There’s nothing better than using miles for free but companion tickets, which allow you to bring a friend along for free (or almost free), are almost as good. Naturally, there’s a credit card for that.
The Usual Disclosure: This post will discuss credit cards. You can get many of these and other cards through the Credit Cards for Charity page. Any commissions that I receive will be donated to charity.
A Free Domestic Companion
With apologies to British Airways, whose credit card can also get you a free companion ticket, I’m going to talk about a few domestic carriers whose plastic will allow you to bring a companion along for free (albeit sometimes with minimum spend required). Let’s take a look at who gets you what.
Alaska Air/Virgin America
The credit card from Alaska Air is a little different than some of the others. The Visa Signature offers you a free companion ticket the first year you have it but, each year after that, the companion will cost you $99, plus fees. There are no blackout dates on the ticket.
And even Platinum Plus members get a little something, earning a $50 flight credit on their card anniversaries.
Not one, but two cards through American will get you a companion ticket. You may not know of either card, however.
If you’re a business owner, look at the CitiBusiness card. The current bonus to sign up is only 30,000 miles, so you may want to wait on that one. When you get it, however, you will get an annual $99 companion certificate.
American’s merger with US Airways caused a problem for the banks issuing AA credit cards. AA’s relationship had been with Citi, while US Airways’ had been with Barclays. The problem was solved, however, by allowing both to issue a card, each with different attributes.
The Aviator Silver is not one that you can apply for. You must first get the Aviator Red card and then upgrade to Silver after an undetermined period of time. The card costs $195 per year and has a number of benefits, one of which is a $99 companion ticket each year that you spend $30,000.
Delta offers a true companion ticket with its Platinum and Reserve cards, which will run you $195 and $495 annually, respectively. The seats are, however, available only in certain fare buckets and may not be available on every flight. Still, a free ticket is a free ticket.
Southwest Airlines offers the ultimate goodie: A companion pass.
A companion pass is just what it sounds like: for the duration of your status, which you earn by flying 100 segments or earning 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, you get to bring along your favorite companion, free of charge (Yes, you do have limited opportunities to change your companion if you get a new favorite person.). The Rapid Rewards points you get from the sign-up bonus count, as do any that you earn from the credit card. Sadly, points transferred from other programs no longer count toward the CP.Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!
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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through this site. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!