The 5 Best Credit Cards with Companion Tickets

The 5 Best Credit Cards with Companion Tickets

Many credit cards offer a companion benefit, offering discounts or a potentially free ticket for your traveling partner.

If you frequently travel with another person — such as your significant other, family member or friend — credit cards with a discounted companion ticket benefit can save you money on airfare. We examined credit cards from various airlines to find ones that offer considerable value along with the companion pass benefit. These cards are great for anyone who travels with a partner and wants to save on flights. Here are our top picks:

Credit cards with companion tickets

Credit cardAnnual feeRequirementCompanion pass benefit
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card$0 introductory, then $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $75Renew card and pay annual feeReceive one discounted companion round-trip ticket for $121
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card$50 for the company and $25 per card, additional $25 per cardRenew card and pay annual feeReceive one discounted companion round-trip ticket for $121
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®$99Renew card and pay annual fee. You must make $20,000 in purchases on your card in one year, and your account must be active for at least 45 daysReceive an annual companion ticket for $99, plus taxes and fees. Eligible for domestic economy fare.
AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®$195Renew card and pay annual fee. You must make $20,000 in purchases on your card in one year, and your account must be active for at least 45 daysReceive two annual companion tickets for $99 each, plus taxes and fees. Eligible for domestic economy fare.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card$95If you make $30,000 in purchases on your card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two yearsWhen redeeming your Avios for one reward seat for yourself, use your Travel Together Ticket to bring your companion in the same cabin. Taxes, fees and carrier charges apply
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card$250Renew card and pay annual feeReceive one complimentary annual companion certificate for a coach round-trip ticket
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card$250Renew card and pay annual feeReceive one complimentary annual companion certificate for a coach round-trip ticket
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card$550Renew card and pay annual feeReceive one complimentary annual companion certificate for a round-trip on Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card$550Renew card and pay annual feeReceive one complimentary annual companion certificate for a round-trip on Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®$99Open account. From then on, renew card and pay annual feeReceive a one-time 50% discount on a companion round-trip ticket between Hawaii and North America. Receive a $100 companion discount annually
Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®$89Open accountReceive a one-time 50% discount on a companion round-trip ticket between Hawaii and North America
Lufthansa Premier Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®$89After your first purchase. From then on, renew card and pay annual feeReceive one economy companion ticket
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card$149Earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in one yearCompanion fare for a designated partner on every Southwest itinerary for a year
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card$199Earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in one yearCompanion fare for a designated partner on every Southwest itinerary for a year
Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® Credit Card$90Spend $25,000 or more on purchases in one yearReceive one companion pass ticket in the same fare class as the primary cardholder's booked ticket

How do companion tickets work? | How to earn companion tickets | ValuePenguin's verdict

Alaska Airlines credit cards with companion tickets

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

How the benefit works: Each year you renew the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card and pay the annual fee, you'll receive one discounted companion ticket coupon — also known as Alaska's Famous Companion Fare. When you purchase a paid coach ticket for yourself through Alaska Airlines' website, you'll be eligible to receive a round-trip fare for your traveling partner from $121. You can redeem it on any flight with no blackout dates, and Alaska has over 115 destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica to choose from.

The annual fee is waived for the first year but costs a reasonable $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $75 after. If you strategize your companion fare, you can maximize its value — well beyond the cost of the annual fee.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card

How the benefit works: Like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card offers an annual discounted companion ticket coupon from $121 on your account anniversary with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card. This voucher is valid for any flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates. The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card comes with a $50 for the company and $25 per card annual fee.

American Airlines credit cards with companion tickets

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

How the benefit works: Upon account renewal of your AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, you'll receive an annual companion certificate at $99, plus taxes and fees — ranging from $21.60 to $43.20. This benefit can be used on a domestic economy fare only. To qualify, you'll need to spend $20,000 on purchases each card membership year, and the account must remain open for at least 45 days. Keep in mind that the annual fee is $99 each year.

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®

How the benefit works: With the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®, you'll receive two annual companion certificates with the same restrictions as the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®. Only eligible for domestic round-trip fares, you'll also have to pay taxes and fees ranging between $21.60 to $43.20. To receive this benefit each year, you'll need to spend $20,000 on purchases each card membership year and the account must remain open for at least 45 days.

British Airways credit cards with companion tickets

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

How the benefit works: The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a Travel Together Ticket to customers who make $30,000 in annual purchases on their British Airways Visa Signature® Card. Each time you book a flight using your British Airways Avios, the Travel Together Ticket allows you to book another fare on the same itinerary (and in the same cabin) for $0 plus taxes and fees. This means you can even use the Travel Together Ticket for first-class tickets. This benefit is good for two years once you earn it.

This is the only companion pass on our list that requires you to book it along with an award ticket, which can be quite limiting. Not only will you have to spend that $30,000 to earn the pass, but you'll also need to have enough miles accumulated to earn a flight. Luckily, spending that amount of money should get you most of the way toward an award flight.

Delta Air Lines credit cards with companion tickets

Delta Air Lines offers annual companion tickets on two personal and two business credit cards. These can be used on round-trip flights with several restrictions to be aware of.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

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How the benefit works: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card gives you an annual companion certificate each year that you pay the $250 annual fee. When you book a paid round-trip in coach, the certificate allows you to book the same itinerary for your traveling companion.

At face value, the companion ticket benefit on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (included upon card renewal) provides more value than the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card benefit ($99 plus taxes and fees). In reality, the destination and blackout date restrictions on the Delta benefit, along with the card's higher annual fee, offset the monetary difference. The Delta companion benefit can only be applied on trips within the 48 contiguous states, whereas the Alaska benefit can be redeemed on trips to Hawaii and Costa Rica. Delta also applies blackout dates, while Alaska does not.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

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How the benefit works: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offers the same companion pass ticket as the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, along with the same restrictions. Each year that you renew your card and pay the $250 annual fee, you'll receive an annual companion certificate that can be used on a round-trip flight in coach.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

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How the benefit works: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll get a companion certificate each year that you renew your card, which you can use on domestic Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class round-trip tickets. This is a significant step-up from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, which only allows you to use your companion certificate on a domestic Main Class booking. Delta's lower annual fee credit cards, such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, don't offer companion benefits whatsoever.

However, the destination and time restrictions on the Reserve companion benefit also apply to the Platinum: blackout dates apply, and eligible destinations are only within the 48 contiguous states.

In general, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can be beneficial if you spend a lot on Delta flights and can afford the $550 annual fee. The card is also a decent choice if you're trying to achieve or retain Medallion status on Delta. If you're a casual traveler looking for a companion fare benefit, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is a much better choice.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

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How the benefit works: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card offers the same companion pass ticket as the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, along with the same restrictions. Each year that you renew your card and pay the $550 annual fee, you'll receive an annual companion certificate that can be used on a domestic Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class round-trip ticket.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please click here.

Hawaiian Airlines credit cards with companion tickets

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

How the benefit works: With the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, you'll receive two companion discounts. You'll receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for a round-trip coach ticket between North America and Hawaii. This discount is valid for 13 months from the time the account is opened. Upon renewal of your card (and paying the $99 annual fee), you'll receive an annual $100 companion discount on a round-trip ticket between Hawaii and North America. This discount is valid for 12 months from issuance.

Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®

How the benefit works: The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® offers a one-time 50% companion discount for a round-trip coach ticket between North America and Hawaii. Once you use this benefit, you will not receive another one upon account renewal. Therefore, this card is not best for business owners who continually want discounts on companion tickets year after year.

Lufthansa Airlines credit cards with companion tickets

Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

How the benefit works: The Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® offers an economy class companion ticket upon the first use of a new card and each year after you pay the annual fee. The annual fee for this card is $89. To book your ticket along with your companion ticket, you must call the Miles & More phone number at (866) 461-5399. All taxes and fees must be paid upon booking.

Southwest Airlines credit cards with companion tickets

The Southwest Companion Pass is the most rewarding, but it's also the most difficult to earn. This is the only unlimited companion fare benefit on the market, providing a companion fare for a designated partner on every Southwest itinerary. Owning any of the Southwest credit cards will jumpstart your way to the Companion Pass since you'll have to earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in a year. It pays to be strategic about when you acquire the pass as you can keep it for the rest of the year plus the entirety of the next calendar year.

You'll either have to be an ultra frequent flyer on Southwest or charge tens of thousands to your card per year. If you don't spend this much or travel often with Southwest, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is likely a better choice for a companion ticket card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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How the benefit works: While the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card doesn't directly offer a companion pass, the miles you earn through the card's sign-up bonus and everyday spending rewards all count toward the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers the highest sign-up bonus of any Southwest card, making it slightly easier to hit 125,000 points in one year. Cardholders can Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months. You're also awarded 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

This card comes with a $149 annual fee, but keep in mind that you can opt for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card instead.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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How the benefit works: For business owners, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is a fantastic option. Since businesses tend to have high operating costs, your spending should expedite your way to the Companion Pass in no time. With this card, Earn up to 100,000 points: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

You'll just need an extra 25,000 points to reach the limit, which can quickly be done with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card's rewards rate: Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases. 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. While this card comes with a $199 annual fee each year, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a lower $99 annual fee option for businesses.

Virgin Atlantic Airways credit cards with companion tickets

Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® Credit Card

How the benefit works: By spending $25,000 or more on purchases each year with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® Credit Card, you can either receive a companion ticket in the same cabin class on Virgin Atlantic or choose to upgrade your award ticket by one class. If redeeming this benefit for a companion ticket, the cardholder will be responsible for taxes, fees and any additional surcharges. You must redeem this benefit within two years of issuance.

How do companion tickets work?

Many airlines — but not all — offer their own version of companion fares, and they're often given as a perk with their co-branded credit cards. Whether it's a discounted fare or an unlimited companion pass, those who travel in pairs could save thousands of dollars in airfare. In most cases, it can only be used for economy or in the same fare class as the primary cardholder's ticket. With any of these companion tickets or discounts, you must pay any taxes, fees or additional surcharges when booking.

How to earn companion tickets

While the exact terms and conditions will depend on the airline, there will either be a spending limit or a minimum number of points you must meet to qualify. Many credit cards offer a recurring companion ticket upon account renewal and paying the annual fee. Once you reach this qualification, you will receive a one-time companion certificate or discount. The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the unique offerings out there, as you can take advantage of this perk for the remainder of the year you earned it and the full following calendar year.

ValuePenguin's verdict

Companion certificates are a special offering that can offer savings for many travelers. However, it's worth noting that there will be many restrictions to qualify and use this benefit. All of the credit cards with companion tickets incur an annual fee each year, so this perk is only useful for high spenders or frequent travelers. For those who frequently travel with another person, companion discounts and tickets are a great way to save on upfront airfare costs.

The information related to Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®, Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® and Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.