Delta and American Express have a suite of co-branded credit cards. These cards feature a lot of perks, and one of the primary benefits of the premium versions of the cards is the ability to earn companion certificates. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at those, and talk about the overall value of them.
In this post:
Which Delta Amex cards offer companion certificates?
You can earn a companion certificate on the following co-branded Delta American Express cards:
- The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (review) and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (review) offer a companion certificate valid for roundtrip travel in main cabin only
- The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (review) and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (review) offer a companion certificate valid for travel in main cabin, Comfort+, or first class
Note that you can earn one for each card you have, so if you have multiple premium Delta Amex cards, you could earn multiple companion certificates.
When do you get the Delta companion certificate?
You’ll receive the Delta companion certificate on the month of your cardmember anniversary, and it will be valid for 12 months from when it’s issued. Note that you don’t receive this when you first apply for the card, but rather only starting with your first anniversary (and on every subsequent anniversary).
What are the fare class restrictions for Delta companion certificates?
The single biggest barrier to using Delta companion certificates is that you have to book travel in certain fare classes:
- Companion certificates are valid for main cabin travel in the L, U, T, X, and V fare classes
- Companion certificates are valid for Comfort+ travel in the W and S fare classes, but only when L, U, T, X, or V fare classes are available in economy
- Companion certificates are valid for first class travel in the I and Z fare classes
As a reminder, companion certificates issued with the Delta Amex Platinum are only valid for main cabin tickets, while companion certificates issued with the Delta Amex Reserve are valid for first class and Comfort+ as well.
What are the restrictions on the Delta companion certificate?
What are the terms associated with redeeming Delta companion certificates earned with American Express cards? Aside from the fare class restrictions noted above, here are some of the other rules to be aware of (you’ll of course want to consult the full terms & conditions):
- Companion certificates are valid for roundtrip travel within the United States, and select destinations in the Caribbean and Central America
- Companion certificates can only be used for travel on Delta and its regional partners, and not for travel on partner airlines
- You have to pay the government taxes for the second traveler on the reservation
- You can’t combine a companion certificate with another offer or discount, including web fares, sale fares, and eCoupons
- Travel has to be completed by the expiration date of the certificate
- You have to pay for the ticket using a Delta Amex card and/or eCredits
- You can use the companion certificate for someone other than the primary cardmember, as long as you pay with your card
Can you earn miles for Delta companion tickets?
When redeeming the Delta companion certificate, only the primary traveler earns Delta SkyMiles for the fare paid, while the person traveling on the companion certificate doesn’t. So this is great for someone who is an elite member, who travels with a family member who is a less frequent traveler.
Can you upgrade Delta companion tickets?
Passengers traveling on Delta companion certificates are eligible for complimentary upgrades to both first class and Comfort+ based on the status of the higher tiered member. Furthermore, these tickets are eligible for upgrades using Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) and Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUCs). However, you can’t use mileage upgrades on companion tickets.
How do you book a ticket with the Delta companion certificate?
A companion certificate will be associated with your SkyMiles account. To access it, just follow these easy steps:
- Log in at delta.com and navigate to your Profile
- Select the “Certificates, eCredits & Vouchers” on the left side of the screen
- The companion certificate will be available under “Use Certificates and eCredits”
- Select the certificate checkbox and click “Continue”
From there you can go through the process of finding availability, pricing out tickets, etc.
Is the Delta companion certificate worth it?
People have varying takes on whether or not earning a Delta Amex companion certificate is worth it. Of course the first step in deciding that is figuring out how much that certificate is actually costing you to acquire. So you’d want to consider a card’s annual fee, and then subtract how much you value the other perks, to decide how much you’re paying for that certificate.
For the Delta Platinum Amex certificate, the major restriction is that you can only redeem for select economy fares. The companion certificate can be used for the less expensive economy fares, and generally not the more expensive economy fares, so in many cases you may find that there’s not availability using the companion certificate.
Personally I think the companion certificate on the Delta Reserve Amex is more useful, since it can also be used for discounted first class fares. I find that first class is often pretty reasonably priced nowadays, so with a companion certificate, you could be looking at scoring quite a good value for two people in first class.
I do think most frequent Delta flyers will come ahead with these certificates, though the fare class restrictions will be the major limitation.
There are many perks to having a co-branded Delta Amex card. One of the best benefits of having a Platinum or Reserve product is earning an anniversary companion certificate every year, allowing you to take a companion with you while just paying the taxes and fees.
This has the potential to be quite useful, particularly with the Reserve Card, since you can even use it for a first class fare. If you frequently travel on Delta with a companion, this alone could be a reason to pick up a co-branded Delta Amex.
If you’ve used a Delta companion certificate, what was your experience like?