Save on Peak Fares by with Delta Companion Certificates
One benefit of two Delta American Express cards, the Platinum ($95 annual fee) and the Executive ($450 annual fee), is that they both come with companion certificates, which are issued once a year. These certificates allow for a buy one get one free for any domestic flight in the lower 48 states; some do come with an additional booking fee, but the savings, when compared to the price of two airfares, is substantial.
These certificates can be of great value, as many of the more popular parks also tend to be near smaller airports that often command considerably high fares — Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Voyagers, and Redwood are all several hours driving from major airports, in some cases as much as five hours away from major hub airports while smaller airports with often pricey fares are less than an hour away. These certificates are awarded upon the yearly renewal of the credit card, so you will have to pay the annual fee; however, you’ll more than cover those costs with an effective use of the certificates.
For example, Amy Beth and I will be applying our Platinum AMEX certificate this year to get to Glacier National Park; at the time of booking, tickets were roughly $600 round trip in coach during high season. Delta wanted 45,000 Skymiles for a round trip ticket. Using the certificate, our out of pocket cost afforded us a savings of over $300 and saved us from overpaying on miles as well.
The Executive AMEX allows you to book either coach or first class; Comfort+ is a separate fare class and needs to be booked ahead of time. You are not able to upgrade from coach to Comfort+ with the Amex certificates. The Platinum AMEX card allows only for coach (no Comfort+ allowed) and does require a $99 co-pay — still a savings though, considering that we were looking at a $600 airfare to get to Glacier. With both certificates, the cardholder will receive full Skymiles mileage and Medallion qualifying miles credit with Delta, though the companion does not accrue miles or MQM’s.