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Alaska has been getting a lot more of my attention lately thanks to bold moves like expanding elite-qualifying mileage earning to all its airline partners, aggressive mileage bonus promos on West Coast travel, and the fact that it has amazing partners in Oneworld and SkyTeam like Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, as well as non-alliance partners including Emirates that I love to use my miles to fly.
Given all of Delta’s recent negative changes including two mileage chart devaluations, hacking away at elite same-day confirmed benefits, and new elite revenue requirements, I’ve been taking a much closer look at Alaska and its MileagePlan program, including at the co-branded credit card from Bank of America and Visa.
One reason I haven’t gotten the Alaska Airlines Visa is because the bonus is typically around 25,000 miles upon approval (and you get a $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in 90 days) and there’s a current one for 40,000 miles but it requires you to spend $2,000 per month for the first year to earn the full bonus – not tempting for me. However, there is currently an offer out there for 50,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 90 days.
Here are the terms of the offer:
- Up to 50,000 Bonus Miles – by earning 25,000 Bonus Miles upon approval and an additional 25,000 Bonus Miles after making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of the account open date
- Coach Companion Fare every year from $118 (USD) ($99, plus taxes and fees from $19)
- Earn 3 miles for every qualifying dollar in purchases of Alaska Airlines tickets, Vacation packages and Cargo purchases
- No mileage cap. There’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card
- $75 annual fee not waived
Now, per the terms on the application page, this offer does appear to be targeted: “Bonus Mile Offer: This one-time promotion is limited to new customers opening an account in response to this offer and is valid for a limited time by invitation only. This offer is not valid for customers that have applied for this product in the last 12 months.” And it seems to be targeted at Washington residents as Alaska is pushing back on Delta’s recent encroachment into the Pacific Northwest and the Seattle market in particular, but people who did not receive a targeted email report being approved. And even better, some folks who had applied for another bonus with this card even as recently as 3-4 months ago report getting approved, so it seems possible to score this bonus on top of any past ones for the card – though again the terms do say that’s not possible, so I would use caution.
Apart from the unusually high bonus, this card also comes with a yearly companion ticket, and although you used to be able to use this on first class fares and it’s only for coach tickets now, it can still be a very good value. Cardholders are given a certificate code for a $99 companion fare (plus taxes, usually putting the total at around $118) within 1-2 weeks of their initial approval and then on every subsequent anniversary of cardmembership. The only restrictions for using this companion ticket are that two seats must be available, and the flights must be wholly operated by Alaska Airlines. Otherwise, the cardholder and their travel companion can use it for any coach fare class on any flight. Even better, both flyers still receive mileage credit and both qualify for upgrades based on the elite status of the higher flyer. One of the best uses of this companion ticket is for the cardholder to purchase a ticket to Hawaii and get the second one for just $99 plus taxes, essentially getting two half-price tickets to Hawaii and more than compensating for that $75 annual fee.
As I begin to look toward 2014, I am taking a much closer look at Alaska and think it’s going to play a bigger role in my overall airline and elite status strategy.
Any folks out there already get in on this offer? Share your experience in the comments below.