Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card review

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Best for Alaska Airlines perks

Annual Fee:
$75
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Terms and Restrictions Apply

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Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Overview

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers a generous bonus of 50,000 miles after cardholders spend $2,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening. Cardholders can also access Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, which lets them book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) on Alaska Airlines.

This card is well worth the $75 annual fee—but mostly for those who fly with Alaska Airlines often.

Want more details? Jump to the following sections:

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

  • Earn Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare every year. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card lets cardholders enjoy a companion fare that can be used to book a companion flight starting at $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22).
  • Earn a generous bonus offer. When you sign up for this card, you can earn 50,000 miles when you spend $2,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening.
  • Get a free checked bag. Cardholders and up to six companions on the same reservation get a free checked bag on Alaska flights.

Disadvantages

  • Alaska Airlines has a limited flight network. While Alaska Airlines is now a oneworld partner, the airline itself has a limited route network. This can make using the companion fare especially difficult depending on where you live.
  • High APR. This card has a relatively high APR that will apply if you carry a balance on your card.
  • Disappointing ongoing rewards. While cardholders do earn 3 miles per dollar spent with the airline, the earning rate for regular purchases is only 1 mile per dollar spent.
  • Good or excellent credit required. You’ll need good or excellent credit to qualify for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, which means this card won’t work for everyone.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 3 miles per dollar spent with Alaska Airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Annual fee: $75
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable

The current welcome offer

New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.

As you compare airline credit cards, you’ll definitely notice that some cards offer bigger sign-up bonuses than others. However, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card bonus offer is very generous considering the high value of these airline miles, as well as the fact you can earn the bonus with a relatively low spending requirement of just $2,000 within 90 days—just $667 every 30 days for three months in a row.

The rewards rate

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card offers rewards for each dollar you spend, which makes it worth considering if you’re looking for ways to rack up airline miles when you’re not flying very often. However, the earning rate leaves a lot to be desired.

Earning rewards

Cardholders earn 3 miles per dollar spent with Alaska Airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. While the rate for airfare is generous and on par with many other airline credit cards, the earning rate for regular purchases is relatively subpar.

Once you start comparing other options, you’ll notice that other airline credit cards offer bonus miles in everyday spending categories, like groceries or dining out.

Redeeming rewards

Alaska Airlines award flights start at just 5,000 miles, which is an excellent point of entry for any frequent flyer program. The airline also features a tool on its website that lets you know how many miles you’ll need for an award flight to different regions the airline services. This frequent flyer tool even shows how you can use Alaska miles for flights with oneworld partners.

Some highlights of this program include:

  • One-way economy award from the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada to Australia for 40,000 miles on American or Cathay Pacific
  • One-way economy award from the continental U.S., Alaska or Canada to Hawaii starting at 15,000 miles on Alaska
  • One-way economy award from the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada to the Caribbean starting at 17,500 miles on American

While this frequent flyer program has plenty of sweet spots, you should be aware that this card and program are geared to individuals who live on the West Coast or fly Alaska Airlines often. When you look at the airline’s route map, you can quickly see that Alaska Airlines doesn’t even service states like North Dakota, Iowa, Alabama and Arkansas. You could potentially use Alaska miles for flights with partners from these destinations, but your options will be more limited.

Key cardholder perks

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card has some benefits worth noting, including some perks that can help you save big when you fly. Unfortunately, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card doesn’t come with several of the usual airline card benefits like priority boarding or elite qualifying miles.

Famous Companion Fare

Individuals who sign up for this card get access to Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, which starts at $121 once you pay $99 for the fare and a minimum of $22 in airline taxes and fees. You get this fare when you make $2,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, and you qualify each additional year on your cardmember anniversary.

Discounted lounge access

Cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card qualify for 50 percent off day passes at the Alaska Lounge provided they pay with their credit card.

Discounts on in-flight purchases

Frequent Alaska customers will also love the fact this card gives a 20 percent discount on in-flight purchases.

Free checked bags

Finally, cardholders get a free checked bag on Alaska flights. This benefit also extends to up to six other people on the same itinerary, and the saving is worth approximately $60 per person on a round-trip flight.

Rates and fees

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card charges a $75 annual fee, although it doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers require a 3 percent (minimum $10) balance transfer fee, and you’ll owe a 5 percent (minimum $10) cash advance fee if you use your card to get cash from an ATM.

If you pay your bill late, a late payment fee up to $40 can apply. All things considered, fees charged by the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card are standard among airline credit cards.

How the Alaska Airlines credit card compares to other travel cards

If you’re considering the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, you should take the time to compare it to other travel credit cards and airline cards before you sign up. The chart below shows how the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card stacks up to cards that offer similar perks and rewards.

Feature Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee $75 $95 $95
Rewards Rate
  • 3X miles on Alaska Airlines purchases
  • 1X miles on all other purchases
2X miles on all qualifying purchases
  • 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer through March 2022)
  • 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on other travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Offer 50,000 miles
(after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days)
60,000 miles
(after spending $3,000 within the first three months)
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
(after spending $4,000 within the first three months)

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card lets you earn rewards for travel with a lot more flexibility. After all, this card lets you redeem your miles to cover any travel purchase charged to your card at a rate of one cent per mile. Meanwhile, you can also transfer your miles to Capital One airline and hotel partners, which include some oneworld partners that offer the same routes you can book with Alaska.

This card also offers a flat earning rate on all your purchases, as well as a generous bonus offer. While you won’t get any frequent flyer benefits, you do get no foreign transaction fees and a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has one of the best bonus offers among all travel credit cards right now, and you also get to earn bonus points in a wide range of everyday spending categories. On the redemption end, you can cash in your points for statement credits, gift cards or merchandise. You also get 1.25 cents per point in value when you redeem for travel through Chase, or you can transfer your points to Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a better overall rewards rate and points that are much more flexible. However, you don’t get any specific frequent flyer benefits.

Best cards to pair with this card

If you are considering the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card but hoping to pair it with another rewards card, we suggest pairing it up with a flexible travel credit card. That way, you can use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card to rack up miles for the flights you want while leaning on your flexible travel credit card to earn points for hotel stays, rental cars and other aspects of your travel plans.

If you pair your Alaska card with another that has different earning categories, that’s even better. For example, you could pair it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred to access better rewards in everyday spending categories and the flexibility of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

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

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is definitely worth the $75 annual fee, but only if you are in a position to use Alaska miles and the card’s companion fare. If you live in an area not serviced by Alaska Airlines, or if you frequently fly to destinations outside of the airline’s service area, you may want to look at other card options.

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