Platinum Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate: Is It a Good Deal?

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Update:   The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles (Personal), American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles (Business), and American Express Platinum Delta credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check the Hot Deals for the latest offers!

Until September 8, 2014, the sign-up bonus on the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles (personal and business) and American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles card has increased to 50,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in the 1st 3 months.

One unique perk of the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is the coach class companion certificate you get each year on your card anniversary.  I’ve written that this certificate can more than pay for the $195 annual fee on the card (which is NOT waived for the 1st year).  So for folks who are able to use it, the companion certificate could be a very good deal.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

Bring a Friend (Yes, Even ALF) on Delta Using the Companion Certificate

But is it easy to use?  And will you always get a better deal?  Let’s find out.

How Does the Platinum Companion Certificate Work?

Link:   American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

Link:   Delta Companion Certificates

If you have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card, you’ll be issued 1 round-trip, coach class companion certificate each year on your card anniversary.  You can use this certificate to bring a companion for free (plus taxes and fees) on eligible domestic Delta flights.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

You Can Use the Companion Certificate on Certain Delta Domestic Flights

But there are a lot of rules to follow:

  • You can only use the companion certificate on Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta Shuttle flights within the continental US (not Alaska or Hawaii)
  • If you’re a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, you can use the companion certificate, but only to fly from home to the continental US and back
  • Usually you’ll need to buy your tickets at least 14 days in advance with a minimum 3 night stay
  • Taxes and fees on the companion ticket vary from ~$29 to ~$69
  • You must book seats in fare class L, U, or T (discount coach class) only
  • You and your companion must fly the exact same itinerary
  • Companion certificates can be transferred (i.e.: you can book for other folks) but once the tickets are issued, they can’t be transferred
  • If you cancel a companion itinerary, you won’t get the certificate back
  • You’ll earn miles on the paid ticket, but not the companion ticket
  • Companion tickets are NOT eligible for upgrades
  • You must use your Platinum Delta SkyMiles card to pay for the tickets

To redeem a companion certificate, log into your Delta SkyMiles account.  The certificate should be deposited to your account in the month of your card anniversary.

Alternately, you can book these flights over the phone.  But you’ll need your companion certificate number to give to the agent.

Is This a Good Deal?

Link:   FlyerTalk Delta Companion Certificate Thread

There are pages and pages of discussion over on FlyerTalk regarding the use of these certificates.  Some folks love them, have had no problems finding available flights and have saved lots of money.

Often, the best deal is when you have no choice but to book last-minute, expensive tickets (such as for a funeral or family emergency).  The companion certificate can cut the price for 2 people almost in half, which can be significant on this kind of travel.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

Some Folks Have Gotten Great Deals With the Companion Certificate

But others complain that it’s nearly impossible to find available seats.  Even if seats in fare class L, U, or T are available, when they try to book they’re told that there are no companion certificate eligible fares available within those classes, even though the seats are for sale.

I can see how that might be frustrating!  So I did some dummy searches to see for myself.

1.   Austin to New York Round-Trip, September 2014

I checked Delta for flights from Austin to New York round-trip from September 8, 2014, to September 12, 2014.  I chose those dates because I wanted to see what was available on short notice.

The cheapest tickets were in V fare class, which is NOT eligible for companion certificate travel.  But the flights are non-stop.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

The Cheapest Tickets Aren’t Eligible for Companion Certificate Travel

These tickets cost ~$266 per person round-trip including taxes.  So for 2 people, you’d pay ~$532.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

You’d Pay ~$266 per Person, or ~$522 Total

The lowest companion certificate eligible fare (L, U, or T class) was significantly higher and less convenient.  Both connect through either Minneapolis or Atlanta and the departure times are very early in the morning, which some folks don’t like!

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

The Lowest Eligible Fare Is in U Class and Has Layovers

These tickets costs ~$473 per person round-trip.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

You’d Pay Significantly More for Tickets in This Fare Class

But because it’s companion fare eligible, you’d only pay for the taxes and fees on the 2nd ticket.  So for 2 people, you’d pay ~$548 (~$473 for regular ticket plus ~$75 taxes on companion ticket)That’s more than you would pay for 2 regular priced tickets in V class!

So in this case, using the companion certificate is NOT a good deal.  You’ll save money if you just buy 2 paid tickets, and you’ll earn mileage on both tickets, too.  Remember, you do NOT earn miles on companion tickets.

2.   Atlanta to Seattle, New Year’s Eve 2015

I checked for tickets from Atlanta to Seattle over New Year’s (a very busy travel time, but still several months away).

The cheapest tickets were actually in eligible fare classes (L and T).

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

The Cheapest Tickets Should Be Companion Certificate Eligible

A round-trip ticket costs ~$702 per person.

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate

Tickets Cost ~$702 Round-Trip Between Atlanta and Seattle Over New Year’s

However, as long as there are still companion certificate eligible seats available in these fare classes (just because the fare class is available doesn’t mean there are bookable companion seats), you’ll be able to save some money.

If you bought 2 paid tickets, it would cost ~$1,404 (~$702 per person x 2 people).

But if you used your companion certificate, you’d only pay ~$702 plus the taxes and fees on the companion ticket (~$75).  So in total you’d pay ~$777 for yourself and your companion.   That’s a savings of ~$627, which is a fantastic deal!

So in this case, it’s definitely worth it to use the companion certificate!

Note:   Folks on FlyerTalk also report that each segment of the trip must be in the same fare class for the companion ticket to be bookable.

For example, if you wanted to fly from Austin to Atlanta to Buffalo, you could not use a companion certificate if the Austin to Atlanta leg was in U fare class and the Atlanta to Buffalo leg was in T or L fare class.  However, the fare class on the return trip can be different (as long as it’s L, U, or T).

Bottom Line

You could save lots of money with the companion certificate that comes with the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles card.

Each year on your card anniversary, you get a certificate for a round-trip, coach class companion ticket.  Your companion can fly with you on a paid ticket and only pay taxes and fees.

In some cases, you’ll end up paying more if you use the companion certificate (and won’t earn miles on the companion ticket), so it’s not always a good deal.

But often you’ll save money, as long as there are seats available in eligible fare classes.  And the savings can more than make up for the annual fee on the card.

Have you used a Delta companion certificate?  How hard was it to use?  Please let me know about your experiences in the comments!

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27 responses to “Platinum Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate: Is It a Good Deal?

  1. I just picked up the Gold card, but the Platinum will definitely be in my future! Living in Minneapolis, I was able to find flights available in either L, U, or T class.

  2. This post is garbage. V and X fares are also eligible. If you search using the cert u would see that.

    Your assumptions are wrong.

    Any fare L and lower is eligible for comp cert.

  3. Hmmm, had never given the companion certificate a second thought. The AF had always put me off. I might think about this now. Darius, is it possible to get the platinum card and signup bonus if I already have the gold card? Are they considered separate products?

  4. I previously had the Platinum Business card and was issued the companion ticket at my anniversary. I cancelled the card once the annual fee hit and moved on to other cards. Well, the companion ticket stayed in my Delta account. I was nervous about needing to use the Platinum card in order for it to work. I booked a trip to LAX and paid using my corporate AMEX. It didn’t go through the first time, but the second time through, I was able to pay using a different AMEX card. So you may be able to get around that requirement.

  5. Hi Darius, sorry that I’m asking a question regarding an earlier post about Chase Bold and Ink. Am I able to get the extra points/miles by purchasing gift cards at the Staples stores? It appears to me that gift cards/certificates from Staples.com are not qualified for extra bonus points through Ultimate Rewards Mall.

    Also, the benefits from Chase Bold and Ink cards seem identical. If you were to choose either Chase Bold or Ink to keep for long term, which one would you pick and why? Thanks!!

  6. Hi Darius, I’m sorry that I’m asking questions regarding a previous post. With Chase Bold and Ink, am I able to get extra points/miles by purchasing gift cards at the Staples stores? It appears that the gift cards/certificates from Staples.com are not eligible for bonus points/miles through Ultimate Rewards Mall.

    Also, the benefits of Chase Bold and Ink seem identical. If you were to choose just one card, which one would you pick and why? Thanks!!

  7. DW and I use our companion tickets every year. It definitely helps that we are in a hub city (ATL).

  8. Hi Darius, I had the same question. I also have the Delta Gold card and was wondering if it’s possible to get the bonus for the platinum?

  9. I’ve found its definitely last minute tickets (if availability) or east to west coast shots. Redeemed one for a trip from New York to Seattle for $450, ended up getting it for $30. The deals are definitely there, if you know where to look.

  10. I have used the companion pass on my platinum card every year. I think it is a good value for certain trips as shown here. Just have to be a little flexible in timing and location to get best value.

  11. We’ve used it annually for a ~$450 domestic flight and definitely get value out of it for that along with the free first checked bag for up to 9 in your same itinerary. The “value” is of course debatable on whether you find an expensive domestic ticket, helped if you don’t have status and get the checked bag fee waiver too.

    @Ghjf hhh – true, but AMEX’s/Delta’s terms for the cert don’t even state that either. I think the post is accurate in terms of representing what the T&C’s state, though perhaps an added disclaimer that the lower fare classes would count too may help.

    @Skor/Analisa – I received the bonus for the Plat after cancelling the personal Gold a month prior, this was in 2011 though.

  12. Hi
    Has anyone been successful in getting both the Business & Personal Delta Gold Card? I received the business card. I’ve phoned 7 times re the personal card, and each time, AmEx rep states that that AmEx is undergoing a computer upgrade so I will need to call back in 2 hours when it is completed. Yesterday, I phoned 3 times over a 7 hour period and they were still undergoing computer upgrades.

  13. Pingback: One Week Left: American Express Delta SkyMiles 50,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus | Million Mile Secrets

  14. Pingback: Last Day to Apply for the AMEX Delta SkyMiles 50,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus | Million Mile Secrets

  15. The certificate IS a great deal, and the restrictions aren’t as bad as they seem. As one other commenter mentioned, L,U,T,X,V fares are all eligible, contrary to the T&C on Delta’s website. My certificate for the past two year has included L,U,T,X,V fares. I tried it out by using the actual certificate booking process, and for 2 different routes, I got the exact same fare price, effectively cutting my cost in half. One was for $269 (meh), and the other was $407. Obviously, you’d want to use it on a higher-priced fare if possible, but the part about being restricted to L,U,T fares is not accurate. X and V are available and much better priced. I highly suggest editing the article to include these and a screenshot of the actual certificate that shows that.

  16. I have used both mine and my husband’s certificate within the last month. we flew to NY for Xmas and saved $300 and we are using the other one for FL and saving more than that. I found it very easy to use and I like the fact that I pay only the tax and not the $99 companion fare as in the past.

  17. also forgot to mention, we both checked a bag both ways and paid nothing for them so we saved another $100 on the trip.
    doing the same next time. 🙂

  18. I have not been able to find flights two out of three years that I have had the card. It all depends where you are flying, I think. Some airports seem easy to get eligible seats. Others not.

  19. Anyone found a way to get some type of value out of them if they cannot use them?

  20. I have some Delta Ecredit certificates. If i use the certificate to purchase a ticket, can I still use my companion certificate?

  21. @Roger – a bit of a late reply but no, you cannot combine eCredit and Companion Certificates.

    FWIW, I have never lost one due to expiration while generally have 2 Amex DL Platinum cards at a time (for the MQM’s) for about 3 years now. Just went to book one and discovered that the website now requires the holder to be flying (like US Air companion certs). Lame. These were often one of my wild cards when award demand was high and I often used them to fly my family (esp. sister and niece) around. Very disappointed. The hits keep coming from Delta.

  22. Delta Platinum: Companion certificate getting harder and harder to use. Flight selection is very limited, Trying to book 7 months ahead and no flights available – able to change the date by a day and only red eye available.

  23. I think that the Delta SkyMiles Companion certificates are basically a scam if you consider that the majority of people are never able to use them. Of course there will be a few that say “my husband and I flew to NY and saved $300.” But I’ve tried for 4 years to use our companion certificates on a card that costs us $450 a year. Not once have I been able to use them. 4 certificates have expired b/c of this. It’s a huge scam and I don’t know how Delta and AMEX are allowed by law to continue this. I guess they’ll say “It’s all in the fine print.” But it’s still a scam to get business.

  24. Years ago the Delta certificate was much easier to use and the card was only $75 so a fair deal. NOW, however, the card is $195 and near impossible to use to any popular destination. I’ve called Delta and AMX customer service to explain to me why it is that the class is available that is listed on my companion certificate-LUTXV-if you go to Delta.com to look up times..fares, etc….but then when you enter your certificate to look for fares, there are NONE! Noone can explain it to me, they just say that’s the way it is and to email Delta corporate. One of the customer service reps just told me to book the regular fare! I told him that we pay a lot for the card, and for my personally I get it for the companion certificate. I will be cancelling my card since they cannot explain or rectify their ërror”or misprint or whatever they want to call it and they don’t honor the certificate as they should. I suggested that they make it very simple and honor them whenever wherever…..after all we are all paying that high yearly charge when we could get a free credit card at any time and apply that $175 to their lower fares or another airline that has lower fares, which most do!!

  25. Is it possible to PAY for an upgrade to business class (from Comfort +) for both passengers, primary and companion?

  26. I just came to realize that I will never get the benefit of the companion certificate, which is the entire reason I signed up for the platinum card. I take more than 10 business trips per year with Delta, and my company’s travel department books the ticket. I intended to take my wife on one of those trips this year. However, Delta has informed me that because the trip was booked through my company travel department and benefited from our corporate discount with Delta, the trip is not eligible for use with the companion certificate. To wit, non of my business trips will ever be eligible for the companion certificate. In light of this discovery, I cannot identify any benefit to keeping the card since I already have medallion status.

  27. We used to be able to pay extra for the economy comfort seats when using the companion certificate. Now this year delta is saying american express won’t let us pay for an upgrade any more. They said american express won’t let us pay for a better seat even if they are empty. Now I will cancel this card because it makes me feel like a 3rd class flyer. This is costing delta a lot of income from the upgrades. They don’t like it but place the BLAME on AMERICAN EXPRESS