3 flights to Kauai for $200? How I’m leveraging the 50K Alaska Air bonus.

When I first got into points and miles collecting, the Alaska Airlines card was one of the first cards I got. I was determined to book a trip to Hawaii using points and miles, and the allure of the $118 companion pass (with the option of first class, at the time) was what reeled me in.

Although the annual companion pass benefit can now be redeemed only in coach, the Alaska Airlines card is still one I keep in my wallet. Some people like it so much that they keep multiple copies around!

However, to get the companion pass, you still need to spend a chunk of change. First there is the $75 annual fee of the card, added to the $118 cost of the pass, and finally there is the cost of the first ticket to consider (usually around $400, in my case). So really, the cost of the first ticket and the companion pass add up to about $600, or $300 per ticket. Still a discount, but not a huge one.

That’s why I was very excited to learn about this offer. Right now, the sign-up bonus on the Alaska Airlines credit card is at 50,000 miles, which is double the amount of points I earned when I applied for the card. You earn 25,000 miles upon approval and an additional 25,000 miles after making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of the account open date. The annual fee on the card is $75, which isn’t waived the first year. (Note that this is supposedly a targeted link, but it worked for my husband Josh, who was not targeted).

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This increased bonus is enough for a round-trip flight to Hawaii at Alaska’s lowest award level (40,000 miles round-trip), and almost enough for a flight at their regular award level (60,000 miles round-trip).

This offer is good enough that it prompted me to do a churn for Josh outside of his regular churn schedule; I decided that the potential risk of denial outweighed the bounteous points reward. As with any churn, I threw another couple of cards into the mix – I selected the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard and the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa.

I was already planning on signing Josh up for the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard, because the sign-up bonus is great (spend $1000 within the first three months of getting the card, and you will earn 40,000 miles, which are redeemable for $400 worth of travel), and the card is super easy to use (when you use the card, you get 2x miles, which you can spend on travel…any travel!). You don’t have to think much about where to use the card, how to redeem your miles, and all of the myriad other things that can keep you up at night.

I chose the Club Carlson Visa because we’re planning a trip to Europe next year, and all of those Club Carlson points will come in handy over there.

The reason I jumped in now instead of waiting is that that the combination of the 50,000 point Alaska Airlines Visa paired with the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard creates an incredible opportunity to get three tickets to Hawaii for $200. Here is how this works:

1. Sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa through the 50,000 mile bonus link.

2. Sign up for the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard.

3. Pay for one ticket to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines using your 50,000 points.

4. Pay for one ticket to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines using your Barclay Arrival card ($400), then pay for another using your companion certificate ($118). Total cost = $518. (If you add the annual fee of $75, the total cost is closer to $600).

5. Use your 40,000 point sign-up bonus from the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard to pay yourself back $400.

For us, this serendipitous combo was too good to pass up. I’m glad we jumped on it, because Josh did get approved for all three cards.

Hawaii, here we come! Anyone else planning to do the same thing?

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Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  I really appreciate and thank you for your support!

Comments

  1. Sounds great! I’m in the early stages of planning a 2015 trip to Hawaii for 2. If I did get the Alaska A. visa can I use the points for ticket #1 then pay for the companion pass? Of course I could get the Mr. a card too and skip the companion altogether but I’d hate to use up 100K so quickly….we’ve got lot of travelin’ yrs left in us and I imagine HA will be one of those we’ll want to return too often.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Jacki T – In order to get the companion pass, you ned to pay for the first ticket. That’s why I was thrilled to see this offer – it takes some of the bite out of the cost!

  2. I’m assuming the 50k offer is only good for individuals who have not had this card in the past correct?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Drew – The terms of the offer state that “This one-time promotion is limited to new customers opening an account in response to this offer and is valid for a limited time by invitation only. This offer is not valid for customers that have applied for this product in the last 12 months.”

      So, YMMV, but it is worth a shot – especially since most who apply seem to be getting the increased bonus.

  3. Great offer for the Alaska card! Just wanted to chime in with my recent booking experience. My desired flights were offered at 27,500 miles each way (instead of the lowest award level of 20,000) so instead tried the Miles plus cash option – this proved way better than even the companion fare (especially on the lower priced fares from the west coast) and worked out to just $157 plus 10,000 miles each way all-in (from Seattle to Maui). Pair that with the Arrival card “rebate” and you could get 5 one ways for your 50,000 mile sign up and cover nearly 3 of them with your rebate. That’s without even using the companion certificate!

  4. I am very new to the mileage/travel system. I have been struggling to learn it. 🙂
    I am following your logic and cost benefit but I am curious if both of you have applied for the Barclaycard for the $40K points?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Tammy – Yes, at this point, both Josh and I have the Barclay Arrival card.

      Welcome to the world of points and miles! Glad you’re here.

      • Thank you very much. Do you have any links to articles that would educate the newbies? I have a bit of a learning curve ahead of me. Many times I begin to read an article and I give up. Especially when it involves international travel (which I love), connecting flights, combining routes, etc. It all seems very complex but I am confident that I can master it if I had a bit of help. Any suggestions?

        • Points Pixie says:

          Tammy – A couple of suggestions: first, settle in on Milepoint.com. Folks there are super friendly and always willing to help out. Next, find a couple of blogs that you like and can relate to, then keep up with new posts and read old posts if you have time. I’ve found that the combination of a larger community (Milepoint) and a couple of smaller ones (individual blogs) is a good way to cover all the bases.

          It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike – a little complicated at first, but anyone can do it. Feel free to ask me any questions that you have as well. I would be happy to try and answer them.

  5. What a great deal! BTW, American Airlines, I found out yesterday, does roundtrip flights to/from HI for low as 35k. I think they have some partnership w Alaska, I wonder if a way for me to xfer miles to AA to get the 35k deal, which actually flies via Alaska sometimes.

  6. Umm did you really mean pay for the ticket with cash? Or do you want to pay for it with the Barclays Arrival card?

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