The annual companion fare that comes with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card (not the regular Platinum Plus card) is one of the best deals in travel, at least for those in the United States. Unlike many airline companion fares it has very few restrictions. Other airlines might require that you use it only for award travel or certain fare classes or might not earn any miles after you travel.
That’s not the case with Alaska’s card. The rules are dead simple. Pay the regular price on any itinerary operated by Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air in the main cabin. The companion’s ticket is just $99 plus taxes and fees (usually around $22). Open jaws, multi-city itineraries, etc. are all valid as long as there are two seats still for sale. It used to be you could use the companion fare for first class tickets, too, but that ended years ago. It’s still possible to upgrade the companion after booking, and both passengers earn miles. I created my own FAQ to break down the rules in more detail in case you’re still confused.
However, Alaska recently added one new rule. You used to be able to pay for your ticket with any credit card, and it didn’t have to be your Alaska Airlines credit card issued by Bank of America. You could literally put your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature in a sock drawer and never look at it again.
Now you need to go rummaging for it. Alaska recently updated the FAQs for its companion fare with new language requiring that you use the card to pay for your itinerary when using the discount code:
For companion fares issued on or after October 1, 2019, both the primary fare and the companion fare must be purchased using your Alaska Airlines credit card.
This is a minor hiccup. I think the Visa Signature card actually has a pretty good bonus for earning miles, with 3X miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines tickets. I just don’t use it much because I don’t think the card is very useful for other bonus categories, and I try to keep things simple. One generic card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum Card is easier to use for all airlines.
I still save thousands of dollars a year with these things since my wife and I each have a couple of credit cards, and thus a couple of companion fares. Just a single trip to Hawaii can cost $800 or more per person, but with the companion fare I can book two people for under $1,000 and still upgrade to first class. It’s well worth the inconvenience of following Alaska’s new payment policy.