Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is an excellent card for earning miles in one of the best frequent flyer programs in the industry. Alaska miles can be redeemed for free tickets both on Alaska’s award chart as well as a wide variety of partner award charts. Alaska recently acquired Virgin America and miles can be redeemed for flights on both airlines, offering a more geographically diverse network of routes.
The card also offers an annual companion fare which allows you to get a second ticket starting from $121 after the purchase of a ticket on either Alaska or Virgin America. Cardholders may receive a free checked bag for themselves and up to six companions traveling on the same reservation.
While the card has nice benefits, and earns valuable miles, the earning power is relatively weak. The only opportunity to earn bonus miles is for purchases with Alaska and Virgin America, which earn 3 miles per dollar. All other spending earns only 1 mile per dollar. As a result, everyday spending will be better directed at other cards for many travelers.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card offers and the value of the Bank of America Mileage Plan™ miles you earn.
The standard sign-up bonus for the Alaska Signature card is 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 miles within the first 90 days of opening the account. There is a key quirk that prospective cardholders need to watch out for when applying for this card: Bank of America will automatically consider applicants for Alaska’s Platinum card if they do not qualify for the standard Signature card. The problem is that the Visa Platinum card has only a 5,000 miles sign-up bonus. This has left many people disappointed after glancing over the approval message only to find out later they were only going to receive the smaller bonus.
If this happens to you, call the reconsideration line immediately and ask that your card be upgraded to the Signature version. There are also reports of people being denied for the upgrade if the account is already open. A potential workaround to this situation is to submit a second application, call to have that one upgraded, and then cancel the first account to avoid duplicate cards.
Alaska often offers this card with a $100 statement credit along with the 30,000 miles. Be sure to search for this version of the sign-up bonus if you are planning on applying for the card.
What You Get
- Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Alaska has a consumer-friendly policy with regard to mileage expiration. Mileage Plan miles do not have an expiration date and may remain in an active account indefinitely, provided that the Mileage Plan program has not been terminated.
However, Alaska does reserve the right to close an account if it is inactive for 2 years, delete any mileage balance, and reassign the Mileage Plan number. Activity in an account includes redeeming a Mileage Plan award or accruing mileage in the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. Deleted mileage can be reinstated for a fee for up to 1 year. To reinstate a Mileage Plan account, simply contact Alaska’s customer support.
What is the value of the Mileage Plan™ Miles?
Alaska has a few sweet spots in its award charts. The first is short-haul domestic economy redemptions. Alaska recently moved to a distance-based award chart where the shortest distance award flights now start at just 5,000 miles. The second sweet spot is international premium cabin redemptions on partner airlines. For example, roundtrip business class awards on Cathay Pacific from the U.S. to Asia cost just 100,000 miles, whereas similar flights would cost 140,000 to 180,000 miles on most competitors.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile, or CPM, is a common way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you’re getting for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket by the number of miles the award flight costs. This can be a somewhat subjective estimate because the cash price of flights can vary.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Mileage Plan™ Miles
One big advantage of Alaska’s program over other major legacy airlines is that mileage-earning is still based on miles flown, not the cost of the ticket. This means that flyers can still accrue a significant amount of miles without spending a ton of money or being a top-tier elite member.
Alaska has a complicated but valuable overall set of award redemption opportunities. There are two sources of complications:
- The domestic award chart is distance-based, so you need to know the length of your flight in miles to know which bracket it will fit into. This presents the potential for great redemption rates on short flights if award space is available.
- For international awards, Alaska has a separate award chart for each partner. While you can simply search for award flights and see the resulting prices for available flights, you may want to scan the partner award charts and search specifically for the carriers that offer the cheapest flights to your destination.
The one-way prices for domestic economy awards on Alaska’s own metal are displayed below. Alaska has a distance based chart with 4 tiers.
- Less than 700 miles: 5,000-20,000 miles
- 701-1400 miles: 7,500-20,000 miles
- 1401-2100 miles: 10,000-20,000 miles
- Over 2101 miles: 12,500-20,000 miles
In addition, Alaska has a variety of partner award charts, though these typically price out at the standard 12,500 mile price each way. There are some cheaper options for intra-state flights in Alaska.
The options for international flights are much more numerous. Alaska is not part of any airline alliance, but does have 16 partners which fly international routes. Alaska has a separate award chart for each partner and the rates often differ considerably from those available by booking directly with the partner airline. There are far too many possibilities to list, however Alaska makes it very easy to determine the cost of award flights. On Alaska’s website simply click “Mileage Plan” and then “Award charts”. From there select your origin and destination. The award chart for each partner which serves the selected routes will be then be displayed on the screen. You can filter these results by airline, class of service, and region.
Miles price25,000miles+$11.2 fee
San Francisco–MiamiEconomy class
Miles price25,000miles+$36.2 fee
Los Angeles–Las VegasEconomy class
Miles price25,000miles+$11.2 fee
Miles price25,000miles+$11.2 fee
Miles price65,000miles+$312.0 fee
Las Vegas–San JoseEconomy class
Miles price35,000miles+$106.0 fee
Los Angeles–SeattleBusiness class
Miles price50,000miles+$11.2 fee
Dallas–San FranciscoBusiness class
Miles price120,000miles+$11.2 fee
Miles price32,500miles+$23.7 fee
Miles price60,000miles+$125.0 fee
San Francisco–CancunBusiness class
Miles price65,000miles+$80.0 fee
Santa Barbara–LiberiaBusiness class
Miles price60,000miles+$112.0 fee
Other Ways You Can Earn Miles
Hotel Stays11 partners11 part.
Alaska offers the ability to earn extra miles when booking hotels. Some of these are a fixed number of miles per stay, while others earn a certain number of miles per dollar spent. There are 11 hotel partners, which include Best Western, SPG, Marriott, and Rocketmiles.
Car Rental7 partners7 part.
Alaska also offers the ability to earn extra miles when booking rental cars. Miles are awarded based on the number of days for which the car is rented, though rates vary by partner. There are 7 Alaska Airlines rental car partners, which include Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National.
Other Ways You Can Redeem Miles
Alaska miles can be redeemed for magazine subscriptions. There are a wide variety of options to choose from. For example, 11 issues of Conde Nast Traveler cost 800 miles, or 13 issues of New York Magazine cost 200 miles. If you are interested in these magazines and have a small stash of orphan miles, this is a decent way to get some value out of them.
The Alaska Visa is not a great card for everyday earning since it has no bonus categories
outside of purchases with Alaska or Virgin America. That being said, there are some other
ways to earn miles. Mileage Plan Dining is a program which allows you to earn extra miles
at restaurants by registering your card on their website. You can earn up to 5 bonus miles
per dollar depending on your level of participation in the program.
Similarly, there is a program called Mileage Plan Shopping which allows you to earn bonus miles for online shopping at over 800 retailers.
Your Monthly Charges
Rewards You Will Earn Annually24,000miles$360in dollar value
- Car Rental
- Alaska Airlines Purchases
- All Other Purchases
Alaska Airlines Free Checked Bag
Primary cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card who have an open account at the time of travel may check 1 bag free of charge for themselves and up to 6 passengers traveling on the same reservation on both Alaska and Virgin America flights.
Alaska Airlines Annual Companion Pass
Visa Signature® cardholders who make any combination of purchases totaling at least $1,000 that post to the account within 90 days of the account open date will qualify for a round-trip coach Companion Fare on Alaska Airline, with a base price of $99 plus taxes and fees.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
You’ll never be charged a fee for using your card outside of the U.S.
Earn Elite Status Fast
The Alaska credit card does not offer any way expedite the earning of elite status via qualifying miles bonuses. For those interested in a fast track to Alaska status, consider the Virgin America credit card which does offer Status Points, which could then be used to take advantage of reciprocal status between the two airlines.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The annual fee for the Alaska Signature card is $75, which is not waived the first year. There are a few ways you can get more than $75 worth of value from the benefits of this card. If you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days you’ll get the companion certificate, whichcan easily result in over $75 of savings. Since the companion fares can be purchased for $121, any fare over $196 including taxes and fees will result savings over $75.
In order to earn $75 worth of value out of this card through mileage redemptions earned from everyday spending, a reasonable estimate is about $3,750 of unbonused spending. If we value miles at 2 cents each, this equates to $75. The required amount of spending would be lower if the card were used on Alaska or Virgin America purchase, which earn 3 miles per dollar.
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $38
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
Your Average Monthly Spend
Months to Cover Annual Fee
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $1,667 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Alaska
Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get
the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
The card clearly pays for itself in the first year due to the sign-up bonus. After that it depends on your level of spending plus whether or not you can make use of the companion fare.
Top 5 Benefits of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
- Companion Fare: The annual companion fare allows a family member or friend to accompany you on a flight for just $121. This can result in huge savings when used for relatively expensive fares.
- Valuable Sign-Up Bonus: The 30,000 miles sign-up bonus is worth $450 if you redeem at a reasonable valuation of 1.5 cents per mile. However, even greater value is possible. More Lenient Bank: Bank of America has not imposed restrictions on earning sign-up bonuses or opening new accounts like many of the large credit card issuing banks.
- More Lenient Bank: Bank of America has not imposed restrictions on earning sign-up bonuses or opening new accounts like many of the large credit card issuing banks.
- Great Award Charts: Alaska’s award chart offer something for everyone, whether it’s cheap short-haul economy awards, or luxurious international premium cabin awards on partner airlines.
- Free Checked Bags: Without this card, you’d have to pay $25 per flight to check a bag. Think of how much you could save with this one benefit!
Should You Get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card?
The Alaska Signature card has attributes that appeal to a wide variety of people. A few examples of the types of travelers that may want to consider this card include:
- Those looking for low cost international premium cabin awards. Alaska’s partner award charts offer substantial savings over most competitors in this area.
- West Coast-based travelers looking for cheap short-haul awards. Alaska’s distance-based award chart combined with its West Coast network allows for cheaper award tickets on short-haul economy awards.
- Travelers who cannot get cards or sign-up bonuses from other banks. If your options are limited by Chase’s 5/24 rule or Amex’s once in a lifetime rule, then the Bank of America Alaska card might be an option.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
There’s one online application for both the Alaska Visa Signature and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Platinum Plus. The card issuer, Bank of America, will automatically determine which card you qualify for. The Signature card has better benefits and a large sign-up bonus, so if you don’t get that card, you should call Bank of America and ask them to reconsider your application.
No, the card carries a $75 annual fee. However, the annual companion pass that comes with the card can more than cover the cost. Plus, you’ll receive a large sign-up bonus the first year you have the card, which is worth more than the annual fee.
It’s easy to check you application status by following this link and entering some basic information so that they can identify your application: https://secure.bankofamerica.com/apply-credit-cards/public/application-status/
The amount of miles needed for an award depends on the flight you are trying to book. Redemptions start as low as 5,000 miles for one-way economy tickets, so there are plenty of opportunities to only use a portion of the miles earned from the sign-up bonus.
Alaska offers an option called “Money & Miles” which offers up to a 50% discount on most coach and first class fares. The maximum discount is $100 off the base fare for 10,000 miles, or $200 off the base fare for 20,000 miles. You earn 100% of the miles flown when traveling on this award.
Compare Alaska Airlines Cards
Other Alaska Airlines cards
There are three Alaska Airlines cards offered by Bank of America. The Alaska Visa Signature card and the Alaska Visa Business card are essentially identical. They both offer a 30,000 miles sign-up bonus, a companion fare and carry a $75 annual fee. The business card offers the opportunity to earn an additional sign-up bonus for those that already have the personal card.
The third card is the Alaska Platinum Plus version which offers a much lower sign-up bonus and no companion fare. This card should be avoided and, as discussed earlier, if your application results in being considered for the Platinum Plus card, be sure to contact Bank of America to try to upgrade to the Signature version.
|Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card|
|30,000 miles||30,000 miles||5,000 miles|
APR On Purchases
|13.24% to 20.24% Variable±||13.24% to 20.24% Variable±||13.24% to 20.24% Variable±|
Second Year Value
Compare Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card to other Cards
There are several additional cards that people may consider when applying for an airline credit card or one that earns points which can be converted to miles.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
50,000 points offerRead Review
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®
25,000 miles offerRead Review
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
30,000 miles offerRead Review
The Chase Sapphire preferred card has a 50,000 points sign-up bonus, and these points can be transferred to a variety of airlines at a 1 to 1 ratio. The Citi AAdvantage Gold card is a poor choice as the sign-up bonus is lower at 25,000 miles and it doesn’t come with benefits, such as a free checked bag or a Companion Fare. The Gold Delta Skymiles card has a 30,000 miles sign-up bonus and a free checked bag benefit, but does not offer a companion fare like the Alaska Signature card.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Excellent credit score
IssuerBank of America
Pay with pointsNo
Available airlineAlaska Airlines
Loyalty ProgramMileage Plan™
Flights TypeDomestic and International
AllianceNot a member
Card Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 13.24% to 20.24% Variable±
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account, for Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances, and 25.99% for Bank Cash Advances.
- Cash Advance Fee:
- 16.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account, for Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances, and 25.99% for Bank Cash Advances
Security and Protections
- Stay Protected:
- Bank of America blocks potential fraud if abnormal patterns are detected and let you know if they suspect fraudulent activity. Plus, you always get a $0 Liability Guarantee for fraudulent transactions.
- Banking on the Go:
- Access to award-winning Online and Mobile Banking. Bank on the go from almost anywhere quickly and securely. Pay your credit card bill online, transfer funds, check available credit and more.
- Chip cards:
- Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection when making purchases at chip-enabled terminals in over 130 countries.
- Free FICO:
- Now, when you opt-in you can access your FICO®Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking.
- Bank of America has a mobile app with features such as rewards redemption, free FICO score and a Spanish language setting.
- Compatible with mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Alaska Visa Signature card comes with all the benefits of any Visa Signature card including:
Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Baggage Delay Insurance:
- Reimbursement for essentials such as toiletries and clothing if bags are delayed over 6 hours. Get up to $100 a day for 3 days.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags. Coverage includes cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.
- Roadside Dispatch:
- Call 800-847-2869 for roadside assistance, including lockout service, towing, jumpstart and gas delivery. Service charges apply.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000 for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services:
- Legal and medical referrals, and other travel and emergency assistance is available any time of day. Service charges apply.