Delta American Express Platinum and Reserve Card Companion Pass Details

by on June 27, 2013 · 42 comments

in American Express, Delta

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Both the Delta Platinum personal and business cards, as well as the Delta Reserve personal and business card offer companion certificates after the first year of cardmembership, however American Express does not actively market these benefits. A lot of readers had questions about the terms of the companion passes of each card since Amex does not provide the information, I thought I would. This information is a mix of information gleaned from Delta phone reps as well as online research and asking friends who have these certificates.

Delta has a number of partner airlines.

Delta companion certificates can save you $100′s.

I got the personal version of this card last month and earned 40,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQM’s for meeting the minimum spend on it, so when I get the business version as well and meet the spending requirements, I’ll end up with a total of 95,000 bonus miles and 35,000 MQM’s (and that’s not counting if I hit the annual spend threshold bonus on MQM’s). That’s worth it to me because I’m not quite ready to double down and commit completely to American Airlines, and these MQM’s will put me over my status qualification and still leave plenty above and beyond it for rollover into 2014 for a good head start on my 2015 Medallion qualification.

When it comes to Delta’s companion certificates, they offer two different ones.

Platinum Cards
For the Delta Platinum Business American Express and Delta Platinum American Express, cardholders will receive a Delta Platinum Companion Certificate good for a free coach companion ticket within the 48 contiguous United States. Here are the specific terms:

  • Area of Travel – Travel within the 48 Contiguous U.S.
  • Booking Class – Coach only (Fare Classes L, U, T, X, V)
  • Excludes Delta codeshare flights
  • Medallion Upgrades are not allowed
  • Certificate is transferable, however must be purchased by member names on certificate
  • Paid ticket will earn SkyMiles, however the companion ticket will not
  • Certificate is valid for redemption up to one year from date of issue

Reserve Cards
For those with the Delta Reserve Personal Card or the Delta Reserve Business Card, cardholders will receive a Delta Reserve Companion Certificate which is basically the same as above, however it’s good for first class as well. Since bookings made with a companion certificate are not valid for Medallion upgrades, if you value domestic first class, then booking it outright is something to consider. Here are the terms:

  • Area of Travel-Travel within the 48 Contiguous U.S.
  • Booking Class- First or Coach (First Classes – A,D; Coach Classes – L, U, T, X, V)
  • Excludes Delta codeshare flights
  • Certificate is transferable, however must be purchased by member names on certificate
  • Paid ticket will earn SkyMiles, however the companion ticket will not
  • Certificate is valid for redemption up to one year from date of issue

You can redeem your companion certificates online.

The Delta Gold American Express used to offer a $99 companion certificate, but that has been discontinued. However, for those of you like me who one (or more) of these other cards, I wanted to pull a few examples for some flights to see how much these can be worth.

I found some flights from New York-Los Angeles in September running $371 roundtrip where I would be able to apply either Companion Certificate since this in coach, and in an eligible fare class.

Delta JFK-LAX for $371 roundtrip.

Delta JFK-LAX for $371 round-trip.

If you want to use the Delta Reserve Companion Certificate for a First Class trip, you would need either A or D fare class availability. I was able to find a trip from Seattle to Atlanta in First Class for $1,173, and the companion ticket would be free.

SEA-ATL in First Class.

Delta SEA-ATL in First Class for $1,173.

So depending on how you use the companion certificates, they can get you some decent value and  offset the annual fee for the cards in my opinion. However, the specific fare classes and other rules are definitely something to consider which make using these companion certificates potentially time-consuming and expensive.

Have you had any experience using these companion certificates? Any lucrative routes you recommend using them on, feel free to share your feedback below!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Michael

    I maximize the companion ticket each year for ski trips to flghts during ski season tend to run in the 450-550 range over the weekends. So I use it to save me ~500 on a trip for my GF and I which pays for the annual fee on the reserve card leaving all the other benefits as gravy

  • Heather L. Cannady

    Business Elite never books into A or D correct?

  • Jason Miller

    I have a Reserve card but always forget about the companion certificate. Just out of curiosity – do you still earn MQMs on the paid ticket if a certificate is redeemed for complimentary second ticket? I assume you do…I just couldn’t find the answer to that question online.

  • Dan

    I think it is a red flag that they are not actively marketing this feature. They used to with both the gold and platinum card and then they stopped and then lo and behold the companion pass went away on the gold card. I would not be surprised if this benefit goes away on the platinum and reserve card as well sometime in the next year or two. AMEX is on a real roll…..downhill.

    I know some people have difficulty making use of it but I have gotten good use out of this benefit and would be unhappy to see it go. The amount I save it on it each year more than makes up for the annual fee not to mention the savings on checked bags(for us lowly peons without stats).

  • Eric

    If I transfer my companion pass will the 1st checked bag still be free for the people who fly?

  • Necessary Indulgences

    Yes, the paid ticket earns exactly like any paid ticket – MQMs, elite bonuses, etc.

  • Jason Miller


  • thepointsguy

    No, the first checked bag for free will not apply.

  • thepointsguy

    It’s only good for flights within the 48 US states, however for transcons those can book into D.

  • thepointsguy

    Awesome- I agree this a great benefit and it can outweigh the annual fee if you put it to good use!

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, the paid ticket still earns miles and MQM’s, but isn’t upgrade eligible.

  • Scott

    I just used my first companion certificate last week. My family will be traveling to deer valley in February for a ski vacation. I redeemed it from jax-SLC. There was plenty of availability and the ticket cost approx 520 dollars the companion only had to pay approx 45 dollars in taxes and fees. I feel this is a great redemption especially during high season (ski season). This more than made up for the 150 dollar fee for the card. Thank you so much for this website. It has really saved me some money especially the amazing deal alerts



  • Chris B.

    Can the primary (not companion) credit the flight to another airline’s FF program while having a companion?

  • Paula Kay Lavigne

    I’ve had the personal delta platinum card for a few years. It does stink that it doesn’t include Hawaii, but I just used my companion ticket to book a rt flight from Wilmington, NC to Las Vegas in August. Ticket price was $539. Companion does have to pay the taxes which were about $35

  • james

    I have used mine a couple times. Works well but requires a 3 night stay.

  • Ben

    I just redeemed mine for flights from MSP – BOI for a wedding next month. Tickets were in the $450-500 range!

  • BenTraveling

    I’ve used a companion certificate with my Delta Platinum Amex every year for the past five years. I generally use it for round trip tickets between BOS and DFW around Columbus Day or Patriots Day weekend (tickets usually pricing between $200-$300). This past Memorial Day weekend I used it for a BOS-LAX round trip ticket. Because we were set on dates and times, the ticket would have cost around $440, so the companion ticket really came in handy. It’s a bit frustrating not being eligible for upgrades, even if you and your companion are medallions, but it you are Gold Medallion or above, you and your companion can get free Economy Comfort seats. The companion certificate makes the $150 annual fee on the Delta Platinum Amex worth the cost.

  • Paul

    We use it every year.

  • Charlie

    I used my Reserve ticket on a ATL-SEA round trip in first class. I think the total was only $50 more than buying two coach tickets. Including the annual fee, I think I paid a total of $1400 for two round trip coach tickets. Although I save a ton of money on checked baggage fees throughout the year too.

  • Jake from MSP

    My certificate says it can also be used to book into I

  • RJCAthens

    Not realizing the Reserve First Class certificate was only good for specific fare classes, I got all excited when I saw a fare of $493 (P class, maybe?) last month for ATL-LAS. When I went to the redemption site and entered the code, the fares were over $1k. So I called Delta, and a rep told me that the cert is only good for A and I fares. I think the A was like $1,053 so we ended up just buying the two P class tickets and paying for most of it with miles. I kind of felt like the companion cert was a ripoff after that experience. Hopefully, we’ll get a better deal using it for a ATL-DEN trip in December.

  • Heather L. Cannady

    Thanks! I did a quick search for some JFK-SEA seats and only saw the BizElites booking into J, but I will keep checking.

  • nevik

    Just used my companion certificate to take my son with me to San diego from the DC area. Purchased tickets 17 days out and was still able to get my ticket for $650 and 40 taxes for his ticket. Well worth it for a last minute ticket for two in sunny San Diego

  • Don

    So…Delta Sky Club in Atlanta started charging for “premium” drinks. Since when is a Blue Moon considered a premium beer?! Complimentary: Bud / Miller.

    Can anyone confirm that Delta is doing the same thing across the states? Limited complimentary drinks…seriously?!

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  • Dave

    I have had the Delta Amex platinum card for years and was always happy to receive the companion certificate. This year, I received no notification of it upon renewal. Went to the website. There is absolutely no mention of it as a benefit of the card anywhere on the site. Finally, I called Amex two months after my $150 membership renewal. The rep claimed that the certificate had been emailed to me. I get lots of email from them, but not this one. Irritating. It seems obvious, since it is not promoted, in fact not even acknowledged unless you inquire, that this benefit is going to disappear. The card is not worth $150 if the benefit goes away.

  • Leviathan

    Here’s how I justified a Reserve card:
    1) That I was able to take advantage of all the benefits. Sky Club used for 18 visits or more – it’s worth $25 per visit to me. That I actually use the 1st class companion upgrade – $450 upgrade. That I am able to spend $60K or more a year.
    2) That my yearly travel is at least 20K miles w/ Delta. With 30K in MQM’s from AMEX spending & 20K in DL flights, I am at Gold Medallion status at the least. GM status is worth it; 2X Skymiles, Sky Priority, luggage, etc.
    3) That Delta & AMEX values me more than the average consumer. I have had all types of issues over the past few years. From rental car, to hotel, airline, etc. issues. Every time, the issues were resolved to or above my expectations.

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  • Victoria Herring

    I have an AmEx Delta companion ticket and am having trouble finding a way to use it given schedules and etc. and it expires 8/31 — so that’s all? Or can I sell it [though of course it means I'd have to pay for the flight ticket and be repaid that cost from the buyer as well, right? Same with a gift?]

  • paul

    yes, they are doing it everywhere

  • Cyndi

    Can someone tell me…..With a Platinum card can I use skymiles to pay for my primary ticket when using the companion certificate?

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  • Mike Smith

    Just booked DTW-SLC for Thanksgiving using a grandfathered Delta Gold certificate without a problem. $450 for the ticket, $99 + fees for the companion ticket (so less than $300 per ticket for Thanksgiving). Now I have to weigh whether to cancel the gold card and get a platinum. I would only find the delta platinum useful if they keep the companion ticket program, as I do my heavy lifting with Chase Sapphire Preferred/Freedom. Any recent scuttlebutt on it?

  • Stan

    Do you ever run into problems getting bonus points with a
    new Delta Amex cards when you have an existing Delta Amex card?

    Example: I have a Delta Plat. Amex and want the full 10K
    MQM bonus for a new delta reserve card…

    Thanks for your input!

  • Jason Miller

    Here’s one for you – so, I found two seats available in the A fare class next month to Buffalo. Tickets priced at $837. Called Delta to book using my Reserve companion certificate because the website wasn’t working to search using the certificate. Friendly lady found the flights, and confirmed they were in A, but it priced out at over $2,000, plus the $44.00 for my companion’s ticket! Outrageous. For comparison, I asked her to price out the tickets as though I was just going to purchase them without the certificate, and she confirmed that the price per ticket for A class was $837 for a standard revenue purchase. She had no clue why it would price differently for A using the companion certificate than it would for a standard revenue purchase. I’ve run into this a few times, and it’s increasingly make me believe the AMEX companion ticket has gone the way of a false benefit. Any ideas on why this would happen?

  • Evan M

    I just canceled my delta gold card after 18 months. I want to apply for reserve. Is there a way to get the bonuses without waiting 3 months?

  • Terry K

    I just had a similar experience to Jason. Tried to book a companion first class ticket – on the website A class tickets were $1270 per person but it wouldn’t let me book with my certificate. This is the class of tickets listed as eligible on the certificate. When I called Delta I was quoted a fare of double. The rep refused to explain why the flight was double and just said “companion fares are priced differently.” Yes – double – isn’t that convenient. She refused to speak to me and referred me to Amex. Said these were not Delta certificates so I needed to speak to Amex. Amex couldn’t do anything for me. I think I will be cancelling that card! I have gotten used to issues with Delta but this seems close to fraud.

  • sucker for a deal

    found a flight from DCA to OMA for $235.50…Great, now for adding companion. total for two is 461.50. Fraud! neither Amex nor Delta will address the price increase. Cancel my card soon.

  • Bret Landauer

    Question for you, I have the personal reserve card and the business reserve card, do I receive 2 companion certs each year?

  • Sindaco De Blasio

    Having no luck finding a viable nonstop flight using the companion certificate from the Amex Platinum card. I am deeming the formerly good deal worthless- certainly not worth the $195 annual fee if there are no useful companion flights available. Will be canceling both of my cards.

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