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INSIDER SECRET: You and your companion will still earn Alaska Airlines miles when you book travel with the Companion Fare. This is a great way to earn Alaska Airlines miles cheaply because Alaska is one of the few remaining airlines that credits miles based on the distance flown not the cost of the ticket.
Update: I reached out to Bank of America and found out that you will be able to pay for a companion fare ticket with any credit card as long as the companion fare code was issued before October 1, 2019, even if you make the purchase after October 1st.
The best perk of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is the companion pass you get each year on your account anniversary. With it you can bring along a guest from $121 ($99 fare + taxes and fees from $22).
The companion pass is automatically deposited into your Alaska Airlines account when you qualify for it and it applies to any published coach fare. You’ll also still be eligible for upgrades if you use the companion code.
Currently you can pay for the flights with any card when you use a companion code. So you can choose to maximize your rewards earning by paying with The Platinum Card® from American Express and getting 5x Amex Membership Rewards points (when booking directly with airlines or via American Express Travel). Or you could get a flight (and still earn frequent flyer miles) by paying with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and erasing the charge with Capital One miles (within 90 days of purchase).
But as of this fall, you’ll lose that flexibility because you’ll be required to pay for your companion flights with your Alaska Airlines credit card.
Alaska Airlines Credit Card Companion Pass Changes
According to the Companion Fare FAQ page, as of October 1, 2019, you’ll be required to pay for a flight with your Alaska Airlines credit card whenever you use your companion code. This isn’t the end of the world, but it definitely is limiting. So I’m glad that I just applied for the Alaska Airlines card because my plan is to get the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card because I will be able to instantly redeem points (at 1.5 cents each) to pay for the Alaska flights using US Bank’s Real-Time rewards.
Aside from the coming changes, now is a great time to apply for the Alaska Airlines card or the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card because they both have an increased 40,000-mile bonus offer, which you can earn after spending $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first 90 days of account opening. You’ll also get your first Companion Fare code after meeting the minimum spending requirements.
I love Alaska Airlines miles because they allow free stopovers on award flights — even one-way flights. I’ve taken advantage of this generous routing rule to add in a free stopover in Hong Kong on a business-class award flight from Japan to the US.
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Hat tip: The Points Guy
Featured image by Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock.