The Alaska Airlines companion fare is the best perk of the Alaska Airlines credit card. Each year for $99+tax, eligible card holders are able to bring a companion to any destination in the Alaska Airlines network. This includes Hawaii, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico; it’s truly anywhere Alaska flies, a companion can travel for $99. The companion fare can only be used on Alaska Airlines flights, not codeshares or partners. Since the integration of Virgin America, Virgin America Flights were not eligible for companion fare flights, despite Alaska Airlines owning Virgin America. This changed over the weekend and now Virgin America flights can be flown using an Alaska Airlines companion fare.
Fly Virgin America with the Companion Fare
The Virgin America network does not truly add any unique new destinations to the Alaska Airlines network. Virgin flies to Love Field instead of Dallas-Fort Worth, yet both airlines serve the Dallas Metro area. The difference is, the Virgin America network expands Alaska Airlines presence in several cities and allows for more routing possibility when flying. Now mix and match Alaska flights with Virgin flights when using a companion fare.
To search for eligible flights, log into your Alaska Airlines account and apply your unique companion fare discount code to your search, then search any destination served by Alaska Airlines or Virgin America. Any flight on Alaska Airlines or Virgin America will display a discount symbol next to the price deeming it eligible. For more details on successfully booking a companion fare ticket, see Scott’s guide to the basic rules and tricks of Alaska Airline Companion fares.
When using the Alaska Airlines companion fare, there is no requirement that you fly the same airline to and from your destination. Feel free to mix and match Virgin America and Alaska Airlines flights. You can even add a stop over by using the multi-city search function. Flying Virgin America or Alaska with the companion fare is now possible. Just remember, elite benefits are difference on each airline.
Final Thoughts & a Dirty Credit Card Plug
The integration between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America seems slow to me. The airlines have two very different frequent flyer programs with different partners and benefits. Complimentary upgrades to first class are not possible on Virgin America. Benefits for free checked luggage and “preferred” seats are still not distributed equally between the two airlines, but will come Summer of 2017. It is great to see Alaska Airlines allow their companion discount fare to be used on Virgin America flights sooner than later. This will expand brand exposure between the two airlines. Just maybe, this will convince Virgin America loyalists to invest in the Alaska Airlines Credit Card.
Speaking of credit cards, the Alaska Airlines credit card does offer 30,000 bonus miles for new card holders and a slew of benefits. The card earns 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America purchases, 1 mile per dollar elsewhere. It is the only credit card that offers one free check bag for up to 7 people on Virgin America and Alaska Airlines. Yet more importantly, without this credit card, there’s no way of getting a $99 companion fare. The credit card also has hidden unpublished benefits such as free wine and quarterly bonuses.
Here at Travel Codex we do not have paid affiliate links for credit cards. I have this credit card for the annual Alaska Airlines companion fare. Each year the Credit Card annual fee is just $75. To me, $75 is justifiable as I save hundreds with the companion fare. Not to mention, 30,000 miles for $75 is essentially $0.0025 per mile. Miles never come this cheap! Especially hard to earn Alaska Airlines miles. If you’re debating getting this card, feel free to email me (Rocky@travelcodex.com) and I can send you a referral link. Or contact a friend with this credit card, because all referrals earn 5,000 bonus miles!
Bottom line, if you hold this credit card and are looking to use the Alaska Airline companion fare on a Virgin America flight, the time is now!