Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card review: Earn 3X miles on Alaska Airlines flights

The ongoing earnings of 3X miles on Alaska Airlines purchases helps to easily offset the modest annual fee for frequent Alaska Air travelers.
author Jennifer Doss

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Our Rating:   
Excellent/Good
on Bank of America's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • For a limited time, new cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles once spending $2,000 or more with the card in the first 90 days of opening an account as well as Alaska's famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22).
  • Additionally, earn Alaska's Companion Fare™ EACH YEAR on your account anniversary. Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates.
  • Earn unlimited 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases.
  • If you are someone that doesn’t live in a city that Alaska Airlines services or you don’t fly frequently on their routes, you'll miss out on all the great rewards the card has to offer. Also, 3X miles on travel purchases is a great rate, however, with this card, travel purchases are limited to Alaska Airlines purchases. This might not be the best option for someone who wants more freedom in the airline they travel.
Terms and Limitations Apply.

ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® CARD BENEFITS

With no limit on the amount of miles that can be earned and solid travel perks, for those that fly Alaska Airlines often, the CardName is an incredibly valuable card to have.

As part of a limited time offer, new cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles once spending $2,000 or more with the card in the first 90 days of opening an account, AND Alaska's famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Additionally, you get a companion fare each year on your account anniversary which is valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates. This is certainly one of the biggest perks of this card. This feature allows you to effectively book a round-trip coach fare ticket for a traveling companion for only an additional $99 plus taxes and fees.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® earns three miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases as well as one mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

This card also includes a number of great travel benefits for its users, including free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases. When traveling on Alaska Airlines you and up to six people on the same reservation can enjoy one free checked bag. As the standard checked bag fee for the first bag is $30, if you are only flying with one other person and you each check a bag, for a round trip itinerary this perk alone could save you $120. Think about how much you could save traveling with an entire family!

ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® ANNUAL FEE

The CardName does have a AnnualFees annual fee; however, with this annual fee you are getting an opportunity for a valuable welcome bonus, free checked bags, and the annual companion fare. These perks can more than offset the annual fee on the card. Though, if you are someone that prefers to keep expenses low or will not frequently travel on Alaska Airlines, the annual fee can be prohibitive and should be taken into consideration when evaluating if this card is the right fit.

ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE

One fee that the CardName doesn’t have is a foreign transaction fee, allowing you to use your card without worries while traveling abroad. If a card does charge this fee, it normally isn’t high; usually 3%. However, 3% on each transaction in a foreign currency can really add up, especially if you travel abroad often. For example, for your dream trip to Thailand, if you spend $3,000 on international purchases with a card that has foreign transaction fees, you could be adding on an additional $90 or so in these fees alone. On the other hand, if you travel with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card, that’s money that stays in your pocket.

ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® CREDIT SCORE

The CardName requires good to excellent credit to get approval but other factors are also considered in the application process including payment history of revolving credit, your total open cards, and the average age of accounts open. The credit bureau Experian says those with good credit usually have FICO scores of at least 670, with excellent scores starting at 800. Please note, though, that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.

If you have limited credit history or are currently building your credit, it may be difficult to get approved for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® CARD

One of the potential downsides of the CardName is that the airline serves mostly West Coast flights. If you are someone that doesn’t live in a city that Alaska Airlines services or you don’t fly frequently on their routes, having this card may not make sense as the perks really benefit Alaska Airlines frequent fliers.

However, there are options to central and eastern U.S. destinations (as well as Mexico), so if you do live in a location that Alaska Airlines serves then this downside is minimized.

The ongoing rewards rate for the card is another potential downside as you earn 3X miles only on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X mile on all other purchases. Other cards with comparable annual fees, such as the CardName, earn higher rewards on all travel purchases and not just specific airline purchases. Lastly, as this card requires good to excellent credit to qualify, it may be difficult for some people to obtain the card due to limited credit history.

HOW THE ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® CARD COMPARES TO OTHER CARDS

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® vs. Capital One Venture

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The CardName earns two miles for every $1 spent on all purchases. Compared to the Alaska Airlines Signature® card’s three miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 on all others, the Venture card’s miles earning is straightforward and doesn’t fluctuate based on what you are purchasing.

The Capital One Venture card’s new cardholder bonus also exceeds the Alaska Airlines card with a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. The Venture card doesn’t offer free checked bags or in-flight discounts, however, it does offer up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership, which is an excellent benefit not offered by many cards.

A downside of the Venture compared to the Alaska Airlines card is the annual fee. There is a $95 annual fee for the Venture. The Alaska Airlines AnnualFees annual fee gets the edge in this category.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus

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The CardName has a comparable annual fee (AnnualFees) and could be a good way to quickly earn a coveted Southwest Companion Pass®, which allows you to bring along a designated companion on all Southwest flights for a time.

For a limited time, new cardholders can earn a bonus of 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. On an ongoing basis, earn two points per $1 on Southwest purchases; local transit and commuting (including rideshares); and on internet, cable, phone services and select streaming. Earn one point per $1 on other eligible purchases. Plus, enjoy a bonus 3,000 points each year on your account anniversary.

Southwest is similar to Alaska Airlines in that it serves a somewhat limited market. They can both be great options, but which is better for you will largely depend on the routes that you frequently fly.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

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The CardName is an excellent alternative to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card for anyone looking for more flexibility in how they earn rewards. With a slightly higher AnnualFees annual fee, the Sapphire Preferred® comes with a whole host of benefits including 5X total points on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout; 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3X points on select streaming services; 2X points on travel purchases; and 1X point on all other purchases. Plus, Sapphire points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The welcome bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is also higher with new card members earning 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, worth $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The Sapphire card, however, doesn’t include the same travel benefits as the Alaska Airlines card, such as free checked bags, discounted in-flight purchases, and of course, the coveted Alaska Companion Fare™.

IS ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE® A GOOD CARD?

Yes—for frequent Alaska Airlines fliers, that is. The benefits and rewards program of the CardName are very straightforward. If you frequently fly with Alaska Airlines and can redeem the companion fare, then you can reap rewards each year that can easily be worth hundreds of dollars. If you are unable to fly often with Alaska Airlines, it may be more difficult to justify having this card in your wallet.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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