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Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card Review: Is it the Best Travel Card for Your Business?

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card Review: Is it the Best Travel Card for Your Business?

A great business credit card for travel with Alaska Airlines and its partners.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card is a great card for all things related to Alaska Airlines travel. This card offers a competitive rewards rate on Alaska Airlines purchases, some fantastic travel benefits and a sizable introductory spending bonus. However, its maximum value can only be achieved if you travel with Alaska Airlines often and carefully manage your frequent-flyer miles. If you want an easier to use rewards card, we recommend looking at other options.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card is a fantastic option for business owners who are frequent customers of Alaska Airlines or its travel partners. However, the miles earned with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card can only be used to book travel through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Other travel rewards programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, will let you transfer your rewards to multiple airline mileage plans. This gives you more options when booking flights. If this extra degree of freedom is important to you, consider this before you apply.

Good For...

Bad For...
Businesses that travel with Alaska AirlinesOrganizations that don't spend a lot on travel
Earning Companion Fare certificatesUsing rewards on purchases other than travel

In December 2016, Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America, and the company is transitioning into one brand under the Alaska Airlines name. This means you can earn Alaska Airlines miles on all Virgin America flights and purchases.

The most valuable aspect of this card is its Companion Fare program. The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card offers a Companion Fare certificate both as an introductory spending bonus and as an annual benefit. It can be used to purchase an additional round-trip ticket for only $121. As airfare can cost thousands of dollars, the certificate value can be immense. This is an uncommon feature, making this card incredibly valuable for organizations that fly with Alaska Airlines or Virgin America.

In order for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card to be used to its full potential, cardholders will need to carefully plan when and how to use their miles. This added time commitment may not appeal to everyone. The value of the miles earned with this card can vary based on the flight. This, coupled with the fact that you have a limited number of carriers to choose from, can make managing the card's rewards difficult. For a card that requires no management and and still offers good rewards, we would suggest the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

Bottom Line: High rewards rate and excellent benefits make this card a must-have for businesses that frequently fly with Alaska Airlines. However, if you're looking for a card with a lot of different ways to spend rewards, you should look elsewhere.

Benefits and Features

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card lets users earn miles with every purchase. Card accounts earn 3 miles for every dollar spent directly with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America—usually through the Alaska Airlines website—and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Ticket purchases made through a third-party vendor—such as Kayak, Orbitz or Expedia—will earn only 1 point per dollar spent.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card
Annual Fee
$75
Purchase APR
13.49% to 20.49% Variable
Credit Needed N/A
Details
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $1,000 or more in net purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get another Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) every year on your account anniversary valid on Alaska and Virgin America flights booked on alaskaair.com. There are no blackout dates
  • Free checked bag on Alaska and Virgin America flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee is based on billing type selected at time of application (see terms and conditions for additional details)

Companion Fare and Checked Bag Benefits

One of the most valuable benefits of this card is the Companion Fare certificate. If you purchase a coach ticket, you can redeem a Companion Fare code for a single additional round-trip ticket, with no blackout dates, for only $121 ($99 for the base fare plus $22 in fees) on the same itinerary. Each Companion Fare certificate expires one year after its issue date. The value of each certificate will fluctuate depending on the flight. For maximum benefits, these should only be used on the most expensive trips.

Business owners who sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card are required to pay an annual fee for each card on the account. Depending on the Earning Plan they choose—the details of which are outlined below—it is either $25 or $75 per card. Many other business cards offer additional cards with no charge. If your business requires each employee to have their own card, then the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card can be very expensive and might not be the best option.

Cardmembers can get a free checked bag for themselves and up to six additional passengers on the same itinerary. This is a very valuable benefit, considering each checked bag would normally cost $25. Cardholders can use this benefit whenever they fly with Alaska Airlines or one of its affiliates—even when they don't purchase their flight directly through Alaska Airlines.

Business vs Individual: Which Option is Right for You?

There are two membership options for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card—a Business Earning Level and an Individual Earning Level—which you select when you apply. The level you select informs your annual fee and how bonuses and other benefits are applied to your account. For the Business Level there is one main account that all transactions go through, and you pay $25 for each additional card. For the Individual Level, you pay $75 for each card but each cardholder essentially has their own account while the main company gets to oversee all transactions. Included below is an overview of the two programs.

Earning Plan

Details
Business Level Earning Plan
  • Annual Fee: $50 for the company $25 per card.
  • Earning Miles: Miles earned from all cards are applied to a main company mileage plan account.
  • Bonus and Companion Fare: The company account will qualify for one bonus of 30,000 miles and a Companion Fare code if the combined spending across all cards registered to the account is at least $1,000 within 90 days of account opening. The account will also receive one Companion Fare each year it is open.
Individual Level Earning Plan
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the company $75 per card
  • Earning Miles: Miles earned are applied to an individual mileage plan account for each cardholder.
  • Bonus and Companion Fare: Each individual cardholder can qualify for a bonus of 30,000 miles and a Companion Fare code after spending at least $1,000 within 90 days of account opening. Each cardholder will also receive one Companion Fare each year the account is open.

The Individual Level Earning Plan offers more in terms of benefits, and it's the best choice most of the time. This is because each cardholder on the plan receives a Companion Fare each year. The value of these certificates easily exceed the additional annual fee cost that comes with choosing the this level. If your business won't be able to use multiple Companion Fare certificates in a year, then the Business Level Earning Plan is the better choice. This offers fewer benefits, but it allows you to save on annual fees for additional cards.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan miles can be redeemed for air travel with Alaska Airlines, Virgin America or any of its 18 partners, including American Airlines, British Airways and Air France. The value of your Mileage Plan miles can vary greatly depending on the flight.When you use miles to purchase a ticket, you'll also pay for taxes and fees. These can range from less than $10 to hundreds of dollars and are usually more expensive for international flights. Below a list of itineraries and the price in miles and dollars for each trip.

From

ToCost in MilesCost in DollarsMile Value
SeattleSan Francisco50,000$379$0.008
PortlandLos Angeles40,000$333$0.008
ChicagoLos Angeles40,000$339$0.008
Los AngelesSan Francisco17,500$157$0.009
Los AngelesGuadalajara, Mexico42,500$500$0.012
ChicagoSeattle40,000$577$0.014
Los AngelesNew York City25,000$480$0.019
New York CityLos Angeles25,000$481$0.019
Average: $0.012

Choosing the flight that requires the fewest miles is often the best way to maximize your benefits, judging from the itineraries we collected. Flights that are almost identical—in terms of date, location and departure time—can cost twice as many miles to purchase when the actual dollar value difference between them would only be around 15%.

Additional Benefits

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card affords business managers a lot of control over employee spending. They can view transactions, set spending limits and are protected against unauthorized purchases. These features make employee card accounts for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card easy to track and manage.

How Does the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

Even for institutions that spend a lot on travel, a card like the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card may not be the best option available. Here's how the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card compares to some of the best business credit cards currently offered.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card vs Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is better than the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card if you want travel rewards without being locked into Alaska Airlines and its partners. The card offers an excellent rewards rate on shipping, certain kinds of advertising and communications services, and it includes a large spending bonus. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also offers more flexibility in terms of rewards redemption, as Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to several different travel rewards programs. Some of these transfer partners include British Airways Executive Club, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® and United MileagePlus®.

In contrast, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles must be used with Alaska Airlines and its partners. For any business manager that books flights with Alaska Airlines or one of its partners at least a few times a year, it is worth having the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card as a secondary card, if only for the Companion Fare certificates.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card vs Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is a better card for most types of business spending. However, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card offers a higher rewards rate than the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business's when spending with Alaska Airlines exceeds one-third of total purchases. This does not take into account the value of the additional benefits the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card offers, such as Companion Fare and free checked bags. The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business's 2% cash back on all purchases has value over the rewards earned through the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card because they can be applied to all purchases and it's easy to optimize rewards. In contrast, the value of the miles earned with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card is variable. On some of the itineraries, we were only able to get a value of $0.008 per mile. However, if your business can use the benefits specific to Alaska Airlines—such as the Companion Fare—then the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card is worth having.

Comments and Questions

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Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® 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 Amex EveryDay® 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, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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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.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).