Alaska Airlines and Bank of America have revealed some changes coming to their co-branded Visa credit cards. While many credit card changes nowadays seem to be negative, I actually think these are some pretty smart changes, and that many consumers will appreciate them. Let’s take a look at the details.
Details of Alaska Visa Card changes
The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card (review) and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card (review) will be undergoing similar changes, with just minor variations. Both cards will be getting higher annual fees, but will also be receiving new benefits.
Note that the positive changes kick in effective immediately, while most of the negative changes kick in as of March 1, 2023. Let’s go over all the changes.
Negative Alaska Credit Card changes
Let’s get the negative changes out of the way first, which kick in as of March 1, 2023:
- The annual fees on the Alaska Visa Card will be increasing — they’ll be increasing from $75 to $95 on the personal card, and from a minimum of $75 to a minimum of $95 on the business card (the business card charges $25 for each user added). As of January 18, 2023, new cardmembers on the consumer card will pay an annual fee of $95.
- The Alaska Visa Card will no longer offer discounts on day passes to the Alaska Lounge
- The Alaska Visa Card will require $6,000 in spending per cardmember year to continue earning the companion fare, while previously there was no spending requirement to earn this (this applies for applications effective immediately). A change for the business card regarding any spend requirement has yet to be announced as of January 18, 2023.
- To receive a first checked bag free for you and up to six companions, you’ll need to pay for your ticket with your Alaska Visa Card (previously you didn’t need to pay for your ticket with the card)
Positive Alaska Credit Card changes
Now let’s discuss the positive changes coming to the Alaska Visa Card, as there are several positive adjustments. Best of all, these changes kick in immediately. Here are the details:
- The Alaska Visa Card now offers new bonus categories — the personal card offers 2x miles on gas, local transit (including ride share), cable, and select streaming services, while the business card offers 2x miles on gas, local transit, and shipping
- The Alaska Visa Card now offers a 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned from purchases if you have an eligible Bank of America account (for the business card it needs to be a Bank of America small business account)
- The Alaska Visa Card now offers priority boarding when your ticket is purchased with the card
- The Alaska Visa Card now offers $100 off an Alaska Lounge+ membership annually when you purchase it with your card
- When traveling without the primary cardmember, authorized users on the Alaska Visa Card are eligible to receive a free checked bag and priority boarding when using the card to purchase the ticket
What’s not changing about the Alaska Credit Card
Some of the most popular perks of the Alaska Visa Card are remaining unchanged:
- The Alaska Visa Card continues to offer 3x miles on Alaska Airlines purchases
- The Alaska Visa Card continues to offer a 20% rebate on inflight purchases of food, drinks, and Wi-Fi, when paying with your card
My take on Alaska Visa Card changes in 2023
It goes without saying that these changes are a mixed bag. Personally I find these updates to be thoughtful, logical, and largely quite positive. Card issuers want you to actually spend money on your co-branded credit card, rather than just hold onto it for the annual companion fare, and I think these changes help accomplish that.
A few thoughts:
- The annual fee increase is modest; the card still costs under $100 annually, putting it in line with other mid-range airline credit cards
- The Alaska Lounge changes are logical — Alaska Airlines has had lounge crowding issues, and was already phasing out day pass options at some locations
- It’s nice to see the card finally offer priority boarding, as that wasn’t previously the case
- Some spending bonus categories on the card are long overdue, and should help with getting people to actually spend money on the card
- I love the idea of offering priority boarding and a free checked bag to authorized users when not flying with the primary cardmember, and wish we’d see more card issuers offer that
- While it’s unfortunate that there’s now a spending requirement to earn the Alaska companion fare on the consumer card, I can also understand the logic of that, since the goal is to get people to actually spend money on the card
Obviously if you just hold onto the card for the annual companion fare, then you won’t like these changes, since the annual fee is going up, and there’s now a spending requirement. However, for those who use the card and value benefits beyond the companion fare, I’d say these changes are great.
Alaska Airlines and Bank of America are making changes to their co-branded cards. Annual fees will be modestly increasing, and we’re also seeing some further changes. Some adjustments are positive (like great new perks for authorized users), while others are negative (like a new spending requirement for a companion fare on the consumer card).
What do you make of these Alaska Visa Card changes?