The revamped Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card, features an improved welcome bonus, increased rewards and several perks, but the newly-added steep annual spending requirement to earn the companion fare dulls this card’s sparkle significantly.
About the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card
The $95-a-year Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card is an excellent choice for travelers looking to get the most out of their flying experience. With this card, you can earn miles on every purchase and redeem them for flights on Alaska Airlines, as well as other partner carriers. New cardholders will also receive a companion fare each year you spend $6,000, allowing you to bring someone along for just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). Existing cardholders will continue to receive the companion fare perk each year without the spending requirement.
The card offers a variety of other benefits, such as priority boarding, free checked bags and 20% back on in-flight Alaska purchases. As part of a Jan. 2023 revamp, the card now offers $100 off an annual Alaska Lounge+ membership, a 10% reward bonus on miles earned with the card, and 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, local transit, rideshare, cable and select streaming services.
Last but not least, the card’s welcome bonus is currently the highest ever at 70,000 bonus miles plus a Famous Companion Fare after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. This makes the card best-in-class when it comes to those seeking a companion fare ticket as a card perk.
Alaska Airlines Visa basics
- Annual fee: $95.
- Welcome bonus: 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
- Rewards: 3 Mileage Plan miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases; 2 miles per dollar on gas, cable, streaming services, local transit and rideshare purchases; 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- APR: 19.24% to 27.24% variable.
- Other perks and benefits: Annual Companion Fare every year you make $6,000 or more in card purchases, $100 off Alaska Lounge+ Membership when you pay with the card, 20% back on in-flight purchases, free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation, priority boarding, no foreign transaction fees, access to exclusive events with your card.
- Does the issuer offer a pre-approval tool? Yes.
- Recommended credit score: Good to excellent.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card other details
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card rewards
Between the elevated welcome bonus and new bonus categories, the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card offers more rewards than ever. The card provides a welcome bonus of 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. That’s enough for up to seven round-trip domestic economy class tickets, three one-way awards to Europe or a one-way business class ticket to virtually anywhere in the world.
The Companion Fare allows you to book a ticket for a traveling companion for just $99 and taxes. With airfare on the rise, the Companion Fare can potentially save you hundreds of dollars on flights alone. You can earn one of these each year you spend $6,000 on the card.
The card earns 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, cable, streaming services and local transit including ride share purchases and unlimited 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. On top of this already generous earn rate, cardholders will get a 10% bonus on all miles earned via spending.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card rewards potential
Using government data and other publicly available information, we estimate that a household in the U.S. that would be in the market for this card has an annual income of $84,352 and $25,087 in expenses they are likely to be able to charge to a credit card. Here’s how many rewards a cardholder could earn by charging these expenses to the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card:
- $1,188 on Alaska Airlines flights x 3 miles = 3,564 miles.
- $2,228 on gas x 2 miles = 4,456 miles.
- $564 on streaming x 2 = 1,128 miles.
- $781 on local transit (rideshare, trains, tolls, ferries) x 2 = 1,562 miles.
- $20,326 x 1 on everything else = 20,326 miles.
The initial tally comes to 31,026 Mileage Plan miles. Factoring in the 10% rewards bonus brings the grand total to 34,128 miles annually. With that many miles, you can book up to six short-haul domestic flights, a round-trip ticket to Hawaii, or a one-way economy award to Asia, Europe, South America or the South Pacific. In other cards: You’ll easily offset the $95 annual fee.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card APR details
The Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card charges 19.24%-27.24% variable APR in purchases and balance transfers, depending on creditworthiness. A fee of either $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) also applies to balance transfers. Unfortunately, the card doesn’t provide an introductory 0% APR offer.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card pros
- Highest welcome bonus ever: 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
- Useful perks when flying Alaska Airlines: Priority boarding and a free checked bag for up to six people traveling with you on the same reservation, 20% back on in-flight purchases.
- Valuable recurring benefits: Annual Companion Fare each year you make $6,000 in card purchases and $100 off Alaska Lounge+ Membership when you pay with the card. Plus, no foreign transaction fees.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card cons
- Limited category bonuses: The card earns 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 2 miles per dollar on gas, cable, streaming services, local transit and rideshare purchases. All other purchases earn one mile per dollar spent.
- High spending requirement for a recurring Companion Fare: Cardholders must spend $6,000 to earn a Companion Fare every year.
- Companion perk limited to use just on Alaska Airlines. Although the airline is part of the Oneworld airline alliance partnership and Alaska’s MileagePlan miles can be used to book flights on other airlines, the Companion Fare is limited to use only on Alaska Airlines flights.
How the Alaska Airlines Visa compares to other travel cards
Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card vs. Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is tailored to business owners who are looking for an efficient way to manage their business expenses and rewards. For an annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card, it offers perks such as employee cards with individual spending limits, no foreign transaction fees, and the potential to earn more miles with higher spending limits. However, it lacks the robust welcome bonus and category bonuses of the Alaska Airlines Visa Card.
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card offers just 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare after you spend $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of account opening. The card earns 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska purchases and 1 mile on everything else.
Like the personal version, the business card offers free checked bags for up to six companions and 20% back on in-flight purchases. Overall, this card comes up short on rewards and perks compared to the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card. That’s to be expected, considering the lower annual fee.
Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard
At first sight, it might seem an odd choice to compare the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card against the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. However, Alaska Airlines and American are both members of the Oneworld Alliance. That gets you access to the same vast route network when you’re ready to use your miles.
The Alaska Airlines Visa and Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select are mid-tier credit cards that offer similar benefits at a similar price point. The Alaska Airlines Visa carries an annual fee of $95 and the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select has an annual fee of $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99. The AAdvantage Platinum Card offers a free checked bag and preferred boarding for up to four companions instead of six for the Alaska card. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card’s in-flight discount of 25% is higher than the 20% offered by the Alaska Airline Visa.
However, the AAdvantage Platinum Card isn’t as rewarding as the Alaska Visa. The card’s welcome bonus is just 50,000 miles after $2,500 spent within three months of account opening. Cardholders also earn fewer miles at 2 miles per dollar spent on American flights, gas and dining. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar spent.
Similar to the Alaska Airlines Visa, the AAdvantage Platinum Card comes with an annual $125 flight discount. While this benefit is more flexible and ideal for solo travelers, the spending required to earn it is much steeper at $20,000.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card is much more rewarding than the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard on most metrics except two: The $99 annual fee on the AAdvantage card is waived the first year and all spending counts towards elite status at a rate of 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent.
Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a more flexible alternative to the Alaska Airlines Visa. The card earns a higher welcome bonus of 75,000 miles after $4,000 spent within three months. It offers 5 points per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 points per dollar on everything else. Depending on your spending habits, 2 points per dollar on everything might be preferable to the category bonuses offered by the Alaska Airlines Visa.
The card has a $95 annual fee, the same as the Alaska Airlines Visa. It also offers two complimentary lounge visits per year and an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every four years. More importantly, Capital One miles are transferable to 18 airline and hotel partners. These include Oneworld alliance members British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. You can redeem miles from these programs towards flights on Alaska Airlines.
Should you get the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card?
The Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card is worth getting if you’re looking for a substantial welcome bonus and valuable airline perks. It could be a great fit for someone who often travels with Alaska Airlines, as it offers many rewards and benefits. However, it may not be a good fit for someone who rarely flies with Alaska Airlines.
For example, the card’s free checked bag, in-flight purchase discount and priority boarding benefits can make your travels on the airline more pleasant. But you won’t get your money’s worth from these perks if you’re not an Alaska Airlines flyer. And if you don’t spend at least $6,000 a year on the card to earn the Companion Fare, then that benefit isn’t relevant either.
The 70,000-mile welcome bonus is a good enough reason for non-Alaska flyers to get the card. It can go a long way in covering both domestic and international airfare. However, it’s always a good idea to evaluate a card for its long-term potential as well as short-term gain. Ultimately, you should consider your travel and financial needs before deciding if the card is right for you.
Alaska Airlines credit card summary
|Welcome bonus||70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.|
|Rewards||3 miles per $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.2 miles per $1 on gas, cable, streaming services, local transit and rideshare purchases.1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
|Major perks/benefits||Annual Companion Fare every year you make $6,000 or more in card purchases.$100 off Alaska Lounge+ Membership when you pay with the card.20% back on in-flight purchases.Free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation.Priority boarding.No foreign transaction fees.|
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The Alaska Airlines Visa does not have a minimum credit score requirement. However, applicants with good to excellent credit scores (typically a FICO Score of 670 and higher) are more likely to be approved for the card.
Thanks to a vast partner network and reasonable redemption rates, Alaska’s Mileage Plan miles are one of the most valuable rewards currencies out there. You can get well over 1.5 cents per mile depending on how you redeem them. You’ll get the most value from business and first-class awards.
You can redeem Alaska miles for flights to over 1,000 destinations, thanks to Alaska Airlines’ Oneworld alliance membership. Alaska is one of the few airlines still publishing an award chart that shows exactly how many miles you need for a specific flight. You can use miles to fly esteemed carriers like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and others. You can also redeem miles for flight discounts, seat upgrades and hotel bookings.
The Alaska Airlines Visa card may be worth the annual fee, depending on how often you travel and your spending habits. The card offers numerous benefits, such as bonus miles, free checked bags, discounts on Alaska lounge membership, an annual companion fare and more. If you are a frequent traveler and can take advantage of these benefits, then the card may be worth the annual fee.