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There are seemingly endless options available when it comes to airline credit cards, and all of them offer slightly different benefits. If you’re a frequent flyer on Alaska Airlines, you may be wondering if getting one of their co-branded cards could improve your travel experience.
So, is an Alaska credit card worth it? To answer that question, here's a look at available cards, their benefits and how to decide if signing up for one is the right move for you.
Available Alaska credit cards
There are two cards currently available from Alaska Airlines: a personal card and a business card.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card (annual fee: $95): Get 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card has an annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card).
It also offers a welcome offer:
Holders of both of these cards get a free checked bag for themselves and up to six traveling companions on the same itinerary and 20% back on in-flight purchases. Plus, they earn 3x miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles on everything else.
Get 40,000 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.
» Learn more: Top benefits of the Alaska Airlines card
How to use your Alaska credit card
Like most airline credit cards, any miles earned by using your card will be deposited into a frequent flyer program — in this case, your Alaska Mileage Plan account. You can redeem them for award travel on Alaska or one of its partners within the Oneworld alliance. Miles can also be used for hotel bookings at partner properties or for seat upgrades.
NerdWallet has frequently rated Alaska’s Mileage Plan as one of the best available, and according to the most recent valuations, Alaska Mileage Plan miles are worth 1.2 cents. While this rate is slightly below other major airlines, award travel on Alaska starts at just 5,000 miles one way, so it doesn’t take long to accumulate enough miles for a flight.
To waive the fee on checked baggage, you’ll need to provide your Mileage Plan number during booking and you’ll automatically get one free bag for yourself and up to six traveling companions, as long as they’re on the same reservation. For in-flight discounts, pay with your Alaska credit card.
» Learn more: Your guide to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
How to determine if an Alaska credit card is worth it
If you’re still trying to decide if one of these cards is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
Do you regularly fly on Alaska or its partner airlines?
If the answer is yes, getting an Alaska credit card may well be worth it, despite the annual fee. After all, the biggest earning category is on airline purchases, meaning the more you fly, the faster you’ll earn large quantities of miles.
Do you value the benefits offered by Alaska credit cards?
For example, do you usually check a bag, purchase in-flight meals or prefer spending time in airport lounges on layovers? If so, an Alaska card may offer you valuable benefits in addition to the welcome offer.
Do you often travel with others?
One of the most popular perks of having an Alaska credit card is the companion fare, which lets you book a second ticket on the same itinerary for $99 plus taxes and fees, which start at $23. You can redeem this benefit once per year, which could translate into big savings.
» Learn more: The complete guide to the Alaska Airlines companion fare
Who should skip an Alaska credit card?
Despite all the benefits, an Alaska Airlines credit card isn’t for everyone. You may want to consider choosing another credit card if:
You don’t live in or near one of Alaska’s regular destinations. Alaska Airlines says that it offers more nonstop flights from the West Coast than any other carrier, but if its flights don’t service your preferred destinations, your options for redeeming award travel may be limited.
You aren’t loyal to a single airline and prefer to book travel based strictly on price or in-flight amenities. You may get more out of a general travel credit card that allows you to transfer points to a variety of airlines.
» Learn more: How to compare travel credit cards
If you're considering an Alaska credit card
Once you’ve answered the questions above, you should have a better idea if an Alaska credit card is worth it to you. If you plan to fly with Alaska or its partners in the future, think you’ll benefit from waived checked baggage fees or often travel with a companion, then taking a closer look might be worth it.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card