Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card review; Earn 3X miles on Alaska Airlines flights
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Special limited time offer! Get a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
- Additionally, earn Alaska's Companion Fare™ EACH YEAR on your account anniversary. Get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). 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 points 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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Benefits
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Annual Fee
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Foreign Transaction Fee
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Score
- Potential Downsides of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®
- How the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Compares to Other Cards
- Is Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® a good card?
With no limit on the amount of miles that can be earned and solid travel perks, for those that fly Alaska Airlines often, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card is an incredibly valuable card to have.
As part of a special limited time offer, new cardholders get a $100 statement credit and 40,000 bonus miles, AND Alaska's famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Just spend $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening an account to qualify. 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 lounge access and 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!
When you use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card, you can enjoy 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge. A day pass is normally $50 per person, so with the card you will only pay $25. The Alaska lounges are located in a select few airports including Seattle/Tacoma Airport, SFO, LAX and JFK. With access to the lounge, travelers can enjoy a quiet space to relax and recharge with snacks and drinks or a place to get a little work done with fast Wi-Fi and other business amenities.
This card also gets you 20% back on all Alaska Airlines inflight purchases including Wi-Fi, snacks, and beverages in the form of a statement credit. For those that frequently purchase additional items mid-flight, this can be another money saving perk to having the card.
- Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
- 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
- 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
- Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
- Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
- $95 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card does have a $75 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.
One fee that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card 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.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card 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.
One of the potential downsides of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card 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 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, 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.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® vs. Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 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 60,000 bonus miles (worth $600 in travel) earned after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. The Alaska Airlines Signature® visa is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months. The Venture card doesn’t offer free checked bags or discounted lounge access, however, it does offer up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® 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 $75 annual fee gets the edge in this category.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has a comparable annual fee ($69) 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 the calendar year the pass was earned, as well as for a full year after.
This card also offers new cardholders up to 80,000 points as a welcome bonus – 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and another 30,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first nine months. On an ongoing basis, earn two points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases, and one point on everything else. Plus, enjoy a bonus 3,000 points each year on your account anniversary. Lastly, right now new cardholders earn 5 points per $1 on up to $2,000 spent monthly on Southwest purchases from Dec. 1, 2020-March 31, 2021.
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®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 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 $95 annual fee, the Sapphire Preferred® comes with a whole host of benefits including two points earned for all travel and dining purchases as well as one point earned for all other purchases. While the three miles earned for Alaska Airlines purchases with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card is a higher amount earned, it is only on those specific purchases while the two points earned by the Sapphire Preferred® is on all dining and travel purchases, giving greater flexibility in earning more rewards. 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 lounge access, and of course, the coveted Alaska Companion Fare™.
Yes—for frequent Alaska Airlines fliers, that is. The benefits and rewards program of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card are very straightforward. If you frequently fly with Alaska Airlines, can redeem the companion fare, and use discounted day passes at Alaska lounges, 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.