Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card: Excellent Potential Value

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card: Excellent Potential Value

A card that provides excellent potential value, for consumers who fly with Alaska Airlines and its Mileage Plan partners
Editor's Rating: 4.5
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Editor's Rating

4.5

Credit Cards
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Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page.

Contents

Between its Coach Companion Fare Certificate and miles-earning-potential, the Alaska Airlines credit card is a travel-hacker favorite. There is a lot of value that can be mined out of it, for those who travel with Alaska Airlines, or its partners, at least once a year. Cardholders will need to be careful when redeeming their miles if they want to maximize value. This can create restrictions some people may not welcome – for those individuals, a more general rewards credit card can be a safer bet.

Good For… Bad For…
  • Those who travel with 1 or more people
  • Earning Alaska Airlines miles
  • Anyone looking for easy-to-use rewards
  • Earning miles to travel to Asia

Review: What Is the Value of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card?

The Alaska Airlines credit card is a great option for individuals who either want to earn a lot of airline miles, or those who frequently travel with Alaska Airlines. In either case, this credit card packs a lot of value. The miles you earn with the Alaska Airlines credit card can be used to book travel with several other airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and KLM. This gives the card a decent level of flexibility and options to book award travel in spots where Alaska Airlines may not offer flights.

The other major benefit present in the card is the annual Coach Companion Fare. If you travel with at least one other person, when flying with Alaska Airlines, you can bring them along for a low cost of $99 + taxes and fees (once per year). This is a benefit that has a potential value of hundreds of dollars, easily compensating for the card’s $75 annual fee.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card requires some amount of management, in order to maximize its value. Redeeming miles can produce varying rewards rates that range from 0.7% to 15% - one of the highest levels of variation we’ve seen. In order to attain the higher end of this spectrum, however, you will need to spend some time in front of a computer screen, searching for the best way to use your miles, across different airlines/dates/times. These may limit your flexibility, and don’t leave lots of room to travel whenever you want. If you want to maintain a greater level of freedom (albeit at a reduced rewards rate), consider general travel rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Bottom Line: The Alaska Airlines Credit card packs a high potential value for those willing to put in a moderate amount of work into redeeming their award travel. 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card Benefits & Features

The most standard reward that comes with having the Alaska Airlines credit card is the Mileage Plan™ miles you can earn when using it.

You can get the most miles, 5 per $1 spent, when using the card to pay for Mileage Plan Dining. This encompasses dining out at any one of the thousands of participating locations nationwide – they can include restaurants, bars, and clubs. These participating locations will only offer these rewards on select days, so your mileage will vary. A list of all the Mileage Plan Dining locations, as well as well as basic information about them (reviews, average price, and rewards dates) can be found at the Alaska Airlines website. These range from a specific branch of the fast food chain Wendy's to some of the nicest restaurants in Los Angeles, depending on the day of the week.

The next best way of earning miles with this credit card is when using it to pay for Alaska Airline tickets – 3 miles per $1 spent. All other spending nets just 1 mile per $1. Things such as balance transfers, cash advances, or fee payments will not earn users any miles.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
Annual Fee
$75
Purchase APR
14.24%
Credit Needed N/A
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
Details
  • Earn up to 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ Bonus Miles upon approval
  • 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, and cargo purchases
  • 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining
  • 1 mile per $1 on all purchases
  • First Checked Bag Free for you and up to 6 companions booked on your reservation
  • Coach Companion Fare from $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22)

All cardholders who are approved for the Alaska Airlines credit card also receive 25,000 bonus miles, as a welcome gift. We estimate the value of this bonus to be roughly $475 – or enough to cover the card’s $75 annual fee for the next 6 years. Given the fact that this bonus reward doesn’t require any spending threshold to be met, it is one of the more generous welcome offers we’ve seen.

What Are Alaska Air Miles Worth?

We have calculated the average value of an Alaska Airlines mile to be $0.019. This value, however, can vary greatly depending on how you use your miles. Mileage Plan™ miles earned with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card can be redeemed with either the affiliated airline, or any of its partners. Alaska Air partners with a number of other major carriers, including Delta and American Airlines. This allows you to use miles in order to book award travel even with destinations not served through Alaska Airlines. A full list of Mileage Plan™ Partnerships can be found below.

Mileage Plan Partners
AeroMexico AirFrance American Airlines Korean Air
British Airways Cathay Pacific Delta Qantas
Hainan Airlines Emirates Fiji Airways LAN
Iceland Air KLM

As pointed out above, depending on how and when you choose to book your travel, the value of your miles can vary greatly. When we examined several itineraries, we noted these values to fluctuate anywhere between $0.008 and $0.05. The table below displays some of the sample trips we looked at, as well as the corresponding prices – both in USD and miles.

Carrier From To Price in Miles + Fee Value of Ticket Point Value
Alaska Air Seattle Los Angeles 25k+ $12 $221 $0.008
Alaska Air Anchorage Portland 25k $12 $433 $0.017
Alaska Air Los Angeles Tampa 32.5k + $11 $622 $0.019
American Airlines New York City Chicago 25k + $38 $357 $0.013
American Airlines Los Angeles Tampa 25k + $38 $343 $0.012
American Airlines Los Angeles Cancun, Mexico 37.5k + $72 $561 $0.013
British Airways New York City Warsaw, Poland 65k + $698 $3,408 $0.042
British Airways New York City London, England 65k + $714 $3,943 $0.050
Delta New York City Chicago 25k + $38 $361 $0.013
Delta Seattle Los Angeles 25k + $38 $219 $0.007
Delta Los Angeles Tampa 25k + $38 $486 $0.018
Average: $0.019

Note that all award travel comes with a required fee – this covers taxes, fuel surcharges, and more. For Alaska Airlines flights, this figure is low. Certain carriers, however, can charge exuberant amounts of money in these fees. For instance, British Airways is known for charging heavy airline fees. In one of the trips we looked at, in addition to paying 65,000 miles, you would need to pay $714 in fees.

Another important thing worth noting, is that not all flights on Mileage Plan partner airlines will be available for booking through Alaska Air miles. The partner carriers must make the flights specifically available to Alaska Air. In our research, we’ve seen a decent amount of Delta, American Airlines, and British Airways coverage. However, when it came to some of the other airlines, available flights were far less frequent. For travel to Korea, for example, the only available seating for a select few itineraries was through available through the business class. Since Delta, AA, and British Airways cover a good deal of the globe, this isn’t a deal breaker – though it does limit the program’s flexibility.

Coach Companion Fare

Every year they remain cardmembers, Alaska Airlines credit card users will be issued a Coach Companion Fare certificate. This will allow users to add-on an additional passenger to any round-trip Alaska Airlines flight for just $99 (plus taxes and fees). Companion tickets, as they are commonly known, are among the most sought-after airline credit card benefits, for those who frequently travel in groups. The value of this Coach Companion Fare is great – though hard to estimate. Essentially, the more expensive the itinerary, the greater the discount this benefit will provide, since all you will have to pay for that 1 extra ticket is a steady $99, plus any additional surcharges that start from around $22.

First Checked Bag Free

If you or your travel companions tend to pack heavy, the Alaska Airlines credit card can save you money, by waiving the fee on the first checked bag. This benefit is extended to the cardholder and up to 6 travelling companions (provided they are all booked on the same reservation, paid for using the Alaska Airlines credit card). This also only applies to Alaska Airlines, or Alaska-Airlines-operated flights. The first checked bag with the airline costs $25, which means this benefit has the potential of saving you up to $175 in baggage fees per flight.

How Does the Alaska Airlines Credit Card Compare To Other Credit Cards?

In order to arrive at a better estimate of a card’s true value, it’s important to compare it against the backdrop of other available options. Below you’ll find our analysis of how the Alaska Airlines credit card compares when pitted against the competition.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent airline miles and travel rewards credit card, for individuals who value flexibility. This card earns users Ultimate Rewards points – one of the best credit card rewards programs. Part of what makes Chase Ultimate Rewards great is the ability to move the points over to one of the participating hotel/airline partners. Choosing between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Alaska Airlines credit card should come down to one of two things. If you have no brand loyalty, and are simply looking to maximize point value like a travel-hacker, you can do better with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If, however, you spend a lot of money on Alaska Airlines tickets already, and can dine at the Mileage Plan locations, the Alaska Airlines credit card will provide better net value.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card

The Hawaiian Airlines World Mastercard is a card that most consumers will find inferior to the Alaska Airlines card. Unlike the latter, the Hawaiian Airlines credit card does not offer an annual companion certificate, which greatly reduces its value for those people who travel in groups. The value of Hawaiian Airline miles, like Alaska Airline Miles, will differ based on the itinerary chosen. Qualitatively, choosing between the two cards will come down to which of the partnered airlines you find yourself doing more business with. There is some level of overlap between the two miles programs – such as American Airlines and Korean Air – though there are notable differences. You can view a list of all Hawaiian Airline partners here.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card vs Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

As far as earning miles is concerned, the Alaska Airlines credit card outperforms the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. The latter only rewards up to 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and 1 mile per $1 elsewhere. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express also has an annual fee of $95 that is waived for the first year. However, when it comes to carrier-specific benefits, such as free checked luggage, and priority boarding privileges, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express reigns supreme. Therefore, if choosing between the two cards, one should ask themselves what matters most: miles or airline perks and benefits. If it’s the first, then the Alaska Airlines card wins-hands down. If benefits matter to you, then the answer will depend on which airline you fly with most frequently – picking the card affiliated with that airline is the best course of action in that instance.

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

Consumers who want to save on their travel, but don’t want the headache of managing points and redemptions should consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This card provides a flat 2% rewards rate across all purchases charged to it. While significantly lower than what is available through the Alaska Airlines credit card, the Capital One® alternative allows users to simply swipe and receive statement credit on travel purchases. If you don’t fancy yourself a travel-hacker, and don’t want to spend time in front of a computer trying to find the best points-to-dollar ratio for flights, you will likely walk away with one of the best net rewards using the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Right now, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is also running a fantastic new promotion. Users get 10x miles on hotels when they pay with their Venture card at hotels.com/Venture.

Comparison Tool

For a more individualized credit card recommendation, you can use our tool below to do it hassle-free. Input your monthly spending, and we will do all the math in order to figure out each card’s net rewards, given your specific profile. Keep in mind that the tool only quantifies the rewards you get from swiping and paying with the cards. Things such as companion tickets, or waived baggage fees are not included.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
$75 4.07%
$475
Earn up to 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ Bonus Miles upon approval
$1,397
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 56,400 x $0.019 = $1,072
Bonuses
25,000 x $0.019 = $475
Less Annual Fees -$150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,397

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $75
APR 14.24%

Card Details

  • Earn up to 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ Bonus Miles upon approval
  • 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, and cargo purchases
  • 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining
  • 1 mile per $1 on all purchases
  • First Checked Bag Free for you and up to 6 companions booked on your reservation
  • Coach Companion Fare from $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that 3.18%
$500
Receive 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
$1,091
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.01 = $686
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.01 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,091

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
APR 14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy 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
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. 1.97%
$360
Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months with your new Card.
$677
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.012 = $412
Bonuses
30,000 x $0.012 = $360
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 677

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
APR 17.24%-26.24% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months with your new Card.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.