The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® 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:
The Companion Fare
One of the biggest benefits of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® 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 included in the welcome bonus and renewed every year: 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. This annual benefit could certainly offset the card’s $75 annual fee.
Benefits for 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 0.9 cent each.
First class upgrades on Alaska Airlines
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.
Free checked bag
Some other travel rewards cards reimburse TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees, offer lounge access or elite qualifying miles. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® 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.
How to maximize your rewardsYou 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: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
Why Alaska Airlines’ card is 2019’s best airline credit card
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide