Alaska Airlines Credit Card Review (2019)

Filed Under: Alaska, Bank of America
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3x miles
on Alaska
discounted
lounge access
no foreign
transaction fees
Annual Fee: $75

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 changes that were made to the card earlier this year. 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. Learn about the best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

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 three miles per dollar spent directly with Alaska, and one mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. 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 these 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. This is especially true as more Alaska Lounges (including in Anchorage and Portland) are leaving the Priority Pass network.

Alaska Lounge New York JFK

Alaska Lounges are pretty solid and offer complimentary drinks, food, wifi, and more. While some other premium credit cards offer Priority Pass members or Amex Centurion Lounge 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

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), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. Is “80,000 bonus miles plus two companion tickets” every year true? The 80,000 bonus miles are just the welcome bonus, no?

  2. On my most recent flight I’m sure the FA said you could have multiple Alaska Airline CCs (something like 4), and if you used the application from this flight, you’d get an extra 2K miles. Anyone able to confirm that?

  3. While I highly value Alaska miles I think the companion fare is somewhat bogus. I used it to buy two upgradable RT to Hawaii from SFO. After all the extra fees and the 60k in miles to upgrade the tickets to First Class it was hardly a bargain. What poured salt on the wound is a couple of weeks later I could have purchased FC for almost the same in dollars and would have still had the 60k in miles. Last time I will even consider a companion ticket!!!!!

  4. Any restrictions for those who have had the card? I had the personal card years ago. I applied for the business card, but they wanted tax returns, and I’m not too keen to pass those along unless there is a compelling reason/basis.

  5. Does anyone know if these 40K bonuses on each card are often/always available, or do they range throughout the year? I’m deciding whether to take up these cards first or the Citi Biz AAdvantage new updated 70K offer…. Thanks 🙂

  6. I would NEVER recommend this card for the companion pass. I ended up throwing away my companion pass because I couldn’t find someone who wanted to go with me before it expired. With airfare being so low nowadays, you won’t save a whole lot of money unless you have an itinerary that has multiple destinations with stopovers, or an itinerary on a high demand season. That $99 fee is pretty annoying.

    Moreover, the Southwest companion pass gives you UNLIMITED BOGO fares for a year, without the $99 fee. It is attainable if you get a credit card and spend enough on it. Give it a Google!

    Finally, the biggest thing to note is that you could get declined for the signature version of the card that comes with the companion pass, and instead get approved for a downgraded Platinum plus version of the card. The Platinum plus version comes with a $50 annual discount and 2500 Mile bonus. This happened to me and I had good credit. I was extremely upset.

    The one good thing about this card though is that Alaska miles are extremely valuable for partner business class redemptions. I got a couple business class JAL tickets for cheap with 40k and 70k Alaska Airlines miles. If there’s a reason I’d apply for an Alaska Airlines card, it’d be for the partner rewards.

    Be very critical when deciding which cards to apply for. Do your research on multiple websites, especially for this card.

  7. Good points from Nathaniel. Another issue is that these first class flights for 70K miles on Qantas, Cathay etc. are notoriously difficult to find, so you will probably find yourself needing to instead get much less glamorous awards on (say) Alaskan or American, or else BA award flights with their outsized fees.

    Like others I have thrown away the companion tickets before now, not least because I mostly fly Alaskan up and down the west coast, where fares are cheap anyway, often below $121!

  8. Yeah, agree Tom. It takes so many hours of searching and luck to get the right partner awards.

    This Alaska Airlines card is absolutely bogus. Every time I see a blog like this promote it (and profit off of referrals they make), it pisses me off.

    OMAAT, please be more transparent about the downsides of this card. And please focus on cards that are worth getting, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

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