Who Is the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Good For?
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is an interesting little card from a bank that doesn’t issue a lot of travel reward credit cards: Bank of America.
Its been voted the best co-branded airline credit card by the readers of Global Traveler magazine, which may seem surprising given the absence of the usual co-branded credit card features such as priority boarding and discounts on award flights or in-flight purchases. But the sign-up bonus is incredibly easy to get, and the real value of the card lies in the companion pass.
One of its more intriguing features is that it is actually very easy to have more than one Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card at a time, so you can earn multiple companion passes each year without having to cancel your card and reapply. If you live somewhere where Alaska flies, or you can easily connect to an Alaska hub, these easy-to-get cards can get you flying free very quickly.
Watch out when you apply, however, because depending on your creditworthiness, Bank of America may issue you a Platinum Plus Visa with fewer perks and a $50 annual fee instead of the Visa Signature with the $75 annual fee.
Bank of America
The typical sign-up bonus on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days.
The bonus has gone up to as high as 50,000 miles in the past, so it may be worth waiting for that offer.
- 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines tickets and vacation packages
- 1 mile per dollar on everything else
What Do Your Miles Get You?
Alaska partners with an eclectic mix of airlines that can get you almost anywhere in the world with your Mileage Plan miles, and usually in style. In Europe, you can fly oneworld with British Airways or SkyTeam with Air France and KLM. In the Middle East and Asia, you can use your miles for luxurious first class flights with Emirates, Korean Air and Cathay Pacific, and Alaska can even get you to Australia with partner Qantas and the Pacific Islands via Fiji Airways. The only caveat is that you can only fly one partner airline per award.
For many cardholders, however, the annual companion pass is one of the best features of this card. For $99 plus taxes and fees, usually around $11 to $22, a second passenger can fly in the same class as the first passenger’s paid ticket, with the same upgrade eligibility and the same mileage earning potential.
It can only be applied to flights operated completely by Alaska Airlines, which limits its use a bit. It’s perfect for Alaska’s flights to Hawaii, though, especially if you’re coming from somewhere other than the West Coast, from which there are often deals on flights to Hawaii.
- Annual companion ticket
- Alaska Airline miles don’t expire
- No cap on bonus miles earned
- One-way flights permitted
- One stopover or open jaw per international ticket
- One stopover each direction on international trips if all on Alaska Airlines planes and booked as one way
- One free itinerary change within 72 hours of ticketing
- Each award booking can only include one partner airline per itinerary
- Companion pass can only be used on flights operated by Alaska Airlines
- $15 ticketing fee by phone
How Far Do Your Dollars Go?
Since the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature doesn’t have great bonus categories, you’ll usually be getting one mile per dollar spent.
One of the best redemptions with Alaska miles is Emirates first class, in which you have your own private mini bar built into your armrest and a chauffeur at each end of each flight. To use Alaska miles to fly first class between the U.S. and the Middle East, you’d pay 150,000 miles each way. In cash, you’d pay $30,000 for that flight, giving your miles a phenomenal 20-cents-per-dollar value.
On more everyday flights, you’re still looking at good value, though obviously not as high. To take the family to Hawaii, it’s 40,000 miles per person roundtrip. Out-of-pocket, even in low season, you’re looking at around $900 per person from the East Coast, giving you a 2.3 cent value for your miles.
Additional Cardholder Benefits:
- ShopSafe online purchase protection
- Zero fraud liability
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Travel accident insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Roadside assistance