As you’ve heard me say many times at this point, I reside in Buenos Aires for the majority of the year (9ish months out of 12), but was in the United States recently visiting. While home, I took the opportunity to sign up for a couple new cards to bring back with me to Argentina–the Asiana Visa Signature Card and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. Both cards are issued by Bank of America.
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Why I Chose the Asiana Card
I signed up for this card for a very specific reason. With 35,000 Asiana miles, I can book a one way United (flat bed) Business Class ticket between Southern South America and the United States. Buenos Aires <> United States is a trip I take often, and the cash price of the ticket can be astronomical.
50k Asiana miles can also be used to book Lufthansa First Class between the United States and Europe. It costs 110,00 United miles for comparison.
Here’s the current sign up offer for the Asiana Visa Signature Card.
- Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 Asiana miles after $3,000 in spending in the first three months
- Category Bonuses: 3x on Asiana purchases, 2x on gas station and grocery store purchases
- $100 rebate on Asiana purchases annually
- Cardmember anniversary retention bonuses: 10,000 Asiana Mile Bonus Certificate and two Asiana Lounge invitations
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $99
I don’t have plans to travel to South Korea in the near future, but if I did, the $100 statement credit on Asiana flights would come in handy and help outweigh the $99 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year. I’m ok with paying $99 though (on top of award taxes) for a flat bed Business Class ticket between Buenos Aires and the United States.
Why I Chose the Alaska Card
Alaska miles are versatile and valuable. I love that you can book a free stopover on one way awards, as well as book pre-American Airlines devaluation prices for American Airlines flights. I’m also considering a future United Statest > Fiji > New Zealand or Australia trip, as it only costs 55,000 miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji!
Here’s the current sign up offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card:
- Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 Alaska miles after $1,000 in spending in the first three months
- Category Bonuses: 3x Alaska miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and in-flight purchases
- Free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation
- Annual companion fare from $121 (USD) ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $75
Personally I’ve never used the annual companion fare benefit that comes with the Alaska card, but I see the potential for it to be very valuable if used for a pricey transcontinental or international fare on Alaska Airlines. Essentially, you pay for your whole ticket, but your companion only has to pay $99 plus any applicable taxes/fees.
Here are two of the most important tips for churning Alaska cards:
- Before applying for another Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, call Bank of America to lower the credit limit(s) on any existing Alaska card(s).This will improve your chances of getting approved for another card as Bank of America only wants to lend a person so much credit.
- Wait at least three months between applications.
I recently opened two cards issued by Bank of America–the Asiana Visa Signature and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. I chose them because they closely match my travel goals and both have valuable sign up bonuses that give me a high return on my spending.
Make sure you consider your travel goals before signing up for just any old travel rewards card. If you need guidance with that decision, we offer Free Credit Consultations that will start with your goal trip and work backwards, determining the best miles and points for that trip, and then the best cards to get those miles and points.