Can You Earn Qualifying Miles On An Airline Ticket When You Also Use A Companion Pass?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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 Credit Card from 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 $121, and not available for first-class fares) awarded every year by the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, a perk which enables both travelers to accrue mileage in their Mileage Plan accounts.
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 Credit Card 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 Signature Card 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.