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

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

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card's welcome bonus and travel perks make the card a great fit for the airline's most loyal frequent flyers.

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Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus
  • Discounted companion fare ticket every year
  • Free checked bag for you and travel companions
  • Good earnings rate on Alaska Airlines purchases

Cons

  • No bonus earnings for everyday business purchases
  • Annual fee for the company and for each employee card
  • Less rewards redemption flexibility than general purpose business travel credit cards
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The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card is a great choice for business owners who fly Alaska Airlines frequently and will take advantage of the airline-centric benefits, such as free checked bags, annual companion fare and half-price lounge passes. The card's other attractive feature: a lucrative sign-up bonus that can be parlayed into one or more free trips.

However, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card may be a less-than-ideal match for business owners who aren't loyal to one specific airline and prefer more flexibility in their rewards earning and redemption abilities. And the lack of meaningful business bonus earnings categories may be a dealbreaker for points-and-miles fans focused on maximizing rewards.

Earn 40,000 miles + a companion fare

One of the most attractive features of the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card is its sign-up bonus:

Earn 60,000 Bonus miles when you make at least $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account..

The offer gets you enough miles for at least one free trip, plus the ability to treat a travel companion to a flight at a very low price.

The companion fare allows you to purchase a round-trip Alaska Airlines coach ticket for a travel companion starting at just $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees) when you buy a full-price ticket. You can't use miles to buy your ticket, but both you and your guest will earn miles for the trip.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card's offer is competitive with other sign-up bonuses, but you may be able to do better with other business credit cards.

What it's worth: We estimate the value of the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card welcome bonus to be worth around $600, depending on how you redeem your miles and how much you save with the discounted companion fare.

Who's eligible to earn this offer?: Each company can earn only one welcome bonus. The offer only applies to new accounts opened in response to the offer, not to requests to convert existing accounts to the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.

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Earn 3X miles on Alaska Airlines

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card allows you to earn Alaska Airlines miles every time you buy a plane ticket, pick up office supplies or take clients out to dinner.

The card offers good rewards when you buy directly from Alaska Airlines, but the rewards earning rate on everyday spending is less lucrative:

Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

That doesn't sound like much, but it's a decent earning rate when you consider the high value of Alaska miles. When compared with other business cards (factoring in the value of their points or miles), the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card sits firmly in the middle of the pack. However, it's less than half of what you could earn with a card like the American Express® Business Gold Card.

To see how the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card stacks up against other top business cards, we used consumer spending data to estimate the average number of points or miles earned and then multiplied that figure by our points/miles valuation:

Average rewards earned per $1 spent

$0.038
American Express® Business Gold Card
$0.023
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
$0.021
United℠ Business Card
$0.018
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
$0.016
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card
$0.016
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
$0.015
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
$0.012
CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

What are Alaska Miles worth?

The average value of Alaska miles is roughly 1.5 cents per mile. But the value can vary greatly depending on how you redeem your miles. Redeeming your miles with certain Alaska Airlines partners can help you to squeeze maximum value out of your miles. Our analysis of the value of Alaska miles found that it may be easier to get maximum value from your miles when booking international flights on airlines such as British Airways and Korean Air.

Value: Above average

Ease of redeeming: Above average

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Redeeming miles

If you get the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card, you'll need to brush up on the ins and outs of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. The easiest way to redeem Alaska miles is to book an Alaska Airlines flight at AlaskaAir.com. The number of Alaska miles required for a flight varies based on the type of fare and destination:

  • You need at least 5,000 miles for a free ticket on Alaska Airlines for a one-way main cabin ticket for a very short flight.
  • You'll need at least 15,000 miles to get a first-class ticket for a flight of a similar distance.
  • For a longer one-way flight to a destination several thousand miles away, you may need as many as 50,000 miles to fly in the main cabin or as many as 70,000 miles for first class.

Some of the best Alaska Airlines award values are the short- and medium-haul domestic flights. The short "hop," "skip" and "jump" flights (see chart below) often offer better value for your miles than similar flights on other airlines. A one-way domestic ticket for 5,000 to 10,000 miles may be a great deal compared with other options. Think of it this way: You could get four to eight of these short flights with your welcome bonus.

Domestic level
Distance
Cost in miles
Hop700 miles or fewer
  • Main cabin: 5,000-30,000 miles
  • First class: 15,000-40,000 miles
Skip701 to 1,400 miles
  • Main cabin: 7,500-30,000 miles
  • First class: 25,000-60,000 miles
Jump1,401 to 2,100 miles
  • Main cabin: 10,000-40,000 miles
  • First class: 25,000-60,000 miles
Leap2,101 miles or more
  • Main cabin: 12,500-50,000 miles
  • First class: 30,000-70,000 miles

Buying a ticket on Alaska Airlines isn't always the best way to redeem Alaska miles. You also can cash in your miles for flights on Alaska's MileagePlan partners. Alaska Airlines is part of the oneworld Alliance, and its partner airlines include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • EL AL Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Air
  • Iceland Air
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

You can find some excellent values, whether you're looking for a cheap flight or a luxe first-class experience.

For example, flying to Europe in off-peak months on American Airlines may cost you as little as 22,500 miles each way, and you can fly to Asia in first class luxury on Cathay Pacific for just 70,000 miles each way.

It's worth taking your time to explore your options with partner airlines to maximize the value of your Alaska miles.

And finally, one more option: You can redeem miles for an upgrade on Alaska Airlines. That's an easy way to pamper yourself without having to pay first-class ticket prices or earn Alaska elite status, which comes with complimentary upgrades.

Other Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card benefits

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card may not be loaded with perks like some of the premium business credit cards with higher annual fees, but it offers an impressive slate of benefits.

A companion pass has become a fairly common benefit on airline credit cards, and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card is one of the best credit cards that offers a companion pass.

In addition to the companion pass you get as part of the sign-up bonus, you also get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year on your account anniversary. Your annual companion fare can be used for any Alaska Airlines ticket purchased on AlaskaAir.com. You have to buy your own full-price ticket in order to take advantage of the deal to get a ticket starting at $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees) for a companion traveling with you.

Another benefit: There are no blackout dates for annual companion fare tickets, so you can travel any time that's convenient for you.

Get a free checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights for you and up to six companions traveling on the same reservation. Since a first checked bag on Alaska Airlines costs $30, this perk can save you over $200 each time you fly.

There are a few caveats:

  • The cardholder must be traveling to claim the free checked bag benefit
  • The cardholder's Mileage Plan™ number must be on the reservation
  • If a reservation was made with a group booking code or through the group booking desk, only the primary cardholder can get the free checked bag

Get a 50% discount on one-day passes for Alaska Airline lounges that you purchase with your card. Alaska Airlines lounge day passes cost $50, so the 50% off discount saves you $25 on each lounge pass you buy.

A lounge day pass purchased with this discount must be used the same day and can be used for a single person to access a lounge for 24 hours from the time you first redeem the pass. An Alaska Airlines lounge day pass is not valid at airline partner lounges.

Alaska Airlines lounges are located in:

  • New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Portland International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card has a modest annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card. You can get employee cards for an additional annual fee of $25 per card. Account management tools allow you to set a spending limit for each employee card.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card does not charge any foreign transaction fees. Cards that do charge foreign transaction fees typically charge 1% to 3% of each transaction made outside of the United States. Having a card with no foreign transaction fees may be a must for business owners who travel internationally.

How does the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card compare to other cards?

Not sure the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card is right for you? Let's take a look at how it compares to the Alaska Airlines credit card and a few other top small business credit cards:

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card vs. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers many of the same benefits and perks as the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card. The welcome bonus is even more valuable, with the chance to earn a 50,000 bonus miles with this special offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card benefits are similar to those on the consumer card, including the annual companion pass, free checked bag for you and up to six travel companions and 50% off Alaska lounge passes.

The card charges a higher annual fee than the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card: $75. However, the business card does charge an additional annual fee of $25 for each employee card.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a big advantage over the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card: flexibility. You can earn bonus rewards points on more than just purchases from a single airline, and you have a wide range of options for redeeming rewards.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers one of the best sign-up bonuses around: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The Alaska welcome bonus can be worth much less but may be worth even more, depending on how you redeem your miles. If you value simplicity in rewards redemption, the Chase card may be a better fit for you.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also makes it easier to earn more rewards for your business spending. Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. This earning structure may allow you to rack up rewards much faster than you could with the Alaska business credit card.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a higher $95 annual fee but offers employee cards at no additional cost, so you could save money if you need cards for multiple employees.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card vs. American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card may be a better option for high-spending business owners who don't mind paying a big annual fee in exchange for more flexibility, benefits and stellar rewards earning potential.

The American Express® Business Gold Card really shines in the rewards structure: You Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month*.

The business categories include:

  • Airfare purchased from airlines
  • U.S. purchases of: computer hardware, software and cloud services from select providers
  • Radio, TV and online advertising
  • Gas station purchases
  • Restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • Shipping

The American Express® Business Gold Card lets you Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.* The spending threshold is five times as much as the required spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card. And the $295 annual fee may be a dealbreaker for new or frugal business owners.

Is the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card worth it?

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card is definitely worth considering if you're a business owner who frequently flies Alaska Airlines for business and personal travel. The card offers a solid earnings rate on Alaska Airlines purchases and a decent rate on other everyday spending when you factor in the value of Alaska miles. The welcome bonus alone is a tempting reason to apply for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.

But if you're less loyal to Alaska or you want the best business card for maximizing rewards earnings, it's definitely worth thinking about whether one of the cards on our list of the best small business credit cards of 2021 might be a better match for you and your business. Both the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and the American Express® Business Gold Card are excellent general purpose business cards that offer more flexibility and may reward you even more richly for your business spending.

The information related to Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card , CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, American Express® Business Gold Card and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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 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).