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Is the Alaska Airlines Credit Card Annual Fee Worth It? Short Answer: Absolutely

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Is the Alaska Airlines Credit Card Annual Fee Worth It? Short Answer: Absolutely

Brian BirosIs the Alaska Airlines Credit Card Annual Fee Worth It? Short Answer: AbsolutelyMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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.

What makes the Alaska Airlines credit card annual fee worth it? The annual $99 companion fare. (Photo by Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock)

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.

You can save hundreds of dollars on flights to Hawaii by using your Alaska Airlines companion fare. (Photo by RCDIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock)

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:

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.

You’ll get a free checked bag for you and up to six passengers on the same itinerary with the Alaska Airlines credit card. (Photo by sumroeng chinnapan/Shutterstock)

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.

The Alaska Airlines credit card is one of the best ways to earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. (Photo by Brian Biros/MMS)

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

The Alaska Airlines credit card comes with a handful of other money-saving benefits:

  • 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.

Bottom Line

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.

You can apply for the Alaska Airlines credit card here.

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For rates & fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

  • 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 alaskaair.com 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.

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I have a question—is the $99 companion fare a one time per year benefit, or is it available for all flights you take within a year (similar to Southwest?)

Hi Andrea,

It’s once per year and renews every year, but you can still save a TON of money by using it! Brian gave a great example in this article of how it can result in over $800+ of savings thanks to the pass 🙂

This is the best write up I’ve seen detailing the justification of the annual fee based on the companion fare benefit. Thank you! Great post!

Author

Thanks for reading Robert!

When you sign up and get approved, will your new credit card number instantly appear? I can’t wait 2 weeks for a card to arrive in the mail. Thx

One thing I’ve done in the past is call the bank after I get approved online and ask for them to expedite the card to me.