*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and 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 Feb 12, 2014, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
For those who frequently travel to Alaska for business or family, chances are you strictly use Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines now flies out of 32 states DC, Mexico and Canada. With the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™, frequent flyers can earn airline miles to use towards free flights and seat upgrades. Like many airlines, Alaska Airlines offers a travel rewards credit card which can help loyal customers boost their mileage account. The Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card comes in two forms: the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card and the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Card. Both cards are issued through Bank of America, but there are some big differences between the two.
|Visa Signature||Platinum Plus|
|Annual Fee (not waived first year)||$75||$50|
|Credit Line||$5,000+||Less than $5,000|
|Bonus Miles Upon Approval||25,000 Miles||5,000 Miles|
|Bonus Perks||$50 Airport Lounge Discount
$121 Companion Fare ticket each year
Free Checked Bag
|$50 Discount Code offer each anniversary year|
What we Like
As you can see, the Visa Signature credit card offers more bang for your buck with a better rewards program, a larger credit line, and better yearly incentives. Like most airline credit cards, you’ll earn a flat 1 mile per dollar on all of your purchases, plus extra miles on certain The Visa Signature cards will earn you 3 miles per dollar on net purchases for Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, and on cargo and in-flight purchases. There’s no cap on the number of miles you can earn and miles can be redeemed for flights on Alaska Airlines and also on 14 other airline partners.
Additionally, Visa Signature card holders receive one free companion fare ticket each year they keep the account open, which is a great incentive and more than makes up for the annual fee. Platinum Plus members get a pretty great incentive, too, a $50 discount code to use towards airfare. Finally, a great feature about both cards is that you don’t have to meet a minimum spending requirement to receive the sign up bonus; you’ll simply receive the miles upon approval!
What We’re not so Crazy About
It’s probably quite the let-down for those that only qualify for the Platinum Plus card and not the Visa Signature credit card. Since there’s a huge gap in the bonus miles earned between a Visa Signature and Platinum Plus, it’s hard to justify the benefit of this card if you aren’t approved for the Visa Signature. And as will any co-branded travel credit card, you won’t have a whole lot of flexibility in how you redeem the miles you earn with this card. So if you’re not a frequent flyer with Alaska Airlines or any of their partners, then this card won’t be of much use to you.
Better Options for Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: This card will earn 2x miles on all purchases and comes with a great limited time sign-on bonus, where you can earn enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. This card offers excellent flexibility in redeeming your miles because you can redeem for purchases with any airline or hotel. Furthermore, cardholders will get 5% of their miles back everytime they make a redemption. This card comes with an annual fee of $89 - waived first year.*This offer and/or promotion has since changed, expired, or is no longer available.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: With this card, you’ll earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. A total of 55,000 bonus points can be earned with new card enrollment; earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Another 5,000 bonus points can be earned after an authorized user is added to the account and makes a purchase in the first 3 months. There is an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Similarly to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, this card will earn you 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. What makes this card different is the lower annual fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that and the slightly lower variable APR. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel, and you can redeem miles for any travel purchase of any amount.