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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card review: Niche rewards for travelers

Ideal for flyers who travel frequently on Alaska Airlines

 /  13 min
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Snapshot

4.5

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card earns generously for flights in the Alaska Airlines network, giving frequent flyers plenty to enjoy for a relatively low annual fee — including the hyper-valuable Alaska Airlines Companion Fare™. However, this card isn’t great for everyday purchases, so you might want to supplement it with a cash back or travel card with boosted rewards rates for other category purchases.
Best for Alaska Airlines perks
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 1 stars out of 5
    1 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit

Intro offer

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$660

Offer valuation

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1 mile - 3 miles

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card Overview

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has valuable benefits for the airline’s frequent flyers and a solid sign-up bonus and rewards rate. Cardholders can also hit the ground running with Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ on Alaska Airlines — one of the best deals you can find on an airline rewards card. Get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) each account anniversary after you spend $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year. Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.

This card can be worth the $95 annual fee, but mainly for those who fly with Alaska Airlines often since you can only redeem rewards and take advantage of benefits with the airline.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 3 miles per dollar spent with Alaska Airlines
    • 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, EV charging stations, cable, streaming services and local transit purchases
    • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Limited-time online welcome offer

    60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: $95
    • APR: 20.24% - 28.24% (variable)
    • Balance transfer fee: 4 percent of the amount of each transfer
    • Cash advance fee: See Terms
    • Foreign Transaction fee: None
    • Late payment fee: Up to $40

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™
    • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to six companions on the same reservation
    • Priority boarding
    • 20 percent back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases
    • $100 off an annual Alaska Lounge+ Membership

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Alaska Airlines Visa Card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Earn Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare every year starting at $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23).

  • Checkmark

    Cardholders and up to six companions on the same reservation get a free checked bag on Alaska flights.

  • Checkmark

    You can receive 20 percent back on inflight purchases when you use your card.

Cons

  • While Alaska Airlines is a oneworld Alliance partner, the airline has a limited route network.

  • The card's annual fee recently increased from $75 to $95, making it even less practical if you only fly Alaska Airlines occasionally.

  • You’ll need a good to excellent credit score for the best approval odds.

Why you might want the Alaska Airlines Visa Card

Like any branded airline card, the Alaska Airlines Visa card is excellent for frequent flyers of its respective airline, Alaska Airlines. It can be an ideal choice for customers of the airline who take annual or semi-annual trips because it includes generously boosted rewards rates and has some key perks that help you save.

Companion flights: For a friend or family member

You can earn a companion fare code when you spend $6,000 in one year with the Alaska Airlines Visa card ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). This can be a great way to recoup your annual fee.

While spending $6,000 on your travel card is no easy task, it might help to look at this offer as an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on a trip you’re sure to take each year. For instance, the average one-way Alaska Airlines fare hovers around $250 (before taxes). If you spend $6,000 in one year to earn this promotion and use the promotional code to cover companion airfare worth $250, then you’re looking at a return of roughly 4 percent, which rivals the cash back rate on some of the best cash back credit cards

Rewards: Boosted rewards for flights and some recurring purchases

Cardholders can earn 3X miles on flights and 2X miles on eligible gas, EV charging stations, cable, streaming services and transit. In the right hands, these modestly boosted rewards categories can bring a healthy sum of miles. Regarding co-branded airline cards, 3X miles seems to be the standard among cards with comparable annual fees. You can also receive a 10 percent boost to your earned miles if you have an eligible Bank of America account.

Alaska Airlines also has a decent rewards program, with miles coming in at an estimated value of 1.1 cents, according to Bankrate’s latest valuations. This valuation isn’t exceptional, but it is more than you might expect on other cards and is far from the least valuable among airline miles. Plus, you’ll earn them at generously boosted rates, so your miles will stack quickly.

Welcome offer: Solid value with a little effort

While it may require some precise planning, the recent update to the Alaska Airlines Visa's limited-time online bonus has added significant value to the card. You can earn 60,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in your first 90 days with the card, only a small drop from the card's previous limited-time offer of 70,000 miles for the same spending requirement. Additionally, Alaska Airlines still includes its Famous Companion Fare, which starts at $122 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $23). 

Depending on how you use this flight can determine how valuable this welcome offer is. The welcome offer can be worth $660, based on the valuation of 1.1 cents, which is good value, albeit a bit lower than the value of some competing card welcome offers.

Perks: Free checked bags with priority boarding

Several credit cards include free checked bags, but not all have free checked bags for up to six people on the same reservation, something the Alaska Airlines Visa can boast. The only card that comes out ahead for this perk is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, which offers a free checked bag on Delta flights for up to eight additional people on the same reservation. But if you’re a loyal Alaska Airlines customer, there is no replacement for the value that this card carries for multi-person reservations.

Plus, this card has priority boarding for as long as you’re a cardholder. Although this perk isn’t a huge value play, it can help ease tension in the airport and get you onto your plane and into your seat before most of the overhead bag space is cluttered.

Why you might want a different travel card

If you don’t use Alaska Airlines you won’t be able to make the most of this card. However, even if you are a frequent flyer of the airline and live near Alaska Airlines hubs, this card might not provide you with the best value for your specific circumstances.

Limited network: Lacks wide-spread coverage

Alaska Airlines connects cities along the western coast of the United States with international routes to Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Bahamas and Canada. As a oneworld Alliance member, the airline has several partners, opening its flight network to more destinations. However, if you’re hoping to stick with Alaska Airlines, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the airline does not fly to many destinations. 

However, the airline has several partners as a oneworld Alliance member, opening its flight network to more destinations. Unfortunately, there are added fees and guidelines associated with transfers that can lower the value of your Alaska miles and make using them less convenient. The most viable way to redeem your airline miles is directly with Alaska Airlines on routes they serve. However, because the airline has fewer routes than most airlines, this might make the card a poor choice for travelers with plenty of variety in their travels — particularly regarding international travel via transatlantic routes. 

Rates and fees: Increased annual fee eats into rewards

This card once carried a $75 annual fee but was increased to $95 not too long ago, making it more difficult to recoup the cost of the card with rewards earnings. Other general travel rewards cards might have the same annual fee as the Alaska Airlines Visa card fee, but they may have rewards programs that are far easier to maximize. If you don’t foresee yourself spending enough on the card to earn enough miles to offset it, then the card is most likely not a good choice for you. For reference, you’ll need to spend roughly $2,900 on Alaska Airlines flights in one year to earn the cost of your annual fee back with the value of your miles at 1.1 cents upon redemption. 

You can also leverage rewards from other purchases to maximize your card’s value, but it will require substantial spending. If you spend $2,000 on purchases outside your boosted categories, $1,500 at eligible gas stations and $1,220 on Alaska Airlines flights, you’ll earn enough miles to offset the cost of your card’s annual fee at a redemption value of 1.1 cents per mile. Combined spending among these three categories is $4,700 at an average rewards rate of 1.8X miles just to earn back the cost of your card. If you opt for a general travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you could offset the same $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) at faster rates with the same spending amount. 

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Despite living in Florida, Nick Ewen, a credit card expert at The Points Guy, has kept the Alaska Visa in his wallet for a number of years.

I love the Alaska Visa card, mainly because of the annual companion fare benefit it offers. I’ve used it to fly to Hawaii (with a stopover in San Diego), Portland and Seattle in years past — saving well over $1,000 in the process. And Alaska Airlines MileagePlan remains an incredibly valuable loyalty program thanks to its Oneworld and non-alliance airline partners.

— Nick Ewan, Director of Content, The Points Guy

How the Alaska Airlines Visa Card compares to other travel cards

If you’re considering the Alaska Airlines Visa Card, you should compare it to other travel credit cards and airline cards before applying. Here’s how the Alaska Airlines Visa Card stacks up against cards that offer similar perks and rewards.

Image of Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 bonus miles
Info

Rewards rate

1 mile - 3 miles
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

Earn 75,000 miles
Info

Rewards rate

2 Miles - 5 Miles
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Alaska Airlines Visa Card

Finding the right card to pair with the Alaska Airlines Visa can be difficult. It’s a branded airline credit card, so you won’t have many options if you’re hoping to combine points and bonus categories. However, it would pair excellently with a flat-rate travel rewards card or one that includes generous rewards with the option of transferring points to partnering airlines — particularly those in the oneworld Alliance.

Who is the Alaska Airlines Visa Card right for?

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Alaska Airlines card worth it?

The Alaska Airlines Visa Card can be worth the $95 annual fee, but only if you can use Alaska miles and the card’s companion fare. If you live in an area not serviced by Alaska Airlines or frequently fly to destinations outside the airline’s service area, you may want to look at other card options.

Fortunately, there are many rewards and travel credit cards to choose from. No matter whether the Alaska Airlines Visa Card makes sense for your travel needs, you should consider all your options before you decide.

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Written by
Brendan Dyer
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Brendan Dyer holds a Master of Fine Arts in Journalism from Western Connecticut State University and worked previously as a content editor for Regional News Network, a hyper-local TV news station contracted by Verizon FiOS1 News. As a national service volunteer, Brendan exercised a passion for helping underserved communities and demographics through direct, community service. He constantly seeks to apply his expertise as a journalist to the field of personal finance with the goal of helping people navigate the complexities of the credit card industry.

Edited by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Writer, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.