An update: This offer has been increased to 30K miles. If you decide to apply, try to do a dummy airfare booking on alaskaair.com You should get an offer that comes with an extra $100 credit.
A few days ago, I got an email from one of my loyal readers asking about Alaska Air co-branded credit card and if it would be a good fit for her situation. As usual, the answer isn’t quite so simple. First, the details: You can currently get 30K miles after approval (affiliate offer). The annual fee of $79 is not waived.
Alaska miles are probably the most valuable miles out there. Why? Well, Alaska Mileage Plan is routinely called “the Switzerland” of loyalty programs. It has a web of various alliances and usually mimics partner award chart. There are some very good deals to be had. Probably the best overall is one-way off-peak redemption to Europe (or Southern America) on American Airlines at a cost of only 20K miles. And you even get a free stopover.
Another good option, as my reader Kelly has correctly pointed out in the comments on my Monday’s post is just to redeem Alaska miles for one-way tickets to Alaska (who knew?) at a cost of 12,500 miles. And here is her comment on this post:
“One more thing is that the card comes with a companion fare whereby the companion pays $121 on Alaska metal. This is only good as a companion to a paid fare, but along with the 25,000 miles three people could fly for the cost of one ticket plus $121 and both the paid ticket and the companion fare earn miles. Certainly that requires some cash outlay, but sometimes strategically paying cash is helpful to stretch your miles, particularly when you’re trying to get five people across the country.”
Drew at Travelisfree has written an Ultimate Guide to Alaska Airlines Miles so I suggest you check it out. Spoiler alert: Alaska miles only transfer from SPG program, and those points are more valuable than gold. At least, that’s what I keep hearing. I will trade my stash of 38K SPG points for a gold bar if anyone is interested.
The question arises then: Why am I not shouting from the rooftops about this program? It’s simple. It has to do with my target audience. I aim to create content for a normal middle-class family who (I assume) will only get a few sign-up bonuses per year. At times, the offer on Alaska co-branded card is increased to 40K and occasionally even 50K miles. At that point, I certainly recommend you get it if your plans match up. Otherwise, it might be best to channel your limited spending towards richer sign-up bonuses on my list of Best credit card deals for family
There are some drawbacks to this card as well:
- While it’s a minor thing, I really don’t like dealing with Bank of America. I hate their online account set-up, it’s just not user-friendly. Also, they required me to call in to cancel my credit card after I’ve already sent a secure message. Like I said, none of those things are deal breakers, but they are something to keep in mind.
- This is the most important reason. When you read “T and C” for Alaska card offer, you’ll see this: ” Bonus Miles Offer. You will qualify for 25,000 bonus miles upon approval of a Visa Signature® account, 5,000 bonus miles upon approval of a Platinum Plus® account or 3,000 bonus miles upon approval of a Classic account.” In other words, you may end up with 5,000 or 3,000 miles in exchange for your hard pull. Bank of America does not give any criteria on how they determine which card to bestow upon you. This is the reason I personally never applied for Alaska co-branded card. I have a lot of inquiries on my report, and don’t like taking chances.
Of course, there are advantages too. This card is churnable, which means you can get the bonus again and again with no waiting period. Also, you receive these miles after spending $1 (on affiliate offer), which is a huge plus for those who don’t like using credit cards. Yes, they do exist. So, to all of you Dave Ramsey followers: You can have your cake and eat it too.
Do keep in mind, though, you will still have fresh inquiries on your credit report and your AAoA (average age of accounts) will be shortened. Read my post for more on this. I’ve said many times that I’m very picky when it comes to bonuses. Each new card lowers my chances of approval for that one potentially hot/smokin/sizzlin offer in the future.
Alaska co-branded card is certainly worth considering for some. The miles are extremely versatile and can work very well depending on your travel plans. As long as you are aware of potential issues, absolutely look into it. However, you may want to wait for higher offer because 30K miles isn’t going to do much for a family.
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.