Review: The (Bank of America) Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card

The (Bank of America) Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card has very recently shot up in value. It’s now one of THE cards to get for residents of Hawaii. The reason is because of the recent merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America in combination with the annual $121 companion fare ($99 + taxes and fees) when traveling with another passenger on a paid published coach airfare on the same itinerary, booked at the same time via the Alaska Airlines website. By contrast, the Hawaiian Airlines credit card gives just a $100 discount on a companion flight. Yes, you’ll be paying full freight on one fare, but the overall savings are substantial and the miles earned have a great deal of utility.

The (Bank of America) Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card (link via USCreditCardGuide should offer $100 credit)

The (Bank of America) Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card. Image Credit: courtesy of Alaska Airlines and VISA.

Benefits:

  • 30,000 mile bonus (currrent offer, no announced expiration) after spending $1,000 in 3 months – with POTENTIAL $100 credit offer by creating dummy booking on Alaska Airlines site or by using USCreditCardGuide’s link above
  • 25,000 mile bonus (standard offer) after spending $1,000 in 3 months
  • Earn 3x miles (per dollar spent) on direct purchases from Alaska Airlines and 1x miles on all other purchases
  • Companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees) for round trip coach ticket, annually
  • Transfer partner with numerous airline loyalty programs (generally, 1:1 ratio)
  • BoA generally allows multiple same credit cards with a 90 day waiting period between applications
  • Cardholders get one free checked bag on Alaska flights (for up to six companions on same reservation)
  • VISA Signature Benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

Damage:

  • $75 annual fee
  • 12.74% to 19.74% APR variable, based upon your creditworthiness
  • If you are approved but do not qualify for the VISA Signature Card (minimum credit limit of $5,000), you will be selected for Platinum or Preferred card which comes with a lesser initial bonus (5,000 miles)

Analysis:

With the merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, this card offers great value for the Hawaii traveler – both on routes serviced by Alaska/Virgin America and on routes serviced by the numerous transfer partners of Alaska. On Alaska flights, the minimum amount of miles for a round trip coach flight from Hawaii to the mainland is 35,000; but see the Alaska Mileage Plan Chart to see all the flights available worldwide. Transfer partners include American, Delta, Cathay Pacific, Japan, and Korean. An off-peak coach round trip from Hawaii to Japan, is a great deal via American, for instance, at 50,000 miles (although you may have more of a problem with availability). This card does not offer the best value for everyday spending, but its utility combined with the annual companion fare makes it a very compelling choice.

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?