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Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Review

When it comes to travel rewards cards, account holders have more to consider than simply the potential miles they can earn over time. Additional benefits like trip insurance, purchase protection, rewards redemption flexibility and unique card member perks should be weighed in marriage with how rewards are earned and at what rate. Card members also want to pay close attention to the fees associated with travel credit cards to ensure they are getting the most cost effective credit card to suit their specific buying needs. The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa encompasses a wide range of card member benefits that may be attractive to frequent flyers. Let’s take a look at the rewards program first.

 

Alaska-Airlines-Visa-Signature-Card

 

Card Basics

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card offers card members the ability to earn up to five miles for each dollar spent when utilizing the Mileage Plan program. Under the Mileage Plan, card members can earn on every day purchases, including miles for spending at over 10,000 partner restaurants under the dining tier, through the online shopping mall offered exclusively to Mileage Plan members, or through other purchases made with every day partners such as Safeway, e-Miles, Diners Club International and Vinesse Wine Clubs. Miles vary for each partner but can add up quickly for card members who fully utilize the Mileage Plan partner sites.

In addition to the Mileage Plan partners, Alaska Airlines Visa card members earn three miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines plane tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases. All other purchases made with the credit card earn card members one mile per dollar spent. Card members have the benefit of no mileage cap on earnings, and no expiration date on earned miles as long as the account remains open.

Flexibility in miles redemption is a feature the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card does well. Card members have the option to redeem earned miles for flights on the following partner airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Frane
  • British Airways
  • Delta
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Fiji Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • PenAir
  • Emirate Airlines
  • Qantas Airlines

Card members should be aware that reward flights must be booked through the Alaska Airlines website to qualify, and some restrictions and blackout dates may apply depending on the partner selected.

Additional Card Perks

In addition to the everyday rewards program offered by Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa, new card members have the opportunity to boost miles earned under a current promotion. An additional 30,000 miles are credited to card members’ accounts if $1,000 or more in purchases is made within the first 90 days of account opening. Bonus rewards can be redeemed as soon as they are credited, making this sign-up bonus incredibly attractive to frequent flyers.

The mileage rewards program made available through the Alaska Airlines Visa is not the only perk of being an account holder. Card members also receive a coach companion fare after $1,000 is spent on the card within the first 90 days after account opening. No blackout dates apply to the companion fare, but the cost must exceed $121 including taxes and fees. Also, all card members have the extra perk of a free checked bag for themselves as well as up to six other passengers on the same reservation.

Bank of America does a great job of offering additional benefits and security to card members, including the following features:

  • A $0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions
  • ShopSafe service that generates a temporary credit card number for online shopping, protecting the card members true card details
  • Chip technology that offers enhanced security and global acceptance
  • Overdraft protection that works to prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other excessive spending when a Bank of America checking account is linked to the credit card
  • Account alerts to assist with money management including payment due dates and postings
  • Digital wallet technology that allows card members to pay via mobile devices

Each additional feature offered with the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card comes with full disclosures and program restrictions, each available within the card member agreement.

The Cost

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card has a strong rewards program, and when coupled with the supplemental benefits presents a strong option for frequent travelers. However, there are fees associated with the travel credit card that card members should understand and consider prior to applying. First, an annual fee of $50 applies to all card members, and unlike some current promotions with similar travel credit cards, the fee is not waived for the first year of membership.

Card members must also be aware of the inherent costs associated with the Alaska Airlines Visa that come into play when a balance is carried over from billing cycle to billing cycle. The purchase interest rate for the travel credit card ranges from 12.49% up to 19.49% and may fluctuate over time based on broad interest rate market movements. Compared to other travel credit cards, the Alaska Airlines Visa offers a relatively low purchase APR for well-qualified applicants.

Fees also come into play with balance transfers and cash advance transactions. The interest rate associated with balance transfers is the same as the assigned rate for purchases. However, a 3% balance transfer fee is added to each transaction. Cash advance interest rates range from 15.29% up to 22.49%, depending on the applicant’s credit history at the time the card is opened. Fortunately, card members are not assessed any foreign transactions fees for purchases made outside the United States.

Final Thoughts

Frequent travelers who fly on Alaska Airlines or its partner airlines on a consistent basis are the best fit for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card. The sign-up bonus currently offered is an added perk that all but makes up for the annual fee, and the free checked bags and companion airfare add up to substantial savings for frequent flyers. Prior to adding the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa to your wallet, it is important to understand the total fees associated with the card by way of purchase, balance transfer and cash advance interest rates. Similarly, card members need to be aware of how miles are earned and credited to the account, as well as restrictions associated with redemption.

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United MileagePlus Rewards Card Review

Over the last few decades, air travel has become less of a luxury reserved for the wealthy and their companions. Jetting away to a different city for work or personal time is not nearly as restricted as it used to be, thanks in part to more reasonable airfare and a growing number of competing airlines. Oh, and the bevy of rewards programs readily available to those who travel on a frequent basis doesn’t hurt, either.

Experienced travelers know that using a travel rewards credit card that is designed for racking up frequent flyer miles is a smart way to enhance the travel experience. Whether it is working toward a free flight, or using cardholder status as a means to get additional perks before, during or after a trip, travel rewards credit cards are the perfect addition to a traveler’s wallet. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card made available through Chase Bank is worth a second look for frequent flyers with a penchant for flying United.

 

Card Basics

The Mileage Plus Explorer credit card comes with a strong rewards program for cardholders which has the potential to pay off in a big way over time. Let’s start with the current promotions. New card members have the opportunity to earn up to 30,000 bonus miles when the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is used to make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first three months after the account is opened. Additionally, a 5,000 bonus miles credit can be earned when an authorized user is added to the account and that user makes a purchase within the first three months after account opening. When the cardholder spends $25,000 in net purchases throughout the year, an additional 10,000 bonus miles can be credited to the account each and every year.

The bonus offers made available through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card are incredibly attractive to card members who plan to spend big within the first three months, or have a tendency to spend big throughout the year. Fortunately, for less frequent spenders, the rewards miles still have the potential to add up. Cardholders earn two miles for each $1 spent on purchases directly through United airlines, with all other purchases earning one mile per $1 spent. The great news for all card members is that miles never expire and there is no limit on earning potential. Any miles earned through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card can be redeemed for any seat, any time, on flights operated by United airlines.

Unique Cardholder Perks

Not having to worry about blackout dates or caps on mile earnings are the strongest benefits of the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card. However, additional perks exist for cardholders that make the card that much more rewarding. Cardholders are not required to pay a baggage fee on the first checked bag for themselves and one companion flyer, which could add up to $100 in savings per each round trip flight. Additionally, priority boarding is available for primary card members and their companions which allows travelers to board before the general boarding group.

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card also comes with no foreign transaction fees when purchases are made outside the United States. All United credit cards are chip-enabled, not only providing additional security but also allowing for a more acceptance within the U.S. and abroad. Cardholders also have the benefit of added comfort with United Club passes. Card members receive two United Club passes each year the account is open, providing access to the airline club with complimentary drinks, snacks, workspace and Wi-Fi.

Travelers also have additional protection when utilizing the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card for purchases through the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver program and the Purchase Protection program available directly through Chase Bank. Extra perks come by way of room upgrades and certain amenities are more than 700 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Also, card members gain access to special events, private experiences and discounts through Chase’s Inside Access programs.

The Fine Print

Most travel cards come with some restrictions, either by way of rewards limitations or ongoing fees. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card does not impose earning restrictions on miles, but an annual fee of $95 is assessed. Currently, though, new card members have the annual fee waived for the first year.

Chase Bank offers some insight into who is best qualified for the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card, explaining that individuals with exemplary credit are encouraged to apply. A high credit score and strong credit history will help in getting potential card members approved for the travel card. For those who qualify, the interest rate on purchases ranges from 16.24% up to 23.24%, and the actual rate charged varies depending on broad market movement. Cash advances comes with a standard APR of 25.24%, and balance transfer fees are the same as the initial APR for purchases.

Although interest rates are a substantial part of the total cost of carrying debt on a credit card, additional feels may come in to play affecting the card holder. Late payments or returned payments due to insufficient funds result in a fee ranging from $15 up to $37, depending on the total balance due. Any balance transfers are assessed a fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, of the total amount transferred to the credit card. Similarly, cash advances cost card holders $10 or 5% of the advanced amount, whichever is greater. The combination of these fees and the interest rate charged on carried over balance can add up quickly for cardholders.

The Verdict

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is a smart choice for frequent flyers who prefer to travel via United flights. However, because the card offers no other way to redeem rewards aside from United airfare and their partners, this travel credit card is not recommended for individuals who are seeking a robust rewards program or cash-back options. The annual fee, the purchase APR and the cost for cash advances or balance transfers may make this card unattractive to frequent flyers who are cost-conscious or those who do not utilize the card enough to reap its benefits.