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INSIDER SECRET: Redeem the miles you earn with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card for travel in first or business class on airlines like Emirates, Cathay Pacific and LATAM rather than for domestic travel on Alaska Airlines.
If you’re a small business owner (or a freelancer like myself), you’re probably always looking for ways to save money. With dozens of business credit cards available, it might be hard to cut through the noise and find the right small business credit card.
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is a surprisingly valuable card for small business owners, and currently offers a welcome bonus of 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after meeting the minimum spending requirements.
But is the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card worth the annual fee? For frugal small business owners, especially those who frequently travel with Alaska Airlines, yes, the card is definitely worth it.
Is the Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card Worth the Annual Fee?
Apply here: Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
Read our review of the Alaska Airlines Business credit card
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card comes with a bonus of 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
If you aren’t familiar with their loyalty program, you might assume Alaska Airlines doesn’t have valuable miles unless you’re based in the Pacific Northwest or along the West Coast. This is simply not the case. You can use Alaska Airlines miles with 17 different partners across the globe, and has become known for attractive redemption rates for premium cabin travel.
Any seasoned Alaska Airlines loyalty member will tell you to use the the 40,000-mile welcome bonus for travel on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific or Japan Air Lines.
One major reason the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card is worth it for most small business owners is thanks to the card’s low annual fee. At $50 a year for the fee (plus $25 per card), it’s hard to find a similar card with this level of sign-up bonus and travel benefits at a lower annual cost.
Here are a few reasons why small business owners will find the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card to be worthwhile.
1. Straight-Forward Earning Rates
The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card might not feature dozens of earning categories, but I would argue this is actually a benefit of the card. There are only two earning categories:
- 3 miles per dollar spent directly with Alaska Airlines including tickets, cash upgrades, mileage purchases and other fees incurred over the course of a trip with the airline
- 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases including at gas stations, major retailers and at restaurants
With straightforward earning categories and potentially lucrative earning potential, this is yet another reason the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card is worth it.
2. Alaska Airlines Companion Fare Benefit
Another fantastic benefit that makes The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card worth the $75 annual fee cost is the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare. You will automatically earn the Companion Fare each year you renew your card. You will also earn the Companion Fare when you open the card and meet the minimum spending requirements.
The Alaska Airlines Companion Fare allows you to bring along a guest on any Alaska Airlines flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). For their ticket, you’ll pay the $99 Companion Fare fee and any taxes and fees, and the regular price for your own. There aren’t any blackout dates, and it’s good for any Alaska Airlines flight in coach. The ticket will be booked into coach but all flights are eligible for upgrades.
The Alaska Airlines Companion Fare easily justifies the annual fee as you could potentially get over $1,300 in value.
3. Numerous Ways to Redeem Miles for Travel
With 17 partners, Alaska Airlines miles allow you to redeem miles for travel to all six inhabited continents. Here are just a few examples of ways to redeem miles earned with Alaska Airlines.
Fly From New York City to Sydney in Business Class for Just 55,000 Miles
Domestic Award Travel Starts at Just 5,000 Miles
Fly From Chicago to Hong Kong in Emirates First Class From 180,000 Miles
Fly Nonstop From the US to Sao Paulo for Just 30,000 Miles
Here’s a full list of Alaska Airlines’ partners you can redeem miles to fly with:
- Aer Lingus
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Ravn Alaska
Alaska Airlines miles are particularly valuable when redeemed on partners for first and business class tickets that would typically cost thousands of dollars. That said, I’ve been able to get four flights out of one sign-up bonus when traveling in coach.
4. Travel Benefits
The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card comes with a few travel benefits. The benefit you will use the most is probably the free first checked bag for you and up to six guests traveling on the same itinerary.
Alaska Airlines ordinarily charges $30 for the first checked bag. So, for example, let’s say you were to travel on Alaska Airlines twice a month and wanted to check a bag each trip. That means you’d be checking a bag four times per month as payment is required for both the outbound and inbound legs of a round-trip ticket.
- 4 times a month = $120 a month on bag fees
- 4 times a month = 48 times a year
- 48 times a year = $1,440
Even if, like many travelers (myself included), you don’t check a bag 48 times a year, and instead check your bag on a single round-trip ticket, you would save $60 with the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card. Already, after one round-trip flight, the card’s annual fee has nearly paid for itself.
Discounted Mileage Redemptions at Hotels
Alaska Airlines allows program members to redeem miles at over 400,000 properties globally via Alaska Airlines Hotels. With the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card, you instantly receive access to discounted redemption rates at these hotels. These discounted rates can save you big bucks over the course of a year.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card also has travel insurance. This includes coverage for travel accidents, on car rentals, for emergency ticket replacement, and in the event of lost luggage.
Likely one of the more valuable aspects of the card’s travel insurance coverage is car rental insurance.
Keep in mind, this secondary car rental coverage, meaning it applies to charges not covered by personal insurance you carry, but it reimburses you for your personal insurance deductible.
What About Other Alaska Airlines Credit Cards?
If you’re a small business owner looking for a small business credit card, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card is the only small business card offered in conjunction with the Alaska Airlines mileage program.
If you are interested in other small business cards, be sure to take a look at the best business credit cards.
And if you aren’t sure that a small business credit card is the right fit, consider the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. This is a personal credit card and offers many of the same benefits, including the same welcome bonus of 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Like the business card, you will also earn the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) meeting minimum spending, as well as each year you renew your card.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card comes with an annual fee of $75. Cardholders earn 3 miles for every dollar spent with Alaska Airlines, and 1 mile for every dollar spent everywhere else. Like the business card, there is no cap on the number of miles you can earn in a calendar year.
Other benefits include a free checked bag for the card holder and up to six other guests on the same reservation and no foreign transaction fees.
Is the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card annual fee worth it? Yes, it’s definitely worth the $75 annual fee, partly thanks to the fantastic bonus of 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
The card comes with added benefits including:
- Straightforward earning rates with NO cap on the number of miles you can earn
- Alaska Airlines Companion Fare after qualifying spending the first year, and each year you renew your card
- The option to redeem miles for travel on 17 airline partners, including travel in premium cabins
- Access to discounted mileage redemption rates at over 400,000 hotels and resorts worldwide
- Travel insurance when your trip doesn’t go as planned
The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card’s valuable bonus and ability to earn an unlimited number of miles easily justifies the card’s low annual fee.
For more on Alaska Airlines miles and cards, check out these posts:
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan review
- Alaska Airlines miles value
- Our review of the Alaska Airlines business credit card
- Our review of the Alaska Airlines credit card
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