One of the best perks of The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, and the reason I hold onto this card long term (I hold onto several of these cards long term, actually), is because of the annual companion certificate offered by the card. The card has a $75 annual fee, and every year you get a companion certificate on your cardmember anniversary. You can access the certificate by logging into your Mileage Plan account, and then clicking on the “Discount and companion fare codes” section on the left.
It’s advertised as a $121 companion certificate, though in reality the companion certificate has a $99 base fare, plus taxes and fees starting from $22.
What makes this companion certificate so valuable is that there are no “strings attached.” It’s valid for any economy ticket on Alaska, and the companion is even eligible to earn miles, upgrade, etc. Given that I fly on Alaska at least a couple of times a year with a companion on a ticket that would cost $200+, I come out ahead thanks to this benefit.
Now that Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America is complete, it looks like the Alaska companion certificate is finally valid for travel on Virgin America as well. You can use this on Alaska Airlines’ website just as you’d use it if flying on Alaska. Since Alaska’s website now shows Virgin America fares, just search the flights you want using the companion certificate, and the cost will correctly be calculated. Many routes even suggest flying Virgin America over Alaska, given that Virgin America has a bigger presence in some cities.
Personally I’ll continue to use my companion certificates on Alaska, given Alaska’s great elite recognition. You can get complimentary first class upgrades or even use Gold Guest Upgrades on those fares, while you can’t as easily upgrade tickets on Virgin America.
That being said, I know there are lots of Virgin America loyalists, and this companion certificate should be useful for those people, since it’s a great way to save on the cost of Virgin America tickets.
Now if only Alaska and Virgin America would add more reciprocal perks more quickly. With the recent mega merger between Marriott and Starwood we saw reciprocal status matching and points transfers from day one. Meanwhile with the merger between Alaska and Virgin America, we’ve seen very little so far.
Anyone excited about using the Alaska companion certificate on Virgin America?