How to redeem the American Airlines companion certificate

Aug 10, 2020

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Credit card issuers realize that customers won’t be able to take advantage of many of their credit cards travel perks due to the pandemic.

When you are ready to travel, however, you might be curious about how to use some of your credit card’s perks. If you hold certain American Airlines co-branded credit cards, you have what’s known as a companion certificate that you can use after you meet a spending threshold. The certificate allows cardholders to bring a friend (or two) at a discount or for just the cost of taxes and fees. 

Both Citi and Barclays have offered extensions on expiring companion certificates. Barclay AAdvantage cardholders will be able to use them through the end of June 2021, while Citi is offering six-month extensions for both companion certificates and flight discounts.

Here’s what you need to know about redeeming your companion certificate.

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How to get the AA companion certificate

You can get the American Airlines companion certificate if you have one of its select co-branded cards. I’ll break down each card below:

Barclays Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Aviator Red card offers a 60,000-mile welcome bonus after you pay the $99 annual fee in full and make a purchase within the first 90 days. There is no minimum amount on what the initial purchase is, either. That means you can purchase a pack of gum and, after paying the annual fee, quickly earn those 60,000 miles. It’s no doubt one of the easiest airline card sign-up bonuses to earn.

You’ll also earn 2x miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1x on everything else. Cardholders also get a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases, as well as up to $25 worth of statement credits for in-flight WiFi purchases on American Airlines-operated flights.

After you spend $20,000 in a year, you will receive a companion certificate, which allows you to book airfare for a travel companion for just $99 plus taxes and fees.

AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

You’ll earn the companion certificate for the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard after you spend $20,000 per year. With it, you can book travel for up to two additional guests for $99 plus taxes and fees. This is ideal for families and groups looking to save on domestic travel.

The Aviator Silver card also offers upgraded perks that American Airlines flyers will enjoy, like 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) each calendar year after a combined $40,000 spend and $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after spending $50,000 per calendar year. You’ll also earn 3x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2x on hotels and car rentals and 1x on everything else.

Unfortunately, this card isn’t open to new cardholders. You can request an upgrade after opening an Aviator Red card account.

The information for the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Unlike the first two cards, you’ll need to spend a whopping $30,000 to earn the companion certificate on the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard. Once you earn it, though, it’s good for one guest ticket that you can book for only $99 plus taxes and fees.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a welcome bonus of 65,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. You’ll get an additional 10,000 miles when you make a purchase on an employee card. As a bonus, cardholders receive a 5% mileage bonus every card account anniversary.

The information for the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® 

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Currently, the sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® allows new cardmembers to earn 65,000 miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening. The $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Your business can earn a certificate for domestic main cabin travel after you spend at least $30,000 on the card during your membership year, and each time the card is renewed (the account must remain open at least 45 days after the anniversary date). Note that redeeming the certificate carries a $99 fee, plus between $21.60 to $43.20 in taxes and fees.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How to use the companion certificate on American Airlines

American says it can take between 8 and 10 weeks for delivery of the Companion Certificate. After it arrives, you must redeem it through American Airlines Meeting Services.


When does my AA companion certificate expire?

The AA companion certificate is typically valid for a year. Still, if you’re a qualifying Barclays AAdvantage cardholder with a companion certificate expiring between March 31, 2020, and May 31, 2021, you’ll receive an extension through June 30, 2021

If you applied for an AAdvantage Aviator Red Card before May 2019 and earned a flight discount that expires within that period, you will receive a 6-month extension from the current expiration date to put it to use.

Can I use the AA companion certificate on business and first-class tickets?

The American Airlines companion certificate is only valid only for round-trip domestic economy class tickets. 

Can I use the AA companion certificate on partner airlines?

The American Airlines companion certificate is valid for travel on flights within the 48 contiguous U.S. on flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or on flights marketed by American and operated by Compass Airlines, Envoy Air, Republic, SkyWest, Mesa, PSA Airlines or Piedmont Airlines.

The companion certificate is not eligible for travel on codeshare flights booked with an American Airlines flight number but operated by another airline. For residents of Alaska and Hawaii, Companion Certificate eligible travel is defined as round-trip travel originating in either of those two states and continuing to the 48 contiguous United States.

Bottom line

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the travel industry, but we’re beginning to see some signs of life. Card issuers realize they’ll need to make adjustments (like providing extensions for significant perks). 

Whether you plan to take to the skies this year or not, you have ample time to put your American Airlines companion certificate to good use.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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