How to Earn (And Get Tremendous Value From) the Alaska Airlines Companion Pass

The Alaska companion fare is a valuable benefit that can save you hundreds of dollars on travel.
Last updated Nov 19, 2020 | By Lee Huffman
Couple waiting at airport

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Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest U.S. carrier by passenger volume, and it’s one of the most popular airlines on the West Coast. If you’re a frequent flier on Alaska, signing up for the airline’s Mileage Plan loyalty program and applying for an Alaska Airlines credit card might be worth your time.

In addition to the perks you get by signing up for the Mileage Plan program, Alaska’s credit cards also offer several valuable benefits that reduce the cost of traveling. For instance, with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, you can receive free checked bags, earn 3X miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, and get a 20% savings on in-flight food, beverages, and Wi-Fi.

However, the most popular benefit is the Alaska companion fare. Each year when you renew your Alaska credit card, you'll receive a companion fare good for an Economy flight on Alaska Airlines for only $99 plus taxes and fees. In this article, we'll show you how to earn the Alaska companion fare, then the best way to use it. You can save hundreds of dollars with this companion certificate, even after paying the taxes and fees.

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What is the Alaska Airlines companion fare?

The companion fare is an annual benefit that rewards Alaska Airlines cardholders for renewing their credit card. With this benefit, you can book a companion ticket for a passenger on the same reservation for just $99 plus taxes and fees. You may book this ticket on any Alaska Airlines operated flight.

Companion fare codes post automatically to your Alaska Airlines account six to eight weeks after meeting your card’s minimum spending requirement. Each year that the card is renewed, a new companion ticket code is available on your account anniversary date.

These codes may not be used with mileage award tickets. You must purchase your companion ticket with your Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit card.

Which cards offer the Alaska Airlines companion fare benefit?

The companion fare benefit is available with both the personal and the business version of the Alaska Airlines credit card. Consumers can apply for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, while business owners can opt for the Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card. If you own a business, you may apply for both the consumer and business credit cards to double up on the welcome bonus and annual companion passes.

If you don't already have an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan loyalty account, one will be created for you after you get approved for your credit card. If you have an existing Mileage Plan account, ensure that you share your member number during the application process.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card

Consumers who want to earn the Alaska companion ticket should apply for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. With this card, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles (+ round-trip coach companion fare) after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. When you meet the minimum spending requirements, you'll also receive a companion fare code. Upon renewing the card, you'll receive another companion ticket code each year. The annual fee for this card is $75 (waived first year).

As a cardholder, you'll receive one free checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights for you and up to six additional passengers on the same itinerary. You'll get 20% back as a statement credit on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi. Plus, Alaska Lounge day passes are 50% off when paying with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card.

You'll also earn 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X miles on every $1 spent on other purchases. There are no caps on the number of miles you can earn and regular purchases keep your account active.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card

The business version of the Alaska Airlines credit card is very similar to the personal version. The biggest differences are that business owners can build credit with this card and set individual spending limits for employee cards.

This card's annual fee is $50 for the company, plus $25 for each card, including the primary card for the business owner. For example, if a business owner adds three cards for employees, the total annual fee would be $150.

How to get the best value from the companion fare

There is a big opportunity to save with the Alaska companion fare if you use it well. Here are five strategies to consider so you can get maximum value from this credit card benefit.

Redeem for the right flights

When selecting flights to redeem your companion fare code, aim to use it on more expensive tickets. Keep in mind that you are paying approximately $200 for the card’s annual fee plus taxes and fees when booking your companion ticket. If you redeem for a flight that is less than $200, you are squandering an opportunity to save some serious money.

Alaska Airlines flies nearly 1,200 daily flights to more than 115 destinations across the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. Some of these flights can be expensive, so consider an international vacation when redeeming your companion ticket to maximize its value.

Two-player mode

Get your spouse involved by having them apply for an Alaska credit card as well. This way, you'll both have a companion ticket code to use for two vacations or to book one vacation for a family of four.

The owner of a companion ticket can book companion flights for other people. This means that you can use your spouse's code to save money on a flight for you and a family member or friend.

Double up with your business

If you own a business, you can double up on the signup bonuses and companion fare codes by applying for a personal and a business Alaska credit card. Each year, you'll receive two companion ticket codes when you renew your cards.

With two codes each year, you can be creative and book companion tickets for others. Examples include your family, business partners, employees, and your best clients or vendors.

Status match

If you have status with another airline, request a status match with Alaska Airlines. Go to StatusMatcher.com to see the latest success stories from travelers requesting a status match.

With your new elite status, you may be able to receive a complimentary upgrade to Premium or First Class seats. MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members are eligible for complimentary companion upgrades to Premium and First Class. Saver fares are not eligible for these upgrades. Keep that in mind and buy a different ticket class if you're aiming for a free upgrade for you and your companion.

Cashback bonuses

Although you must use your Alaska Airlines credit card to book your companion ticket reservations, there is another way to cover the cost. By applying for a cashback credit card, like the Capital One Savor Card, you can use the signup bonus to cover the charges on your Alaska Airlines credit card.

8 steps for booking an Alaska Airlines companion fare ticket

1. Log into your account

To book your Alaska companion fare, log into your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account at AlaskaAir.com.

2. Check your account overview

In your Mileage Plan account overview, look for "Discount and companion fare codes" on the left side of the screen. You'll find links for valid and used codes. Click "Valid" to review and use available companion fare codes.

3. View available discount and companion fare codes

At this screen, you will see all valid and available discounts and companion fare codes. You can review the type of code, applicable terms and conditions, available routes, and the expiration date. You must book your travel by a companion pass’s expiration date. However, your actual dates of travel can be past the expiration date.

It is possible to have multiple Alaska companion fare codes at the same time if you have multiple Alaska Airlines credit cards.

4. Shop with companion fare codes

To use one of your companion fare codes, click on "Shop" to select your dates of travel and preferred flight. Then select the companion ticket code you wish to use.

When you book your flight, the website will automatically designate that two passengers are traveling and enter the companion fare code. You may increase the number of passengers so that your entire party is traveling on one itinerary. Choose your desired travel dates, departure city, and destination, then click "Find flights."

The Alaska companion fare is valid for Economy tickets only. Eligible flights include those operated by Alaska Airlines and operated on behalf of Alaska Airlines by Sky West and Pen Air. Both passengers must travel together and be booked on the same itinerary. The ticket is good for either one-way or round-trip flights, but multiple stopovers are not allowed.

5. Select flight options

Your flight options will populate and the Alaska Airlines website shows two fares in each box. The top fare is the price for the primary passenger and the second fare is for the companion ticket. Note the message above that indicates that the "companion price is subject to taxes, which are included."

After picking your desired travel dates, times, and fare class for the departure and return flight, click "Add to cart."

6. Review your flight

You’ll then have the opportunity to review your flight information before you pay for your tickets.

7. View breakdown of fare price, taxes, and fees (optional)

To get a better sense of your total spend on flights, click "Taxes, fees, and charges" you'll see a breakdown of the charges per ticket by line item for each passenger. In this example, the companion fare was a total of $135.23 versus the primary passenger fare of $507.81. The cost of the companion ticket was $99 for the base fare and $36.23 in taxes and fees.

The Alaska companion fare saved these passengers $372.58 on this flight.

8. Purchase your flight

Click “Next” when you are ready to purchase your flight. Enter the traveler names and information, select seats, and provide payment information. The owner of the companion fare does not have to travel with the two passengers, however, in that case, the owner must purchase the reservation. Remember that you need to use your Alaska Airlines credit card to pay for the flight.

FAQs about the Alaska Airlines companion fare

Travelers who have an Alaska Airlines credit card or who are considering applying for one often have specific questions. Here are some common questions from members of our community.

How many times can I use the Alaska Airlines companion fare?

Unlike the Southwest Companion Pass, each Alaska Airlines companion fare code may only be used once. If you want to earn multiple Alaska companion fare codes in the same year, you need to have multiple Alaska Airlines credit cards.

Where do I find my Alaska companion fare code?

Companion fare codes are available in your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account at AlaskaAirlines.com. Click on "Valid" discounts and companion fare codes on the left side of the screen to see your available codes.

Is the Alaska Airlines credit card worth it?

Yes, the Alaska Airlines credit card offers several benefits that make it one of the best travel credit cards for people who fly Alaska Airlines or who want to earn miles to fly on its partner airlines. Alaska Airlines has 18 airline partners, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates.

With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, new cardmembers can earn 40,000 bonus miles (+ round-trip coach companion fare) after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. It also comes with an annual companion pass and offers free checked bags, 20% in-flight discounts, and 50% off Alaska Lounge day passes. You also get 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X miles on every $1 spent on other purchases. These benefits make paying the $75 (waived first year) annual fee a good decision for Alaska Airlines frequent travelers.

Do Alaska Airlines miles expire?

Although Alaska miles do not expire, you must have activity on your account every two years. Otherwise, your account expires and miles are deleted.

Will the companion fare earn Alaska Airlines miles?

Yes, the companion fare will earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles as long as you provide your membership number during booking or at check-in.

Can I upgrade the companion fare to First Class?

Yes, the companion fare ticket is eligible for all upgrades that Alaska Airlines offers. Upgrades are available using miles, elite + companion upgrades, guest upgrades, or paid upgrades available at check-in.

All passengers on the itinerary must travel in the same class of service. This means that there must be space available to upgrade all passengers on the itinerary at the same time. Travelers must also use the same type of upgrade. An exception is made for the companion upgrade allowed for Gold and 75K elite members.

The final word on the Alaska Airlines companion fare

The Alaska companion fare is a valuable benefit that can save you hundreds of dollars every year. To get a companion ticket, you can apply for the personal Alaska Airlines credit card, the business version, or both. You may use multiple companion fare codes if your spouse or business is also approved for an Alaska Airlines credit card.

Aside from the companion pass, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card offers a great welcome bonus, free checked bags, and savings on in-flight purchases and Alaska Lounge day passes. Plus, you can earn 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X miles on every $1 spent on other purchases. For a $75 (waived first year) annual fee, you get a lot of value with this card.

Earn valuable Alaska Airlines miles

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

Benefits

  • 40,000 bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases
  • Multiple travel perks when flying with Alaska Airlines
  • No foreign transaction fees