Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, issued by Bank of America, pays higher rewards on Alaska Airlines purchases, including airfare, in-flight food and beverages, and vacation packages booked through the airline. It’s a good card for frequent Alaska Airlines flyers eager to boost their ability to earn flights through Mileage Plan—the Alaska Airlines loyalty program. For less frequent Alaska flyers, the fact that you don’t earn bonus miles on non-airline purchases, and the annual fee make the card less valuable.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

overall rating
3.3
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
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 (%) 17.49% - 25.49% 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.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
2.8
for Rewards
3.3
for Credit
4.0

Get 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
    Brand Loyalist

If you have good credit and frequently travel on Alaska Airlines, the Visa Signature card gives you a tremendous opportunity to rack up miles. It includes an annual companion ticket that alone is enough to offset the annual fee, especially if you use the benefit on a more expensive destination.

Alaska Airlines has lots of routes along the U.S. west coast, but doesn’t fly to every state; this card may not be a good fit for you if you live in a region that isn’t served by the airline.

Pros

  • Good sign-up bonus

  • Bonus companion ticket

  • High rewards-earning rate on airline purchases

Cons

  • Limited airline routes

  • Limited redemption options

Pros Explained

  • Good sign-up bonus: Depending on your departure and arrival cities, the bonus may be enough for two economy tickets or one first class ticket.
  • Bonus companion ticket: After reaching the sign-up bonus and every year on your cardholder anniversary you’ll get a companion fare, which allows you to purchase a second ticket from $121 on any round trip coach itinerary.
  • High rewards-earning rate on airline purchases: Your purchases with Alaska Airlines will earn 3 miles per $1 spent, which is more than many competing airline cards offer for purchases on their associated airlines. 

Cons Explained

  • Limited airline routes: Alaska Airlines doesn’t fly to every state. Some travelers will be better served with another airline credit card or a general travel credit card.
  • Limited miles redemption options: Mileage Plan miles are good for flights on Alaska or one of its airline partners, for hotel stays, and for vacation packages. You can’t redeem them for cash back, gift cards, merchandise, or anything else. 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Sign-Up Bonus

You’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. You’ll also earn a companion ticket (which you can use to purchase a round trip coach seat for someone traveling with from $121) after reaching the same spending threshold.

Based on The Balance’s analysis, each Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mile is worth, on average, 0.8 cents. That means the sign-up bonus could be worth $320 of airfare, hotel stays, or vacation packages. 

Earning Points and Rewards

You’ll earn 3 miles for every $1 you spend on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 you spend everywhere else. There’s no cap on the rewards you can earn. Your points don’t expire and they can even be reinstated up to one year after you’ve closed your account.

Each year on your cardholder anniversary date, you’ll receive a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees). The companion fare allows a friend or family member to travel with you, airfare-free, on an Alaska Airline flight that you’ve booked on alaskaair.com (and paid for with your card).

Cardholders are automatically enrolled in Mileage Plan, and purchases help you reach elite status sooner.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for flights to over 900 destinations around the world on Alaska Airlines and with its global airline partners. Alaska Airlines allows one stopover per one-way travel on most tickets, which could allow you to get more out of your ticket if you’re creative in planning your itinerary.

Since the card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, it’s a great one to take with you while you’re traveling internationally.

If you’re planning to transfer miles to another airline partner, keep in mind that mileage rates can vary among airline carriers.

While there are no blackout dates, rewards seats may be limited on some flights, especially during peak times. You can only use one partner airline per rewards ticket, which means you can’t fly one airline to the destination and a different airline on the way back.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Beyond making sure you meet the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus, you’ll need to use the companion pass to maximize the value from this card. Use the card for all your Alaska Airlines purchases, including in-flight food, beverages, and Wi-Fi—they all earn bonus miles and you’ll get a 20% rebate on the on-board purchases. You may also want to buy the half-off Alaska Airlines airport lounge day passes for $25 each. 

Because this card earns only 1 mile per $1 spent on non-Alaska Airlines purchases, you might consider carrying a second rewards credit card that you can use to max out earnings on all your non-Alaska Airline purchases.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature’s Excellent Features

You may be issued a Visa Signature card or a Visa Platinum card, depending on your credit. Cardholder benefits for those two types of cards vary; check your benefits guide to learn more. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature offers a couple of cardholder benefits that the editors of The Balance consider “excellent.”

  • Airline companion fare: After reaching the sign-up bonus and every year on your cardholder anniversary, you’ll get a companion ticket, which allows you to purchase a ticket for someone else to come along on a round trip coach itinerary from $121.
  • Free checked bag: Get one free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation paid for with your card. Alaska charges $30 for each flyer’s first checked bag, so that means a savings of $120 on a round trip for you and just one companion.

On Alaska Airlines, pineapples fly free. You won’t pay a checked bag fee for “one properly packaged box of pineapples when traveling within the United States” from any of several Hawaiian island airports Alaska serves.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature’s Other Features

  • 50% off Alaska airport lounge access 
  • 20% rebate on in-flight purchases

Customer Experience

This card is issued and administered by Bank of America, and that’s who you will deal with when managing your account. Unfortunately, in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, the big bank ranked seventh out of 11 national credit card issuers. It scored 798 of 1,000 possible points. The industry average was 806.

On the bright side, in addition to the usual suite of large bank services (24/7 customer support, a mobile banking app), the bank offers a free FICO credit score, updated monthly.

Security Features

Bank of America provides industry standard security, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases, and alerts for suspicious activity on your card account. 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature’s Fees

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card’s fees are in line with industry standards. There’s no foreign transaction fee, so take this card with you when you venture afar.

For Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
3.3
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 (%) 17.49% - 25.49% 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.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.