Alaska Airlines Credit Card Review [2019]

Filed Under: Alaska, Credit Card Reviews
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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 most of theese benefits are mirrored on 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.

In Seattle, Priority Pass members can potentially access the two locations of The Club at SEA. Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express also have access to the Centurion Lounge.

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:

If you’re looking for an extremely lucrative card that earns travel rewards, there are a few other options that are worth considering:

Bottom line

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).

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Comments
  1. Thanks, timely post. I just used 180,000 Alaska miles for part of RTW19 3.0* (Retirement is Great) on what I remember as much lamented devalued AS miles for Emirates but still 2 showers. JFK-DXB-ICN so I can position to ICN for 50K AA miles EY Apartment ICN – AUH. Then on to LHR for total 4 showers in row

    We’re ‘evil’ Bank of America customers, so we’ve churned through lots of signup bonuses And when I couldn’t find CX or JAL 1st to ICN, “Shoot,” I said. “Here’s two showers in a row, with layover to visit Burj Kalif and I really do need to re-enhance my memories of the Emirates Bar so

  2. I recently applied for America Airline Business Card and got email asking below:
    Please provide the following:
    Proof of business ownership or authorization to borrow on behalf of the business (e.g. corporate resolution, organization’s meeting minutes, articles of incorporation, articles of organization or certificate of incorporation).
    Verification of the legal structure of the business. Verification may include Articles of Inc/Articles of Org/Cert of Trade Name/Partnership agreement. For Non-Profit, provide primary mission (U.S or International) & legal classification (e.g. 501(c)(3)).
    The two most recent accountant prepared, year-end business financial statements/tax returns
    Your two most recent years of federal personal tax returns with all schedules. If you filed a tax extension, please provide a copy of your most recent W2 forms or, for sole proprietorships, an internally prepared year-end profit and loss statement.

    Has anybody encountered this? How to answer this since the Business is Just selling things in eBay.

  3. As with any credit card, it’s also worth considering the quality of the card issuer’s customer service, website, and app — in other words, what it’s like to actually use the card day in and day out. In this case, Bank of America, which in my experience really falls short. I love the airline, love the card benefits, but find the customer service terrible. The account management area on the website is complicated and confusing, their “fraud prevention” practices are frustrating, and talking to a live person is a pain.

  4. I hear how awesome Alaska Airlines is.

    Too bad their network is so limited. As of now, they serve a whopping 3 destinations from MSP. And Virgin doesn’t come here at all

    Yes I know I can use it on their partners but still…

    🙁

  5. I am one month away from being 3/24 and had only three Experian credit inquiries last year My credit score is between 810 and 830, and last year my income was mid-six figures. Last week I decided to pull the trigger and apply for the Alaska Airlines personal card due to the all-time high bonus offer. I received an auto-deny from Bank of America’s computer, and BOA representatives at the so-called “reconsideration” number don’t have any authority to alter that result. The reasons — too many hard pulls and no existing BOA relationship. If you have obtained lots of credit cards over the preceding two-plus years, BOA will deny you. And hard pulls can show up from applying for both personal and business cards. Thanks to BOA, I now have one more hard pull but no Alaska Air credit card.

  6. Does anyone know of a card you can downgrade from Alaska, to avoid the annual fee? I’m not using my companion ticket!

  7. Haniel,

    I received the same inquiry. As a sole proprietor (consulting) who reports income from side jobs on my personal 1040, many of their requests for approval do not apply to sole proprietors. I elected to send their inquiry back to them with a stern letter and move on. It is obvious they have no interest doing business with single person entities. BTW, I have been in business as a sole proprietor for over 20 years and have a verifiable 800-plus credit rating. I will continue to use my Chase Ink card for my business need. Good luck.

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