Getting a companion ticket can be one of the most cost-effective methods for traveling if you often fly with a family member, friend or colleague. Sometimes you can earn a companion ticket by making enough purchases with an airline credit card. Though earning such a reward usually requires a high spending threshold, here are some cards that reward you with a companion pass by simply being a card member.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
Earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points
Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
Applicable fees and taxes
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Generally, most airlines will either post the pass to your account or send you a ticket featuring redemption information. Once you have this information, you can redeem the code online when you book your primary fare or call the airline to redeem your pass.
Read more about earning and using companion passes
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.
Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.
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