Who Benefits Most From the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card?

Reyna Gobel
By Reyna Gobel 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is best for frequent travelers of Alaska Airlines, especially those who live on the West Coast and can take advantage of low redemption rates on shorter flights under 700 miles. It also works well for those traveling frequently with at least one other person and who primarily use miles to upgrade to first class on Alaska Airlines flights. Here’s why:

Those who can utilize the Companion Fare

One of the biggest benefits of the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is the Companion Fare. Buy one airline ticket and bring along a travel companion for as little as $99, plus taxes and fees. The Companion Fare is renewed every year for cardholders prior to Jan. 18, 2023. For new cardholders, the benefit is available each year at least $6,000 is spent on the card.

There's also a buy one, get one offer in the current welcome bonus that's similar to the Companion Fare: 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.

The annual benefit could certainly offset the card’s $95 annual fee.

West Coast residents and frequent travelers

Alaska Airlines has several hubs on the West Coast and flies to over 100 destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. If you live on the East Coast, you could still find the Alaska Airlines card worthwhile by transiting through one of these hubs or redeeming miles for partner awards.

Award flights start at 5,000 Alaska miles for a domestic flight under 700 miles. NerdWallet values Alaska miles at 1.2 cents each.

First class upgrade seekers

For those frequent Alaska Airlines fliers who use miles to upgrade to first class, this card is a great option. A one-way first class upgrade costs just 15,000 miles. The welcome bonus for this enough for at least two one-way first class upgrades.

Packers who check bags or carry on

Some other travel rewards cards reimburse TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees, offer lounge access or elite qualifying miles. The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card may not offer these perks, but it does offer practical benefits. For example, cardholders and up to six travel companions qualify for a free checked bag when traveling together.

Even if you aren't a heavy packer, you can stand to benefit from the card, as you and up to six travel companions on a single itinerary can also enjoy priority boarding and snag those coveted overhead bin spots early.


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:

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