Most people assume that a 'companion fare' is a free ticket granted to a customer who purchases a full fare ticket. Essentially, it has been marketed as a two-for-one deal. You buy a full price ticket and get to take someone with you for free on the flight. Keep in mind that, to the airlines industry, free usually doesn't mean completely without charge. You will likely have to pay an amount ranging from $20 to $50 to use the “free” ticket, but you should still come out ahead.
According to the company website, customers receive a ticket for a companion when purchasing a “qualifying round-trip full fare ticket.” In real terms this means that not every flight offered by the airline qualifies for the companion fare. You will have to go online or call to find which routes do qualiy. With British Airways, the reservation must be made using a British Airways Visa card. Remember to read thoroughly the terms and conditions that go along with booking a companion fare. There may be blackout dates, etc. To save yourself a frustrating experience, know exactly what is required before attempting to qualify.
Alaska Airlines offers what is called a companion fare for the price of $99. Once again, this discount is offered in conjunction with the Alaska Airlines Visa Card. Holding an account with this card qualifies you for an annual companion fare for $99. This Alaska Airlines discount can be used on any flight as long as the full fare ticket costs at least $250. One advantage to this Alaska Airline companion fare program is that there are no blackout dates.
Southwest Airlines handles the companion fare a little differently, but it can be a great deal if you're a frequent flier. To qualify for a companion pass, you must fly 50 or more round trips over a 12-month period or receive 100 credits through flights and partner use–normally this means using the right credit card when you make purchases. Meet either of these milestones and receive a companion pass, which allows the person you designate to fly free with you for an entire year. Once you qualify, Southwest Airlines will send notification. Next, log onto their website and designate the person you want as your companion. The pass will arrive in the mail within seven to ten days.