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You just got approved for your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. Now what? Here are four things to do as soon as you receive your new card.
Meet the minimum spending requirement
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers the following welcome bonus: 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. While 90 days is a rather standard timeframe for meeting a spending requirement, you will want to pencil that into your calendar so that you don’t forget.
A great way to hit the minimum spending requirement is to switch all of your day-to-day spending to this card. That way, you don’t have to be too worried about it. Keep in mind that this card offers no category bonus beyond spending on Alaska Airlines — so if you spend enough already, it may be worth keeping spending for some bonus categories on other cards that will earn you more points.
One way to beef up your spending in that 90-day period is to call your service providers to see if they will let you pay bills a month or two in advance. Paying two or more months in advance will allow you to knock out a big amount of spending quicker and avoid making unnecessary purchases. We don’t advise carrying credit card balances month-to-month, so you should do this only if you’re still able to pay the card off on time.
Plan how to use your Companion Fare
Alaska’s Companion Fare is no doubt the best benefit this card offers. You will get this certificate on your account anniversary every year. It allows you to book a ticket and get a companion fare for as little as $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees starting at $22) with no blackout dates, valid on any Alaska Airlines flights booked via their website.
It’s worth stressing that the Companion Fare can be used on any flights, including to Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico, which are some of the more expensive routes available.
Nerd tip: Companion Fare tickets are upgradeable to first class by using the Gold Guest Upgrades granted to Alaska MVP Gold members. Plus, if there are multiple people in your household, everyone can get their own card to score multiple Companion Fares every year.
Start enjoying the lounge
As soon as you get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, you can start enjoying 50% off day passes at any of Alaska’s seven airport lounges. The full price for non-cardholders is $50, so you will only pay $25 for a day pass on any of Alaska’s lounges regardless of what airline you’re ticketed with, as long as your flight is the same day.
If you’re traveling with small children under age 2, they can enter with you for no additional charge; anyone over that age will need their own pass.
» Learn more: 6 things to know about Alaska Airlines lounges
Use the card for in-flight purchases
The next thing you should do immediately after getting your card in the mail is to switch all of your in-flight purchases to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. Cardholders get 20% back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases when using this card. This is in addition to the 3 miles per $1 you earn when making eligible purchases on Alaska Airlines.
If you want to get an idea of what’s going to be available on your upcoming flight, check out the Alaska Airlines app, which includes an option to reserve your food ahead of time.
The bottom line
For people whose plans include flying Alaska Airlines, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a great card to get and to keep, considering its low $75 annual fee. Even with a fee that isn’t waived the first year, the potential savings offered by the Companion Fare could greatly outweigh what you pay to own the card.
Conversely, if your plans do not include any of the destinations covered by the airline, or you have no plans whatsoever to fly with a companion, then you should reconsider applying for this card. You might not get the most out of the offered benefits, even if the perks like a free checked bag still make it useful.
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 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Best airline credit cards Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide 6 vacation spots for perfect winter getaways this year