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INSIDER SECRET: The $99 companion fare renews every year, which makes the Alaska Airlines credit card $75 annual fee well worth it.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card comes with a valuable 40,000-mile sign-up bonus and its famous $99 companion fare (plus taxes and fees from $22), after you meet minimum spending requirements. It also comes with valuable perks like a free checked bag, 3x miles on Alaska Airlines purchases and other less-publicized benefits.
However, when the annual fee approaches, you might ask yourself, is the Alaska Airlines credit card annual fee worth it? Sign-up bonuses are a one-time incentive, but the ongoing perks make the decision to keep the Alaska Airlines credit card year after year very easy.
Let’s take a look at the reasons the Alaska Airlines credit card is worth the $75 annual fee:
Is the Alaska Airlines Credit Card Annual Fee Worth It?
Apply here: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Read our review of the Alaska Airlines credit card
With the Alaska Airlines credit card, you’ll earn 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
You’ll also get an Alaska Airlines companion fare each year you keep you account open. This fare allows you to book a second reservation from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22), when it’s combined with a regular fare on the same itinerary. This alone is more valuable than the card’s $75 annual fee.
This is what a regular round-trip would cost for two passengers flying from Washington, DC to Los Angeles in July.
If you apply the Alaska Airlines credit card $99 companion fare code, however, you would see a savings of ~$325.
You can also use the companion fare on itineraries that include a stopover.
Let’s say in the above example, instead of flying back to Washington after the weekend in Los Angeles, we go on to Honolulu for a week before returning home. The total cost of those flights would be ~$1,020 per person.
However, once we apply the $99 companion fare code, the total cost for the two passengers drops ~$874! This brings the average cost per passenger to ~$584. Not bad for a flight to Hawaii from the east coast with a stopover in Los Angeles during peak summer season.
Now let’s add an open-jaw between Honolulu and Maui to our trip. Then on the return, let’s spend a few days in Seattle. This itinerary would cost ~$1,084 per person.
However, once we include the $99 companion fare code, the total for the two flights drops by ~$918! That means for an average price of ~$626, you and your companion would be able to visit Los Angeles, Honolulu, Maui and Seattle on the same reservation.
Keep in mind with this example, you would be responsible for the flights between Honolulu and Maui, but there are cheap inter-island flights. Also, the terms of the companion fare technically state that multiple stopovers aren’t allowed, but the website allows you to book the above itinerary and others have flown similar itineraries without issue.
Either way, as long as you fly once per year on Alaska Airlines with a companion, the savings using the companion fare will likely be several hundred dollars, far outweighing the $75 annual fee.
If you can’t use the companion fare for yourself, you can also give it to friends or family. Just make sure you book the reservation for them using your Alaska Airlines credit card.
The Annual Fee Is Cheap
The Alaska Airlines credit card annual fee is only $75, which is at least $20 cheaper than similar co-branded credit cards from other US airlines.
See how the Alaska Airlines credit card annual fee stacks up:
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card – $75
- United Explorer Card – $95
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – $95 (See Rates & Fees)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – $99
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – $99 (waived for the first 12 months)
While the Alaska Airlines credit card annual fee isn’t waived the first year like some of the above cards, the benefits are worth it.
Free Checked Bag on Alaska Airlines Flights
Another perk of the Alaska Airlines credit card is the free checked bag for you and up to six passengers traveling on the same reservation. Alaska Airlines usually charges $30 for the first checked bag, each way. That means the savings for one round-trip flight is $60 per bag, which almost equals the $75 annual fee.
When you add another passenger or take just one more Alaska Airlines flight and check a bag, you’ve already made your money back on the annual fee. Each additional passenger or flight with a checked bag just piles on the savings.
Bonus Miles on Alaska Airlines Spend
With a wide range of airline partners, Alaska Airlines miles are among the most valuable airline miles. But because they are not a partner of any of the major credit card transferable points programs, they are among the hardest to earn.
With the Alaska Airlines credit card, you’ll earn:
- 3 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases
- 1 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mile per $1 on all other purchases
Most other airline co-branded credit cards only give 2x miles on their respective airline purchases, so the 3x miles for the Alaska Airlines credit card provides value for even the occasional Alaska Airlines flyer.
Also, you can redeem Alaska Airlines miles on 15 airline partners with incredibly valuable redemption options.
Rental Car CDW Coverage, Extended Warranty Protection and More
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Coverage for car rentals almost anywhere in the world when you pay with your card
- Extended Warranty Protection for up to one year of additional warranty coverage
- Roadside Dispatch Service for a reasonable fee of ~$70
- Travel Assistance Services through a free phone number reachable anywhere in the world
There is no additional registration needed for these perks. The auto rental CDW coverage and extended warranty protection are automatic as long as you use your Alaska Airlines credit card, and the other services are available whenever you need them.
See the benefits of the Alaska Airlines credit card here.
If there is one airline co-branded credit card to keep in your wallet year after year, the Alaska Airlines credit card is it. The value of the annual $99 companion fare alone is greater than the $75 annual fee.
Other perks like a free checked bag and 3x miles on Alaska Airlines spending are gravy. Also, keep in mind the Alaska Airlines credit card is one of the only ways to earn valuable Alaska Airlines miles.
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For rates & fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.