Is the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card worth it?
The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is a great option for those who fly frequently on Alaska Airlines, especially West Coast travelers. It can be worth it for its cardmember perks like the Companion Fare™ and its miles-earning potential. This card offers lots of value not only for Alaska Airlines flyers, but also for those who fly its oneworld partners at least once a year.
The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card packs in a lot of value for its especially reasonable $95 annual fee. You’ll enjoy Alaska Airlines-exclusive perks like a free checked bag on every flight and discounts on in-flight purchases and lounges. And though the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is an airline card, it still offers a high level of flexibility and options to book award travel beyond the Alaska Airline flights.
However, if you don't fly regularly enough with Alaska Airlines and think you could get more value from a more flexible travel credit card, consider options like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card instead.
With the card's sign-up bonus, you’ll earn 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.
We estimate that each mile is worth 1.4 cents, making this welcome bonus worth about $980. The spending threshold for the sign-up bonus is relatively low and will help you earn a large pool of Alaska miles in a short amount of time.
How much is it worth? $980
Who is eligible to earn it? Only consumers who are opening a new account are eligible to earn this offer; those who are converting an existing account will not be eligible. Your account must also be open and in good standing in order to receive this bonus.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit cardholders will Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases. Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, cable, streaming services and local transit including ride share purchases. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
This earning rate is rather mediocre compared to what other travel rewards cards offer, since its bonus miles are limited to Alaska Airlines purchases.
What are Alaska miles worth?
While we estimate Alaska Airlines miles to be worth 1.4 cents per mile on average, the value varies greatly depending on how you use your miles.
Alaska’s partnerships with the oneworld alliance and a handful of other airlines make its miles especially valuable. Mileage Plan miles can be redeemed for Alaska Airlines flights or for flights on any of its partners, so you can also book award travel to destinations not served by Alaska Airlines.
MileagePlan partners include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Tahiti Nui
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- EL AL Israel Airlines
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Iceland Air
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Ravn Alaska
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- Singapore Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
You can redeem your rewards for Alaska Airlines flights, as well as flights with their global partners. While it does take some trial and error, you’ll find that some of Alaska’s partners offer better redemptions than others. For example, booking award tickets on international airlines typically offer a better value, but are also harder to find. This contributes to the extremely inconsistent value of Alaska miles.
The table below displays some of the sample trips we looked at and the corresponding prices — both in U.S. dollars (USD) and miles. We’ve sampled eight different round-trip economy flights that you can book using your Alaska miles.
Price in miles + fee
Value of ticket
|Alaska Air||Seattle||Los Angeles||50K + $11.20||$447.20||$0.009|
|Alaska Air||Anchorage, Alaska||Portland, Ore.||70K + $11.20||$986.50||$0.014|
|Alaska Air||Los Angeles||Tampa, Fla.||80K + $11.20||$1,193.19||$0.015|
|American Airlines||New York City||Chicago||19K + $11.20||$365.20||$0.019|
|American Airlines||Los Angeles||Tampa, Fla.||65.5K + $11.20||$824.20||$0.012|
|British Airways||New York City||Warsaw, Poland||49.5K + $293.27||$742.47||$0.009|
|British Airways||New York City||London, England||26K + $311.44||$748.47||$0.017|
|Korean Air||New York City||Seoul, South Korea||87.5K + $495.57||$1,975.07||$0.017|
To calculate the value of one Alaska mile, we subtracted the fee from the value of the ticket and divided it by the required miles. You can use this formula to determine whether or not you’re getting the best value from your award ticket.
Note that all award travel comes with a fee covering taxes, fuel surcharges and more. For Alaska Airlines flights, this fee is relatively low. Certain carriers, however, can charge exuberant surcharges.
It’s also worth noting that not all flights on Mileage Plan partner airlines will be available for booking through Alaska Air miles; the partner carriers will need to make the flights specifically available to Alaska Air. In our research, we’ve seen a decent amount of American Airlines and British Airways coverage. However, when it came to some of the other airlines, available flights were far less frequent, limiting the program’s overall flexibility.
Other Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card benefits
This card's other significant benefit is the annual Companion Fare, which costs $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) each account anniversary after you spend $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year. Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com. When flying on Alaska Airlines, you can bring a travel companion along with no blackout dates. This benefit has a potential value of hundreds of dollars, easily compensating for the card’s $95 annual fee. Companion tickets, as they are commonly known, are a coveted benefit for those who frequently travel with friends, family or colleagues.
Depending on your travel, Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare can be very valuable, though the value is hard to estimate. Essentially, the more expensive the itinerary, the greater the discount this benefit will provide.
If you or your travel companions tend to pack heavy, the Alaska Airlines credit card can save you money with the first checked bag fee waived. This benefit is extended to the cardholder and up to six companions on the same reservation. The first checked bag with the airline costs $30, which means this benefit has the potential of saving you up to $60 per person in baggage fees round trip.
Finally, you’ll receive exclusive perks when flying Alaska Airlines. You’ll receive 20% back in statement credits on in-flight purchases when using your Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card.
An important perk of the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is that it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. This can save you significant amounts of money when you use your card while traveling abroad.
- $95 annual fee: While this is an extremely moderate annual fee compared to what many travel rewards cards charge, if you'd rather not pay any kind of fee, there are plenty of great no-annual-fee credit cards that might suit you better.
- Subpar earning rate: Other travel rewards cards do tend to offer better earning rates. So if the additional perks that come with this card aren't enough for you and you'd rather stick to a card that will help you earn more points with every purchase, you may want to consider a different travel rewards card instead.
- Less useful for those who don't live on or travel to the West Coast: While Alaska Airlines has increased the number of destinations it flies to, it's based on the West Coast and primarily caters to destinations on that side of the country. However, it is part of the oneworld alliance, meaning that you can still use your Alaska Airlines miles to book flights with other airlines, too.
Alternatives to the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card
To help you decide whether or not the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is for you, we evaluated three competing cards:
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Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card
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On Chase's Secure Website
On Capital One's Secure Website
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
On Chase's Secure Website
Verdict: A general travel rewards card that offers high value and more flexibility.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an attractive airline mile and travel rewards credit card for individuals who value flexibility. This card earns users Ultimate Rewards points – one of the best credit card rewards programs. Part of what makes Chase Ultimate Rewards® great is the ability to transfer points to Chase’s 14 hotel and airline partners.
Choosing between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card comes down to your airline preferences and whether or not you are loyal to Alaska Airlines. If you have no brand loyalty and are simply looking to maximize your points, opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. But if you spend a lot of money on Alaska Airlines tickets already or want to access airlines that Chase doesn't partner with (Korean Air and American Airlines, for example), the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card will provide a better value for you.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
On Capital One's Secure Website
Verdict: A valuable travel card with a simple rewards structure.
Consumers who want to save on their travel but don't want to deal with a complicated rewards program should consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card provides a flat 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card allows users to swipe and receive statement credit on travel purchases. If you don't want to spend time in front of a computer trying to find the best points-to-dollar ratio for flights, you will likely walk away with one of the best net rewards using the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Not available on ValuePenguin
Verdict: Another airline credit card with top benefits.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card won't get you any Alaska-related benefits, but the card is a good option for frequent Southwest loyalists. Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® through 2/28/24 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The Southwest Companion Pass is a similar benefit to Alaska's Companion Fare. You'll get to designate one travel companion to fly them for just the cost of taxes and fees, starting at $5.60.
Should you get the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card?
You should get the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card if you're a frequent Alaska Airlines flyer and are looking for airline-specific benefits. Airline credit cards are meant to improve the overall ground and flying experience, and thanks to its rewards program, the Alaska Mileage Plan, you’ll be able to book awards on a variety of airline partners. Alaska miles are some of the most coveted rewards in the points and miles game because you can score incredible redemptions if used wisely.
However, if you don't want to be locked in to flying exclusively with Alaska Airlines and its partners, consider another general travel rewards card instead.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
The information related to Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.