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Updated June 2, 2016

Alaska Airlines Credit Card Review

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The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is an airline miles card with a nice annual perk: a single super-low cost companion fare from $121. Read on to see if the card is worth the $75 annual fee.

© BriYYZ (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Benefits

  • Introductory bonus offer: New cardholders get bonus miles after they hit the minimum spending requirement within the first 90 days. Just 25,000 miles are enough for a round-trip Alaska Airlines flight in the continental U.S., Canada, or Alaska.

  • Annual companion fare: One of the bigger perks of this card is the companion fare, which can cost you as little as $121 ($99 base fare plus fees as low as $22). To get this perk, you need to make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Every year, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature cardholders in good standing will receive a Companion Fare Code within the first 2 billing cycles after the Anniversary date each year. This code must be redeemed within 12 months of the date of issue.

    If you are a frequent Alaska Airlines passenger and you plan to take someone with you at least once a year, this benefit makes owning this card worth it.

  • Free checked bag: Up to 6 passengers traveling on the same reservation as the primary cardholder may check one bag free on qualifying reservations. Qualifying reservations include flights on Alaska. This includes flights marketed by Alaska Airlines and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest or PenAir (codeshare flights operated by other carriers are not eligible).

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • No expiration and no limit on miles earned as long as you keep the card active: The reward structure is pretty standard — you get 1 mile for every dollar you spend on purchases but you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar on qualifying purchases spent directly on Alaska Airlines. As long as you keep the card active, the miles you earn won’t expire, and there’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn in any given period of time.

  • Redeem miles on Alaska Airlines or partners: Cardholders can redeem their miles for flights with Alaska Airlines or their partners. Partners includes carriers like American Airlines, Delta, and British Airways, among others.

Drawbacks

  • Annual fee: It will cost you $75 per year to maintain your cardholder status.

  • Reward structure: The opportunities to earn more than 1 mile per dollar spent are very limited. Other cards offer more chances to double or triple the miles you earn on spending, even outside the brand.

How It Compares

It’s unlikely that you’ll want this card if you’re not a regular user of Alaska Airlines. Even if you do use it often enough, you’d be a savvy credit cardholder if you take the time to consider other cards to see if this one is the right one for you. Here are a few to consider.

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Delta / Delta Credit Cards from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner: Gold Delta SkyMiles offers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your new account. Plus, earn a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. This card earns airline miles: 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year) (See Rates & Fees).

    If you fly Delta, here's what you should know: you can check your first bag free on Delta flights with this card - that is a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of 4. Plus, you can enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding. Terms apply.

  • American Airlines: Citi AAdvantage offers 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, you earn a $125 AA Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card.

    This card earns 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. This card lets you enjoy preferred boarding on American Airline domestic flights. You also get the first checked bag free on domestic AA itineraries for you (and up to 4 companions traveling with you on the same reservation). There is a $99 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months).

  • Southwest Airlines: Southwest Credit Card lets you earn up to 75,000 points. You earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. This card earns 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary. You earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There is no foreign transaction fee. There is a $99 annual fee.

  • Hawaiian Airlines: The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard's annual fee is higher than the Alaska Airlines card at $89, but the Hawaiian Airlines Card comes with some interesting perks. For starters, purchases at select partner merchants will earn you up to 10x miles per dollar spent. There’s also the ShareMiles program, which enables cardholders to receive miles from friends and family. Each year cardholders enjoy a $100 companion discount and a maximum of a $100 statement credit toward inflight purchases, and you’ll earn a bonus 5,000 miles in every year that you spend $10,000 or more with your card. If you’ll be using your next travel card outside the country, you’ll also want to know that this one has a 0% foreign transaction fee.

Interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees from published web sites as of 4/13/2015.

Who It’s Best For

© Frank Kovalchek (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

The major selling point of the Alaska Airlines card is the bonus miles and companion fare, which if used each year will help justify the card’s annual fee. Outside of that annual perk, there’s not much that separates this card from the other travel rewards credit cards — some of which have more generous rewards structures — unless you’re a frequent Alaska Airlines flier and will often be able to take advantage of the triple miles you’ll earn on Alaska Airlines purchases. In that case, you’ll be flying high with this card.

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Apply for Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights -that's a savings of up to $240 for a family of 4 roundtrip.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Assistance
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Southwest Baggage Fees

Southwest prides itself on providing customers lots of extras without the extra costs. Here's what you need to know for your next flight on Southwest.

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