First, some good news. The card will offer some valuable 2X bonus spending categories as well as a larger sign-up bonus for applicants. Along with additional side perks like priority boarding, it will also include some other useful side benefits such as an increased sign-up bonus.

There are some negative updates to the card, such as an increased annual fee and a higher threshold for earning the introductory bonus. Also, there have been new requirements to get the popular Companion Fare perk.

Current cardholders will be able to enjoy the new rewards and perks immediately. The annual fee will rise from $75 to $95 on their next anniversary.

The updates make the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature (r) credit card more in line with other airline credit cards of similar price points. Let’s take a look at the changes:

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature (r) credit card – at a glance


Annual Fee

Indefinite rewards

  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.

  • Get 1 mile for every $1 you spend on all other purchases

  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on gas, cable, streaming, and local transportation (including rideshare) eligible purchases.

  • Get 1 mile for every $1 you spend on all other purchases

Introduction offer

  • After spending $2,000 within the first 90-days of opening an account, you will earn 50,000 bonus miles and an Alaska Airlines Companion Fare. These terms and conditions apply.

  • Limited Time: After spending $3,000 within the first 90 Days of opening an account, you will be eligible for 70,000 bonus miles and Alaska Airlines Companion Fares. These terms and conditions apply.

Rules to receive ongoing Companion Fare

  • Alaska Airlines Companion Fare starting at $121 (plus taxes and fees starting at $22) each year to commemorate your account anniversary. These terms and conditions apply.

  • Alaska Airlines Companion Fare starting at $122 (plus taxes and fees starting at $23) for each account anniversary if you spend $6,000 on your card during the previous year. NOTE: Only new cardholders are eligible for the $6,000 threshold. Existing cardholders can still receive the benefit without having to spend that amount. )

Priority Boarding

  • Priority Boarding when you pay with your card.

Checked bag benefit

  • You and up to 6 other guests can get a free checked bag.

  • Similar benefit but you must now pay with your card for the flight to be eligible. The benefit is also available to authorized users and co-applicants when they make a reservation with their card.

Bank of America (r) relationship bonus

  • Eligible bank of America (r), account holder will receive a 10% reward bonus for all miles earned through purchases made on your card.

  • Qualifying accounts are consumer (nonbusiness) savings or checking accounts with Bank of America or Merrill, or an investment account with Merrill with a daily average balance of more than $0, or a Bank of America checking or savings account that has received a withdrawal or deposit within the last 90 days.

Alaska Airlines lounge discount

  • Take $100 off your annual Alaska Lounge+ membership when you purchase it with your card

What are the positive changes?

The higher introductory bonus should be welcomed by new cardholders.

This means that the new offer of 70,000 miles is worth $240 more than its predecessor, the old offer of 50,000 miles. Even though the annual fee has increased, this added value compensates for it. The new sign-up bonus will only be available for 90 days and requires spending $1,000 within the first 90.

It’s also great to be able to earn 2 Alaska Airlines points per $1 on gas, cable, streaming, and local transit purchases. The card had a few weaknesses, including 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on all other purchases. Marriott is the only partner that converts its points into Alaska miles (aka Mileage Plan Miles), so flying on Alaska Airlines or a partner airline is the only way to earn Alaska Airlines Miles.

The ability to earn bonus mileage in any capacity is a positive.

Side perks include priority boarding, discounted memberships to Alaska Airlines lounges and 10% bonus miles for Bank of America accounts.

What are the negative changes?

NerdWallet has long ranked the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature(r), credit card as a top-rated airline credit card. However, it does have some limitations.

The annual fee has increased by $20, so the card will become more costly to carry around. However, the annual fee for most co-branded mass-market airline credit cards is $95 While the $75 fee was attractive for a while, it will still be possible to get more than $95 annually from this card.

The card’s valuable Companion Fare perk is the most significant negative change. Cardholders used to receive a Companion Fare each year upon paying their annual fee. To qualify for the Companion Fare, cardholders need to spend $6,000 on eligible purchases during the cardmember year. This is not the calendar year. (Note: Existing cardholders are not affected by this change, however there is a slight increase in the Companion Fare “taxes” that cardholders will have to pay.

Although this is worse than a no spending requirement, it is still lower than any airline card that charges $95 annually and offers a companion flight. It would still have been a valuable perk compared to its competitors if the Companion Fare had been offered by the card with a $6,000 spending obligation.

To receive free checked luggage, cardholders will need to pay for their flights using their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature(r). Travelers could previously use any card to pay their flight, provided they were Alaska Airlines cardholders. Flyers who have been used to booking flights using a card that provides trip cancellation or trip delay insurance such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve(r) will be affected.