Details: Major Alaska Airlines Credit Card Changes

Details: Major Alaska Airlines Credit Card Changes

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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)
The Alaska Card will no longer offer Alaska Lounge day pass discounts

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
The Alaska Card now offers priority boarding

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
The Alaska Card continues to offer a companion fare

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.

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (36)
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  1. Jason Brandt Lewis Guest

    The change that hurts, of course, is the change to the Companion Fare. Previously, the only spend I put on the BofA AS Visa was tickets on Alaska and in-flight purchases. Given my typical travel during the year, it will probably be hard to get to $6k on tickets alone. And while -- yes -- it's nice to add some additional bonus categories, 2x is not that attractive on fuel or "local transport." I get...

    The change that hurts, of course, is the change to the Companion Fare. Previously, the only spend I put on the BofA AS Visa was tickets on Alaska and in-flight purchases. Given my typical travel during the year, it will probably be hard to get to $6k on tickets alone. And while -- yes -- it's nice to add some additional bonus categories, 2x is not that attractive on fuel or "local transport." I get that now with the Citi double Cash card, and get a better return on those two categories with other cards in my wallet.

    I fly AS enough that my miles won't expire; I don't need the card to maintain my balance. And I get free checked bags based on my status, so I don't need the card for that. And, again, due to my status, I already get $100 off my Lounge+ membership, so unless the card's discount will stack with my status, I don't need the card for that either. So, why do I need this card?

  2. Levin Guest

    Let me just break tradition here for a while: American Airlines will be leaving oneworld Alliance a la China Southern Airlines, to become unaligned.

  3. Vesta Herrick Guest

    Alaska 49 still gets two checked bags???
    How much are day pass for the lounge.

  4. Judy Guest

    No one has mentioned they only do 1 free bag now instead of 2. Seriously considering closing my card

  5. bstark Guest

    Ditched ours a long time ago! The whole mileage thing is so hard to use and the routings on Alaska suck anymore! Very un impressed with Alaska these days and No thanks on ever doing business with B of A ever again, bad people working their phones!

  6. Len Guest

    Less value in status of Milage credits. Little difference in 100k status and just having an Alaska card: priority boarding , free bag.

  7. Frank Guest

    "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"

    Does this mean that if you book a flight with miles you won't get a free checked bag as a cardholder?

    1. Herbie Guest

      This is an issue that the travel bloggers seem not to want to touch. They all just repeat the Alaska language that you must use the card to buy a ticket, which results in much uncertainty as to whether JUST IMPLICITLY paying fees with a card charge gets the job done when points are what are actually buying the ticket. I have been told by an Alaska agent that paying the taxes etc. will get...

      This is an issue that the travel bloggers seem not to want to touch. They all just repeat the Alaska language that you must use the card to buy a ticket, which results in much uncertainty as to whether JUST IMPLICITLY paying fees with a card charge gets the job done when points are what are actually buying the ticket. I have been told by an Alaska agent that paying the taxes etc. will get the job done on a points purchase--but whoever drafted that language should have addressed this issue head on and not leave the answer to potential litigation.

  8. Frank Guest

    "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"

    Does this mean if you book a flight with miles you won't get a free checked bag as a cardholder?

  9. Joe Guest

    This looks like a sham article trying to make a fee increase look like a bunch of changes some good some bad. When at the end of the day giving priority boarding doesn't cost Alsaka anything and at the end of the day fess are higher with little to no value being added.

  10. Saul Erlich Guest

    I flew 2 Alaska flights recently, from MCI to OGG through SEA. Both times the "priority" zone that the card gets you was lumped together with the next zone, of non card members. The meaning of "priority" in this case was a joke.

  11. Dave Guest

    How to cancel this ghastly card? BofA hotline is the worst of all banks, it’s impossible to get by the voice computer.

  12. Steve Guest

    Does this kick in for flights as of March 1 or tickets purchased by that date?

    What if I purchase a ticket using funds from my wallet where the original ticket was purchased using the AS card?

    Seems like there are some important details missing.

  13. Jason Brandt Lewis Member

    Methinks thou doth protest too much...

    Negative #1: An increase of $25 a year. No one likes paying more money, but it *does* stay under $100 and in line with most other cards. Not that big of a deal...

    Negative #2: I have an Alaska Lounge+ membership, so this is irrelevant to me personally. Others may be impacted.

    Negative #3: I always pay with my Alaska card so, again, this doesn't affect me.

    Positive #1:...

    Methinks thou doth protest too much...

    Negative #1: An increase of $25 a year. No one likes paying more money, but it *does* stay under $100 and in line with most other cards. Not that big of a deal...

    Negative #2: I have an Alaska Lounge+ membership, so this is irrelevant to me personally. Others may be impacted.

    Negative #3: I always pay with my Alaska card so, again, this doesn't affect me.

    Positive #1: New bonus categories are always welcome.

    Positive #2: I haven't banked with BofA in decades, but who knows? Might have to check the possibilities...

    Positive #3: With my status, this will be of minimal benefit, but what the heck...

    Positive #4: The $100 off an Alaska Lounge+ membership would be awesome if it stacks! Otherwise, it will just encourage over crowding.

    Positive #5: I am the primary cardholder, so this is irrelevant as well. My wife has her own account, so this is irrelevant twice.

  14. Peter Guest

    does the use of wallet funds to pay for your tickets get you free checked bag?

  15. David K Guest

    Yep—27% interest rate and $95 annual fee. No thanks. REJECT

    1. Levi Diamond

      If you care about the interest rate, you shouldn't be getting a card for the rewards.

    2. Jason Brandt Lewis Member

      True that -- points/rewards are "pointless" unless you PAY IN FULL each and every month...

  16. Martin wiern Guest

    Long time Alaska card member. 99% of the time I pay balance in full so I don’t check the interest rate. I just looked at my card 27%!!! Thanks Alaska from a long time member!!!!

    1. Jason Brandt Lewis Member

      As mentioned above, the interest rate is all but irrelevant if you *truly* want to benefit from your points. The value of whatever points one might earn is quickly eroded by ANY interest rate on unpaid balances...

  17. Ella Guest

    I was really interested when it looked like the SUB was going up to 70 or 75K, but I’m not seeing that anymore.

  18. Richie Guest

    Do I need to do anything additional to get bonus miles with the BofA checking account? I don’t pay my credit card bill with my BofA account at the moment.

  19. Jeremy Guest

    In order to get the free bags after March 1st, does that apply only to tickets purchased after March 1st? What if you bought a ticket on AMEX platinum on February 1st for future travel, then what would happen?

  20. Sunshine Guest

    Does the $100 lounge membership discount stack with the membership discount elites get, to get $200 off?

    1. Mark P Member

      This is what I'm wondering too. There is some language that discounts can't be combined, so my guess would be no.

  21. Quark Guest

    It's important to note the companion fare can NOT be used for first class. I dropped the card when they made that change a few years ago. My Chase card continues to offer better value for my spend.

    1. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

      That change was well over a decade ago. Very negative change. One positive is that on the coach tickets, they are still upgradable if inventory is present.

    2. Jason Brandt Lewis Member

      Agreed.

  22. VJ Guest

    Really wish more cards would offer the free checked bag for authorized user. Have work travel this year and my spouse is joining later for skiing and since I had to book my flight on my work Amex I am not on his Delta reservation so he will have to pay the bag fee. Bummer.

  23. Ghostrider5408 Guest

    As with "JohnRosa" I cancelled my card, too many cards. My heart burn is having been loyal for way too long with MM's + etc now a mere credit card gets priority boarding. Gezzz will there be anyone left to board ? !

  24. turgutbey Guest

    With these changes, what happens if I book a ticket on AS using avios. Can I still get a free checked bag? Or only if I pay for the taxes with my alaska card?

    Separately, I've never understood if pre-purchase food got the 20% rebate.

    1. Sunshine Guest

      yes, pre-ordered food does get the 20% rebate

    2. yepnope Guest

      I have an award booking with Alaska in May and am wondering if I still get free checked bag. Already paid the taxes and fees with a different card..

  25. JohnRossa Member

    I received a letter in the mail a few days ago to notify me of the changes and that's when I remembered that I even had the card! There was a toll-free number to call if you wanted to "reject" the new changes and, effectively, cancel the card. I must say that the automatic attendant made the cancellation process very easy.

  26. ChurnieEls Guest

    Suspect AS threw a few quid your way Ben to put that suspiciously positive spin on the changes.

    They're all weasely updates designed for breakage.

    1. Greg Guest

      He out playing the changes and gave his opinion. Obviously not everyone would agree with his opinion. Do you really think they gave him a few quid?

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.

Greg Guest

He out playing the changes and gave his opinion. Obviously not everyone would agree with his opinion. Do you really think they gave him a few quid?

2
Sunshine Guest

Does the $100 lounge membership discount stack with the membership discount elites get, to get $200 off?

2
Jason Brandt Lewis Member

As mentioned above, the interest rate is all but irrelevant if you *truly* want to benefit from your points. The value of whatever points one might earn is quickly eroded by ANY interest rate on unpaid balances...

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