Friday, June 17, 2011

Alaska Airlines 40,000 Visa Signature Card

Related to yesterday's post about Alaska Airlines' Northern California promotion, if you currently don't have an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, now is the best time to apply. They have been offering 25,000 bonus miles on this card for years now, and this is the first time that have bumped up that bonus to 40,000 miles upon approval - no spend threshold required! Although it is not specified on the application page, word of mouth suggests this offer will expire on July 30, 2011.

There are some great perks associated with this card in addition to the 40,000 bonus miles. Upon approval and annually, you will receive a $99 companion ticket that can be used on any published fare - even first class. This in itself can pay for the annual fee. Also upon approval, you will receive two Alaska Airlines Board Room lounge passes that can be used at select airports with an Alaska lounge presence.

A couple of caveats regarding this promotion to keep an eye out for:
  • This offer was originally targeted via email to certain individuals. However, there was no individually specific offer code to enter, so it does look like it's open to everyone. Anecdotal evidence on Flyertalk suggests that that's the case as well.
  • The annual fee is NOT waived for the first year. Bank of America has a habit of never waiving the annual fee, and in this case it is $75 per year for the Visa Signature card.
  • In addition to the annual fee, Bank of America also has a bad habit of sometimes automatically downgrading an application to a lower-level card that offers significantly less benefits. For example, if I apply for the Visa Signature card, BofA may deem me "not qualified enough" for that card, but instead of an outright rejection, they will send me their Platinum Plus card, or even their Preferred card, which offers only 6,000 and 4,000 bonus miles, respectively. Definitely frustrating and not worth it in those cases. However, if you have excellent credit and high income, you should have no problem getting the Visa Signature card.
  • Bank of America will hit two credit bureaus instead of just one. If you have been applying for a lot of credit cards lately, be aware of this.
I don't have much experience redeeming miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, but just briefly glancing at their award chart, it actually looks extremely reasonable. And like I mentioned yesterday, Alaska partners with numerous airlines on all three global alliances, so your miles can take you quite far. One Mile At A Time offers some good advice on how to use Alaska miles.

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