Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (2023)

The annual Companion Fare available through the Alaska co-branded credit cards is one of the best perks of any branded airline credit card. It lets you book one economy fare starting at $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) on the same itinerary.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card's Companion Fare comes with a significant caveat: New cardholders must spend at least $6,000 annually on the card to earn a Companion Fare on their card anniversary. Meanwhile business owners with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card earn the perk automatically when the cardholder renews.

Either way, the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare can easily offset either card’s annual fee. It can also help reduce the cost of family travel, especially during the holidays. And, with some creativity, it can provide hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars in value.

In this article, we’ll walk through what you need to know about the Alaska Companion Fare, as well as some simple ways to maximize its value.

» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide

Alaska Companion Fare basics

Consumer Alaska cardholders who had the card before Jan. 18, 2023, will continue to receive the Companion Fare automatically each year. However, new applicants who apply for the card on or after Jan. 18, 2023, will need to spend $6,000 per year to qualify for the Companion Fare on their next anniversary.

Note that new applicants will also receive a Companion Fare when they sign up for the card and qualify for the welcome bonus, which is currently: Get 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Given the major changes in perks on the consumer card, we couldn't help but wonder: Is the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card still worth the annual fee? Find out.

To find your Companion Fare, look in the “Discount and companion fare codes” section of your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the Alaska Companion Fare:

  • Fare class eligibility: The Companion Fare is only valid for economy tickets.

  • Upgrades: Tickets purchased with a Companion Fare are eligible for upgrades to first class. This can be done using miles, elite + companion upgrades, guest upgrades or paid upgrades that may be offered at check-in.

  • Who must fly: Even if you hold the Companion Pass offer, you do not have to be the passenger on the flight; however, the flight must be purchased using a credit card that has the Companion Fare holder’s name.

  • Book only on The flights must be booked on, so you cannot use the Companion Fare if you're booking your flight on websites like Expedia or Kayak.

  • Award travel: The Companion Fare isn’t eligible for award travel and can only be used for flights paid for in cash.

  • Only Alaska flights: Companion Fare is valid only on Alaska Airlines flights. The Companion Fare is not valid on any partner or Oneworld flights.

  • Expiration date: The expiration date of your Companion Fare will be indicated and you must redeem your code by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time of that date. However, once ticketed, the travel can be completed after the fare has expired, in fact you have up to 12 months from the date the certificate was issued.

» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now

How to use the Alaska Companion Fare

To use your Companion Fare, log into your Alaska Airlines MileagePlan account. Once you’re logged in, in the top right corner where you see “Hi Name,” click the down arrow. You'll then see an option titled “Discount and companion fare codes," which you will need to select.

On that page, you’ll see all of your available discount and companion fare codes.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (1)

To use a code, click the “Shop” button.

If you already know your code, you can go directly to the flight search tool and simply enter it into the “Discount or companion fare code” field. Then search for a flight for two, as you usually would.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (2)

(Video) Alaska Airlines Companion Fare FAQ - Alaska Airlines Credit Card Annual Discount Code

After you input your travel cities and dates, and click on the “find flights” option, you’ll want to pay attention to search results that are Companion Fare eligible. That means you’ll want to look for that little red symbol (as shown below) next to the flight price.

The Companion Fare amount is indicated by that alien symbol that Alaska claims is the letter “e.” Why “e,” and why so weirdly depicted? We don’t know just yet.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (3)

In this case, the one-way flight costs $539 and the Companion Fare is $77. If your itinerary has multiple flights, the $99 Companion Fare will be spread across the different legs of the trips, so don’t be confused if it seems lower than you expect on a given leg. The total, including the taxes and fees, will be displayed once you have made your flight selections and added it to your cart.

At the checkout, you will always see the $99 Companion Fare amount displayed.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (4)

This fare is a great example of how the Companion Fare can save money. For example, a ticket for one passenger costs $1,093. If you didn’t have the companion pass, you’d pay double that – $2,186 – plus $181 in taxes and fees. In total, you would spend $2,367 for those two tickets.

However, with the Companion Pass, you’re only paying $99 for that second ticket, plus the applicable taxes, for a total price of $1,373. The Companion Fare is saving you $994 on this trip, which is significant.

Using the Alaska Companion Fare is fairly straightforward. Getting the most value from it requires more knowhow. Keep reading for advice on how to maximize your Alaska Companion Fare.

» Learn more: Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you

5 best uses of the Alaska Companion Fare

1. Use the Companion Fare for expensive itineraries

This is the most basic principle behind using the Companion Fare, but it bears repeating: Employing your code on a $200 one-way flight will only save you about $80. Using it on a flight like in the example above will save you nearly a thousand dollars.

To maximize the Companion Fare, the cost of the companion ticket needs to exceed $217 because the Companion Fare cost starts at $122 ($99 plus at least $23 in taxes) and the minimum annual fee on the Alaska credit cards is $95.

Unfortunately, the fare can only be used on flights operated by Alaska Airlines — no partner flights or segments are allowed. And since Alaska has very limited international options, you can’t book an around-the-world dream vacation with the Companion Fare. That said, you can use it for some notoriously pricey destinations like Hawaii, or for smaller destinations, like Sun Valley, Idaho.

» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card review: Well worth $75 a year

2. Use the Companion Fare on round-trip, one-way or open jaw flights

This is where things get interesting (if you’re a nerd like us). The official language on the Companion Fare states that it can only be used for round-trip travel, but that leaves plenty of wiggle room.

For example, “open jaw” itineraries are generally allowed. What does that mean? You can fly back from another airport than you flew into. For example, you could fly from Seattle to Boston and then back from Baltimore to Seattle.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (5)

And that’s not all. Using Alaska’s “multi-city” search tool, you can string together multiple stops on the same “round-trip” itinerary.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (6)

(Video) Why The Alaska Airlines Card Is The BEST Airline Card

This itinerary starts in New York, stops in Seattle, continues to Maui, then Los Angeles, and back to New York, all over the course of two weeks. These two tickets cost $1,418 without the Companion Fare.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (7)

With a Companion Fare, this $1,418 trip would only cost $892.69 ($624.31 + $99 + $84.69 + $84.69), reflecting a savings of $525.

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (8)

We told you it would get interesting.

Companion Fare rules for multi-city trips

Aside from the basic rules of the Companion Fare, there are a few limitations to keep travel within (understandable) bounds.

First, you’re limited by the four available fields in the multi-city search tool. That caps the number of “stops” you can make in your itinerary.

Second, the stops have to make “sense” geographically. You can’t double back in the direction of a previous city in the itinerary or take disconnected legs in the wrong direction. Sound confusing? It is, to be honest.

Alaska doesn’t explain these rules anywhere, so the best method for learning them is spending some time with the multi-city search tool. When you search for an invalid itinerary with the Companion Fare code, you’ll get this error:

Alaska Companion Fare: What You Need to Know - NerdWallet (9)

Play around to figure out what works and doesn’t for your destinations.

3. Fly during expensive times, like the holidays

The Alaska Companion Fare is ideal for holiday travel, when prices are sky-high and you’re more likely to fly with a partner.

For example, a round-trip flight from New York to Missoula, Montana, in the week of Christmas cost a whopping $988 when we searched. That comes to $1,976 for a two-person itinerary without the Companion Fare, or $1,140 with it — a $836 difference.

Family travel in the summer, when fares can be substantially higher, is another good use of the Companion Fare.

4. Bring your family to you

One great feature of the Companion Fare is that you don’t have to fly on any of the purchased tickets yourself. You just have to book it using your Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card.

That means you can fly your friends or family to meet you, instead of the other way around. Or you can give two flights as a gift to someone you know. You don’t even have to tell the recipients how much money you saved.

5. Get multiple companion passes

Traveling with a large family or taking several Alaska flights with a companion each year? Consider opening more than one Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card in your household. Or, if you have a small business, check out the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.

You’ll have to pay the annual fee for each card, but that could pale in comparison to the savings from multiple Companion Fares.

Let’s say for example, you and your spouse each have the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card, so you each have a Companion Fare code. Maybe you have two kids or maybe you want to go on a trip with another couple, in either scenario, you can each use your Companion Fare to book a ticket for the other people you’re flying with and really save.

Frequently asked questions

How often can you use Alaska Companion Fare?

Alaska Airlines’ Companion Fare can only be used once. It is different from the Southwest Companion Pass, which provides discounted fares for more than a calendar year. The Companion Fare can be used on one way, roundtrip or multi-city itineraries.

(Video) BofA Alaska Airlines Card in 2023 | HUGE Updates!

Can I use the Alaska Companion Fare for first class?

The Alaska Companion Fare can only be used to book flights in economy class, but you still might be able to upgrade to first class. Make sure to book an upgradeable fare if you plan to take advantage of that option. If you are an elite member, you may be eligible to upgrade both tickets for free, or you can redeem miles to upgrade.

Can you use the Alaska Companion Fare on international flights?

Yes, but you can only redeem the Alaska Companion Fare on Alaska Airlines-operated flights, not partner-operated flights. Alaska currently flies internationally to Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico.

Can I use the Alaska Companion Fare with an award ticket?

The Alaska Companion Fare can only be used in conjunction with a paid ticket, so you cannot use the companion fare to add a person to your itinerary that you booked with miles.

(Video) ALASKA AIRLINES Credit Card - Earn More, Fly More | Plus 2023 UPDATES!

Do I earn miles with the Alaska Companion Fare?

Both people traveling on the itinerary will earn miles for the flight, even if one person is traveling on a Alaska Companion Fare. Make sure your Alaska Mileage Plan account numbers are entered when booking.

Final thoughts on the Alaska Companion Fare

As great as the Companion Fare is, you might be tempted to find the absolute most expensive itinerary in order “maximize” its value. A multi-stop itinerary on the week of Thanksgiving is likely to meet this criteria, and be an absolutely miserable experience.

The Companion Fare is a great tool to help reduce the cost of your travel plans. And remember: You still have to pay the full cost of half of the itinerary. A $1,500 companion fare ticket might save you about $1,400, but … it still costs $1,500 for the full price ticket.

» Learn more: Other airline credit cards that offer companion tickets

Whether you use Alaska’s Companion Fare to defray the cost of a family trip, stage a multi-city dream itinerary, or just take a normal round-trip ticket, the savings are almost sure the exceed the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card’s or the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card’s annual fees.

The real trick is remembering to use it.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

  • Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

    (Video) HUGE Updates to BofA Alaska Mileage Plan Cards (Business and Personal)

  • Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card


Does Alaska companion fare have to be round-trip? ›

Don't worry if you aren't traveling round-trip or are planning a stop-over. One-way and round-trip itineraries with one stop-over can also be booked using the companion fare as long as every flight is operated by Alaska Airlines, Virgin America or Horizon Air.

How many times can I use Alaska companion fare? ›

How often can you use Alaska Companion Fare? Alaska Airlines' Companion Fare can only be used once. It is different from the Southwest Companion Pass, which provides discounted fares for more than a calendar year. The Companion Fare can be used on one way, roundtrip or multi-city itineraries.

Can I use my Alaska companion fare for my kid? ›

Family of three plus a friend: If you're a family of three (like me), you could use a second companion fare to take a trip with your kid and allow them to bring along a friend.

Can you use mileage and companion fare? ›

If the member is allowing two travelers to use his or her companion fare code, then the member's name must match the name on the credit card used to purchase the reservation. Can I use my companion fare code in conjunction with a mileage award ticket? No.

Can I use my companion ticket to go to Hawaii? ›

Available destinations

That's bummer news for those of us who live in the contiguous United States and dream of traveling to our far-flung neighbors: We can't use the Delta companion ticket to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or USVI, regardless of card level.

Can my companion fly without me? ›

The person designated as your companion has to be ticketed and actually travel on the same flights you are on. If you change your flight then your companion's flight has to be changed also. If you cancel your flight, your companion cannot still travel without you. Companion travel does not earn points.

Can you use two companion vouchers on flights? ›

You can use two Companion Vouchers at the same time for a group or family of four if you accrue two Companion Vouchers across two card years and book and take your outbound flight before the first Voucher expires.

Can you use two companion vouchers at once? ›

A maximum of two Companion Vouchers can be redeemed at any one time on the same booking e.g. 2 Avios reward fares plus 2 Companion Voucher tickets.

Can you use companion pass after it expires? ›

Re: Promotional Companion Pass Details

Yes. Once CP is active on your account you can add a companion to an existing reservation. 2. Travel after the expiration date is not eligible and you would not be able to add a companion to flights occurring after the expiration.

Can someone else use my companion ticket? ›

Companion tickets are not transferable once issued. Companion Certificate and Delta eCredits can be combined in the same transaction. Delta eCredits can be applied as payment toward cost of the primary ticket, companion ticket, and any government-imposed taxes and fees.

Can you use both miles and companion fare Alaska? ›

Both the paid flight and companion flight must be purchased at the same time. You can't use miles to purchase a flight that will be attached to a companion fare, however, both the original ticket and companion ticket are eligible to earn miles. The companion fare can't be combined with any other discounts.

Can you cancel a companion ticket on Alaska Airlines? ›

You cannot cancel your ticket without losing the companion fare. Alaska has a pretty generous cancellation policy. MVP Gold and 75K elite members can change their ticket at any time without penalty. (This benefit does not carry over to non-elite and regular MVP members in the same reservation; they need to pay $125.)

Can you use companion pass if you use points? ›

Yes! You won't lose your Southwest points when you earn the Companion Pass. You can still use the 125,000 Southwest points to book flights, and your companion flies for almost free if you have the Companion Pass.

Can I use my miles to buy a ticket for my wife? ›

Many airlines make it very easy to use your miles to book a ticket for someone else. The most important detail to be aware of is that you don't need to transfer your miles to someone else to book a ticket in their name. While many airlines offer mileage transfers, it's often at a steep price.

Can I use companion voucher on vacation? ›

No, companion vouchers are only redeemable on WestJet flights and not on vacation packages.

Can you fly first class with a companion pass? ›

Instead of being limited to a Main Cabin economy redemption, you can redeem the companion certificate for 1 round-trip domestic first class or Delta Comfort+ ticket.

Can I add companion pass to existing reservation? ›

But here's a quick overview of what you need to know about how to use the Southwest Companion Pass. It's valid on both cash and Rapid Rewards points bookings. You can even add a companion to an existing Southwest reservation. You don't have to worry about any blackout dates or seat restrictions.

Are open jaw flights more expensive? ›

Open-jaw tickets are a flexible and relatively inexpensive way of flying as they are priced as a round-trip ticket, in most cases less expensive than purchasing two one-way flights between the destinations visited. Another market commonly traveled under an open-jaw itinerary is the one of local one-way tours.

How many times can you use a companion pass? ›

Your companion can fly with you for free an unlimited number of times while the Companion Pass is valid. Unlike some other passes, it's not a one-time pass. Theoretically, you can use it every single day for a year with no restrictions.

Can my companion board with me? ›

Re: Priority Boarding when traveling as a companion

If you are A List with a fellow traveler on the same reservation/booking as you, they will get a boarding position with you and can board with you. It is automatic.

Is it better to travel alone or with a companion? ›

Safety. Traveling with a companion is always safer than traveling alone since 2 sets of eyes are better than one.

Are companion certificates round-trip? ›

Companion Certificate is valid for one round-trip Main Cabin companion ticket with the purchase of certain adult round-trip fares on published routings within the 48 contiguous United States.

What is a round-trip companion pass? ›

Valid for one round-trip for a companion when travelling on the same itinerary and booked at the same time as the primary cardholder. Maximum one Companion Pass may be used per booking.

Can you use Alaska companion fare on saver? ›

After adding the $99 Companion Fare plus taxes and fees, you could pay just $620 round-trip for two passengers in Saver class or $790 round-trip for two in Main Cabin.

How do companion flights work? ›

In most cases, the primary card member must first purchase an airline ticket before they can redeem their companion pass. After purchasing their ticket on an eligible flight and redeeming the pass, the primary card member can then add a fellow traveler on their booked flight.

Can you use companion pass for international flights? ›

The Companion Pass can be used to fly a passenger for free to any destination Southwest flies. This includes all domestic and international destinations, including Hawaii.

Does a list companion get priority boarding? ›

Re: Priority Boarding when traveling as a companion

If you are A List with a fellow traveler on the same reservation/booking as you, they will get a boarding position with you and can board with you. It is automatic.

Can my wife use my Alaska Airlines miles? ›

You can use your Alaska miles to purchase an award ticket for someone else. Just fill in their name and details in the Passenger Information section when booking.

Can you use Alaska companion fare on Delta? ›

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card gets you an annual companion certificate to use on economy fares within the continental U.S. That means Hawaii and Alaska are off limits.

Can I transfer Alaska miles to my wife? ›

Can you Transfer Mileage Plan Miles to Other People? Alaska Airlines allows you to transfer miles between members. The cost of moving miles is $10 per 1,000 miles. However, you're not gaining any value by sharing miles, as Alaska allows you to book an award for anyone with your miles.

Can you use 2 companion vouchers together? ›

You can use two Companion Vouchers at the same time for a group or family of four if you accrue two Companion Vouchers across two card years and book and take your outbound flight before the first Voucher expires.

How long is a companion ticket valid for? ›

British Airways American Express® Credit Card

Reward Flights and Companion Voucher bookings are subject to availability and taxes, fees, carrier charges apply per person. The British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Voucher is valid for 12 months from issuance.

Do companion passes expire? ›

Bottom Line: You'll get a Southwest Companion Pass after earning 135,000 qualifying points or flying 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year. It's valid for the remainder of the year in which you earn it and the next calendar year.

Can I use points and companion pass at same time? ›

Yes! You won't lose your Southwest points when you earn the Companion Pass. You can still use the 125,000 Southwest points to book flights, and your companion flies for almost free if you have the Companion Pass.


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