SEATAC, WASHINGTON- Alaska Airlines (AS) Mileage Plan stands out as one of the most esteemed frequent flyer programs, known for its exceptional value, even beyond the scope of Alaska Airlines itself.
By leveraging partnerships with renowned airlines like Cathay Pacific (CX), Japan Airlines (JL), and American Airlines (AA), members can maximize the worth of their Alaska Airlines miles when redeeming them for award flights.
Despite the program’s appeal, Alaska Airlines does not collaborate with major transferable bank points programs such as Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Consequently, the simplest way to accumulate Alaska miles is by utilizing the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Issued by Bank of America, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card currently offers an elevated welcome bonus. Cardholders can obtain one ticket for just the taxes and fees when purchasing one ticket, along with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening an account.
Although the card has a $95 annual fee, frequent Alaska Airlines travelers can enjoy significant savings through benefits like a complimentary first checked bag (valued at $30) for themselves and up to six companions on Alaska flights.
An annual companion fare is also granted when spending $6,000 or more on purchases, further increasing potential savings.
These perks, coupled with the substantial value of the welcome bonus, particularly when applied to partner award flights, make the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card an appealing choice.
For individuals uncertain about utilizing Alaska miles in the near future but still interested in acquiring them, an alternative worth considering is earning Marriott points through any of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
Marriott points can be transferred to airline partners, including Alaska, at a 3:1 ratio, with a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. This flexibility may suit those who prioritize versatile redemption options.
Rewards Offered by Alaska Airlines Credit Card
Welcome Bonus Offer
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card presents a limited-time elevated welcome bonus. Cardholders receive one ticket for just the taxes and fees when purchasing one ticket, along with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening an account.
Insider’s valuation of Alaska miles estimates the welcome bonus miles to be worth $600 in flights, which can potentially offer even greater value through strategic redemption.
Moreover, the Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) ticket offer can yield hundreds of dollars in savings when traveling with a companion.
How to Earn Miles
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card has updated its earning structure to include new 2x earning categories, enhancing mileage accumulation from everyday spending. Cardholders can earn:
- Three miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, encompassing tickets, flight subscriptions, inflight purchases, lounge memberships, in-lounge purchases, cargo, and Alaska Airlines-billed vacation packages.
- Two miles per dollar on gas, local transit including rideshare, cable, and select streaming services.
- One mile per dollar on all other purchases.
How to Use Miles
Redeeming miles for award flights on Alaska Airlines offers considerable value to travelers. The award chart for Alaska flights is distance-based, resulting in higher mileage requirements for longer flights.
For instance, economy-class flights covering distances of 700 miles or less cost just 5,000 Alaska miles per way.
Another advantageous feature of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is the ability to add a stopover to award flights, including those with partner airlines, at no extra charge.
This flexibility, particularly when combined with the rarity of one-way flight options in other frequent flyer programs, enhances the program’s appeal.
Alaska Airlines boasts an extensive network of domestic and international partners, largely attributable to its membership in the Oneworld alliance.
Members can currently utilize Alaska Airlines miles for award flights with numerous airlines, including Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and many others. However, precise pricing for partner awards vary, necessitating searches for desired flights and dates.
Premium-cabin partner award flights often yield the highest value, with examples such as Cathay Pacific’s first class to Asia for 70,000 Alaska miles or LATAM Airlines’ business class to South America for 45,000 Alaska miles.
Such flights frequently carry price tags amounting to thousands of dollars, further emphasizing the advantages of utilizing Alaska miles.
Benefits and Features
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card offers various benefits with several new features. However, most of these benefits are exclusively advantageous to frequent Alaska Airlines travelers.
Annual Companion Fare
Cardholders receive a companion fare code on each account anniversary after spending $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior year.
This code enables round-trip economy-class travel on Alaska Airlines, with the companion certificate available for booking a guest on the same paid itinerary starting at $122 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $23).
The potential savings on expensive routes can be substantial. Companion fare codes remain valid for 12 months from the issue date, with travel bookings possible up to 12 months beyond the expiration date.
Free Checked Bag
Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card holders and up to six companions on the same reservation enjoy a complimentary first-checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights. This benefit is contingent on using the card to pay for the ticket.
The standard cost for a first checked bag is $30 each way. So the savings can be significant, particularly for frequent Alaska Airlines travelers.
However, individuals should weigh the value of a free checked bag against potential travel protections offered by credit cards with travel insurance.
Priority boarding is an invaluable perk that enhances the overall flying experience by allowing earlier access to the aircraft and increased convenience for stowing carry-on luggage.
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card provides priority boarding on Alaska flights for cardholders and up to six companions on the same reservation.
As with the free checked bag benefit, using the card to pay for the ticket is a prerequisite. While cardholders board before general boarding, they follow Alaska Airlines elite members, Oneworld alliance elite members, first or premium-class ticket holders, and preboarding groups.
Cardholders with an eligible consumer Bank of America checking/savings account or Merrill investment account now receive a relationship bonus. This bonus grants an additional 10% on the miles earned with the card.
For instance, if a purchase would typically yield 500 miles, the cardholder would receive an extra 50 miles (10%), totaling 550 miles.
This effectively increases the earning rates on the card to 3.3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2.2 miles per dollar on gas, and local transit, including rideshare, cable, and select streaming services, and 1.1 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Paying for inflight purchases using the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card entitles cardholders to a 20% discount in the form of a statement credit. This rebate applies to food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases made during the flight.
Alaska Airlines Lounge+ Membership Discount
Cardholders are eligible for a $100 discount on an Alaska Lounge+ membership when paying with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card.
This membership offers access to Alaska-operated lounges and over 90 partner lounges, with the regular cost starting at $550 (the discount is not applicable to the standard membership for Alaska lounges only).
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.