The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card has had an increased welcome bonus for a while, and now, and is a card that’s well worth picking up, in my opinion (it’s also a card that I applied for pretty recently).
Alaska and Bank of America have just added some new benefits to the business version of the card, which match benefits that were added to the personal card several weeks back.
New Alaska Business Card benefits
The Alaska Visa Business Card has just added two additional benefits:
- 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases, including of food, beverages, and wifi
- 50% discounts on Alaska Lounge day passes, bringing down the cost from $50 to a very reasonable $25
Those are two nice new perks that complement the existing benefits offered by these cards.
Alaska Airlines Business credit card basics
Let’s take a look at what you need to know (and if you haven’t considered the card in the past, you really should consider it now):
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 $2,000 within 90 days:
- 40,000 Mileage Plan bonus miles
- An Alaska $121 companion fare the first year ($99 plus taxes and fees starting at just $22)
As a point of comparison, when I signed up for the card it had a welcome bonus of 30,000 Mileage Plan miles plus a free companion certificate the first year. With that “free” companion certificate you still had to pay taxes and fees, so in reality they were waving the $99 cost usually associated with redeeming these certificates.
With the new bonus you’re getting an extra 10,000 Mileage Plan miles, though you’re having to pay an additional $99 for the companion certificate. But you’re still getting that companion certificate the first year, rather than just on your account anniversary, as the card used to offer in the past.
That’s absolutely a deal, given that I value Alaska miles at nearly two cents each, meaning I value this bonus about $100 more than before.
I know even 40,000 miles might not sound like much, but I value Mileage Plan miles more than any other mileage currency. 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 Airlines Business credit 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 “famous” companion fare is included with the personal version of the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card, so regardless of which card(s) you have, you can get a tremendous amount of value out of this benefit.
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
I recently applied for the business version of the Alaska credit card, so can share some details of my experience. I’m otherwise really happy with my card portfolio, but this is both a card with a great welcome bonus, and also a card I see myself keeping long term.
This is a card I really wanted, so I applied for the Alaska Visa Business Card in mid-January. When I applied I got a message saying my application was being reviewed.
While instant approvals are ideal, I find that nowadays I mostly get some sort of a pending period, which is ultimately fine, as long as I end up getting approved. 😉
Fortunately, my approval came through two days later. Interestingly it wasn’t by email or even by letter, but rather by text.
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. Other Bank of America cards have rules on card eligibility based on whether or not you’ve had the card in the preceding 24 months, but those don’t apply to the Alaska business credit card as of yet.
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.
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):
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee, and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year; this is the single most lucrative card for the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend annually, in my opinion (more info here)
- The American Express® Business Gold Card has a $295 annual fee and offers 4x Membership Rewards points on the two categories of the below where your business spends the most each month (the limit applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases for those two categories every calendar year, and you can find more info here):
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers the best welcome bonus of any credit card at the moment, has an amazing cell phone protection plan, and offers triple points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases per anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (more info here)
- If you’re willing to get more than one card, there’s huge value in pairing the Ink Preferred with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and/or Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card, as the cards offer 1.5-5x points per dollar spent (more info here)
I also love this Chase business card trifecta
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 is offering an even better welcome bonus than before, and it’s also a card that’s worth holding onto long term. It’s awesome that they’ve now added even more benefits to the card.
The 40,000-mile welcome bonus is 10,000 miles bigger than before, and personally, I value those miles at nearly $800. On top of that, there’s the $121 companion ticket the first year, which adds even more value.
Small business owners can get this card in addition to the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card, which is a great way to rack up extra miles and companion certificates.
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.