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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card Review: Excellent Potential Value

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card Review: Excellent Potential Value

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Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles with this limited time online offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
  • Earning rate: 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. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • Annual fee: $75
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Other benefits: 20% back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases, free checked bag, annual companion fare

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles with this limited time online offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
  • Earning rate: 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. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • Annual fee: $75
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Other benefits: 20% back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases, free checked bag, annual companion fare

More details

  • LIMITED TIME ONLINE OFFER – 50,000 Bonus Miles!
  • Get 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com. 
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that's a savings of $60 per person roundtrip! 
  • 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. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • With oneworld® Alliance member airlines and Alaska’s Global Partners, Alaska has expanded their global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide bringing more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles. 
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare. 
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee. 
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Intro BT APR: N/A
  • Regular BT APR: See Terms
  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Pros

  • Strong sign-up bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free checked bag
  • Annual companion fare
  • Miles are unlimited
  • Part of the oneworld alliance
  • Airport lounge benefits
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases with Alaska Airlines

Cons

  • $75 annual fee
  • Subpar earning rate
  • Less useful for those who don't live on or travel to the West Coast
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Is the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card worth it?

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a great option for those who fly frequently on Alaska Airlines, especially West Coast travelers. It can be worth it for its cardmember perks like the Companion Fare™ and its miles-earning potential. This card offers lots of value not only for Alaska Airlines flyers, but also for those who fly its oneworld partners at least once a year.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card packs in a lot of value for its especially reasonable $75 annual fee. You’ll enjoy Alaska Airlines-exclusive perks like a free checked bag on every flight and discounts on in-flight purchases and lounges. And though the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is an airline card, it still offers a high level of flexibility and options to book award travel beyond the Alaska Airline flights.

However, if you don't fly regularly enough with Alaska Airlines and think you could get more value from a more flexible travel credit card, consider options like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card instead.

Sign-up bonus

With the card's sign-up bonus, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles with this limited time online offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account

We estimate that each mile is worth 1.4 cents, making this welcome bonus worth about $700. The spending threshold for the sign-up bonus is relatively low and will help you earn a large pool of Alaska miles in a short amount of time.

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How much is it worth? $700

Who is eligible to earn it? Only consumers who are opening a new account are eligible to earn this offer; those who are converting an existing account will not be eligible. Your account must also be open and in good standing in order to receive this bonus.

Earning rate

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit cardholders will 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. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.

This earning rate is rather mediocre compared to what other travel rewards cards offer, since its bonus miles are limited to Alaska Airlines purchases.

What are Alaska miles worth?

While we estimate Alaska Airlines miles to be worth 1.4 cents per mile on average, the value varies greatly depending on how you use your miles.

Alaska’s partnerships with the oneworld alliance and a handful of other airlines make its miles especially valuable. Mileage Plan miles can be redeemed for Alaska Airlines flights or for flights on any of its partners, so you can also book award travel to destinations not served by Alaska Airlines.

MileagePlan partners include:

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

Redeeming rewards

You can redeem your rewards for Alaska Airlines flights, as well as flights with their global partners. While it does take some trial and error, you’ll find that some of Alaska’s partners offer better redemptions than others. For example, booking award tickets on international airlines typically offer a better value, but are also harder to find. This contributes to the extremely inconsistent value of Alaska miles.

The table below displays some of the sample trips we looked at and the corresponding prices — both in U.S. dollars (USD) and miles. We’ve sampled eight different round-trip economy flights that you can book using your Alaska miles.

Carrier
From
To
Price in miles + fee
Value of ticket
Mile value
Alaska AirSeattleLos Angeles50K + $11.20$447.20$0.009
Alaska AirAnchorage, AlaskaPortland, Ore.70K + $11.20$986.50$0.014
Alaska AirLos AngelesTampa, Fla.80K + $11.20$1,193.19$0.015
American AirlinesNew York CityChicago19K + $11.20$365.20$0.019
American AirlinesLos AngelesTampa, Fla.65.5K + $11.20$824.20$0.012
British AirwaysNew York CityWarsaw, Poland49.5K + $293.27$742.47$0.009
British AirwaysNew York CityLondon, England26K + $311.44$748.47$0.017
Korean AirNew York CitySeoul, South Korea87.5K + $495.57$1,975.07$0.017
Average$0.014

To calculate the value of one Alaska mile, we subtracted the fee from the value of the ticket and divided it by the required miles. You can use this formula to determine whether or not you’re getting the best value from your award ticket.

Note that all award travel comes with a fee covering taxes, fuel surcharges and more. For Alaska Airlines flights, this fee is relatively low. Certain carriers, however, can charge exuberant surcharges.

It’s also worth noting that not all flights on Mileage Plan partner airlines will be available for booking through Alaska Air miles; the partner carriers will need to make the flights specifically available to Alaska Air. In our research, we’ve seen a decent amount of American Airlines and British Airways coverage. However, when it came to some of the other airlines, available flights were far less frequent, limiting the program’s overall flexibility.

Other Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card benefits

This card's other significant benefit is the annual Companion Fare, which costs $121 per year. When flying on Alaska Airlines, you can bring a travel companion along with no blackout dates. This benefit has a potential value of hundreds of dollars, easily compensating for the card’s $75 annual fee. Companion tickets, as they are commonly known, are a coveted benefit for those who frequently travel with friends, family or colleagues.

Depending on your travel, Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare can be very valuable, though the value is hard to estimate. Essentially, the more expensive the itinerary, the greater the discount this benefit will provide.

If you or your travel companions tend to pack heavy, the Alaska Airlines credit card can save you money with the first checked bag fee waived. This benefit is extended to the cardholder and up to six companions on the same reservation. The first checked bag with the airline costs $30, which means this benefit has the potential of saving you up to $60 per person in baggage fees round trip.

Finally, you’ll receive exclusive perks when flying Alaska Airlines. You’ll receive 20% back in statement credits on in-flight purchases when using your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.

An important perk of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is that it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. This can save you significant amounts of money when you use your card while traveling abroad.

Drawbacks

  • $75 annual fee: While this is an extremely moderate annual fee compared to what many travel rewards cards charge, if you'd rather not pay any kind of fee, there are plenty of great no-annual-fee credit cards that might suit you better.
  • Subpar earning rate: Other travel rewards cards do tend to offer better earning rates. So if the additional perks that come with this card aren't enough for you and you'd rather stick to a card that will help you earn more points with every purchase, you may want to consider a different travel rewards card instead.
  • Less useful for those who don't live on or travel to the West Coast: While Alaska Airlines has increased the number of destinations it flies to, it's based on the West Coast and primarily caters to destinations on that side of the country. However, it is part of the oneworld alliance, meaning that you can still use your Alaska Airlines miles to book flights with other airlines, too.

Alternatives to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

To help you decide whether or not the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is for you, we evaluated three competing cards:

0
Editor's Rating?
N/A
Annual Fee
$75
$95
$95
$99
More card details
Not available on ValuePenguin
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: A general travel rewards card that offers high value and more flexibility.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an attractive airline mile 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 transfer points to Chase’s 14 hotel and airline partners.

Choosing between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card comes down to your airline preferences and whether or not you are loyal to Alaska Airlines. If you have no brand loyalty and are simply looking to maximize your points, opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. But if you spend a lot of money on Alaska Airlines tickets already or want to access airlines that Chase doesn't partner with (Korean Air and American Airlines, for example), the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card will provide a better value for you.

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

On Capital One's Secure Website

Verdict: A valuable travel card with a simple rewards structure.

Consumers who want to save on their travel but don't want to deal with a complicated rewards program should consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card provides a flat 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card allows users to swipe and receive statement credit on travel purchases. If you 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.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: Another airline credit card with top benefits.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card won't get you any Alaska-related benefits, but the card is a good option for frequent Southwest loyalists. You'll Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

The Southwest Companion Pass is a similar benefit to Alaska's Companion Fare. You'll get to designate one travel companion to fly them for just the cost of taxes and fees, starting at $5.60.

Should you get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card?

You should get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card if you're a frequent Alaska Airlines flyer and are looking for airline-specific benefits. Airline credit cards are meant to improve the overall ground and flying experience, and thanks to its rewards program, the Alaska Mileage Plan, you’ll be able to book awards on a variety of airline partners. Alaska miles are some of the most coveted rewards in the points and miles game because you can score incredible redemptions if used wisely.

However, if you don't want to be locked in to flying exclusively with Alaska Airlines and its partners, consider another general travel rewards card instead.

The information related to 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.

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.

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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 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).