The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card is one of my favorite co-branded airline credit cards. It’s a card I’ve had for years (along with the business version of the card, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card), and one I generally think is great.
In this post I wanted to provide a detailed review of this card, in particular in light of the recent changes that were made to it. If you don’t yet have the card it’s seriously worth considering, thanks to the generous welcome bonus, as well as the companion certificate, which makes this card a keeper, in my opinion.
Here’s what you need to know about this card:
Alaska Airlines Credit Card bonus
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card is offering the following bonus to new members after they spend $2,000 within 90 days:
- 40,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles
- An Alaska Airlines $121 companion certificate the first year ($99 plus taxes and fees starting at just $22)
Personally, I value Alaska miles at close to two cents each, so that’s a huge bonus as far as I’m concerned. I know 40,000 miles might not sound like that much, but Alaska miles are incredibly valuable, given how many great uses there are for them.
Redeem Alaska miles for travel in Japan Airlines’ 787 business class
Alaska Airlines Credit Card annual fee
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card has a reasonable $75 annual fee. That’s on the low side for a co-brand airline credit card, even though I consider this to be one of the best such cards.
Alaska Airlines Credit Card rewards
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card offers one mile per dollar spent on everyday purchases. It also offers three miles per dollar spent directly with Alaska. The Alaska Card also has no foreign transaction fees, which makes it useful for global purchases.
While I do value Alaska miles immensely on a per mile basis, this isn’t a card I’d be putting all that much spending on, given that there are other cards offering 1.5-2x transferable points per dollar spent.
The exception is if you’re really desperate for Alaska miles, given that Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t partner with any of the major transferable points currencies.
The Alaska Airlines companion ticket
The reason that the Alaska Airlines Credit Card is such a keeper is because of the annual companion ticket that it offers, which consistently more than justifies the annual fee, in my opinion.
The Alaska Airlines companion certificate is the single most valuable airline credit card companion ticket, in my opinion. You’ll pay $99 plus taxes and fees (which start at $22), so you’re looking at paying $121+ for your companion.
What makes this companion fare so exceptional is that it’s valid on all Alaska Airlines economy fares, you can use it for one-ways or roundtrips, the companion even earns miles and is eligible for upgrades, etc. You can also use it anywhere Alaska flights, from Hawaii, to Costa Rica, to Mexico.
Recently a restriction was added whereby you have to pay for the ticket using your Alaska Card, though that shouldn’t be a big deal. Besides, the card offers triple miles on Alaska purchases.
See this post for everything you need to know about the Alaska Airlines companion fare. Even as someone who doesn’t fly Alaska that often, this is something I’ve consistently gotten good value out of.
The companion ticket is useful for travel on Alaska
Alaska Airlines Visa benefits
Recently Alaska Airlines and Bank of America added some awesome perks to the Alaska Airlines Credit Card (note that these additional benefits only apply to the personal version of the card, and not the business version).
20% back on Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card now offers 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases when paying with your card.
This applies for the purchase of food, beverages and wifi onboard Alaska flights, and the statement credit should post to your account within seven days. There’s no limit to how often you can take advantage of this.
It’s worth specifically pointing out that while a few credit cards offer savings on inflight purchases, they almost always exclude wifi. So being able to get a discount even on wifi purchases is awesome.
50% Alaska Lounge day pass discount
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card now offers day passes to the Alaska Lounge for $25, which represents 50% off the usual cost of $50. To take advantage of this you need to pay with the card.
For those situations where you’d benefit from access to an Alaska Lounge, I’d say that represents a solid deal.
Alaska Lounge New York JFK
Do note that Alaska Lounges in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, can also be accessed with Priority Pass, pending capacity constraints. So if you have another premium card, that could also be a way to get access.
But for those who don’t have an Amex Platinum or other card that gives Priority Pass access, I could see this being useful, particularly on a day where there are lots of delayed flights.
How to apply for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card is issued by Bank of America, so there are some general restrictions to be aware of:
- 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 (this typically doesn’t include business cards)
- Per the terms, “this card will not be available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the preceding 24 month period”
Complement this with a business credit card card
If you’re looking for a card for your small business, the Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card has the same welcome bonus, and also offers a companion ticket.
It could make a lot of sense to pick up both the personal and business version of the card, and then you could earn 80,000 bonus miles plus two companion tickets every year (including the first year).
You should even be able to apply for both cards the same day.
Alaska Airlines Credit Card alternatives
In general, I don’t recommend using an airline credit card as your primary card for your everyday spending. That’s because you have many credit cards that:
- Offer 1.5-2x flexible points per dollar spent
- Offer valuable bonuses for spending in select categories (including dining, grocery stores, gas, travel, etc.)
If you’re looking for an extremely lucrative card that earns travel rewards, there are a few other options that are worth considering:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers double points on dining and travel and great travel protection ($95 annual fee)
- The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers a 50,000 mile welcome bonus, and unlimited 2x miles per dollar spent ($95 annual fee)
- The American Express® Gold Card offers 4x points at restaurants globally, 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year), and 3x points for airfare purchased directly with airlines, plus offers a $100 annual airline fee credit and up to a $120 annual dining credit ($250 annual fee (Rates & Fees))
The Alaska Airlines Credit Card is one of the most valuable and underrated airline credit cards out there, in my opinion. This is a card that many people don’t have, though between the welcome bonus and annual companion ticket, it’s well worth keeping long term.
If you really want to rack up Alaska miles and are eligible, also pick up the Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card while you’re at it, and you could be looking at 80,000 Alaska miles plus two companion tickets per year.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees).