Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card review: The right companion for your business?

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In a Nutshell

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card could help you save money on your next business trip. If you frequently travel with a business partner or an employee, you can cut costs with Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare. Just make sure your company will earn and use enough rewards to cover the cost of the annual fee, which varies depending on how many cards you need.
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This offer is no longer available on our site: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Pros Cons
Save money with the sign-up bonus The annual fee could get high for businesses that need lots of cards
Bring a business partner or employee along for a flight No introductory APR offer for businesses that might need to carry a balance
Opportunity to build business credit  
Ability to track employee spending  


5 things you need to know about the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card

1. Save money when you travel for work

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card offers plenty of rewards for business owners who frequently travel for work. So much so that you could pay for future business trips with the rewards you earn.

You’ll receive three miles per $1 on purchases from Alaska Airlines and one mile per $1 on all other purchases you make. Those points could add up quickly if you take a lot of business trips.

The current sign-up bonus for the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card comes in at 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases during the first 90 days after opening the account.

Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, which also comes with the sign-up bonus, can help you save even more money, too. The price of your companion’s ticket will start at just $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees, which start at $22). If you’re booking a long flight with the companion fare — say, three hours or longer — you’re potentially getting a steeply reduced price. But you can only use this benefit once a year.

If you earn the sign-up bonus, you’ll be able to redeem Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare during your first year of card membership. After that, you’ll qualify for a companion fare each year on your account anniversary.

For those with a small travel budget, this could be a great way to bring along your business partner or an employee.

You’ll also receive one free checked bag on Alaska flights, and if your business takes you overseas, you won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees.

2. Help your business build credit

If you’re starting a new company, you may need to build business credit. Opening a business credit card like the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card could be one way to do just that.

To build credit, it’s important that you make on-time payments and keep your credit card balances low. Keep in mind, if you slip up, it may hurt your personal credit as well as your business credit.

3. Keep tabs on how much your employees spend

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card can help you track employee spending.

Not only can you set individual spending limits for employee cards, but you’ll get extra protection against card misuse by employees.

4. Your annual fee could vary

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card’s annual fee can be confusing if you don’t look closely.

Each year, you’ll pay $50 for the company account, plus $25 per card. That works out to $75 per year for one cardholder (presumably, the owner of the business), plus an additional $25 for each employee card you issue.

If you want to limit the cost of this credit account for your business, then you might have to consider exactly how many individual cards you really need to make the most of your rewards. Will every cardholder earn $25 worth of rewards with their spending?

Keep in mind that each individual card won’t earn the annual companion fare benefit — it’s only available once for each account.

5. Carrying a balance will cost you

If you’re opening a new business, you might be tempted to carry a balance until sales pick up. Unfortunately, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card doesn’t offer an introductory 0% APR rate on either purchases or balance transfers. Instead, you’ll pay a variable APR between 17.49% and 25.49% on both.

Carrying a balance at those rates could make it difficult for your company to climb out of debt — and it could add up to even more if you’re not careful. That’s why you should aim to pay your balance on time and in full each month.

Understanding your points and redemption options

According to Credit Karma’s point valuations, Alaska Airlines miles are worth an an estimated 1.80 cents each when you redeem them through the flagship carrier. But you can also transfer your miles across Alaska’s airline partners. This can help you reach more destinations where Alaska may not fly on your next business trip. That’s especially true for international locations.

Alaska doesn’t have blackout dates, so you can redeem your miles for any available flight unless you’re also using Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare.

The companion fare offer is a buy-one-get-one-discounted deal. That means to redeem this offer, you must pay for your own airfare out of pocket. You can’t use miles for your ticket and use the companion fare for your guest’s ticket.

The good news is that both you and your companion can earn miles with Alaska Airlines for this trip, even though your guest won’t have to pay the full price for their ticket.

Who this card is good for

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is helpful for small-business owners who frequently travel on or to the West Coast, where Alaska does most of its flying. If you’re looking to save money on your next business trip, you’ll appreciate checking your bag for free and bringing along your business partner or employee at a discount with Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare.

But this card probably isn’t best for businesses that do most of their traveling outside of Alaska’s flight area. Additionally, businesses that need to carry a balance may end up falling into debt without an introductory APR offer for purchases or balance transfers.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider this alternative.

If the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card isn’t the right fit, you might want to take a look at our review of the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. This card offers more flexibility for business travelers who don’t want to commit to one airline.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.