The Alaska Airlines Visa has long been a sleeper favorite.
- It’s from Bank of America, and it’s the best co-brand card they offer.
- Alaska Airlines miles are fantastic, they partner with members of more than one alliance, offer one-way awards with a stopover, and allow most partner awards to be booked online.
I first got the card several years ago, and writing this post reminds me that I need to consider getting it again.
There are several offers, including a new one where you make money on top of the mileage bonus for signup. I’ll look at which one is best.
The card comes with a $75 fee, and isn’t generally waived the first year. It also comes with a $99+tax companion certificate, which can be used on any paid economy fare with no exclusions or restrictions. If you can book a ticket on the Alaska website in economy, the second passenger is $99+tax and earns miles. (I do miss the days 25,000 miles on approval and a $100 statement credit after $1000 in purchases within 90 days. This one is new to me.
Sadly the 50,000 mile signup bonus for the card is no longer available.
If you’re going to make the Alaska card your primary spend card, then the third offer for 40,000 miles is best. But the truth is that if you want Alaska miles, the Starwood American Express is more powerful for earning them than this card is (because Starpoints transfer 1:1, albeit not quickly, and award a 5000 mile bonus for transferring 20,000 points).
For most people it comes down to the first offer — 25,000 miles and $100, or 30,000 miles.
You’re effectively buying 5000 incremental miles for 2 cents apiece with the 30,000 mile offer.
Which one is best for you depends on how many Alaska miles you have and how many you need, I roughly consider the offers a wash. If you have no immediate need for a bump of 5000 miles then the statement credit is probably better, I’d conserve cash rather than buying Alaska miles at 2 cents. But it’s actually close.
Verdict, for me, is the 25,000 mile signup bonus plus $100 statement credit. But as they say ‘your mileage may vary’.
There’s been talk for some time about possible improvements to the card, and that would only bolster its appeal.
Alaska did make some changes to its award chart, but they were modest. One nice thing about the Delta buildup in Seattle is that Alaska may be reticent to make broader changes. We also know that those of us who use Alaska miles for partner awards are a very small minority of members.
(HT: Gene F. for the statement credit offer link, the other two have been around awhile and I’ve written on them but this offer was new to me.)
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