Guide To The Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

Guide To The Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

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There are various airline credit cards that offer some sort of a companion ticket for spending a certain amount.

To me the single most valuable companion ticket is the one offered by Alaska Airlines, so in this post I wanted to look at that in more detail, as it’s something that’s offered with both the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card (review) and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card.

You can potentially get both of these cards (for example, I have both), and earn multiple certificates per year.

How to earn an Alaska companion fare

There are two credit cards that offer Alaska companion fares.

Both the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card offer a $121 companion fare annually. You receive a companion ticket as part of the welcome bonus, and also on your account anniversary every year.

This is the reason I hold onto both cards, as there’s no spend requirement to earn the companion fare on your account anniversary. It just automatically posts.

Alaska’s co-brand credit cards offer companion fares

The basics of the Alaska companion fare

The Alaska companion fare will automatically be deposited into your Mileage Plan account shortly after you complete the minimum spending on the card, and otherwise shortly after your account anniversary in subsequent years. The terms state that it could take up to two billing cycles, but in my experience it typically posts much faster than that.

When it comes to redeeming the Alaska companion fare:

  • 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 the companion fare code for two other people (in other words, the cardmember doesn’t need to be traveling), but you will need to use your Alaska Visa 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 Horizon
  • You need to pay with your Alaska Credit Card to use your companion ticket, though fortunately the card offers triple miles on Alaska purchases, so it’s not a bad card to use anyway
Use the Alaska companion fare to travel to Hawaii

How to book a ticket with the Alaska companion fare

The process of booking a ticket with the Alaska companion fare is really easy. Just log into your Mileage Plan account, and then on the left side scroll down to the area that says “Discount and companion fare codes,” and click “Valid.”

There you’ll see a section that should list all of your valid codes along with their expiration dates, so if you see one there, just click the “SHOP” button.

That will bring you to the booking page, where there will be an automatically generated code placed in the “Discount or companion fare code” box.

Like I said above, you can use this for a one-way ticket, like from Tampa to Honolulu…

Or you can use it for a roundtrip ticket, like from Los Angeles to Liberia, Costa Rica, which is one of Alaska’s furthest international destinations.

You can even use this to book a multi-city trip, like flying from Tampa to Maui via Seattle, with a stopover there.

How to upgrade Alaska companion fare ticket

The Alaska companion fare is limited to economy tickets, though the good news is that these tickets are upgradeable to first class. There are a few ways to go about this:

  • MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members are eligible for complimentary space available upgrades for themselves and a companion, and those upgrades start clearing at 48, 72, and 120 hours, respectively (MVP members don’t receive companion upgrades); note that Saver fares, booked in the “X” fare class, are excluded
  • MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members receive four Gold Guest Upgrades per year, each of which can be used to confirm a one-way upgrade at the time of booking, subject to upgrade availability; note that tickets booked in G, T, R, or X, fare classes aren’t eligible
  • Elite members receive complimentary upgrades at the time of booking when booking certain fare classes and when there is confirmable upgrade availability; MVP members get complimentary upgrades on Y, S, and Z fares, MVP Gold members get complimentary upgrades on Y, S, B, M, and Z fares, and MVP Gold 75K members get complimentary upgrades on Y, S, B, M, H, and Z fares
  • All Mileage Plan members can upgrade on a space available basis for 15,000 miles one-way, though need to book a ticket in the Y, S, B, M, or H, fare classes
Alaska companion fare tickets are upgradeable

Bottom line

A lot of airline credit cards offer companion tickets that come with all kinds of restrictions that make them virtually useless. That’s why I find Alaska’s companion tickets to be the most valuable out there, given that the companion is basically treated like any other paying passenger.

This is also one of the reasons that I find Alaska credit cards to be worth holding onto long term. There are many great perks to the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, though the Alaska companion fare is probably my favorite.

What has your experience been with Alaska’s companion tickets?

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  1. RB Guest

    I can buy 1st class upgrade companion fare tickets for a flight that does not have available seating. Since the flight isn't until February there is a good chance of someone else's plans changing and making seats available. Also, the airline is probably holding back seats. Does anyone have experience with seats becoming available for a companion fare ticket? Should I speak to a reservations manager or someone in yield management at Alaska?

  2. KahunnaTravel Guest

    Ben - question not addressed in the article - can you add premium seating to a companion fare as part of the purchase process when booking and selecting seat assignment?

  3. Ted Guest

    I enjoyed the benefit living in Seattle. I will drop my card now that I live in Florida. The benefit can only be used on Alaska flights so unless you are going to California, Oregon, Washington not very useful.

  4. pstm91 Platinum

    I was annoyed they did not extend these expiration dates last year the way Delta did. They did push the expiration date out once, but it was marginal (mine moved from January to August, when we still couldn't really travel).

  5. Bryan Guest

    "Alaska MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K members are eligible for complimentary space available upgrades for themselves and a companion"

    MVP is only able to upgrade themselves. MVP Gold and Gold 75k can upgrade themselves and a companion.

  6. Ghostrider5408 Guest

    In the "old Days" that companion ticket could be booked in First now thats along time ago!!

  7. Carl Guest

    SJO is a bit longer than LIR

    One of the upgrade drawbacks with the companion fare is that it requires two upgraded seats to be available at the same time, so you will be skipped by lower status or lower fare passengers who are on their own PNR when single upgrade seats become available.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

RB Guest

I can buy 1st class upgrade companion fare tickets for a flight that does not have available seating. Since the flight isn't until February there is a good chance of someone else's plans changing and making seats available. Also, the airline is probably holding back seats. Does anyone have experience with seats becoming available for a companion fare ticket? Should I speak to a reservations manager or someone in yield management at Alaska?

0
KahunnaTravel Guest

Ben - question not addressed in the article - can you add premium seating to a companion fare as part of the purchase process when booking and selecting seat assignment?

0
Ted Guest

I enjoyed the benefit living in Seattle. I will drop my card now that I live in Florida. The benefit can only be used on Alaska flights so unless you are going to California, Oregon, Washington not very useful.

0
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