I was instantly approved for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa card today, with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles plus an Alaska “Companion Fare,” for $2,000 minimum spend within 90 days. The sign-up bonus is a special offer that appears to be generally available only on the West Coast.
I thought this was worth an article highlighting the offer and application, because of the value of the sign-up bonus and the way in which I was able to get the special “West Coast” offer.
What Is the Card and What Are Its Benefits?
- Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card (personal)
- $75 annual fee – not waived first year
- Bonus Category: 3x Alaska miles/dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases
- 1x Alaska mile/dollar on all other purchases
- Free checked bag on Alaska flights for cardholder and up to 6 other guests on the same reservation
- Alaska $99+ Companion Fare each year on account anniversary – buy one domestic US ticket in economy class on Alaska at the prevailing price, get a companion ticket for $99 plus taxes and fees (usually $121 total) – no blackout dates
- Access to BankAmeriDeals – statement credit offers (usually 10%) at various merchants and restaurants
What Was the Sign-Up Bonus?
- 40,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles
- Alaska $0 Companion Fare – buy one domestic US ticket in economy class on Alaska at the prevailing price, get a companion ticket by paying only the taxes and fees (usually $22) – no blackout dates
- Spend requirement is $2,000 within the first 90 days after account opening
What Is the Sign-Up Bonus Worth?
- Our baseline value for Alaska miles is 1.5 cents/mile, so the 40,000 Alaska miles are worth about $600
- Even though we are not regular Alaska flyers, it should be relatively easy to get at least $200 in added value from the Companion Fare (we usually fly American, but we have a college-age daughter in Seattle) – it should be possible to get quite a bit more value out of this if you’re a regular Alaska flyer
- Total value = $800 (and potentially more)
Why Did We Apply for This Card, and Why Now?
- Sign-up bonus is a historical high
- Sign-up bonus is a special limited offer – apparently generally available only on the West Coast (and, per Doctor of Credit and Out and Out, by using a browser trick that sounds complicated to me)
- The regular sign-up bonus is 30,000 miles (plus the Companion Fare), and it’s usually possible to get 30,000 miles plus a $100 statement credit (plus the Companion Fare) by creating a dummy booking on the Alaska website – the offer often shows up just before you would complete your purchase
- I wanted access to BankAmeriDeals again – there are regular 10% statement credit offers for a few restaurants we frequent (including Del Frisco’s steakhouse in our home town of Plano) as well as a semi-regular 10% statement credit offer at Staples (unfortunately capped at a $6 credit) – we can save as much as the $75 annual fee or close to it by utilizing these Deals
I Thought You Said This Was a “West Coast” Offer – How Did Middle Age Miles Get It as a Texas Resident?
- I tried to generate the offer from home in Plano, Texas, on Sunday, with no luck – I could only pull the regular 30k offer using different browsers with and without incognito, plus I could pull the 30k offer with $100 statement credit by making a dummy booking
- Philly and I traveled to Seattle today – once I got to the hotel, I logged on and began searching for a way to get the 40k offer
- I was able to pull the 40k offer by (1) using a Chrome browser; (2) opening an incognito window; (3) going to the Alaska website; and (4) logging in to my account – at this point the offer showed up, as pictured below – when I clicked on Apply Now, it sent me to the next screen pictured below, which detailed the offer
- As I mentioned above, there are reports that the 40k offer can be accessed from non-West Coast locations, using a complicated browser trick described by Doctor of Credit and Out and Out
How Did You Get Approved?
I thought there was at best a 50/50 shot that I’d be approved for this card. My status at the time of the application was:
- 13/24 (including 1 AU card)
- 7/12 (including 1 AU card)
- 2 recent accounts do not yet show on my Experian report (which B of A pulled), so B of A presumably saw me as 11/24, 5/12, and 2/6
- Credit Score: 793 on Experian – 817 on TransUnion and 830 on Equifax
- No problems under the B of A 2/3/4 rule
- Most Recent Approval/Account: October 3, 2018 (Amex Gold) (6 days)
- Most Recent Approval/Account Showing on Experian Report: June 2018 (US Bank Altitude Reserve & Citi Premier) (4 months)
- Number of open B of A cards: 1 (Alaska Airlines business card)
- Previous B of A Alaska personal card canceled: June 26, 2018 (a little over 3 months ago)
- Other Relationship with B of A: Checking account held for 3-4 years with balance usually in the range of $1,500 to $5,000
For those who have been contemplating whether B of A has a hard 6/24 rule, my approval is an exception. I have included my detailed information so you can evaluate why my application was not denied by B of A.
What Else Might Be Important or Interesting?
- After I submitted my application, the B of A website presented me with 4 “Identity Questions” – things like what car do I have, what street have I lived on, what is the name of a previous employer
- After I correctly answered the Identity Questions, I was instantly approved
- After approval, I was presented with a “Use My Card Now” option – I went through this process, agreed to the Disclosures, and was then given a card number including expiration date and CVV code
- As we noted in our “Keep or Cancel” article about this card from back in June, (a) the annual $99 Companion Fare at the first account anniversary posts when the annual fee comes due and is not clawed back if you cancel later; and (b) I was able to cancel the B of A Alaska card after my second-year annual fee posted and receive a credit for the entire $75 fee – the B of A rep told me that the annual fee is automatically refunded if the account is closed within 60 days from when the annual fee posted
- The 40,000 mile sign-up bonus is shown as a “Limited Time Offer” – but I have not seen any information about when it might end
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