommend paying with the American Express Platinum Charge Card as it gives you 5x Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent on airfare bought directly from an airline’s website.

Can I use the Delta companion certificate for international flights?

Nope. You must be traveling within the contiguous 48 US states. However, if you’re a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands you can originate from your state or territory traveling to the contiguous 48 states.

Can I use my miles to upgrade from economy to first class when using a Delta companion certificate?

No, you cannot use miles to upgrade from economy to first class when it’s companion certificate issued tickets. The only way to upgrade is Medallion complimentary upgrades or using regional upgrade certificates.

Are there any blackout dates when using the Delta companion certificate?

Nope, you can you use the Delta companion certificate any time of the year without blackout dates. However, it’s still based on the fare classes being available. 

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards can only use the companion certificate for fare classes L, U, T, X, and V (economy class, aka main cabin and not basic economy.)
  • Delta Reserve Credit Cards can only use the companion certificate for fare classes I and Z (first class) and W (Comfort+) and L, U, T, X, and V (economy class, aka main cabin and not basic economy.)

If those fares aren’t available, you cannot use the companion certificate.

Can I buy a Delta companion certificate?

Terms and conditions states certificates and eCredit cannot be bought or sold. If found out, Delta has the right to terminate your account. Yes, it’s highly unlikely for Delta to terminate your account for selling a companion certificate, but keep in mind you cannot transfer these tickets as they make the certificate holder login making it hard to sell.

Can I transfer a Delta companion certificate to someone else?

You cannot transfer the companion certificate to someone else, but it can be used by the certificate holder for others without the certificate holder flying.

If I cancel my Delta co-branded American Express credit card that issued the certificate to me, do I get to keep my companion certificate?

Yes, you can keep your companion certificate. Once the certificate is issued, you can keep your companion certificate until the expiration date. That means you can cancel your Delta co-branded American Express card after the companion certificate is issued and still keep the certificate.

Can I hold multiple Delta co-branded American Express credit cards to get multiple companion certificates?

Yes, in fact, you can hold all 4 Delta co-branded American Express credit cards receiving 4 companion certificates. 


Final word

The Delta companion certificate is one of my favorite credit card bonuses when I used to fly a lot in the USA. However, it’s rather limiting when it comes to restricting the travel to roundtrip only, but it can give you great value and savings when ticket prices are a little too high when paying cash and need it half the price to bring a friend or family member along.

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