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If you’re an international traveller, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan can let you use miles on a variety of different international carriers from around the world.
Or, if you do fly Alaska Airlines, you’ll be travelling on J.D. Power’s best ranked airline in North America for customer satisfaction 12 years in a row.
And to earn miles on everyday purchases, there’s 2 Alaska Airlines credit cards available in Canada – the
The cards and program itself are not without their drawbacks, but for the right person, they can open up a world of travel.
Let’s review these 2 cards and see what they have to offer.
- Overview of Alaska Airlines mileage plan
- Alaska Airlines credit cards
- Alaska Airlines Mastercard companion voucher
- Alaska Airlines Mastercard benefits
- Where Alaska Airlines credit cards fall short
- Alaska Airlines credit card FAQ
- The verdict
Alaska Airlines credit cards at a glance
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Before going over the credit cards, let’s give a brief overview of Alaska Airlines & Mileage Plan – the frequent flyer program for Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines operates from the US West coast and flies from these hubs or focus cities:
- Seattle (Alaska’s main hub),
- San Francisco,
- Los Angeles,
- San Diego,
- San Jose, and
From these cities, you can fly Alaska to almost anywhere in the US (including Hawaii), Alberta, B.C., as well as Mexico, and Costa Rica.
As for Mileage Plan?
There’s a limited number of ways to use your miles, but the basics are here:
- flights on Alaska and 18 partners (more on them below),
- magazine subscriptions, and
- charity donations.
It’s small compared to many programs, but since you’re most likely collecting miles to redeem for flights, it’s not that big of a deal.
What is a mile worth when redeemed for flights?
We value a typical Alaska Airlines mile at 2.3 cents each.
How do you earn miles?
There are a few ways you can pad your earnings bank:
- flights on Alaska airlines and their partners,
- 7 hotel programs,
- 7 car rental agencies,
- booking hotels and car rentals through Alaska Airlines, and
- 2 credit cards.
You can collect miles on every facet of your travels, as well as your day to day purchases.
Want to know more about Mileage Plan? Our guide has every last detail.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners
Who are Mileage Plan’s airline partners?
Alaska Airlines has 18 different partners you can redeem (and earn) miles with, in addition to Alaska.
Here’s the full list:
Note: American Airlines is being dropped as a partner starting on March 1, 2020.
There’s a wide variety of airlines to choose from, some of which aren’t affiliated with any of the big 3 airline alliances.
As a bonus, many of these airlines charge very low taxes and fees on reward flights.
However, you’ll need to be able to access a major airport to be able to fly on these airlines.
Overview of Alaska Airlines credit cards
Unless you’re a frequent flyer with Alaska or their partners, the best way to earn Alaska Airlines miles is with a credit card.
You’ll be able to earn miles on all of your purchases and even receive a large welcome bonus to get a kick start towards your first redemption.
MBNA issues 2 Alaska Airlines credit cards in Canada.
Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
The premium offering is the
To start, you can earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
On top of that, you’ll earn 1 mile for every dollar spent (3 miles on Alaska Airlines).
And it comes with a couple of great Alaska perks.
The first is that you’ll get Alaska’s famous companion voucher on your card’s anniversary every year you have the card. Meet the spending requirement for the welcome bonus and you’ll get access to it right away (details on the voucher are below).
Also, when you fly on Alaska Airlines, you can get a free checked bag for yourself and up to 6 people travelling on the same reservation.
It’s for an annual fee of $99, lower than most premium travel cards, and comes with the standard World Elite income requirements of either 80K personal or 150K household.
Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard
If that annual fee seems a little higher than you would like to pay, or you don’t meet the income requirements,
It has the exact same earn rates as its World Elite brother, and also offers the companion voucher.
So what are the differences?
Here are the only differences between the cards:
- lower welcome bonus of 20,000 miles,
- no free checked bags, and
- 1 fewer type of insurance (discussed later).
It has a lower annual fee of $75 and no income requirements. It’s a great substitute, particularly if you don’t plan on actually flying on Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines Mastercard companion ticket
One of the best features of the card is the companion voucher.
Alaska Airlines Famous Companion Voucher will let you bring someone else with you anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, for only $99 USD plus taxes and fees.
If you can make your flights entirely within the US, you’re looking at taxes and fees of $21 USD, no matter where you fly.
This includes Hawaii & Alaska. If flying to Hawaii is your game, the companion voucher can make for a very cheap second ticket to the islands of Aloha.
How does it work?
Here are the details from the Alaska Airlines site on using it:
Want to know more about the voucher? This Alaska page has everything you need to know.
Other Alaska Airlines Mastercard benefits
In addition to the companion voucher, these cards have a few other benefits as well.
As stated earlier, the
How does it work?
Just make sure your Alaska Mileage Plan number is on your reservation. This has to be done prior to check in, otherwise you won’t receive your free bags.
Both cards offer good insurance packages. The World Elite card offers 8 different types of insurance coverages:
The Platinum Plus card offers 7 types:
The only difference between the cards is the World Elite offers price protection insurance.
Where Alaska Airlines credit cards fall short
So where do these cards fall short?
Truth be told, the cards themselves are quite good, especially the Platinum Plus card.
The World Elite card could use a bonus category or 2 to boost your earnings, and the insurance leaves a little to be desired.
But otherwise they offer a lot, for an annual fee that’s less than most premium cards.
The real issue is the program behind these cards. Mileage Plan offers a lot as a program, but has its drawbacks.
The biggest one is obviously you can’t fly within Canada. If rewards flights within Canada are your goal, this card won’t be of much use to you.
Flights to the United States are also going to be limited. With American Airlines being dropped as a partner, you’re left with Alaska as your only US airline.
There’s 2 drawbacks to flying Alaska.
First, they only fly into Alberta and BC, with all flights going to Seattle (Vancouver also has flights to Portland).
And besides Seattle, they only serve a few cities that are somewhat close to the border, like Detroit, Boston, and Minneapolis. And of course, you’ll have to fly to the US West coast first before you can get to your final destination.
However, their lineup of international carriers is impressive. You will have to fly from a major airport, but you’ll have some unique airlines and destinations you’ll be able to access, making it great for international travellers.
Alaska Airlines credit card FAQ
Here’s a few common questions on these cards.
Does Alaska Airlines Mastercard waive its annual fee?
No, Alaska Airlines cards currently do not have an annual fee waiver.
How do you qualify and apply for Alaska Airlines credit cards?
The best way to apply for either of these cards are through our apply links found on our site.
Are there special promotions being offered right now?
There are no special promotions being offered at this time. The current offers are the standard offers for both of these cards.
Do Alaska Airlines cards offer lounge access?
No, these cards do not offer lounge access.
If you live in or near a major Canadian city, (especially Toronto and Vancouver) you’ll find a wide range of international flights at your disposal.
If you can travel on Alaska Airlines, the companion voucher available on both cards can make for a second cheap ticket to travel somewhere in the U.S.
What are your thoughts on these cards?
Let us know in the comments below.