Flying Alaska Airlines Anytime Soon?

Review: Alaska Airlines Credit Card from Bank of America

Do you fly on Alaska Airlines often or have any upcoming trips where you'll be flying Alaska Airlines?  If yes, you should sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card from Bank of America.  The card offers a generous sign-up bonus with no minimum spend requirements and offers a coach companion fare every year for $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22).  


Current Offer for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card
The companion fare is treated the same as any regular fare and can be upgraded and will earn Alaska Airlines miles.  There is an annual fee of $75 that isn't waived for the first year like some other cards out there, but even with the fee the card can save you some money whenever the flight costs more than $200.  


Current Offer:
The current offer details for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card from Bank of America are as follows:
  • Earn 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Bonus Miles upon approval
  • Receive a Coach Companion Fare every year from $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all purchases
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines tickets and vacation packages
  • Earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining
  • No limit to the number of miles you can earn, in other words there is no mileage cap
  • Miles can be used for Alaska Airlines flights, upgrades and can be transferred to partner airlines as well, such as American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Fiji Airways, Emirates and more.
Alaska Airlines Partners
  • Note that these benefits apply to Visa Signature accounts only and different benefits will apply to Platinum Plus and Classic accounts. The card type you get is determined by your creditworthiness.
As mentioned above, there is one caveat, as your credit line will be determined based on creditworthiness and the account type will be determined based on your approved credit line.  
  • If your application is approved with a credit line of $5,000 or above, you will qualify for a Visa Signature version of the card and all of the benefits associated with it above. 
  • If you don't qualify for the Visa Signature version, Bank of America will automatically qualify you for another version of the card, either the Platinum Plus, for credit lines between $2,000 and $5,000, or the Classic account for credit lines below $2,000.  
The Platinum Plus and Classic versions don't come with the 25,000 bonus miles and yearly companion fare, so I would ensure you know your credit is pretty good to excellent going in to qualify for a Visa Signature account. 


Alaska Airlines Visa Card Account Types:

A quick run-down of each of the different versions of the Alaska Airlines credit card is shown below:
  • Visa Signature
    • 25,000 bonus miles upon approval
    • Coach Companion Fare every year from $121 
      • $99 base fare plus taxes and fees starting from $22
    • Annual fee is $75
  • Visa Platinum Plus
    • 5,000 bonus miles upon approval
    • $50 discount code given every year that can be used towards travel
    • Annual fee is $50
  • Visa Classic Account
    • 3,000 bonus miles upon approval
    • No companion fare or yearly discount codes
    • Annual fee is $35
As you can see from the above summary, unless you qualify for the Visa Signature account, the benefits aren't as good for the Platinum Plus and Classic accounts.  Instead of denying an applicant for the offer they were applying for, Bank of America will just qualify you for a lower tier version of the card with different bonus offer benefits, so make sure you read the terms and conditions before applying. 

My Experience:

I applied for this credit card with the above mentioned offer earlier this year and was able to use my Coach Companion Fare to save some money on a flight to Hawaii.  Rates from the West Coast to Hawaii were averaging around $550 - $650 for my travel dates and buying four tickets at that price adds up fast.  

Instead of buying 4 tickets at that price, I was able to leverage my companion fare and also another family member's companion fare to save money on two of the four tickets.  


Note that my example assumes you would be purchasing four tickets and two different people within the traveling party have the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card and redeemable companion fares:  


Total Cost for four tickets without any discounts or companion fares would be: 

  • Ticket 1 at full fare price is $550 
  • Ticket 2 at full fare price is $550 
  • Ticket 3 at full fare price is $550 
  • Ticket 4 at full fare price is $550 
  • The total cost comes out to $2,200
By being able to utilize two separate companion fares, the cost for the four tickets came out to:
  • Ticket 1 at full fare price is $550 
  • Ticket 2 at companion fare price is $99 plus $45 for taxes and fees
  • Ticket 3 at full fare price is $550 
  • Ticket 4 at companion fare price is $99 plus $45 for taxes and fees
  • The total cost comes out to $1388
Since we were able to utilize two companion fares for our recent Hawaii trip, we were able to save $812 on our total airfare costs.  

Note: We could only book two tickets at a time and then had to merge the two separate itineraries after booking the flights.  Just a little quirk I ran into on how Alaska Airlines allows you to book your trip online when using a companion fare code.


One last thing to be aware of is that the credit card offer for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card sometimes comes with a statement credit of $50-$100 and/or increased bonus miles of up to 50,000 miles, so always be on the lookout for any better offers if you plan on applying for this card anytime soon.  


If applying for a new credit card isn't your thing, at minimum sign up for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (it's free) and earn credit/miles for any flights you take on Alaska Airlines.