The Best Credit Cards With Airline Companion Tickets

By Christina Majaski. Last updated 16 January 2020. 13 comments

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An often overlooked travel rewards credit card perk is a compantion ticket — a free or discounted ticket for someone traveling with you on the same flight. A few credit cards still offer this elusive reward. However, it is important to note that all companion tickets are not created equal. Let's take a look at the top credit cards that feature an airline companion ticket offer. (See also: The Best Travel Rewards Cards)

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

If you're a small business owner, you'll want to consider the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® which gives you an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year when you spend $30,000 and renew your cardmembership. In terms of rewards, this card offers 2x miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines as well as 2x miles on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. Travel perks include free first checked bag for you and up to 4 companions on the same reservation on domestic American Airlines itineraries, priority boarding, and a 25% discount on eligible inflight purchases, including Wi-Fi. The $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months.

Bonus offer: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account opening.

Click here to learn more and apply for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® today!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card does not offer companion passes directly; it just makes it faster to earn one. First, new cardholders can earn up to 75,000 points. Also get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary. These points count toward the 110,000 points necessary to earn a companion pass that is valid until the end of the following year.

Unlike other passes that are only good for one ticket, once this Southwest pass is earned, travelers can use it for unlimited free travel for a companion on both paid and award flights. So if you buy a flight for yourself, or redeem points for an award, your companion flies free. Therefore, the value of this pass is limited only by the amount of traveling you do. There is a $99 annual fee for the card.

Bonus offer: Earn up to 75,000 points. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers cardholders the opportunity to earn a free "Travel Together" ticket when they spend $30,000 in purchases on their British Airways Visa card within a calendar year. When booking an award flight operated by British Airways, the Travel Together ticket can be redeemed for a second seat for no additional points and is good for two years. Unfortunately, the second person will have to pay additional taxes and fuel surcharges. Since these charges can equal the cost of a coach ticket, using this companion certificate only makes sense when flying in business or first class. Cardholders also earn 3 Avios for every dollar spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios on other purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees and the annual fee is $95.

Bonus offer: New cardholders can earn 4 Avios per $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000 in purchases. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios!

Miles & More World Elite MasterCard

The Miles & More World Elite Mastercard offers an annual companion ticket after the first purchase, and each year after that. Cardholders earn two miles per $1 spent on airline partner tickets, and one mile per $1 spent on other purchases. Miles can be redeemed for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS and other partners. There are no foreign transaction fees. There is an annual fee of $89.

Bonus offer: Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you make your first purchase and pay the annual fee. Then, earn an additional 30,000 award miles after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Cardholders receive an annual coach Companion Fare from $121. The pass can be used on any paid flight in coach. Cardholders also earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases, and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. There is no mileage cap and miles won't expire. Plus, the first checked bag is free for you and up to six other guests on your reservation. There is a $75 annual fee.

Bonus offer: Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account.

Applying for a credit card with a companion ticket offers can be a great way to slash your travel costs nearly in half. By focusing on the best offers out there, and dismissing the ones of questionable value, you can ensure that you will not be disappointed when it comes time to book that half price vacation with your favorite travel companion.

The information related to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected by Wise Bread and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

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Guest's picture

Just got the word earlier this month. Companion tickets issued after August 1st with the Alaska Airlines VISA may only be used for coach fares. Sigh....

Guest's picture

I booked a companion fare from Citi ThankYou via Spirit Incentives. The prices we found were the same restricted airfare that we could find directly on the airline websites.

The one deal is that it's not exactly half off. Even the companion ticket is charged the full rate for taxes and fees.

Guest's picture

With the Delta AmEx platinum card, one also receives a free checked bag for each person on the owner's ticket and zone 1, priority boarding. It pays for itself if used by a person who flies often. The companion ticket also pays for the fee and I use it each year to give us a nice vacation, although it is for domestic travel only.

Guest's picture

Regarding the Citi Spirit companion passes, there appears to be about a $40-50 premium booking with Spirit. That is to say the "free" companion pass will cost you $40-50, which is not as bad a deal as this blog makes out.

Guest's picture

Thanks this was extremely useful as I was looking to doa first class companion ticket to Spain and it seems like I have one real choice for that.

Guest's picture

CAUTION: As of October 20, 2013, Citi ThankYou® Premier Card will no longer offer the annual companion ticket for travel.

Guest's picture

The Premier Pass had one of the best companion travel programs that I've seen. Unfortunately it was cancelled in October 2013, so I'm going to look for a new credit card.

Guest's picture

Due to the US Airways merger they are eliminating their companion certificate offers but they are still soliciting new credit card memberships touting the feature without divulging that it is being eliminated by 2015. Clearly a "bait and switch" tactic.

Guest's picture

This is true. Just cancelled my card

Guest's picture

I loved having this perk, shopping for a new card.

Guest's picture

Just heard and will be using my last companion tickets this year. I will cancel after that trip as I do not frequently fly to earn the mileage. There are other cards that offer more benefits with less restrictions or less cumbersome.

Guest's picture

Can you use any of the companion tickets right away or do they each have a 4-6 week waiting period?

Guest's picture
NYC skichik

You left off American Express Delta Skymile Silver