Alaska Airlines Makes Negative Change to the Companion Fare

Jun 4, 2019

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One of the most valuable perks of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is the annual companion fare. With it, a friend or family member can travel with you on an Alaska-operated coach flight booked on for just $99 plus any taxes and fees on the ticket (which typically start at ~$22). Up until this point, you could use any credit card to pay for the ticket, but that’s changing soon.

TPG reader Max recently emailed us with an unfortunate discovery he made while reviewing the companion fare FAQ page on Alaska’s website:

“For companion fares issued on or after October 1, 2019, both the primary fare and the companion fare must be purchased using your Alaska Airlines credit card.”

One of the nice things about this benefit was that you didn’t actually need to use the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card to pay for the ticket. The card’s 3x earning rate on Alaska purchases is great (a 5.4% return based on TPG’s most recent valuations), but there are a few more rewarding options for airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express that offers 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare (a 10% return) booked directly with the airlines or through American Express Travel and the Chase Sapphire Reserve that offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel purchases (a 6% return) (excluding the $300 travel credit), as well some of the best travel protections.

Bottom Line

Although the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card offers a respectable return on Alaska purchases, not being able to use a different card to pay for the companion fare is a bummer. On the bright side, the card recently added some new perks, including discounts on inflight purchases and lounge passes, as well as the introduction of free inflight surprises for card holders.

For more info on the companion ticket and how to get the most value out of it, see TPG Senior Points & Miles Editor Nick Ewen’s story on “Maximizing the Alaska Airlines Visa Companion Fare.”

Featured image via Shutterstock.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska miles are extremely valuable because you can book awards on partners like Emirates, Icelandair, Korean Air and Japan Airlines. The current bonus of 40,000 miles can book you a roundtrip ticket on Alaska Airlines from Boston to San Diego or New York to Seattle, for example.

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More Things to Know
  • Now - 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
  • Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year! Each year on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on with no blackout dates.
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don't expire on active accounts.
  • New! Enjoy 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge and 20% back on all Alaska Airlines inflight purchases when you pay with your new card.
  • Redeem miles with no blackout dates on any of Alaska's 1,200 daily flights or choose from over 900+ destinations with more than a dozen global airline partners. Plus, get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Alaska Airlines Hotels.
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
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