What a surprise the past 24 hours have been: the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard, a traditionally low-key credit card in Canada that rarely puts out special offers, is now offering a $100 statement credit along with the usual signup bonus until December 31, 2020.
The $100 statement credit applies to both the World Elite and the Platinum Plus versions of this card. You’ll now be able to earn the respective welcome bonuses of 30,000 and 20,000 Alaska miles, along with the $100 credit, upon spending $1,000 in the first three months, making the MBNA Alaska one of the easiest “low-hanging fruit” in Canada in terms of attractive credit card offers.
New $100 Statement Credit
This offer only seems to be available through Alaska Airlines’s direct channel, rather than through the MBNA website or a third-party cash back portal like Great Canadian Rebates. You can access the offers here: MBNA Alaska World Elite and MBNA Alaska Platinum Plus.
Prior to this $100 statement credit offer, the best way to apply for the MBNA Alaska was via Great Canadian Rebates, where you’d earn a $50 cash back rebate upon approval. However, since these two avenues cannot be stacked, it’s optimal to apply directly through the Alaska Airlines channel and claim the $100 statement credit instead.
Both the World Elite and Platinum Plus versions of the card will offer the $100 statement credit upon spending $1,000 in the first three months. Recall, however, that the World Elite and Platinum Plus versions of the MBNA Alaska differ in the following ways:
- The World Elite requires a minimum annual personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000, while the Platinum Plus has no income requirement
- The World Elite offers 30,000 Alaska miles upon spending $1,000 in the first three months, while the Platinum Plus awards 20,000 Alaska miles upon meeting the same threshold
- The World Elite has an annual fee of $99 vs. the Platinum Plus’s $75
- The World Elite gives a free first checked bag on Alaska Airlines flights for the primary cardholder and up to six passengers on the same reservation, while the Platinum Plus doesn’t offer this perk
As you can see, the $100 statement credit more than offsets the annual fee on both products: you’d come out ahead in the first year by $1 on the World Elite and $25 on the Platinum Plus, all while collecting the welcome bonus.
Besides the differences listed above, both the World Elite and Platinum Plus cards come with Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, which lets you book a second passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight for only US$121 (US$99 base fare plus US$22 in taxes) when you pay full fare for the first passenger.
The cards also offer 3 Alaska miles per dollar spent with Alaska Airlines and 1 Alaska mile per dollar spent on everything else, making it a solid choice for your day-to-day non-Amex spending if you see value in collecting Alaska miles for high-value redemptions.
You can refer to this post for a full list of attractive Alaska miles redemptions – the most popular choices tend to be the aspirational First Class experiences on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, or Emirates, although Alaska’s other partners like American Airlines, Icelandair, and Fiji Airways can make for solid redemptions too.
Although there is a fair bit of uncertainty lingering over the future of Alaska Mileage Plan due to their impending entry into the Oneworld alliance in early 2021, I certainly expect the Mileage Plan program to continue to deliver value in the future, even if it’s not as good as it is now. Therefore, despite the uncertainty, I do think that the opportunity of picking up 20,000–30,000 Alaska miles, while effectively being paid for your troubles in the form of $100 statement credit, is too good to turn down.
If you only recently applied for the MBNA Alaska, you can try asking MBNA whether it’s possible to match to this new offer, but I personally don’t think they’ll be likely to grant those requests.
However, keep in mind the prevailing MBNA Alaska credit card strategy: you can downgrade your MBNA Alaska to a no-fee product after three months, at which point you’d be eligible for another MBNA Alaska since you’re no longer a current cardholder. Since the offer with the $100 statement credit ends on December 31, 2020, that may give you just enough time to pull off one of these cycles.
The MBNA Alaska is one of the few credit cards in Canada that specifically excludes Quebec residents from the welcome bonus… on paper, anyway.
On both the ongoing standard offer, as well as this special offer with a $100 statement credit, the verbiage specifically states that “this offer is not available to residents of Quebec”.
(It’s my understanding that Quebec’s stricter consumer protection rules make it more difficult for banks and financial issuers to offer incentives on spending, which is what a welcome bonus associated with a minimum spending requirement is at the end of the day. Some issuers like TD and HSBC choose to get around this by associating the bonus with a waiting period instead, whereas others, like MBNA, choose to not offer a welcome bonus at all.)
If you enter Quebec as your province, the following warning message is displayed…
…and the applicant is offered to be redirected to an alternative application for Quebec residents, which makes no mention of any signup bonus at all.
Therefore, if you applied for the card as a Quebec resident and didn’t happen to receive the signup bonus upon spending $1,000 in the first three months, then you wouldn’t have any recourse to ask for those bonus miles to be deposited. 😉 And of course, nor would you have any recourse to ask for a $100 statement credit.
Overall, I think the best strategy for Quebecers who are interested in getting the MBNA Alaska is still to apply through Great Canadian Rebates and get the $50 cash back offer. That’s at least a definite shot compared to the $100 statement credit which Quebec residents are explicitly excluded from.
After a cold year in the credit card marketplace, the welcome offers in Canada are slowly beginning to simmer again. The MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard is now offering a $100 statement credit along with 20,000–30,000 Alaska miles upon spending $1,000 in the first three months, which will more than offset your first year’s annual fee.
It’s a great time to sign up for the card as a new customer or incorporate the offer into your ongoing MBNA strategy as you aim to build up your Alaska Mileage Plan balance and book one of their sweet spots before the program potentially undergoes changes in 2021.