Whether it’s earning points and miles through spending, or benefiting from other valuable perks, it’s important to get something from your credit cards. Travel credits cards are no exception. And one of the the best ways to get value out of these cards is with a credit card companion fare.
We’ve previously written about the Alaska Air Visa Signature Card, which has a great companion fare offer. Now we will explore several more credit cards that have some version of a companion fare. We’ll show you how some of them are good deals and others are not.
Credit Cards with Useable Companion Fares
Aeromexico Visa Card
At first look, the value of the Aeromexico Visa Card’s companion fare seems pretty standard. Cardholders get a free companion fare after card approval that is good for a Aeromexico flight between the US and Mexico. After that, every year the cardholder receives a $99 companion pass.
The interesting part about this card, however, is that it comes with another companion pass-like perk: the card comes with a “Buy 3 Tickets and Get the 4th Free” benefit. Meaning, if you travel with family, you could benefit from big savings. This deal isn’t restricted to flights between US and Mexico, either. They are, however, limited to Aeromexico flights (i.e., no codeshares) and certain fare classes.
And the best part is that the annual fee is only $45.
If you travel to Mexico a lot, this could be a great card for you, especially if you live somewhere with direct Aeromexico flights from the US.
Alaska Air Visa Signature Card
You can read more details about this card here, but we couldn’t write an article about companion fares without mentioning what we consider to be the best credit card companion fare on the market.
Each year, the cardholder will get one $99 companion fare (plus taxes and fees). And the annual fee for the Alaska Air Visa Signature Card is just $75.
Two great perks of this card are that 1) there’s a ton of availability to redeem the fare (i.e., there are no blackout restrictions – if there are two seats on the flight, the companion fare can be used), and 2) both travelers will still earn miles for the flights.
If you live in a city with Alaska Air flights, getting this card is a no-brainer.
Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard
Getting the Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard for it’s companion fare is a short-term play, but it can still be beneficial. The card, which has a $99 annual fee, grants a one-time 50% off companion fare between the mainland US and Hawaii. The perk is good for 13 months from account opening.
On the account anniversary, the cardholder will receive a $100 discount for a companion ticket between the mainland US and Hawaii.
So while the 50% off companion fare can only be redeemed once, the card could be one that you open to get the bonus points and the companion fare, and then close it after you’ve redeemed the perks. Because unless you’re flying to/from Hawaii regularly, this card isn’t going to do you much good on an everyday basis. Especially since, once you get past the first year, you’re only getting a $100 discount every year, which doesn’t warrant paying the annual fee.
Nevertheless, this is a card that could be useful if Hawaii is in your future!
Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
The German airline Lufthansa isn’t an obvious choice for a companion fare, but the Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard has one. And it has good value.
The cardholder will receive the credit card companion fare after their first purchase and then one every year that the card is kept open. For an annual fee of just $89, the fare is a 2-for-1 flight in economy class on Lufthansa-operated flights departing from the US to Europe/Middle East/Africa/Far East.
Cardholders will have to pay taxes and fees on both flights, but that’s standard for credit card companion fares. Also, the fare must be booked into certain fare classes and there are weekday surcharges. But, if you have flexibility with your schedule, the value of a free international ticket every year is a pretty great deal.
Credit Cards with Companion Fares to Avoid
British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card
The British Airways Signature Credit Card carries at $95 annual fee, but the credit card companion fare requires an outrageous spend to qualify for it.
This credit card companion fare is referred to as the Travel Together ticket. To get this perk, cardholders must spend $30,000 in a calendar year. You will earn more points if you put this much spend on transferable points cards. The ticket is good for two years; however, it’s still subject to hefty taxes and fees levied by British Airways. According to their website, for a flight between Seattle and London, those fees would range from “approximately $682-$1250 per adult in economy or $1,250 in business class.”
Yikes. Which is why we don’t think this card is ideal for the everyday person.
Delta Platinum SkyMiles Credit Card
The credit card companion fare that comes with the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card also isn’t a great option for everyday people. Not only does the card have a $195 annual fee, but the cardholder doesn’t get the companion fare until the beginning of the second year on the card’s anniversary. So, before even getting the fare, you’ve paid two annual fees totaling nearly $400.
The companion fare is good for a domestic, main cabin, round-trip flight in the continental US. While that sounds great, the fare is good for select fare classes and, according to the fine print, “may not be available on all flights or markets.”
The high annual fee? No thanks. The limited availability? No thanks. Pass on this offer.
Delta Reserve SkyMiles Credit Card
The Delta Reserve SkyMiles Credit Card carries the only credit card companion fare that allows for premium class redemption; however, it carries many of the same restrictions as the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card listed above.
The card has a $450 annual fee and similar to the other Delta card, the cardholder doesn’t get the companion fare until the beginning of the second year on the card’s anniversary — or $900 later.
Even though the you can book the companion fare in first class, it is still only good for select fare classes and has the same disclaimer that it “may not be available on all flights or markets.”
If you fly Delta a ton, the card’s other perks could make this an attractive card, but definitely don’t get the card just for the companion fare offer.
AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard
To earn the companion fare on the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard, the cardholder must spend $20,000 in a calendar year. The cardholder will receive two $99 domestic, economy fares that are valid for 12 months; however, they must be bought from “select inventory.”
As we’ve mentioned, putting high spend on an airline-specific credit card isn’t a good strategy. So with what seems like sketchy availability according to the American Airlines website, and an annual fee of $195, this card isn’t a great option for everyday people.
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
Similarly to the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card, to earn the annual companion fare on the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, the cardholder must spend $20,000 in a calendar year. The cardholder will earn a companion certificate for one guest at $99.
After opening the card and meeting the minimum spend requirements, you will not only earn American AAdvantage bonus points, but you will also get an introductory companion certificate. In fact, in order to earn the initial companion certificate, all you need to do is pay the annual fee and make a single purchase within 90 days of opening the card.
Credit card companion fares are a great way to save money when booking airfare. While you will need to meet minimum spend requirements to earn most of these companion fares, and there’s an annual fee involved, the savings can more than make up for it.
Do keep in mind that with the companion fares for Lufthansa and Aeromexico, you will need to position yourself in a US city that those airlines fly out of in order to make use of the cheap fares.
Something we didn’t get into with this article is that a lot of these credit cards also come with other perks, such as lounge access. So be sure to check those out the considering what card might be best for you. Just remember, whatever you choose, be sure that the money you save with the companion fare is more than you’re paying for the annual fee.