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  • Writer's pictureAdam Garrett

Using A Delta Companion Certificate

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

I. What is a Delta Companion Certificate?

II. How to use a Delta Companion Certificate

III. How to use a Delta Companion Certificate for low-cost economy travel

IV. How to use a Delta Companion Certificate for low-cost 1st class travel

V. How to maximize a Delta Companion Certificate

I. What is a Delta Companion Certificate?

A Delta Companion Certificate is like a buy 1, get 1 free on Delta round-trip flights in the contiguous US. Some (i.e. the ones from the Delta Platinum Skymiles card) are good only for economy travel, while others (i.e. the ones from the Delta Reserve Skymiles card) are good for economy, Economy +, or first-class travel.

Per Delta, "Please note you need to both book and complete your travel by the expiration date listed for your Companion Certificate."

For more details from Delta, go here.

II. How can you use a Delta Companion Certificate?

The cardholder pays with their respective card and besides the full price of the 1st ticket on that card, all that you pay are the taxes, which are typically <$75, for the 2nd person traveling on the same itinerary. These companion certificates are fully transferrable, meaning that the cardholder doesn't need to be traveling at all for the ticket to be redeemed.

Each person going will need to have a Delta Skymiles # input into the booking during the initial booking process:

For more details from Delta, go here (same link as above).

III. How to use a Delta Companion Certificate for low-cost economy travel

While you'll be getting the lowest value out of the certificate this way, if you really want to spend as little as possible, there are a few ways that you could do that:

  1. Use $ sales

  2. Look for low $ prices that would be seemingly high value (i.e. multi-leg long haul itineraries)

For instance, if I'm looking to go from around Newport News, I can go on Google flights, and input my 3 local airports (ORF Norfolk & RIC Richmond) that are all within around an hr away from Newport News (depending on traffic), and input "United States" as the destination on a random Wednesday (one of the cheaper days of the week) a month or more out, filtering by $100 or less & SkyTeam (the alliance that Delta is in) only:

Here's a similar search, except looking for the next 6 months at a time, and going up to $150 for a 1 way:

IV. How can you use a Delta Companion Certificate for low-cost 1st class travel?

For instance, here's a 6 month-out 1st class search, showing a 1 way in 1st for under $200 to NYC:

If wanting to take that cheaper route, you could do a flight like this one:

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If you wanted to depart Thursday, it wouldn't be much more:

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And if you wanted to depart Friday, it wouldn't be much more than that:

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V. How can you maximize a Delta Companion Certificate?

The higher the cost of the paid ticket, the more value that you are going to get out of the 2nd ticket from the certificate, especially if booked >1 month in advance. For those who don't have any status with Delta, a 1st class high-cost ticket is going to yield the highest value, such as a ticket in the very near future to a large gathering that draws a lot of people every year. If you have time to plan it out further in advance, it's generally going to be best to not intentionally go for high-cost itinerary based on short notice (i.e. <20 days out). There's plenty of reason for those without status who typically pay cash for plane tickets to use a companion certificate for a higher cost ticket that they typically wouldn't splurge on, whether a 3 leg itinerary somewhere distant (i.e. a National Park on your bucket list) or a 1st class fare somewhere, especially if starting the journey from a small airport or if you've never flown 1st before.

For instance, you might want to fly across the country, like one of these possibilities on the West side of the country when departing from Norfolk or Richmond on the East side of the country:

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If you've been wanting to go skiing in the Rockies for a while, you might check the options to them in December or January:

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If you're considering options for a New Years Eve trip, you might check out a specific date or 3:

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If you have solid status (or a credit card like Delta Reserve that provides privileges including upgrades) with Delta already, you might forego 1st class or economy plus, especially if you have status that gives you economy plus immediately upon booking & if you feel relatively confident that you're booking an itinerary where you'll get an upgrade. Booking a pricier economy ticket might be the way to go in those cases. Then again, if you have lower tier status or are on an itinerary where your chances of an upgrade are slim or you want to guarantee that upgrade, you may be better off booking a $ 1st class ticket.

If you plan to book a hotel at the same time, and are using points/free night certificates, that also could be a very large factor in determining where you can get the highest net value, especially for hotel chains that don't use highly dynamic pricing structures. For instance, if you are planning on staying at a Hyatt with category 1-4 certificates, whether from your own account or from someone else's account, you can get solid value and a bucket list experience seeing the ball drop in Times Square with a high value hotel redemption, which could impact your choice of flight itineraries.

Hyatt Regency JFK example

Image above & below courtesy

While you could go there for free with a free night certificate, the cost of not doing so would be more than $650 for just 1 night with 1 adult. The below cost example doesn't even include the club lounge, just breakfast:

If you'd like to hear from others on the subject, go to any of the following:

NerdWallet on Delta Companion Certificates

Business Insider on Delta Companion Certificates

The Points Guy on DCCs when flying Delta One is problematic due to needing to book refundable fares

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