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Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card Review

Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Sep 30, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you’re a loyal customer of Alaska Airlines, you might like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, which is tied to the Mileage Plan™ loyalty program and offers a sweet sign-up bonus.

For details about what this card offers, and also cards that might fit you better if you’re not a frequent Alaska Airlines flyer, keep reading.

Read: Best Airline Credit Cards

In this article:

What we like about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Sign-up bonus. $100 statement credit and 40,000 bonus miles with this special online offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. There are no blackout dates. The especially great thing about the Companion Fare is that you can get one each account anniversary year.

Check a bag for free. Cardmembers and up to six companions on the same reservation get a free checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights.

Higher airline rewards. This covers airline tickets, in-flight food and beverage purchases, cargo and vacation packages — and it’s better than what’s offered by competing airline-branded credit cards.

Eat for miles. Under Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan Dining program, you can earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent, depending on your membership status, if you register and use the card at more than 10,000 participating restaurants, bars or clubs.

Redeem miles. You can redeem your Mileage Plan miles on 18 airline global partners. You can also upgrade to first class, book hotel stays at 400,000 properties worldwide and enroll in program for magazines subscriptions. There’s no cap on the number of miles you can earn.

Travel/purchase perks. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card comes with Visa Signature® benefits, including roadside dispatch, auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty protection and travel and emergency assistance services.

What we don’t like about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

All miles aren’t equal. It’s nice that Alaska Airlines has 18 partners where cardmembers can earn miles — but the number of miles you earn depends on the airline partner you book your flight on. If you book premium cabins (including the premium economy) on American Airlines, you’ll earn 100% of the miles you fly. But if you book coach, you may only earn 25% of your miles, depending on the fare class. However, Qantas gives you 100% of your miles no matter what class you book, plus a class of service bonus of 10% to 50% for premium seats. Some airlines are better than others when it comes to earning miles, so check this website before hitting that purchase button.

Companion fare costs. That “free” companion fare will actually cost you around $121, depending on the flight you choose, and you must fly with the cardmember who has paid for a flight.

Other travel credit cards to consider

Alaska Airlines has a growing route network, but maybe you fly with another airline more frequently — or perhaps you want a card that’s not tied to a specific airline. With that in mind, let’s consider a Southwest Airlines card and then two that aren’t co-branded with an airline.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

The sign-up bonus on this card is as follows: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. The rewards rate is Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. There’s an annual fee of $69.

What makes this card a competitive alternative to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is that Southwest also provides an opportunity to earn a Companion Pass — a benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges (does not include taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight.

To earn the Companion Pass, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. After doing that, you’ll get the benefit for the rest of the year in which you earned it and also for the following full calendar year.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

This card’s sign-up bonus allows new cardmembers to Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening. The bonus points equal $1,000 when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal and can be redeemed for a variety of airlines, as well as other travel expenditures. Earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide The card gives you 25% more value for your points when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. There’s an annual fee of $95.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

  • 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Highlights
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

See additional details for Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

More Info

With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, there’s a earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card will earn you 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. The annual fee is $95.

Compare these cards at a glance

Here’s a quick comparison of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card:

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee $75 $69 $95 $95
Regular purchase APR 15.99% - 22.99% Variable 15.99% - 22.99% Variable 17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Rewards Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Welcome offer/sign-up bonus $100 statement credit and 40,000 bonus miles with this special online offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year. Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Foreign transaction fee None 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars $0 None

The bottom line

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card comes with higher rewards for airline-related spending than some competing cards, but falls short when it comes to earning in other categories related to travel (such as dining). However, we are big fans of this card’s Companion Fare, which doesn’t require a huge upfront spend or mile accumulation to qualify like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

It’s worth noting that while Alaska Airlines’ route network may not be as extensive as some cardmembers might want, it has partnerships with other airlines that can make up for that.

If you want a competitive airline card with a different airline, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. If you don’t want a card tied to a specific airline, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card will give you more flexibility in how you earn and spend your rewards.


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