Reader Question: Can you combine an airline travel credit with a companion certificate?

Jun 11, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg. If you would like to ask us a question, email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Editor’s note: This article originally published with incomplete information. It has been updated with correct details.

Frequent travelers are used to paying for their plane tickets in a number of different ways, including credit cards, miles and even gift cards. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented surge in flight cancellations it’s caused is forcing many travelers to now learn the ins and outs of another payment method: airline-issued travel credits. TPG reader Bettina wants to know if she can use a Delta travel credit in combination with a Delta companion fare from her Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

I ended up with a $1200 credit on Delta for my canceled trip to Florida – and I have a companion fare credit also from my Delta Platinum SkyMiles Amex. Is it possible to combine the companion airfare with the airline credit for booking future travel?

TPG READER BETTINA

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

For those who may not be familiar, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is the mid-tier option of Delta’s personal cobranded credit cards. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles comes with an annual companion certificate valid for a round-trip, main cabin domestic ticket booked into fare classes L, U, T, X or V. You just need to pay the taxes and fees on the companion ticket, which is very low for domestic travel.

Delta’s travel credits are generally very lenient, as you can use them to cover the cost of airfare or government-imposed taxes, including the $5.60 aviation security fee that gets tacked on to the cost of all flights originating in the U.S. (including award tickets). However, Delta’s companion fares, like many airline-specific perks on cobranded credit cards, come with an important restriction that prevents you from combining them with an airline credit.

According to the terms and conditions of the companion fare benefit listed on the Amex website, you must pay for your ticket with your SkyMiles credit card in order to apply the companion fare:

“Primary ticket and Companion ticket must be purchased with your Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card”

This is not unlike other airlines like United that generally require you to purchase your ticket with your cobranded card in order to receive free checked bags on eligible itineraries. While this policy existed long before airline credits were a common part of most people’s travel experience, it’s sure to be frustrating now to people who have to decide which of their expiring benefits (companion fare or travel credit) to redeem first.

Bottom line

The annual companion certificate is one of the more valuable perks on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, but you can only use it when you pay for the primary ticket and companion ticket with your Delta Platinum card.

Thanks for the question, Bettina! If you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

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

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.