We all know free flight welcome bonuses offer cardholders tremendous value. We love them. Now imagine a credit card that gives you a companion ticket EVERY year, on top of your welcome bonus!
There are several companion ticket credit cards offering Canadians a round-trip voucher every year, they can use for any travelling companion. While the vouchers do have a cost, imagine flying your companion from Vancouver to Hawaii for $121, or from Toronto to Orlando for $99!
The savings are massive. But what makes the offer truly valuable is the fact that you get a round-trip companion ticket EVERY year you keep the card open, no minimum spend required. Not only that, there are no blackout dates for the companion seat and you can use it on any flight flown by the airline.
That said, there are differences between each companion fare program. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the differences to ensure you get the best credit card offer for your situation.
Annual Round-Trip Companion Ticket Credit Cards
This card is a sleeping giant. We really want more Canadians to learn about it. It comes with a super 250 WestJet Dollar welcome bonus, an annual round-trip companion voucher, free first checked bags for the primary cardholder and up to 8 travelling companions, not to mention 2% earnings on WestJet spend and 1.5% everywhere else!
Due to popular demand, WestJet companion vouchers can now be used on any WestJet flight, any seat, any time, as follows:
- $99, plus taxes & fees, to anywhere in Canada & continental U.S.
- $299, plus taxes & fees, to Hawaii, Mexico, Carribean & Central America
- $399, plus taxes & fees, to anywhere WestJet flies in Europe
You can book any class of fare, and your companion ticket will be eligible for the same class fare. The only restriction is that the primary cardholder has to fly on the same itinerary as the companion.
So how much is a WestJet companion voucher worth? Here are two examples we took from Expedia.ca:
- Toronto-Miami, Dec 27-Jan 8
- Airfare $419 (plus $141 taxes)
- Voucher cost $99
- Total savings $320
- Vancouver-London, U.K., Aug 4-Aug 18
- Airfare $1,103 (plus $206 taxes)
- Voucher cost $399
- Total savings $704
Clearly you can get tickets to those destination for less, but if you have to book last minute, or during peak season, you can do so, for the flight you want, and the voucher ticket still costs the same, making it a powerful savings tool. The only requirement to get your companion voucher every year is to keep your account open. There is no minimum spend requirement.
While there is an annual fee of $99, we’ve already demonstrated you can get far more value than that through the companion voucher. However, considering you also get $250 WestJet welcome bonus, the $99 annual fee is more than covered.
The Alaska Airlines World Elite MasterCard is another lesser known Canadian gem. It offers a 25,000 mile welcome bonus good enough for a return flight to anywhere in North America (can be used on American Airlines and Delta), and an annual companion fare for $121 USD, plus taxes and fees.
While the welcome bonus can be used on partner airlines, making it available to all Canadians, the companion voucher can only be used on Alaska operated flights. As a result, you have to fly out of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Whistler, or Kelowna to make use of the companion voucher – making it’s appeal a little more Western focused.
- Vancouver-Honolulu, Dec 27-Jan 8
- Airfare $1,109 (plus $134 taxes)
- Voucher cost $121
- Total savings $988
That’s incredible value. You could be saving close to $1,000 EVERY year. Again there are no blackout restrictions for the companion voucher.
One thing to note is that the Alaska Airlines companion voucher is only good for coach class seating, even if the primary cardholder is flying first class.
The annual fee for the credit card is only $75 CDN, making it a phenomenal deal. Although it should be noted it doesn’t come with the most robust insurance package, which explains the low annual fee. The 25,000 mile welcome bonus alone covers the annual fee, but the potential savings on the companion ticket far outstrips the annual fee. You’ll get the companion voucher every year you have the card.
The nice thing about the Alaska Airlines credit card, is that there is NO minimum income requirement. If you don’t meet the World Elite minimum income requirement, TD will send you the Platinum card automatically, which has the exact same features, including the 25K bonus, annual companion fare and $75 annual fee, without the minimum income requirement.
There are some additional cards that offer companion fare deals, but most come with hefty welcome bonuses. They include:
- The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum card which offers an annual 2-for-1 short-haul flight reward when you redeem 15,000 Aeroplan Miles. Annual fee of $499.
- The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card which offers an annual short-haul or long-haul round-trip flight reward when you redeem up to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles. Annual fee of $899.
- The TD Aeroplan Infinite Privilege card which offers a 50% discount on a Companion Ticket once a year in Business Class (Flexible) with Air Canada. Annual fee of $399.
More Canadians should consider taking advantage of companion ticket offerings. The fact that these cards give companion vouchers out EVERY year, is like getting an annual welcome bonus. With no minimum spend requirement, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
No longer do you have to spend $25,000 on your credit card to get your next round-trip ticket. Just keep your card open and active, and your companion voucher is yours – that’s quite the deal.
While we continue to advocate the value of credit card bonuses, especially those with annual fee waivers, there is no doubt companion fare programs can offer as much, or more value, even with the annual fee. For those who fly with family, friend or travel buddy from time to time, the programs are ripe for the picking.