Is the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™, especially on pricey flights, can more than offset the annual fee.

Michael McHughJuly 14, 2020

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The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card doesn’t get as much attention as co-branded American Airlines, Delta and United cards, but it should. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card can provide excellent value to travelers.

One of the first questions you may have about the card is whether it’s worth its annual fee. Here’s everything you need to know to answer this question for yourself.

What is the current welcome 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. In addition to the bonus Alaska Mileage Plan miles, new cardmembers receive a $100 statement credit.

How much is the annual fee?

The annual fee is $75. For a card that comes with one specific high-value perk, described below, its $75 annual fee is reasonable, and compared to other co-branded airline cards, it’s on the low end of the spectrum.

Who is eligible to apply for this card?

Anyone who doesn’t currently have the card or hasn’t had the card in the past 24 months. This restriction does not apply if you have the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card.

Credit card perks

Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™

One of the primary ways to get value out of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is by using Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™. This perk is available after you meet the minimum spending requirement and every year thereafter when you pay the annual fee.

The Famous Companion Fare™ is an annual companion ticket valid for a round-trip (or one-way) economy ticket on an Alaska Airlines flight. With this perk, when you book your flight, you’ll be able to purchase your travel companion’s ticket from $121. Both you and your companion earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles for these flights, which must be booked using your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.

Free checked bag

Another perk that can help offset the $75 annual fee is a free checked bag. Cardmembers receive a free checked bag for themselves and up to six travelers booked on the same itinerary. A checked bag fee runs $30 for a single bag on a one-way ticket. So the value here can add up fast if you aren't already getting free checked bags from holding elite status with Alaska.

Discounted lounge access

If you find yourself traveling through airports with Alaska lounges, discounted lounge access can come in handy. You receive 50% off daily lounge passes at Alaska lounges. The discount is applied when you purchase the pass with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. A day pass to the lounge normally runs a hefty $50, so getting that down to just $25 is a nice perk.

Discounted in-flight purchases

If you fly Alaska regularly, the discount on in-flight purchases is a good benefit of this card. When you pay for beverages, food and Wi-Fi onboard your Alaska flight, you get a 20% rebate back to you in the form of a statement credit.

No foreign transaction fees

There are no foreign transaction fees with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. If you are eager to earn Alaska miles, this perk can help because it means you can make international purchases without incurring a surcharge which can run upwards of 3%.

How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Similar to comparable airline cards, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has limited mile-earning potential. Cardmembers receive 3 miles per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases. All other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent.

How to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles

You can redeem miles directly on the Alaska Airlines website or by calling reservations. Alaska is not a member of any of the major airline alliances and instead has individual partnerships with carriers including Japan Airlines and Qantas. Generally speaking, Alaska has competitive award prices when redeeming its miles to fly on its partner airlines award flights.

Examples of ways to get value with your Alaska miles include:

  • Redeem 70,000 Alaska miles to fly Japan Airlines first class to Japan one way.

  • Redeem 55,000 Alaska miles to fly Qantas business class to Australia one way.

  • Redeem 55,000 Alaska miles to fly Fiji Airways business class to Fiji one way.

The bottom line

Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ is the name of the game with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. If you can utilize the Famous Companion Fare™, it’s likely you come out ahead in terms of offsetting the annual fee. You can receive even more value by using the checked bag, discounted lounge pass and inflight purchase perks that come with the card.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

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