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The 3 reasons why I applied for the Alaska Airlines Business card

Aug. 26, 2022
7 min read
Alaska Airlines plane in flight
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I've long been a fan of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan loyalty program and I'm always looking to boost my miles balance with them.

Years ago, the company I worked for was acquired by a company in Seattle. I frequently traveled to Seattle on business and matched my United Premier Platinum status to MVP Gold 75K status.

I enjoyed the transcontinental upgrades, but more importantly, I built a huge stash of Mileage Plan miles. This helped me book multiple business-class tickets to Asia with partners like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The program has lost valuable partners over the years and added new ones at less-than-stellar award prices. However, many of the program's amazing redemptions have remained the same. Just this year, I was able to leverage the program to book two one-way Singapore Airlines business-class tickets from Seattle to Singapore to Bali, with a week-long stopover in Singapore for 200,000 miles and minimal taxes and fees.

So when the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card announced its best-ever publicly-available welcome bonus— 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $4,000 within the first 90 days of account opening — I immediately applied for the card to rebuild my balance.

Let's take a closer look at why I did this, and why you might consider doing the same before the offer expires.

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My Mileage Plan balance is running low

I had a sizeable Mileage Plan balance until this June when I redeemed 200,000 miles for those two Singapore Airlines tickets to Asia. This brought my balance down to around 30,000 Mileage Plan miles.

This isn't enough for any aspirational redemptions. I like to keep a stash of Alaska miles on hand in case Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or other partner award space opens up. It's by far the best way to book tickets on many of its partner carriers.

I recently redeemed the bulk of my existing Alaska miles on a Singapore Airlines business-class flight. (Photo by Singapore Airlines/Getty Images)

However, Alaska miles are some of the hardest to earn. It has no transfer partners outside of Marriott Bonvoy, which processes transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred to an airline. This means that 60,000 Marriott points are worth 25,000 miles. It can come in handy, but you're usually better off using Marriott points for hotel stays in many cases.

Related: When does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

Nowadays, I'm not flying Alaska much either, so my earning opportunities are limited to spending on the Alaska shopping portal and using the airline's dining program. A shot at 70,000 miles means I can supercharge my balance with minimal effort and enjoy the miles on a future trip.

I'm planning a trip to Africa and Asia next year

Regarding future trips, I'm already planning a trip to redeem my newly acquired 70,000 Alaska miles.

Despite the ongoing political unrest, Hong Kong has remained one of my favorite cities worldwide. Its energy, culture and amazing culinary scene have kept me coming back to the region repeatedly over the years. The country has gradually dropped entry requirements this year and I'm confident it will reopen to tourists without quarantine by the end of the year.

With that in mind, I'm hoping to visit Hong Kong next year as a part of a larger trip. I recently used Air Canada Aeroplan points to book a one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways in June next year. On the way home, I hope to fly from Johannesburg to New York via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, with a week-long stopover in Asia's World City.

Cathay Pacific first class. (Photo by J.T. Genter/The Points Guy)

I can book this route in Cathay Pacific first class for 70,000 miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. And since the program offers free stopovers on one-way tickets, the Hong Kong stopover is added free of charge. This is a great redemption that will let me revisit a favorite city, as well as fly one of the best first-class products in the sky.

Of course, award space and border reopenings will dictate if I can actually add this to my itinerary — but I'm hopeful.

Related: Best sweet spots with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The companion ticket will come in handy

I don't fly Alaska Airlines as much as I used to, but I still fly to the West coast regularly to visit friends. Next year, a trip to Seattle is on my radar and the card's included Alaska companion fare will help me bring down the cost of the trip for my partner and me.

Both the Alaska Business card and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card include one companion fare every year, which can be used to add a companion to eligible Alaska Airlines bookings for as little as $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Note that you have to pay for the ticket with your Alaska cobranded card to redeem the certificate.

Alaska Airlines cobranded credit cards include an annual companion ticket. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images)

When airfare is expensive — like it is right now — it could save my partner and me hundreds of dollars during peak travel times. Having a companion fare in my back pocket will be useful as we wait for airfare to keep coming down from inflation-fueled highs earlier this year.

Related: How my unused Alaska Companion Fare saved a co-worker nearly $700 on summer travel

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines miles are some of my favorite in the points and miles world, but they're not easy to earn.

Because of this, I applied for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card shortly after it came out with its new welcome offer: 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $4,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.

I'm using this offer to boost my recently-depleted Alaska mileage balance, and am hoping to use the miles to get home from a trip to Africa next year. If that trip doesn't work out, I know there is no shortage of other great ways to redeem Alaska miles for outsized value.

Apply now: Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card

Featured image by LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13: Alaska Airlines Airbus A320-214 takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on January 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
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Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

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Recommended Credit

670-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees