Platinum Delta Skymiles American Express Companion Certificate

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amexdeltaplatThe Delta American Express card line-up has some limited-time bonus bumps going on right now. Offer ends 11/9/16. In particular, I noticed that the Platinum Delta American Express is offering:

  • 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. If you care about elite status, you’ll get 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) as well (not actual redeemable miles).
  • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • First bag checked free.
  • Enjoy a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.
  • $195 annual fee, not waived the first year.

As with all American Express cards, the sign-up bonus is now only one per card per lifetime. If you’ve ever had this card, you can’t get the sign-up bonus again:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

The companion certificate as deal-maker and deal-breaker. Frequent fliers often complain about Delta’s poor selection in international business-class redemptions, but some people (like me) just want economy seats to a Delta-served airport. If you regularly travel as a couple or otherwise buy two cross-country domestic economy tickets together on Delta, this companion certificate will easily offset the $195 annual fee all by itself. If you are wasting this free companion ticket, then this card probably won’t be worth keeping around. The paid tickets earn miles, MQDs, and MQMs, but the free ticket does not.

Note that you only earn the certificate upon renewal, so you won’t get it the first year and that means you’ll have paid $390 in annual fees by then. So the first year’s annual fee of $195 must be offset by the sign-up bonus. The limited-time offer of $100 statement credit + 70,000 Skymiles should do the trick, assuming you make decent use of the miles. With the Pay with Miles options, you should get at minimum a 1 cent a mile value. That would make it $100 + $700 – $195 annual fee = $605 value in the first year. For future years, you’ll need to get $200 value out of that companion certificate.

Geographical restrictions. If you live in the contiguous 48 states, you must travel roundtrip to/from the contiguous 48 states. If you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), then you can originate there to the contiguous 48.

You must pay applicable taxes and fees, which vary and depend upon the number of flight segments included in the itinerary. They will be no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments).

You can book your Delta flights using the certificate online without having to call in. In my experience, the class restrictions on the certificate have not prevented me from getting the lowest fare available, although it can happen. If I can get a $300 ticket for $25 in fees, then I still consider this card worth it given the other perks like one free checked bag per person. If I don’t use it myself, I can also book a flight for a friend/relative and have them pay me back in cash.

Example with screenshots. I have a live companion certificate in my account right now, and I just ran a test flight. Atlanta (ATL) to San Francisco (SFO), 11/23 to 11/30 roundtrip, flights DL 1401 outbound and flight DL 939 return. If I just searched for a single cash ticket, it would have cost $318.70. Two tickets would be $637.40. If I apply the companion certificate, the first ticket again costs $318.70 and the second ticket costs $0 + $28.20 in fees. The first paid ticket costs the exact same amount as it would have otherwise. Thus, my total savings with this certificate is $318.70 – $28.20 = $290.50. See screenshot below for details:

deltacompcert

Here’s a copy of the terms and conditions regarding the companion certificate:

Delta Platinum Companion Certificate at Renewal
Taxes/fees/restrictions: Companion Certificate is valid for one round-trip Main Cabin Companion ticket with the payment of applicable taxes and fees detailed below and the purchase of certain adult round-trip fares on published routings within the 48 contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) must originate from there to the 48 contiguous United States and have an address on their SkyMiles account in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the USVI. Each year, the Companion Certificate will be made available for redemption on delta.com in your renewal month. Applicable government imposed taxes and fees vary and depend upon the number of flight segments included in the itinerary and are no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Basic Card Members (not Additional Card Members) with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Delta Reserve Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card are eligible to receive the first checked bag fee waiver on Delta and Delta Connection carrier tickets. $35 fee for second checked bag. These allowances are subject to size/weight limits. Contact a Delta agent or visit delta.com for details. Taxes and fees are subject to change, are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the primary ticket is purchased and the Companion ticket is issued. All fare rules, restrictions, advance purchase requirements, and availability are per rule of primary ticket fare purchased. Seats are only available in L,U,T,X,V classes of service and may not be available on all flights or markets. Companion tickets are not transferable once issued. Companion certificate cannot be combined with another offer or discount including, but not limited to, web fares, sale fares and eCoupons. Primary ticket and Companion ticket must be purchased with your Delta SkyMiles Credit Card. Both passengers must be booked on the same flights and dates, at the same time. Travel for Companion certificate must be booked and completed by the date on the front of certificate. Validity is not based on the calendar year. Redemption is available only on delta.com. Certificate terms and conditions may vary each year of Card Membership. Additional restrictions apply. See Companion Certificate for details.

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Comments

  1. Unfortunately, the companion certificate is not that useful. I had this card for a few years and the certificates simply expired as I was not able to use them. Trying to find a flight which you can apply this certificate is very difficult. I even had to call Delta a few times to see if they could help. No success either.

    • Really? I’ve used it probably 5 times and didn’t have any issues at all. Before you had to call in to book, but now it is integrated into their online booking process. I have live certificate right now, if you send me a flight number I can see if I can book it using the certificate.

      • Jonathan, maybe they made changes to their booking system and made things better. I was trying to use these companion certificates in 2012-2013 when I traveled a lot. It is good to know they are more valuable now. Maybe I would sign up for this card again in the near future. Wondering if anyone else can confirm Jonathan’s positive recent experience with the Delta companion certificates?

        • I can — I’ve used these certificates for 4 years to save $500+ flying to CA from MI. I’ve always bought them through the online system (not easy to find, but there’s a help page to explain)

  2. I just tested it out with a random flight and added the results to the post. Using the cheapest flight available from San Francisco to Atlanta, I saved $290 using a companion certificate vs. paying cash.

  3. Can the non companion ticket be acquired with SkyMiles, or do you have to pay cash in order to use it? I tried to google this answer but wasn’t able to find anything definitive one way or another.

  4. I’ve been using these for a long time, and they are a great value. HOWEVER, only one year have they sent me an email with my code. Otherwise I’ve had to call AmEx or find it in the Delta system. Don’t let these go to waste!

    Overall, I’ve had no problem redeeming these tickets in terms of restrictions or prices. We use ours at Christmas time pretty much every year, saving $500 or so on our flights. A great benefit!

  5. How soon after spending the $3,000 do you get the miles? If I buy $3,000 in gift cards for example, is that going to work to get me the points ASAP? Also, any idea what a “Delta purchase” is? If i buy a bag of peanuts for $3 on the flight, will that do it? Incidentally, I’ve been looking at some flights around Christmas time and miles to dollar ratio is quite favorable at around .78 cents to the mile, making this worth something in the range $890, if that rate holds.

    • – Yes buying $3,000 in gift card on the card should satisfy the requirement. The official wording is “Miles will be credited to your account 6-8 weeks after you reach the spend threshold.” In my experience, you’ll have to wait until the billing period ends, and that is when the miles will be triggered. Then in about a month later you get the miles.

      – Delta purchase would be anything bought directly from Delta – baggage fees, food on a flight, an actual ticket, etc. You can even buy a Delta gift card from their website.

      – You should always get at least 1 cent per mile, because with a Delta AmEX you can use the Pay with Points feature:

      http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/use-miles/pay-with-miles.html

      Of course, ideally you would be getting more than 1 cent per mile, but at times that can be difficult given limited award seats.

  6. Does the companion ticket apply to the entire flight, or just one segment? ie, does it matter if I need a connecting flight?

  7. Does the companion ticket applied to
    1. International flights?
    2. and to ANY fare base (meaning discount low fare)?

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