Increased 30,000 mile sign-up bonus on Alaska Airlines Visa

Alaska Airlines is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of 30,000 Mileage Plan miles after the first purchase on the Alaska Airlines Visa. The annual fee on the card is $75, which isn’t waived for the first year. So why am I suggesting you sign-up for a credit card with a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus and an annual fee the first year? Three reasons:

The card is churnable

As I talked about in this post, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Alaska Airlines Visa is churnable. That means you can earn the sign-up bonus on the card multiple times. In other words, signing up for the card now isn’t preventing you from getting it in the future with a better bonus.

Alaska Airlines miles are valuable in many situations

Alaska Airlines has a ton of partners, and while there are some frustrating rules with their award tickets (like not being able to mix partner airlines), there are also some gems. One of the best value award redemptions has to be traveling from the US to South Africa via Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific first class for just 140,000 Mileage Plan miles per person. That’s four 14+ hour first class flights at an amazingly low price, and you can even have a free stopover in Hong Kong.

The card comes with a $99 companion fare

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of this. The credit card comes with a certificate every year good for a $99 companion ticket on Alaska. There are virtually no restrictions. One of the best values of the certificate is booking first class on Alaska to Hawaii, and then paying $99 for the second passenger. Fares to Hawaii are often around $1,350 all-in for first class, so for under $1,500 you’re looking at two first class tickets to Hawaii, which breaks down to $750 per passenger.

I know many people use miles for travel to Hawaii, and typically pay 70,000-80,000 miles per person for first class. Assuming you’re redeeming your miles for a route on which you could use an Alaska companion certificate, I don’t think you’re getting an especially good value, since you’re basically cashing in your miles at around a cent each. And that doesn’t even factor in that both passengers can earn miles when using a companion certificate.

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

Comments

  1. Last year the bonus was 40K (although it has traditionally been 25K). Both of us have had this card 3 times each, so ya – it’s churnable. Companion cert earns you both Alaska miles! Haven’t redeemed any Alaska miles yet, but I like the Cathay South Africa option ! Should be able to redeem on Emirates soon too.

  2. While you can’t mix partners, you can use AS in the award to get you to the international gateway. That is extremely valuable and served me well getting from HNL to SFO for the CX award to JNB.

  3. Very intriguing. If I was to use the companion certificate to go to hawaii can I post the miles to a different frequent flier program?

  4. IcelandAir business class for 80k to Europe with an Iceland stopover is also a good redemption.

  5. In DC at least BofA pulls from Equifax. Most others pull from Experian.

    I’m waiting on 40K.

  6. I just got a card with the lower bonus in March. Can this offer be matched if you ask BA/Alaska to do so?

  7. Lucky, great mention about 140k to go Cathay Pacific to South Africa via HKG…. So when are you doing the trip? Would love to see a trip report!

  8. Until April 15 Alaska airlines is selling miles with a 40% bonus too. Churn this card once and buy the miles and that first class redemption comes awfully close!

  9. @ Paladin — I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time, though frankly it wouldn’t really be a new experience for me. I’ve done Cathay Pacific first class many times before and I’ve been to South Africa, but I just haven’t done both in the same trip. But it is such a smashingly good value that I will eventually get around to it (hopefully before they raise the price exponentially).

  10. Jared at Online Travel Review recently found a link for 35,000 miles.
    Sorry, not sure how to install a link.

  11. application says up to 35k miles so it may not be one purchase and you receive 35k miles…it may be you need authorized user or/and minimum spend ..any comment

  12. @ lucky – So I could just re-apply for the Visa Signature card, get approved for the exact same card I already have and then cancel the old account?

    I mean, I’d gladly take the 30K points, but…

  13. Does anyone see where they list the minimum sspending? that will be the make it or break it for me.

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