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Credit card companies are constantly closing loopholes to make airline rewards less valuable. Taxes, fees, and limited availability all eat into the value of your credit card miles. But as airfare gets ever more expensive, one credit card reward becomes more valuable – companion tickets.

Many of today’s top airline reward credit cards offer free companion tickets, so you can take someone with you on a flight. You can often redeem accumulated miles for part or all of one ticket, and then cash in the companion ticket for your friend, spouse, or whoever.

Some credit cards offer annual companion tickets. Others are currently offering companion tickets as sign-up bonuses when you get a new credit card and meet a certain spending threshold. Some of our favorites offer bonus miles worth $400 in travel credit (enough to cover many airline tickets).

Interested in adding a free companion ticket to your travel plans this year? Check out these 9 credit cards that offer free companion tickets:

1. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit CardThis is one of the best travel rewards cards around right now, and part of the reason is that you can easily earn a Companion Pass. The Companion Pass program is better than just a single free ticket for your companion. With this program, once you hit 110,000 qualifying points or 100 one-way flights for the year, you get a Companion Pass. This lets you designate a person of your choice to fly with you on any Southwest flight for a year.

Even if you don’t travel enough to reach this level, you’ll earn A-List status with just 25 one-way trips or 35,000 tier qualifying points. And new cardholders can earn enough points for a free ticket. It’s why the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is one of our favorites.

2. Platinum Delta Skymiles Card

This card has a hefty annual fee at $195. But every year, you can cash in for one free companion ticket for a round-trip economy class flight within the 48 contiguous US states. Depending on where you fly, that single reward (not including the first checked bag free and Zone 1 Priority Boarding perks) could easily outweigh the annual fee. Keep in mind, too, that you’ll still need to pay taxes and fees for your companion ticket.

3. The Delta Reserve Card

This card is suitable for hardcore travelers, due to its $450 annual fee. It, too, comes with a free companion ticket each year – but this can be a first-class ticket. So, again, if you’re flying first-class, the saved cost of the ticket could easily outweigh the annual fee, even once you pay taxes and fees.

4. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

This credit card offers a $99 Coach Companion Fare a week or two after opening an account, and upon annual renewal. You can use the pass for any coach flight. Alaska Airlines might sound restricted, but they actually fly to several highly-desirable locations, including Hawaii. And $99 for a flight to Hawaii isn’t bad at all.

5. US Airways Premier World MasterCard

The annual fee of $89 for this card is fairly low in the world of premium travel credit cards. And it offers two $99 companion tickets each year. You can use the $99 companion tickets on travel within the continental US and Canada, so long as the cardholder purchases a ticket for at least $250. In other words, if your flight costs $250+ for a single round-trip ticket, you can get two round-trip tickets for $349 or four tickets for the family for $698 (plus fees and taxes).

6. British Airways Visa Signature Card

The Travel Together program through the British Airways Visa lets you bring a companion with you on any flight when you use your Avios rewards to purchase the first ticket. This applies to any flight in any cabin that starts in and returns to the US. Plus, if you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature Card within a year, you’ll earn a free Travel Together Ticket that’s good for up to two years.

The annual fee on the British Airways Visa Signature Card is $95.

7. The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express generally has great rewards, but the usefulness of the annual premium class international companion ticket is limited. Yes, you get a complimentary ticket for free when you book at qualifying international business or first-class ticket. However, the first ticket must be booked through AMEX, where prices are likely to be quite high. And you’ll have to pay taxes and fuel surcharges (which can be quite expensive) on the second ticket.

8. Virgin America Visa

Virgin offers a $150 coupon annually when you book another paid fare. You can use it on round-trip tickets, and only on trips with a maximum of three people on the itinerary.

9. Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® doesn’t offer free companion tickets, but it does offer steep discounts on companion tickets. Once after you open the card, you can get 50% off the price of a companion ticket on a round-trip coach flight between Hawaii and the continental US. The second perk is an annual one: $100 off a coach ticket – round-trip between Hawaii and the continental US – each year.

Remember, when you’re checking out these credit cards for the free companion ticket: check out the added fees and restrictions. Not all these offers are created equal, and some airlines have higher fees than others. So check out up front exactly what you’ll have to pay for with your companion ticket before you decide which card to choose.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 279
Abby is a freelance journalist who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and lives with her husband and children in Indianapolis.

Article comments


Its hard to figure out which cards makethe most sense. Those companion tickets are a pretty good deal in theory anyways. I’ve been considering getting a rewards mile card, but I’m silk trying to get d some more rearrange under my belt first.

Credit Card Rewards Geek says:

Just a couple notes about the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard, since I’ve been looking into that card:

1. There’s also a business card version of the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard.
Differences: The business card version doesn’t have the one free checked bag feature of the regular card, but you get the 35,000 bonus miles after your *first purchase* instead of after spending $1,000 on the regular card.

2. The 1/2 off companion coach fare cannot be with an award fare for the card holder. So if you were hoping to use the 35,000 bonus miles (plus 5,000 miles you earned some other way to get to the minimum 40,000 miles required for a North-America-to-Hawaii round-trip coach ticket) to get an award ticket *and* get 1/2 off your companion’s fare *in the same trip*, that won’t work. You’ll have to use the frequent flier miles on another trip. Note that Hawaiian Airlines does have partner airlines like American Airlines, which should make it easier to use those 35,000 bonus miles on something other than another trip to Hawaii.

I agree that checking the fine prints before you apply is very important since most of these cards carry an annual fee.