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Comparing Canada and US Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

We just finished comparing the Canadian and US Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit cards, so I thought it would be fun to keep the trend going. Next up is the co-branded Alaska Airlines credit cards.

In Canada, Alaska Airlines’ loyalty program, Mileage Plan, teamed up with MBNA, while they went with Bank of America in the U.S.  Below are the highlights of all the available cards.

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

  • $75 annual fee
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending after spending $1,000 in 90 days
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive an annual companion fare (costing $99 USD plus taxes and fees) after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Receive first checked bag free
  • No foreign transaction fees

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card

  • $75 annual fee
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending after spending $1,000 in 90 days
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, cargo, and inflight purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive an annual companion fare (costing $99 USD plus taxes and fees) after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Receive first checked bag free
  • No foreign transaction fees

MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard

  • $75 annual fee
  • Earn 25,000 bonus miles after the first purchase
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive an annual companion fare (costing $99 USD plus taxes and fees)

Surprisingly, the Canadian version is actually highly competitive as you will find out below.

Annual Fee

All 3 cards only charge a $75. I cringe when I say $75 because it is actually an amazing price, so I really hope that they do not raise it. Because the Canadian dollar is much weaker at the moment, they win out (not to mention the $60 cash back with GreatCanadianRebates, please email me if you are willing to take my referral to sign up for an account).

Winner: Canada

Sign Up Bonus

I’m really on the fence about this one, because the $1,000 spending requirement is a high, but needing to spend $1,000 to get an extra 5,000 bonus points. After meeting the spend requirement, you do end up with 31,000 miles (with the U.S. card) rather than 25,000 miles (CAD card).

Winner: U.S.

Earning Ratios

Both cards actually have the same earning ratios. Again, because of the currency exchange discrepancy, Canada wins out for the time being!

Winner: Canada

Annual Companion Fare

The annual companion fare is actually the same for both versions, including the fact that it is charged the same $99 USD on both cards. However, the Canadian version doesn’t have a $1,000 spending requirement to qualify for it, so they win out on this factor as well!

As I have mentioned in previous posts regarding this credit card, unfortunately Alaska Airlines currently only operates in the western part of Canada.

Winner: Canada

Foreign Transaction Fees

I am surprised that the U.S. version decided to offer this, but I guess too many other U.S. based credit cards who are also waiving the foreign transaction fees.

Winner: U.S.

Free Checked Bag

Only the U.S. version offers a free checked bag for up to six other passengers on the same reservation as the primary cardholder

Winner: U.S.

Conclusion

On the surface, the U.S. card is still slight more attractive than the Canadian one, but it is still extremely competitive relatively speaking. I have to give props to MBNA, I hope they keep up this strong offer and build on it.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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