Reader Question: Will Delta reissue a companion certificate if my flight is canceled due to COVID?
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Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented number of flight cancellations. Many travelers have found it confusing enough to get a refund if they paid cash for their ticket, but alternative payment methods can make the issue even more complicated. TPG reader Arun wants to know if Delta will reinstate a companion certificate if the flight was canceled due to COVID-19...
[pullquote source="TPG READER ARUN"]For flights that are canceled during the coronavirus pandemic, will Delta reissue a companion certificate? The terms say this will not be re-issued. But since this is an unprecedented scenario, how will they respond?[/pullquote]
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Delta isn't the only major U.S. airline to offer companion certificates. There's a reason that this question is focussing solely on Delta and not on Southwest, which offers a popular Companion Pass to frequent travelers. Southwest's Companion Pass offers you a year (or more) of free flights for your designated companion, as opposed to Delta's, which is valid for one use only. This means that there's no harm in canceling a Southwest flight booked with your Companion Pass, as you can simply rebook once it's safe to start traveling again.
You can earn a Delta companion certificate each year upon account renewal if you have the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the premium Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (as well as the business versions of each). Companion certificates are valid for domestic round-trip flights. With the Delta Reserve card, you can use your companion certificate to fly in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin, while the Platinum Delta SkyMiles companion certificate is limited to main cabin travel.
Further Reading: How to save money with an annual Delta companion ticket
The terms and conditions of the Delta Platinum Amex application are unambiguous when it comes to companion ticket refunds: "Companion Certificate will be deemed fully used once tickets have been issued and will not be returned or replaced." Delta has normally adhered very strictly to this policy, but the airline appears to be making an exception due to the extenuating circumstances caused by the coronavirus.
A number of readers in the TPG Lounge reported that Delta had reinstated their companion certificates following coronavirus-related flight cancellations. In some cases, this happened automatically. In others, people had to reach out to Delta to manually reinstate the certificate. In addition, Delta extended companion certificates that were set to expire before June 30th through the end of 2020. The combination of these two actions should hopefully give people enough time to use their companion certificates in the future, once travel begins to resume.
While Delta's official policy is that companion certificates are non-refundable once the ticket has been issued, the airline is making an exception to help travelers through these uncertain times. A number of TPG readers reported that their certificates had been reinstated following flight cancellations, either automatically or after reaching out to Delta for assistance.