Transportation: It’s All Happening at Alaska Airlines!

Some of this is old news, but there are a lot of things going on with Alaska Airlines. First thing, you may have heard that they’ve merged with Virgin America. Virgin America will be fully absorbed by Alaska Airlines by the end of 2019, including, hopefully, its quirky personality and mood lighting (in blue, not red). Although primarily a West Coast operation, the combined airlines are now the 5th largest carrier in the United States. They’re flying 1,200 flights a day to 118 destinations, and their combined global network reaches over 800 destinations worldwide.

Alaska Airlines Welcome. Image Credit: courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

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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.

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Tips, Tricks and Tactics: Eating Your Way to Points and Miles

First thing, I’m a real hardcore food snob (and T is getting there). So hardcore, I would rather eat Zippy’s or Jack in the Box or home lunch for 364 days just so I can go to a super awesome place on day 365. There, I admit it. Now the healing can begin (by sending me to Japan)!

Prelude aside, let me introduce you to Carval Cafe, located at Waterfront Plaza (née Restaurant Row). It’s convenient for me at lunch and they serve a decent plate lunch — maybe 2 or 3 notches above your regular one.

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For those of you with unlinked Alaska Airlines and Virgin America accounts…

UPDATE, 1/9/2017: The Points Guy and other outlets report that Alaska Airlines confirmed that people active in both Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate, as of December 5, 2016, would receive a bonus 10,000 miles. Additionally, Elevate members who do not have Mileage Plan accounts will be offered either a 10,000 mile bonus or $100 credit as a welcome bonus to Alaska Airlines.

You might want to consider linking them. I logged into Award Wallet to check points and miles balances, and discovered that 10,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles were mysteriously posted to T’s and my account. The description of the activity: “SPECIAL SERVICES ELEVATE MEMBER OTO 10K BONUS.” Now, T and I have never flown Alaska Airlines or Virgin America before, but we do have loyalty accounts with a few miles in each (and a BoA Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card). The only interaction I’ve done recently was link the two accounts. Even the discussion on Flyer Talk is unsure for the reason behind the bonus, but others have verified linking accounts and receiving the same bonus today.

If you haven’t already, link your Alaska Airlines and Virgin America frequent flyer accounts (or even create them first, then link them). Just in case. The bonus 10,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles (a little wordy, no?) are worth 28.6% of the 35,000 miles required (minimum) for a round trip coach ticket from Hawaii to the mainland. Or 20% of the 50,000 required (minimum) for a round trip coach ticket from Hawaii to Japan. So, it’s not nothing.