When people learn how often our family members travel to Alaska, we generally get the same responses. “How can they afford to go so often?” “We’ve always wanted to go to Alaska, but we can’t afford it.” The truth is we have a secret that helps us get there. We would like to share it with you. Our secret is the Alaska Airlines credit card. Two main cards are offered: the Visa Signature and Platinum Plus.

Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus –

The Platinum Plus is Alaska Airline’s lower tier card. When you are approved for this card, you receive 5,000 bonus miles. For each dollar you spend on everyday purchases with this card, you earn one mile. Yet for every dollar you spend with Alaska Airlines on tickets, luggage, fees, and other qualifying purchases, you earn two miles. There is no cap to the miles you can earn. Then each year on your anniversary date of receiving the card, you receive a $50 discount to use within the next year on a flight. Yet with the $50 annual fee associated with the card, this isn’t much of a bonus. That’s why you want the Signature Visa card.

Alaska Airlines Signature Visa –

With the Signature Visa card, you also earn one mile for every dollar you spend on everyday purchases. Yet when you buy tickets, etc. with Alaska Airlines, you receive three miles for every dollar spent. This card also has no cap on the miles you can earn. The main reason, though, to get the Signature Visa card is for the companion fare you receive each year on your anniversary date. The companion fare is a discount that lets you buy one round-trip companion ticket for $99 plus taxes and fees (typically starting at $22) when you purchase another ticket at regular price. There are a couple things to note for using the companion fare. The two travelers must be traveling together and the tickets must be booked at the same time. You also cannot redeem miles for the regularly priced ticket when you redeem the companion fare. Also, the companion fare does not roll over to the next year if you do not use it. You only have one per year to use. This card does have an annual fee of $75. It is also worth noting that upon approval it takes three billing cycles before you can redeem your companion fare. Although there are these stipulations, the Visa Signature card and companion fare can still help you save a lot of money on airline tickets.

Alaska Airlines also has a new reward associated with their Signature Visa card. The cardholder and up to six companions can check their first bag for free on qualifying reservations. Since the fee for the first checked bag is $30, this means you could save up to $210 on baggage fees! This, though, does have a couple of stipulations as well. The Signature Visa cardholder and their companions must all be on the same reservation in order for the companions to get the discount. The primary cardholder’s Mileage Plan number must be included in the reservation at the time of check-in. The bags must also still be under the 50 pound weight limit or oversize baggage fees will apply. This reward is a nice little bonus that can help add to the savings.

When you are approved for the Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card, you earn 25,000 bonus miles. This is great because we have found when flying to Ketchikan from most areas, it typically takes about 25,000 miles to book a round-trip ticket. Think about that. When you get this card you receive enough miles to get a free round-trip ticket and a companion fare to bring a friend or family member for about $121, plus you both get a free checked bag!

The Signature Visa card is great because with the companion fare you can still save lots of money on your ticket each year, no matter how much you actually use the card. Add in your everyday spending, though, and if you spend as much on gas and groceries as we do, you can earn miles rather quickly. Plus for every mile you fly, you also earn one mile. If you fly other places as well, you can also redeem your miles on flights with Alaska Airline’s 14 partner airlines, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Plus Alaska Airlines flies to Hawaii, so you can use your companion fare to take your significant other on a trip to Hawaii and gain their approval for those other hunting and fishing trips you want to book.

So there it is, our secret to being able to fly to Alaska at an affordable price. Everybody in our family now has an Alaska Airlines credit card, so if somebody won’t be using their companion fare that year they can pass it along to somebody else who can use it. With these and other tips, you too can travel to Alaska at an affordable price. For more information on Alaska Airline’s credit cards or to apply, click here.