Can You Earn Qualifying Miles On An Airline Ticket When You Also Use A Companion Pass?

by on April 27, 2014 · 8 comments

in Alaska, American Express, British Airways, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest, Sunday Reader Questions, US Airways, Video Blog Post

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This week we wrote about 11 different airline and hotel co-branded credit card anniversary perks that far outweigh their annual fees. One of these perks is the Annual Companion Certificate that comes with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express, whereby if you purchase one economy ticket (in L, U, T, X or V fare classes) for a roundtrip within the 48 contiguous United States, the second ticket is free. This benefit could easily pay for the card’s entire $150 (though soon $195) annual fee in one fell swoop – and then some.

With this particular companion-pass perk in mind, TPG reader Michael tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy: Can you earn Delta MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) and MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) on a primary ticket if you also use a companion pass from the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express?”

The answer is yes. On the primary ticket you do earn MQMs and MQSs, but not on the companion ticket.

However, there are two airline co-branded credit card anniversary perks that do allow mileage earnings on both a primary ticket and a companion pass. The companion certificate (up to two, for $99 each) awarded annually by the US Airways Premier World MasterCard permits you to earn Dividend Miles on both tickets; you just need to bank specifically to Dividend Miles rather than one of the airline’s partners. It’s the same story for the Coach Companion Fare (priced from $118, and not available for first-class fares) awarded every year by the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, a perk which enables both travelers to accrue mileage in their Mileage Plan accounts.

Delta's Annual Companion Certificate

The Platinum Delta Amex’s annual companion certificate is a certainly a good perk, but it’s not the best miles-earning companion-pass benefit out there

Some airline co-branded credit cards, though, offer what amounts more to a discount than outright companion passes. Every year, primary cardholders of the new Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard are eligible to earn a $100 discount off one coach companion ticket for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America. And each cardmember anniversary, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa gives you 6,000 points (valued at about $86) that count toward Companion Pass Qualification, one of the best airline benefits in the sky.

Companion-pass perks like these compare favorably to British Airways’ unique Travel Together Ticket - a benefit of hitting a $30,000 spend on your British Airways Visa in a calendar year – that must be used in combination with an award redemption. This perk is best used for a premium award rather than coach tickets in order to counterbalance  BA’s astronomical taxes and fees, and while it requires you to use Avios, you’re not allowed to also earn Avios on these tickets since they’re just award tickets. 

To learn more about Delta Annual Companion Certificates, check out Delta American Express Platinum and Reserve Card Companion Pass Details, and also take a look at this past week’s post on The Top Airline and Hotel Credit Cards With Anniversary Bonuses to read more about some of the best possible co-branded airline credit card companion-pass perks.

Have any other questions? Let me know by messaging me on Facebooktweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

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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  • Audrey

    Whenever I’ve looked at Delta’s website they list only L,U, and T as the flight choices for the American Express Delta Platinum. If V and X were included that would be great as I often find those listed instead of L,U, and T. If this has changed I’m wondering where you found the info.

  • E

    Anyone know how to apply the alaska companion code and use ultimate rewards “pay with points” as an option? It’d be a great combo to get the companion fare and use ur to pay for the costs.

  • MK

    You mentioned the Southwest Companion Pass. What are the best ways to get the pass now? Your post on this now says that this offer is no longer available.

  • Benjamin J L

    I spent some time on the phone yesterday with Aeromexico regarding using a Companion Pass. Required to purchase B,M, or Y fares on paid ticket. I could buy two discounted coach tickets for less than one full fare coach! Eliminates any benefit of the companion pass.

  • John Pherrin

    Will someone get AAdvantage credit on a US Airways companion pass, since they are merging? I have status with AA, but my companion pass user has no status on either AA or US Airways. I would like to keep her on AAdvantage if possible.

  • MightyTravels

    Really useful info – thanks for sharing!

    Torsten @

  • Davisson

    The Alaska companion pass from Bank of America allows the companion to acquire miles not just with MileagePlan but also partners. I was able to get AA elite miles as a companion no problem.

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