Outstanding value for premium flights to Asia
The MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite MasterCard offers 30,000 miles in the Mileage Plan program upon spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
The annual fee of $99 is not waived, although by applying via a special offer, you get a statement credit of $100 upon meeting the minimum spend, more than offsetting the first year’s annual fee. That’s an incredible deal when you consider that you’re also earning 30,000 Alaska miles.
Meanwhile, the MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus MasterCard offers 20,000 miles in the Mileage Plan program upon spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. The annual fee is $75, and you also get a $100 statement credit by applying through the special offer, which means you’re coming out ahead by $25 for the first year.
The main difference between the World Elite and Platinum Plus versions of the card is the income requirement. The World Elite card has a minimum income requirement of $80,000 in personal annual income or $150,000 in household income, so if you meet one of those requirements, you can go ahead and apply to receive 30,000 Alaska miles.
If you don’t meet those thresholds, however, you can apply for the Platinum Plus version of the card and receive 20,000 Alaska miles.
Another awesome perk of this card is that every year you get one round-trip companion fare from US$121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) on Alaska and Virgin America flights, with no blackout dates.
Since it’s a companion fare, it’s best used for travelling as a duo: you have to book one round-trip somewhere on the Alaska route network, then you apply the companion fare to the booking to add the second passenger for just US$121.
The companion fare can be great for those of you living in cities serviced by Alaska (in Canada, that’s only Vancouver or Calgary). It’ll be less useful for those of us on the East Coast, for example, though if you spend a fair amount of time in the US, it can still be a valuable perk.
Read more: The Best Credit Cards with Companion Fares
Lastly, if you’re a World Elite cardholder, you’ll also get free checked bags on Alaska Airlines for up to six passengers on the same reservation. That’s another perk that can be very useful if you regularly fly with Alaska.
With the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard, you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines airfare and vacation packages, and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
As far as Canadian credit cards go, this card isn’t the best option for daily spending. Cards like the American Express Gold Rewards Card offer 2x points on gas, groceries, and travel purchases.
However, by virtue of being a MasterCard, you’ll find that the Alaska card is accepted at more locations than any of your American Express cards, so it can be a good backup option to keep in your wallet.
Here’s where the card pales in comparison to some of the other good travel rewards credit cards in the marketplace. The MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard doesn’t offer much in the way of travel insurance. It doesn’t have emergency medical insurance, flight delay and trip cancellation insurance, purchase protection, or any of that good stuff.
For that reason, this card is best suited for simply signing up, meeting the minimum spend requirement, grabbing the points, and then leaving it in the back of your wallet for small purchases here and there.