The current sign-up bonus available to the public for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card is 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles upon approval. There are higher offers out there however, and the official public offer is increasing in May, but with a new minimum spending requirement.
There is no minimum spending requirement to earn the current sign-up bonus of 25,000 miles.
There is also a $75 annual fee. I currently value Alaska Airlines miles at 1.75 cents each, so that’s like buying $437.50 worth of miles for $75.
The current public sign-up offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card is nearly identical, except a free checked bag for yourself and six others is not a benefit, and the bonus miles are earned after your first purchase as opposed to upon approval like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card. The annual fee is $75 (unless you add an authorized user, then it will be an additional $25).
However Alaska Airlines filed a 10-K report with the SEC in February of this year (which is basically a summary of their financial performance and future plans) that revealed a new offer coming out in May. A section towards the beginning describing the Mileage Plan program states:
“…members can receive 25,000 bonus miles (30,000 beginning in the Spring of 2016) upon signing up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card”
Note that there will be a minimum spending requirement of $1,000 to earn the 30,000 mile bonus. They clarify when Spring is in an asterisk underneath that table:
“*Expected launch of 30,000 bonus miles in May 2016. Currently, bonus miles are 25,000.”
These cards, issued by Bank of America, were unique in that they offered good sign-up bonuses with no minimum spending requirement. That is changing soon, albeit to a pretty minimal spending requirement. What makes them more unique is that these cards are churnable, so you can collect tons of Alaska Airlines miles relatively easily.
Or should I say what made them even more unique is that these cards were churnable, so you could collect tons of Alaska Airlines miles relatively easily?
Are the Alaska Airlines Credit Cards Still Churnable?
First, let me clarify what I mean by churnable. Generally a churnable credit card is one you can get the same sign-up bonus over and over.
From what I can see from reading through the last five weeks of the Flyertalk thread Alaska Airlines card offers, Personal & Business, 25K and up, everyone that has been churning Alaska Airlines cards in the past has continued to be approved for new cards. Most wait a span of at least 91 days before reapplying.
There is one exception– this Flyertalker who had opened 11 cards in the last six months was outright denied. Note that those weren’t 11 Bank of America cards per se, but credit cards across the board. So too many new accounts open in a shorter period of time could be a trigger for denial.
What I did see happen to more than one person was the receipt of a pending status on their applications instead of an immediate approval. But the ones who reported an update all said they were approved after calling the reconsideration line (note that phone numbers for the reconsideration line listed in the wiki summary at the top of the thread are outdated, try 1-866-811-4108 instead). This very recent post is from a Flyertalker who received a notice of pending applications for two out of the three Alaska cards he applied for, and he has not posted any update referencing a reconsideration phone call or an approval. But I wouldn’t consider this a negative data point against the churnability of the Alaska cards just yet.
A quick aside–you should always consider calling the reconsideration line if your credit card application comes back as status pending. Many times they will just ask you the same questions that were on the original application and then approve you.
So I will tentatively say that yes, Alaska Airlines credit cards are still churnable for the time being. But we will have to wait and see what May brings before I’m ready to give a firm yes to that question. The changing of a sign-up bonus offer could also mean the changing of the policies regarding that sign-up bonus offer.
Lowering Credit Limits of Existing Cards Before Re-Applying
What is abundantly clear from nearly everyone’s posts in the Alaska Airlines card offers, Personal & Business, 25K and up Flyertalk thread is that if you are planning on opening another Alaska Airlines credit card and you already have one or more, the best way to improve your chances of approval for another one is to lower the credit limit on the ones you already have. Think about it this way– Bank of America isn’t blind to your already existing credit lines, and they only want to lend you a certain amount of credit to minimize their risk. How much credit they will give you depends on the person and their credit score, but it certainly won’t hurt to get the credit limits dropped of your already existing Alaska Airlines cards. As you aren’t (or shouldn’t be!) holding a balance on any of them, this doesn’t matter anyways.
You can accomplish this by signing in to your Bank of America account online and going to the Contact Us page (accessible from the Help & Support drop down menu). From there choose credit cards in the drop down menu and a box will pop up like this one:
You can also call 1.800.732.9194 (for help with the personal card) or 1.800.673.1044 (for help with the business card) but people have reported a smoother process using the chat function.
Current Best Sign-up Bonus Offers
25,000 Alaska Miles is what is being offered to the public for signing up for either the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card. But there are better offers out there:
- Follow this specific link and you will find an offer for a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus plus a $100 statement credit for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account. This card offer also includes the $75 annual fee like the public offers, but the statement credit more than the annual fee.
- If you are a member of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, their frequent flyer program, check your email. You might have a targeted offer for a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus for spending $2,000 waiting for you. If not, become a member and opt in to receive partner offers. This could help your chances for the targeted offer according to the opinon of some Flyertalkers.
Coolest Things You Can Do With Alaska Miles
While not a part of any of three major alliances, Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book a diverse array of oneworld, SkyTeam, and non-alliance partners.
There are some great redemption options and they are flexible with routing and award rules.
- book High Value Awards: USA to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji; USA to Southern South America in AeroMexico Business Class for 45,000 miles (temporarily unbookable); Cathay Pacific First Class to Asia plus Business Class to South Africa for 70,000 miles total with free stopover
- book awards on American Airlines flights at the pre-devaluation prices. This includes some Off Peak award prices that don’t exist anymore (like 20,000 miles to Southern South America). You also have a larger range of dates to book Off Peak awards with since American Airlines narrowed their Off Peak date ranges as part of the devaluation.
- book one way awards for half the price of a roundtrip, and you can have stopovers on one way awards! This also means you can book Free One Ways on Alaska Airlines awards.
While I can not directly link to the current public Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card’s and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card’s current public offers are 25,000 miles for each of them, but it is possible to get an even better offer from this link or by checking your email for the targeted promotion with a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. The public offer will increase to 30,000 miles in May, but you will be required to spend $1,000 in the first three months to earn it.
Alaska Airlines has some high value redemption opportunities and allows for flexible routings, so take advantage while you can. All signs point to these cards still being churnable–for now. We can reevaluate once the first hand reports start rolling in later in the year about how or if Bank of America’s policies change post-May (when the sign-up bonus offer changes).
Help the Milevalue community make informed decisions about their own Alaska Airlines credit card strategy by leaving your experiences in the comments.