Alaska Airlines Visa credit card review: Earn hard-to-get miles

The Alaska Airlines Visa credit card is a top choice for anyone looking to earn Alaska miles. These miles are highly valuable as they can be used to book flights on Oneworld partner airlines, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and American Airlines. Additionally, cardholders enjoy benefits such as a free checked bag and priority boarding when using the card to pay for their flights.

Applying for the personal Alaska Airlines Visa credit card or the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card are the main options for easily earning a substantial amount of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. It can be difficult to earn Alaska miles as the program doesn’t have any major transferable points currency partnerships, except for Marriott Bonvoy. Therefore, if you are loyal to Alaska Airlines or have a good reason to accrue Alaska miles for travel on Alaska Airlines or its partners, this card is worth considering.

Furthermore, with Alaska’s proposed acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines, there will be even more opportunities to earn and redeem miles when flying to the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

The current welcome offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card is 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fareā„¢ after making $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. TPG values Alaska miles at 1.4 cents each, making the 60,000 miles worth $840.

The card provides elite-like perks without the need for Alaska Airlines MVP elite status. Cardholders receive one free checked bag for themselves and up to six other passengers on the same reservation when paying with the card, saving $30 per person each way on checked bags. There are also Alaska-related discounts, including 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases.

The most lucrative ongoing benefit of the card is the annual companion fare, which is earned every year on the account anniversary when $6,000 or more has been spent within the prior anniversary year. The companion fare is only valid for coach travel but is eligible for upgrades if the cardholder holds Alaska’s elite status.

Other benefits of the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card include a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to six other travelers on the same reservation, no foreign transaction fees, priority boarding, and a $100 discount on an annual Alaska Lounge+ membership. Cardholders also receive a 10% rebate on miles earned annually if they have an eligible account at Bank of America.

When it comes to earning miles, the Alaska Airlines Visa card offers 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on gas, local transit, EV charging stations, ride-hailing, cable, and some streaming services, and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases. For those who frequently travel on Alaska Airlines, this card is an obvious choice for airline purchases.

Redeeming miles with the Alaska Airlines Visa card offers various options. Mileage Plan has an award chart that will be overhauled in March 2024, transitioning to a distance-based model. Short-haul Alaska awards start at just 5,000 miles each way, while longer flights are typically 12,500 miles in economy. First-class flights can range from 15,000 to 40,000 miles each way, depending on the distance. Additionally, Alaska’s partner airlines can be used for travel across the globe, offering great opportunities to maximize the value of Alaska miles.

If you’re not specifically in need of Alaska miles, there are other cards that are great for earning transferrable points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent choice for earning Chase points, which can be transferred to various airline and hotel partners or redeemed directly for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another option, offering fixed-value redemptions and a range of airline and hotel transfer partners.

In conclusion, the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card is a fantastic choice for Alaska loyalists or those looking to diversify their points and miles portfolio with valuable Alaska miles. The card offers great benefits, including a free checked bag, priority boarding, and an annual companion fare. With a decent earning rate for Alaska purchases, this card is a valuable asset for anyone who frequently travels on Alaska Airlines or its partner airlines.

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