Yesterday I noticed that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card was now being advertised as just a Visa card on the Bank of America website. But on Alaska’s site it still says Visa Signature. I had to wonder, is BoA dropping Visa Signature benefits on the card?
Alaska just announced a bunch of unfortunate changes, including the introduction of basic economy fares, so maybe they were doing something with their much-loved card as well.
Reading the Fine Print: Platinum Plus 5,000-Mile Bonus Is Gone?
After a little more investigating, it turns out that the offer details have changed, too. Interestingly, Bank of America still refers to both the Alaska Visa Signature and Alaska Platinum Plus cards in the fine print, but not on the main web page.
Also, the Platinum Plus sign-up bonus and other perks have disappeared. It just says that more information will come with the new account details when you get the card.
Below are before and after shots of the terms and conditions from the BoA Alaska Visa webpage.
What’s Going On?
I got on the horn and called two different agents at Bank of America. And guess what? I got two different answers. It’s clear that something’s going on, but it seems that Bank of America isn’t even sure of what those changes are, yet.
Before we get to what I was told, we need to cover a few basics.
Alaska Visa Signature vs. Platinum Plus: It’s BoA’s Decision
As you might know, Alaska and Bank of America have, at least in the past, offered two versions of the personal card, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus.
An applicant didn’t have a choice between these two cards. Bank of America would make that decision based on your creditworthiness. That’s right, they made the choice for you.
The Visa Signature is the better of the two cards, requiring a higher credit score. It comes with the excellent Companion Fare benefit which allows you to take someone with you on one flight a year for just $99 plus taxes and fees. It also has a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus and a $75 annual fee.
The last time I had the full details on the Platinum Plus card, it cost a bit less at $50, but also came with a lot less. Instead of the Companion Fare, you’d get a $50 annual airfare discount. Plus, the sign-up bonus was just 5,000 miles. Not great.
What I Found Out
The first Bank of America agent I talked to told me that about two weeks ago they changed the terms of the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus card to align more closely with the Alaska Visa Signature card. But when I pressed him for specifics on the sign-up bonus and other perks (like the Companion Fare), he couldn’t tell me much.
All he could say was that the annual fee for both cards is now $75. He simply didn’t have any more information.
So I hung up and called again, hoping to get someone with more insight into the situation. This time the agent talked to his manager. He wasn’t sure what was going on himself.
He told me that they no longer offered the Platinum Plus card. It just wasn’t available. But he said that the Visa Signature version of the card wasn’t changing—at least that he knew of.
If it’s true that they’ve dropped the Alaska Platinum Plus card—and are not altering the Alaska Visa Signature’s benefits—I’d say that this is a positive change. No one really wants the Platinum Plus version of the card anyway. It’s just not that useful. Now you won’t have to worry about Bank of America sticking you with the inferior product.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.