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What are companion passes and how do they work?
Get an additional airline ticket for a reduced or waived price.
What is a companion pass?
A companion pass is an airline perk that can be used to get a companion a reduced or waived airline ticket on a flight you’ve purchased for yourself. This perk is commonly offered by premium airline credit cards and is one of the most sought-after travel benefits.
Different airlines call their companion passes by different names — such as companion certificate or companion fare — so take care when browsing your options.
How does a companion pass work?
The details of each companion pass differ from airline to airline, but most follow a similar structure:
- You earn the companion pass by meeting specific eligibility requirements.
- Once you’ve obtained the pass, you can redeem it to add your companion on a particular flight.
- For most companion passes, you redeem your pass when signing up for your purchased flight. Most airlines don’t allow you to “add on” a companion pass to a previously booked flight.
Compare credit cards that help you earn companion offers
How to get a companion pass
Fulfill your cobranded credit card’s requirements to earn a pass. These typically include:
- Spending requirements. Some airlines require you to spend a certain value on eligible purchases in a given year to earn a companion ticket. For example, American Airlines requires you spend $30,000 each year to earn the ticket.
- Membership requirements. Other airlines — such as Alaska Airlines — merely require you to maintain card membership. Alaska Airlines will give you a companion ticket on each card account anniversary date.
- Point requirements. Some programs — such as Southwest’s Rapid Rewards — require you to earn a certain number of points on your account before you can get a companion pass.
- Welcome offer. On rare occasions, a credit card might offer a companion pass as part of the introductory bonus. These offers often only last for a short time, so taking advantage of such a deal is a great value.
Companion pass comparison
|Airlines||How to earn||What companion pays||Credit cards|
Companion passes can be a valuable credit card perk if you like to travel with a companion. However, not all passes are worth basing your credit card choices around, so compare your companion pass and credit card options to find the ideal combination of perk and purchasing power.
If earning a companion pass seems enticing, but you’re still not sure whether these cards would be a good choice, check out other airline credit cards and compare your options.
Frequently asked questions
- Can I transfer my companion pass?
It depends. Some airlines allow you to transfer your pass before they issue it to your account. Check your card terms and conditions.
- Does my companion pass expire?
Probably. Most companion passes require you to redeem them within a certain timeframe from when they’re issued.
- Does my companion pass have blackout dates?
It depends. Some companion pass programs feature blackout dates while others do not. Check your card terms and conditions.
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