Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card Review

overall rating
3.1

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When you use the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, you're rewarded with 3X miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases. On top of that, this card comes with a the ability to earn a bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of account opening. Plus, you can get a discounted companion fare for as little as $121 every year. The companion fare alone is enough to justify the $75 annual fee.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

Overall Rating
3.1
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
On Bank of America's Secured Site.
Current Offer

Get a $100 statement credit + 40k bonus miles + a $99 companion fare (plus taxes and fees starting as low as $22). To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $75
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is not one of our top-rated airline credit cards. You can review our list of the best airline credit cards for what we think are better options.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Pros
  • Annual companion fare for as little as $121

  • Free checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights

  • Earn 3X miles on Alaska Airlines purchases

  • Bonus of 40,000 miles

Cons
  • $75 annual fee

  • No 0% APR introductory offer

  • Limited airline routes

Pros Explained

  • Annual Companion Fare for as Little as $121: One of the perks of this card is the annual Alaska's Famous Companion Fare. ("Famous" is part of the trademarked name.) Not only are you eligible for a companion fare after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days, but you'll also receive one each year on your anniversary as a cardholder. The companion fare is $99, plus taxes and fees that start at $22, for a total $121. You can use it on flights booked through alaskaair.com, and you don’t have to worry about blackout dates.
  • Free Checked Bag on Alaska Airlines Flights: When you make a reservation using an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, you get one free checked bag on your flight. Additionally, up to six people flying on the same reservation can also check a bag for free. 
  • Earn 3X Miles on Alaska Airlines Purchases: Whenever you make eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, you can receive 3X Mileage Plan miles for each dollar you spend. You don’t have to worry about miles expiring on an active account, and there are no blackout dates. Miles can also be used to book travel with Alaska Airlines partners. All other spending earns 1 mile per dollar.
  • Bonus of 40,000 Miles: After you make $2,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of opening your account, you receive a bonus of 40,000 miles. Redemptions start at 5,000 miles, so you could potentially get eight flights with your bonus. However, redemption value depends on your origin and destination. The airline has an online calculator to help you estimate costs, based on how long your flights are. Investopedia values Alaska Airlines miles at 0.85 cents each on average, placing the bonus miles value at $340 if redeemed for travel on the airline.

Cons Explained

$75 Annual Fee: There's a $75 annual fee, although that's relatively low when compared with credit card issuers that charge $95. However, the rewards are also limited, so the lower fee might make sense. On the plus side, the value of the Companion Fare is more than enough to justify the $75 annual fee in many cases. It's also worth noting that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card doesn’t waive the fee for the first year, unlike some cards.

No 0% APR Introductory Offer: Unlike certain credit cards, like some of those offered by American Express, there is no introductory APR. You won’t be able to get a 0% APR on balance transfers or purchases with this card. But, to be fair, most co-branded airline cards don’t offer introductory rates on purchases or balance transfers. However, if you’re looking for a card to help you pay off high-interest debt, this card isn’t it.

Limited Airline Routes: Another consideration with this card is the fact that Alaska Air doesn’t have the same extensive network as some other airlines. While there are destinations on the East Coast, the majority of the cities that Alaska Airlines serves are on the West Coast. There are partner airlines you can use to get where you’re going, but, in general, your choices will be limited.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Loyalty Status Seeker Persona
    Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
    Loyalty Status Seeker
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for International Traveler Persona
    Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
    International Traveler

Because of these limitations, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is best for people who are looking for a travel card and frequently fly on Alaska Airlines. It can be ideal for passengers who make short hops on the West Coast, as it’s possible to redeem points at a low threshold (starting at 5,000 points).

Other advantages for frequent Alaska Airlines customers include the 3X miles for each dollar you spend on Alaska Airlines purchases. On top of that, you can get 20% back on inflight purchases and 50% off a day pass to Alaska Airlines airport lounges.

If you’re interested in a more general-purpose travel card, it might make sense to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 2X points on any travel purchases, plus a 25% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Chase portal. So you don’t need to be loyal to a particular airline.

Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card Bonus

There are two parts to the bonus for this card. First of all, you receive 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with the card in 90 days. With redemptions starting at 5,000 miles for a one-way flight, that’s up to four round-trip airfares.

The second part of the signing bonus is swift access to a discounted companion fare. When you meet the requirements of the one-time offer, you can buy a ticket for a companion for as little as $121 ($99 base plus taxes and fees starting at $22). You’ll be eligible for another companion fare on your first card anniversary and every year after that.

Rewards Earning Details

With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, you earn 3X miles for each dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases. Every other dollar you spend earns 1 mile. 

There aren't a lot of other ways to earn rewards with this card, although on some flights you can receive bonus miles depending on the flight ranges and operator. These bonus miles are based on your flight, though, and not the spending on your credit card.

Rewards Redemption Details

You can redeem your rewards by booking on alaskaair.com. It’s important to note that Mileage Plan award travel must be booked with Alaska Airlines. That includes any booking with airline partners. 

It's also possible to use your miles to book hotels through Alaska Airlines. To do that, you need to use Alaska’s hotel booking portal.

Transferring Points

Even though Alaska has partners like American Airlines and British Airways, you don't directly book your travel with these partners to use your miles. Additionally, you can’t transfer your miles to other loyalty programs. Instead, you book your rewards travel on alaskaair.com, and if a partner is needed to get you to your destination, it’s included in your booking. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Maximizing your rewards with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is mostly a matter of using your card to book travel on that airline. With 3X miles for each dollar you spend, you can earn points relatively quickly, especially if you meet the requirements for the one-time offer. 

You should also take advantage of the companion fare each year to get the fullest use of the benefits. 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Annual companion fare from $121
  • Free checked bags for you and up to six other people on the same reservation
  • 20% back on inflight purchases on Alaska Airlines
  • Monthly access to your FICO Score
  • No foreign transaction fee

Standard Benefits

  • EMV chip technology in cards
  • $0 liability guarantee
  • Account alerts

Cardholder Experience

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is issued by Bank of America, which received a score of 798 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The national issuer average was 806.

Bank of America offers the option to schedule an appointment with a financial specialist. You need to use your app or log into your account online to take advantage of this feature. In some cases, you might also be able to use live chat. You can also call the number on the back of your credit card to reach customer service.

Security Features

This card comes with a range of security features. Bank of America says it monitors your activity and will block potential fraud. Additionally, account alerts can help you stay on top of the situation. As with many other credit cards, this card comes with a $0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions.

Other features, like monthly access to your FICO Score, can help you monitor your credit. If you see a sudden drop in your score, that could be an indication that you need to check your credit report for fraudulent activity.

Fees to Watch Out For

There aren’t many fees to worry about with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. You should be aware that there is a minimum interest charge if you carry a balance. So, even if you have a very small balance, you’ll pay a minimum dollar amount of at least $1.50 in interest.

Also, pay attention to balance transfer and cash advance fees. While it might be tempting to use these services, they can be relatively expensive.

Our Verdict

If you frequently travel on Alaska Airlines, this card can be a good choice. However, the airline's routes are limited, so if you take other routes more often, you might do better with a card like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card offered by Southwest Airlines. You’ll receive anniversary points each year, there's a low redemption threshold, and the routes might be more in line with your travel patterns.

Still, if you use Alaska Airlines (or its partners) regularly and book your travel through alaskaair.com, you will likely get a solid return. The companion fare is a good perk, as is the free checked bag for you and your companions on the same reservation.

Apply Now
For Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
on Bank of America's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
3.1
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $75
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.