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Before the $2.6 billion Virgin-Alaska merger in 2017, I had only flown Alaska a few times. I flew Virgin America all the time and I even had the Virgin America Visa Signature card (RIP). Lately, I find myself flying Alaska more often, including recent flights to Maui and Nashville.
It makes sense that I’m seeing Alaska flights more frequently in my searches since they now have nearly 1,200 daily flights and 286 planes. They’re the fifth largest airline in the U.S. Because of that, I constantly see their billboards, commercials, and of course, their branded credit card, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature.
Link: Airline Credit Cards
I hadn’t considered opening an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, much less another credit card since I’m pretty happy with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred benefits, and Chase Freedom cards.
However, since my Virgin Signature is long gone in the credit card graveyard, I decided to find out more about Alaska’s offer. In taking a closer look at the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, I realized it’s a pretty sweet deal. These are five reasons why I’ve decided to apply.
1. Alaska is raising its fees for checked bags to $30.
Alaska’s recent move to increase checked-in bag fees pressured me even further to really consider whether this card would be worth it. Brilliantly played, Alaska.
Starting Dec. 5, 2018, customers will have to pay $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second. It’s a $5 increase for the first checked bag. The second checked in bag is where you’d experience the biggest increase — Alaska previously charged $25 for the second bag.
Of course, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card cardholders get the first checked bag for free. You can also receive this perk for up to six people you fly with, as long as it’s on the same reservation.
2. The sign-up bonus is generous (30,000), while spending threshold is low ($1,000).
When you sign up and spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening, you earn 30,000 bonus miles. Also, compared to some of the other credit cards I have, $1,000 is a low spending threshold.
The 30,000 points roughly translate to $570. Not too shabby, considering 30,000 miles are enough to book a free flight within the U.S. or Hawaii.
Other perks include:
- 3 miles per dollar spent on purchases spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases
- 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Miles never expire
Bonus: Alaska is offering 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. Check Alaska’s website for details.
3. You get a free Companion Fare ticket each year.
One of the standout benefits includes their Companion Fare, which you can redeem once a year on your account opening anniversary. You get the Companion Fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22).
This means I can entice one of my pals to come with me on a travel adventure next year!
4. They have a decent number of airline partnerships.
Why does this matter? Partnerships with other big airlines mean I don’t always have to fly on Alaska. If Alaska doesn’t fly to a particular destination, I can fly with one of their partners, including American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas.
Note that their partnerships with Aeromexico, Air France, and KLM have ended.
Here is the complete list of their partners:
- Aer Lingus
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
5. Their app actually works.
Call me a sucker for technology, but these things matter when you travel a lot. Plus, I really appreciate when brands have products that are solid and work well.
For my last few flights, I downloaded the Alaska Airlines app and noticed that it was simple and I was able to pull up my flight information with ease. Plus, it didn’t crash once!
It’s probably the best airlines app I’ve ever used. You can see other travelers are also pleased. At the time of writing, almost 16,000 glowing reviews resulted in 4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store!
Bonus reason: the $75 annual fee doesn’t scare me.
The only negative part about the credit card is its annual fee of $75. But considering the 30,000 bonus miles and free Companion Fare ticket, it’s well worth it.
Why I’m getting the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card
Despite the fact that I was sad to see Virgin American fade away after the merger, I’m quite pleased with Alaska Airlines’ flights, service, and credit card perks. The Companion Fare, low spending threshold, and overall solid brand make are all good reasons why I’ve decided to apply.
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