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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressGold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Families need as many miles as possible to get everyone where they want to be, so part of our family’s strategy to increase our mileage balances is to pull the trigger on increased card offers a few times a year. The lineup of Delta Amex cards has increased offers with some really high statement credits for a very limited time through Aug. 15. That makes this potentially a perfect time to consider whether a new Delta card should be in your family’s future.

Right now, you get not only up to 50,000 miles when hitting the spending requirements, but also up to $500 in statement credits if you have some Delta purchases coming up in the next three months. For example, with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express right now you can earn 50,000 Delta SkyMiles and get up to $500 in statement credits on Delta flights purchased on the card. You can read more about these limited-time offers.

But aside from the miles and statement credits you’ll receive, the cards come with some great benefits. One of my favorite benefits of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is the yearly companion ticket you receive on each cardmember anniversary. I personally have kept my Delta Amex around year-after-year in large part because of this benefit. Since families often travel with more than just one person, this is a perk that can more than pay for itself.

Annual Delta Companion Ticket Available via Platinum or Delta Reserve Amex

Platinum and Delta Reserve SkyMiles cardholders receive an annual companion ticket at each renewal of the card. This benefit is extended to both the consumer and business versions of the card. The companion ticket can be used on certain round-trip tickets within the contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands can originate from those destinations to travel to the 48 contiguous United States. (You must have an eligible address on file with SkyMiles.) If you have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex, the companion ticket is only eligible for economy-class flights, while if you have the Delta Reserve the companion ticket can be used for first class, Comfort+ or the main cabin.

This annual award is automatically deposited into your SkyMiles account the month you pay the annual fee, and it is valid for a year from the date of issuance. You still need to pay the taxes and fees on the second ticket, but otherwise this can result in a buy one, get one flight deal.

Flying for the first time
Fly with your favorite companion for less. (Image courtesy of Granger Wootz via Getty Images)

The Delta companion ticket award you receive by renewing your Platinum Delta Amex is valid in the Delta economy L, U, T, X and V fare classes. This excludes Delta’s basic economy fares (E class) and some higher coach fare classes. In my experience, this means that you can use the Delta companion ticket on a wide variety of dates and routes, but certainly not on every single flight.

The companion certificate on the Delta Reserve Amex is valid in all those economy fare classes listed above as well as in I and Z (first class) and W (Comfort+).

Save Hundreds of Dollars With Delta Companion Ticket

To show you the value of the Delta companion ticket, I priced out a New York City trip for spring break. This round-trip nonstop flight from Houston to LaGuardia was pricing out at about $446 on Delta. That isn’t a very good deal, but spring break tickets can be pricier than you wish at times. The Delta companion ticket is a great way to save money when prices are expensive, as one round-trip ticket would have cost me $446, but the second ticket only costs an additional $28 in taxes/fees when using the companion ticket (this total will be higher with connecting flights). Getting spring break tickets from Houston to New York City for two passengers for $475 + the companion voucher is a much better overall deal than one ticket for $446.

Using the Delta companion ticket is thankfully pretty simple. Log in to your online Delta SkyMiles account, and under the “More” option, you should see “Certificates & eCredits.”

Once you log in that screen with your SkyMiles number, you can select to use the certificate and search for eligible Delta flights. You can only search for the people who are on the trip using the certificate, so additional children or travelers may have to be booked separately. You can then have their itinerary linked to yours by calling 1-800-221-1212 or reaching out to @Delta on Twitter.

If you used the Delta companion ticket in a similar manner as shown above, it can easily be worth more than the $195 annual fee (see rates & fees) you pay each year to keep the Delta Platinum Amex. The Delta Reserve has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees) but comes with additional benefits including Sky Club access and the companion ticket can be in first class.

Another really cool feature of the Delta companion ticket is that it is transferable. If you can’t use it, you can let someone else in the family benefit from the savings. That makes it flexible for families who don’t always travel together since the cardholder doesn’t have to be on the flight.

The primary ticket on the reservation using the Delta companion ticket will accrue miles, but the companion ticket won’t. The tickets are eligible for upgrades consistent with the SkyMiles program. However, keep in mind that if you cancel your itinerary after purchasing, you will not be able to reuse your companion certificate.

Earn Bonus Delta SkyMiles With the Increased Offer

Both the consumer and business version of the Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards are offering increased (and unusual) welcome bonuses through Aug 15:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, plus up to a $300 statement credit on Delta purchases made directly with Delta in the first three months. (Offer ends 8/15/19.) Terms Apply.
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, plus up to a $500 statement credit on Delta purchases made directly with Delta in the first three months. (Offer ends 8/15/19.) Terms Apply.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express: Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, plus up to a $300 statement credit on Delta purchases made directly with Delta in the first three months. (Offer ends 8/15/19.) Terms Apply.
  • Platinum Delta Business Amex: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, plus up to a $500 statement credit on Delta purchases made directly with Delta in the first three months. (Offer ends 8/15/19.) Terms Apply.

According to TPG‘s current valuations 50,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth $600 and 30,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth $360 — and there are lots of ways for families to use those miles. The statement credits are worth whatever portion you will use. If you can use it all, that’s a fantastic bonus that makes the $195 annual fee for both Platinum Delta cards easily worth it to me in the first year since the welcome bonus could be worth more than $1,000 (Platinum Delta Amex – see rates & fees) (Platinum Delta Business – see rates & fees). For subsequent years, you’ll then receive the money-saving Delta companion certificate.

On an ongoing basis, having one of these cards provides a free checked bag on Delta flights (for the card holder and up to eight companions), 20% off in-flight Delta purchases and of course the very valuable companion certificate beginning at the first card member anniversary.

Bottom Line

I personally have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, one of the best travel credit cards. I got it for its increased welcome bonus at one point, but I keep it in my wallet for the annual companion ticket.

Does your family make use of Delta’s companion certificate to save money on flights?

For rates & fees of the Platinum Delta Amex, please click here.
For rates & fees of the Platinum Delta Business Amex, please click here.
For rates & fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.

Featured image courtesy of Delta Air Lines

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