Review: Alaska Airlines Business Visa Card

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I recently signed up for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card, and it occurred to me that I’ve never actually formally reviewed the card before. This is a solid business card that offers a good welcome bonus and potentially useful perks, so I wanted to look more closely at the details of the card in this post, for anyone who may be considering it.

Here’s what you need to know about this card:

Alaska Visa Business Card welcome bonus

There are two parts to the welcome bonus on the Alaska Visa Business Card. The card offers the following after spending $1,000 within 90 days:

  • 30,000 Mileage Plan miles
  • An Alaska companion fare the first year

30,000 miles might not sound like that much, but I value Mileage Plan miles more than any other mileage currency, and personally, I value them at nearly two cents each. So that makes 30,000 miles worth nearly $600.

The reason I value Alaska miles so much is because their great redemption rates on some partner airlines, as well as the ability to do a stopover on a one-way award ticket.

On top of that, the Alaska companion ticket can be really useful, and save you hundreds of dollars on the cost of a ticket — more on that below.

Redeem Alaska miles for travel in Cathay Pacific first class

Alaska Visa Business Card annual fee

The Alaska Visa Business Card has an annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card. That means if you have just one user on the account the annual fee is $75, which I’d consider to be very reasonable.

Alaska Business Card rewards structure

The Alaska Visa Business Card offers three miles per dollar spent directly with Alaska Airlines, and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it useful for purchases globally.

These aren’t exactly industry leading bonus categories. You can potentially earn more than three points per dollar on airfare with other cards, and you can also earn more than one mile per dollar on everyday purchases with other cards.

I will say, however, that Alaska miles are otherwise really tough to come by, so I know there are people who put spending on this card because they value Alaska miles so much, and I think that can be a good strategy.


Earn three miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases

Alaska Business Card perks

The Alaska Visa Business Card offers a variety of perks, which can potentially more than justify the annual fee year after year.

These perks include a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation. Alaska usually charges $30 per checked bag, so if you were traveling with six other people and everyone was checking a bag, you’re looking at savings of $420 on a roundtrip itinerary.

Of course it’s rare most people travel with that many companions, but even if you’re traveling with just one other person you’re looking at savings of $120 on a roundtrip ticket, which is significantly more than the card’s annual fee.

On top of that, the card offers an Alaska companion fare every year on your account anniversary. You’ll receive a voucher that can get you a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees, which start at $22). I’ll talk more about that below, but this is something that I get outsized value from every year.

How the Alaska companion fare works

The Alaska companion fare is the single most valuable companion airfare ticket offered by any US airline credit card, in my opinion. The basic restrictions associated with the companion fare are:

  • The companion fare is only valid for tickets booked in economy, though all economy fare classes are included; you can travel throughout Alaska’s route network, including on international flights
  • Tickets booked with the Alaska companion fare are upgradeable, both for the primary passenger and companion (this includes using complimentary elite upgrades, Gold Guest upgrades, instant upgrade fares, etc.)
  • Both passengers booked with the Alaska companion fare earn miles for their tickets
  • The companion fare is valid for a year from when it’s issued, though that’s only the book-by date, while you can travel on a subsequent date
  • You’re allowed to use your companion fare code for two other people, but if you do, you need to use a credit card in your name to pay for the ticket
  • Both passengers need to be booked in the same itinerary, travel on the same flights, and be ticketed at the same time
  • The companion fare is valid for roundtrip, one-way, and multi-city travel
  • The Alaska companion fare isn’t valid for award travel, or for travel that includes segments on any airlines other than Alaska or their regional subsidiaries

So to me this is so valuable, since you could travel all the way from the East Coast to Hawaii, for example, and both passengers are still eligible for mileage accrual and upgrades.

You can even upgrade tickets booked with the companion fare to first class

Alaska Business Card application restrictions

While Bank of America doesn’t have a strict limit on how many cards you can have with them, there are some other restrictions to be aware of.

Most notably, Bank of America will typically only approve you for two cards in a two month period, three cards in a 12 month period, and four cards in a 24 month period.

Anecdotally, however, it appears that you can get approved for a given Bank of America card more than once, as long as you wait at least 90 days between applications. At least that seems to be the case with the Alaska Visa Business Card.

Anecdotally I find Bank of America business cards to be reasonably easy to be approved for. Also keep in mind that applying for this card wouldn’t count as a further inquiry towards Chase’s 5/24 limit, in the event that this is something you’re trying to stay under (this is because Bank of America business cards won’t show up on your personal credit report).


Redeem Alaska miles for travel in Japan Airlines first class

Best business credit card alternatives

If you’re looking to maximize the points that you can earn from business credit card spend, in general, I’d consider one of the following alternatives (these are all cards offering transferable points):

I also love this Chase business card trifecta

Bottom line

The Alaska Visa Business Card isn’t one that I’d necessarily put all of my business spend on (unless you’re desperately in need of Alaska miles), though the card offers an excellent welcome bonus and is also worth holding onto long term.

The 30,000-mile welcome bonus might not sound like that much, though I personally value those miles at nearly $600. On top of that, there’s the companion fare.

Long term I think the card is worth holding onto for the companion fare on your account anniversary every year, and also for the free checked bag on Alaska itineraries, if that’s something you’d get value out of.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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Comments

  1. Good luck ever finding CX availability (which greatly diminishes the value of this card). Their lack of availability (let alone via AS since they see less) has been abysmal for 6+ months now.

  2. It’s interesting that you find BoA Business Cards easy to be approved for Lucky – FlyerTalk and myFICO forums seem to feature a litany of stories of difficulty and significant scrutiny for a wide variety of business types.

  3. Nice article. On a different subject, I was trying to figure out where the top photo was taken. My initial thought was Houston IAH Terminal A. However, on second thought, I am fairly convinced that it is LAX Terminal 5 in the background. If I am wrong, somebody call me an idiot.

  4. I find Alaska miles incredibly difficult to use. Maybe you can write up a post on how best to leverage Alaska miles and not just in theory. So don’t say you can redeem just 70k Alaska miles to go to Asia on CX when that inventory pretty much doesn’t exist anymore. Same with travel to Europe on AF.

  5. Google this card and you’ll find it publicly /available with a $0 companion fare rather than the $99 companion fare your link offers.

  6. @ Elliot — That’s the same offer as here. The first year it’s a $0 companion fare, and you just pay taxes and fees starting at $22. It’s not a $99 companion fare the first year.

  7. @lucky – my bad. why didn’t you say so in the post! sorry i missed that when I clicked on your link.

  8. CX is still easy to find with the help of BA avois tool. I flew CX from YVR to HKG to JNB in J over the Thanksgiving holidays last year booked about nine months out. Condor airlines from KNB to FRA and to SEA coming back was bookable online on Alaska.

    good luck and remember, if you can only travel on certain dates of a year, miles and points isn’t for you.

  9. @UA completely agree. I applied for this card a few weeks back and got a letter in the mail requesting I submit a (long) list of documents to complete the application. I felt like I was filing my taxes. No thanks. BoA is a joke.

  10. I have to disagree with Luis in terms of using Alaska miles. Used Alaska miles last year on JAL business class seat seattle to Hanoi. Even got the Sky Suite. This year, I’m using Alaska miles to fly to london with a stopover in Iceland, business class seats. Two years ago flew to Paris on a partner airline. Yeah, I had to book the minute seats became available but that’s often the award game.

  11. @Bryan & UA

    Yes same here. I have 20+ cards (business & consumer including the personal Alaska Airlines card) and yet have been denied twice now for this card. There is no way I would submit that laundry list to BoA, what a joke, considering Amex/Barclay/Chase/Citi/CapitalOne business cards were much easier.

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