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The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a credit card offered by Alaska Airlines and Bank of America that gives consumers the opportunity to earn Alaska miles on their expenses as well as enjoy perks when traveling with the airline.
While this is a relatively simple airline credit card, the beauty of the miles you earn lies in being able to book flights with Alaska's many Oneworld and non-alliance partner airlines which include: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Fiji Airways and more. And while the airline is largely centered around airports on the West Coast, this card has more potential than meets the eye.
This card was recently revamped with new benefits being added, and some existing perks getting cut or revamped.
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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, EV charging station, local transit, rideshare, cable, and select streaming services purchases and one mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Limited time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
19.99% - 27.99% variable
Balance transfer fee
3% of each transaction
Foreign transaction fees
The welcome bonus for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is simple: receive 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
And if you're able to meet the spending requirement, you'll have a minimum of 63,000 miles in your account to get started. So at a modest one cent per point value, that is $630 in value right away. However, many people value Alaska miles much higher than 1 cent apiece, so it's possible to get significantly more value than $630 depending on how you use your miles.
And what's more is that you'll also receive an Alaska Companion Fare™, which is a buy-one-get-one ticket for an Alaska Airlines flight. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you'll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.
While there are other airline credit cards available that may offer more benefits, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is concise in its value with its great welcome bonus and solid benefits for Alaska flyers. The card offers the following benefits:
- Free checked bag on Alaska Airlines for you and up to six guests on the same reservation. Plus you'll enjoy priority boarding when you pay for your flight with your card, so you can get to your seat quicker.
- 20% back on all Alaska Airlines inflight purchases
- Priority boarding, when you pay for the flight with your Alaska card
- Receive an Alaska Companion Fare every year
- $100 off an Alaska Lounge membership each year when you pay with your Alaska card
- 10% bonus on miles earned from purchases if you also have an eligible Bank of America banking account
- $0 liability protection
- No foreign transaction fees
While the card isn't packed with a ton of benefits, the value in the ones included is solid. For example, the free checked bag benefit on one round-trip will save you $60 — almost covering the entire annual fee for the card. Note that from March 1, 2023 you'll be required to pay for the flight with your Alaska Airlines card in order to receive free checked bags. Also, the free checked bag and priority boarding benefits now also apply to authorized users so long as the flight is paid for with the Alaska card.
If you travel internationally, you won't be charged a pesky 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S. And if you desire to visit an Alaska lounge before your flight, you can save $100 on an Alaska Lounge membership fee every year when you pay with the card.
So in short, the card's annual fee can be justified quickly just by using the benefits it offers.
Earning Alaska Airlines miles
As you spend on the card, you'll earn:
- 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases
- 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, local transit (including ride-sharing), cable and select streaming services
- 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
This makes the card simple enough for consumers to know that all non-Alaska purchases will earn 1 mile per dollar, whereas some cards have multiple spending categories.
Select calculated how many points the average American can earn in a year when using their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.
The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). Here's what the average consumer would earn using this card:
- Groceries: 5,174 Alaska Airlines miles
- Gas: 4,436 Alaska Airlines miles
- Dining out: 3,675 Alaska Airlines miles
- Travel: 6,732 Alaska Airlines miles (Assuming all travel dollars are spent with Alaska Airlines).
- Utilities: 4,862 Alaska Airlines miles (not including bonus miles for cable or streaming services)
- General purchases: 3,953 Alaska Airlines miles (not including bonus miles for local transit)
With all spending considered, this would net 28,832 Alaska Airlines miles in the first year of card membership, and if you include the 60,000-point welcome bonus, this would yield 88,832 Alaska Airlines miles in just the first year. Over a five-year period, cardholders could potentially earn 204,160 Alaska miles — although the total amount will depend on an individual's annual spending habits.
Outside of what you get for spending on the card, you can earn miles for flying with Alaska Airlines or one of its many airline partners, including domestic partners like American Airlines.
You can also transfer points from other loyalty programs into your Alaska Airlines account, such as Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 ratio. In addition, you can earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred.
Finally, you can earn miles when shopping with select retailers through the Alaska shopping portal, making hotel bookings with Alaska hotel partners and dining with restaurants that are a part of Mileage Plan dining.
Redeeming Alaska Airlines miles
Once you've earned the miles you need for a free flight, the exciting part is redeeming them.
To redeem your Alaska Airlines miles, visit the Alaska Airlines website and log in to your loyalty account. And then start searching for your preferred itinerary, but be sure to select "use miles".
Additionally, if you're earning transferable credit card rewards such as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points or American Express Membership Rewards® points, you can transfer your miles to any Oneworld partner, like British Airways, and redeem them for a flight on Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines recently revamped its award charts. Rather than having a set price based on the distance traveled or regions traversed there is a baseline minimum redemption amount, but no cap on the award cost.
For example, if you want to book a flight from Los Angeles to Miami in economy, it will cost a minimum of 12,500 miles each way and increase from there. What this effectively means is, to know exactly what a specific award costs, you'll need to search the Alaska Airlines site.
If you can book at the minimum price, you can get great value when redeeming Alaska Airlines miles for international business and first class flights. For example, you can book a one-way ticket from the U.S. to Asia in first class on Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific for 70,000 Alaska miles. That flight can easily cost upwards of $7,000 when paid for in cash.
If you plan on carrying a balance month to month, you'll face an interest rate of 19.49% - 27.49% variable. If you'd rather avoid accruing interest, consider signing up for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer instead.
Late payment fees can be up to $40.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is a great airline credit card for Alaska flyers. It's a concise card as it offers a valuable welcome bonus, great spending categories and a reasonable annual fee. But how does it match up against other similar cards?
Select analyzed two other travel credit cards to see how they match up against the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and 1X Mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
20.99% - 29.99% variable
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fees
See rates and fees, terms apply.
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is another great airline card that earns Delta SkyMiles when its used for purchases. With the card, you'll earn:
- 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, U.S. supermarket purchases and restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 1X mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Additionally, you can earn a welcome offer bonus of 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
The card also comes with helpful benefits for your travels, including: first checked bag free, a $100 Delta travel credit when you spend $10,000 or more in a calendar year, *rental car insurance and 20% off in-flight purchases.
The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 after that. (See rates and fees)
If you're deciding between these two cards, it really comes down to your home airport, preferred airline and where you're traveling to. If you live on or near the West Coast, the Alaska Airlines card may be a better fit as Alaska Airlines hubs are all located along the left side of the country. If you live in Atlanta or along the east coast, or travel internationally regularly, the Delta Gold card may suit your needs a bit better.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card vs. United℠ Explorer Card
2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases; 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services and hotel stays; 1 mile earned on every $1 spent on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Balance transfer fee
5%, minimum $5
Foreign transaction fees
Member FDIC. Terms apply.
The United℠ Explorer Card is another great pick for an airline credit card as it earns United miles on all eligible purchases for a low annual fee.
As you spend on the card, you'll earn:
- 2X miles per dollar spent on dining, hotel stays when booked with the hotel and United® purchases
- 1X mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
And when you're approved for the card, you'll be able to earn the welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. These 60,000 miles can be redeemed on United and its airline alliance partners.
The card comes with great perks, including two United Club one-time passes per year, free first checked bag, a $100 credit to enroll in TSA PreCheck/Global Entry and 25% back on United in-flight purchases.
The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, and then $95 thereafter.
Similar to the matchup above, the difference between the two cards comes down to where you live and your flight preferences. If you primarily travel up and down the West Coast, the Alaska Airlines card may be the better card. If you like to travel internationally and live in either the middle or East Coast of the U.S., the United card could be the better option.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a solid choice for anyone who lives on the West Coast, flies at least occasionally with the airline and wants a simple card without a long list of features or spending categories to track. So if you appreciate simplicity while earning valuable airline miles, this card is a great pick.
Additionally, the card is great for someone who enjoys traveling with someone else as it comes with an annual Companion Fare — which is essentially a buy-one-get-one ticket. When you use the Companion Fare, your travel partner will travel for just $121. So if you have an expensive flight coming up you'd like to take with someone, this benefit can be a big money saver.
Lastly, if you have plans to travel internationally, Alaska Airlines has a great award chart for international travel (especially in premium cabins). So if you want the flexibility of earning miles that can be redeemed on other airlines (including American), this card could be a good fit.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has recently been revamped. Some of the changes were positives and others were devaluations, but overall, the card offers flyers an easy-to-understand cardmember experience. It doesn't have a ton of features to track or multiple spending categories to remember which gives cardholders a simple formula to earn value from their card.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
Information about the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.