Big Changes To The Alaska Airlines Visa Including Biggest Ever Bonus

Bank of America has refreshed the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card.

  • Biggest-ever initial bonus: 70,000 miles and a $100 statement credit when you spend $3,000 or more within the first 90 days from account opening.

  • Negative changes: Annual fee goes from $75 to $95, and you no longer get the $99+tax companion ticket automatically every year – you have to spend at least $6,000 in a cardmember year to receive it. Those are big cost cuts for Bank of America, and it no longer makes sense to hang onto the card, sock drawering it once you have it, just for the companion ticket.

  • Positive changes: The card finally comes with priority boarding (it really didn’t used to!); accelerator categories (2x on gas, cable, streaming and rideshare) and not just for Alaska spend; a 10% bonus on miles earned from purchases if you have a Bank of America financial account; a $100 statement credit on paid lounge membership.

You still get a free checked bag (including for everyone on your reservation) and 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases.

The big bonus offer is only available to those who do not currently have the card or whom have had it in the last 24 months.

(HT: Doctor of Credit)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. On the one hand, I literally just got this card for the 62,000 signup bonus. Could have done better. But $6k spend is steep for the companion fare. And I have multiple sock drawer AS cards that I keep for the companion fare only. Overall, the negative outweighs the better signup bonus. I suspect when all is said and done, I’ll be down two cards.

  2. Not clear what current AS Visa card holders will be subject to.
    Does this apply to new card applications or all current accounts?

  3. What boarding group do you get with this card, Group A, Group B or Group C?
    I can’t believe that this card never came with early boarding.

  4. @Pat – some of the changes are to new card accounts but normally I’d *expect* them to roll out to existing cardmembers rather than carrying those terms as legacy [since this doesn’t appear to be a ‘new product’]

  5. That’s a huge minus for the companion cert. Assuming you transfer 6k non-bonus spend to BofA, you’ll lose 6k points that you’d get with Citi or Amex 2x cards (v. only 6k Alaska point). That’s $90 flushed.

    So – assuming you value the card perks at $0 the cost of that companion cert is now $95 AF + $99 + $90, or almost $300. Not such a good deal unless you are looking at really expensive fares.

    That said the $99 certs are saving us $2200 on Thanksgiving flights ($1100 per card) so maybe it still works…

  6. @ Gary — If this change applies to existing AS cardholders, I guess we will cut our 4 cards to 1, and then zero. Stupid move by AS and BofA.

  7. Dealbreaker. I’m sure this is to combat people “sock drawer-ing” it. I used it but since I don’t use AS nearly as much I really only kept it for the yearly certificate and maybe only around 3-4k spend annually. They got $75 from me in exchange.
    $6k spend for a card that isn’t really a good daily driver is stupid. They MAY get the suckers in SEA to put that much spend on it but for anyone who lives outside of WA or AK…..good luck. I’ll wait to see what happens to current cardholders before I torpedo it.

  8. Big downgrade for this card IMO. No way the Wife and I can spend $42k a year to keep our cards and keep the certs we get.

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