Credit Card Review - Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard

Credit Card Review - Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series Credit Card Review

Today I am reviewing the Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard because as I have discovered over the past year or so, Alaska Airline’s Mileage Plan is an incredibly powerful program that not a lot of people know about.  I will post a review on the program in a later post but some highlights include:

  • Canada to Asia on Cathay Pacific Business Class for 50,000 miles one way or 100,000 roundtrip
  • Canada to Australia on Fiji Airways Business Class with a stopover in Fiji for 55,000 miles one way or 110.000 roundtrip
  • Canada to Australia on Qantas Business Class for 55,000 miles one way or 110.000 roundtrip
  • Canada to Peru on American Airlines Economy Class for 15,000 miles one way or 30,000 roundtrip

If you know the Air Canada redemption chart, you will know that you need way fewer miles to fly to dream destinations with Alaska Miles than Aeroplan.

So how do we start accumulating these miles?  Well, it’s fairly difficult to accumulate these miles as a Canadian but we do have access to one credit card that is an INCREDIBLE value if you use my method.

Overview

The Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard is a card offered by MBNA and comes with a very reasonable $75 annual fee.  Stick around to the end of the article for how to reduce that to $15!!!  With that annual fee, you are provided with two key benefits:

  • 25,000 Alaska Airlines Miles
  • A companion pass

25,000 miles is provided on first purchase so it’s one of those cards you can use once and throw in a drawer if you don’t see value in carrying it in your wallet.  As far as the companion pass goes, you need to pay $121 (USD) for a companion to travel with you on any Alaska Airlines economy class flight (no partners or codeshares).  This could be a good value for travel to Hawaii depending on where you live and the price of the the ticket.  For the most part, the big benefit here is the 25,000 miles.

Churning

Churning is not a term that I have used in my articles until now but it refers to applying for a credit card, receiving the bonus and then cancelling the card and doing it over and over again.

MBNA cards are currently churnable but that’s not to say that this will continue on forever.  It used to be that you could have 2 Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercards at the same time so you could churn twice as fast but they have eliminated that loophole so you can only hold one card at a time.

I have anecdotally heard stories of people churning this card every 3 months.  Personally, 6 feels more realistic but I’ll leave that up to you.  I usually apply, get the bonus and then hold the card open for 3-4 months and then cancel.  I then re-apply 2-3 months later.

No Other Benefits

I like to highlight all the benefits of the cards I review because you never know if it makes sense to have this particular cards as your daily driver.  Unfortunately with this card, the benefits end with the miles and companion pass.  As this card does not have a high annual fee you give up all the insurances you normally see in a travel card (flight delay insurance, lost baggage insurance, etc.) as well as any other benefits like price protection.

The full list of benefits from this card are below:

  • Receive 25,000 Bonus Miles after your first eligible purchase
  • Earn 1 Bonus Mile per $1 spent on every eligible purchase
  • Earn 3 Bonus Miles per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, cargo purchases, in-flight purchases and vacation packages
  • Receive an annual Companion Fare from $121 (USD) ($99 base fare, plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Redeem Miles for flights to over 700 destinations worldwide

How to Save $60 on the Annual Fee

I haven’t spoken about shopping portals yet but they serve as an excellent way for you to get money back for the online purchases (or applications in this case) that you would already make.

The way that these companies work is that by referring you to a credit card company, they receive compensation for the referral.  Because they received money from this referral, they kick back a percentage back to you.  That money is then either transferred to you via PayPal or via a cheque.

When I tell people about this, they roll their eyes because it sounds too good to be true but I swear to you on the life of my daughter (that’s pretty serious right there folks) that this work.  I personally have received well over $1.000 back through these online stores.  Here’s proof:

gcr-lifetime

 

mrrebates-lifetime

 

ebates-lifetime

So how do you take advantage of these online stores to reduce your Alaska Airline’s World Elite Mastercard Annual Fee?  It’s easy.

  1. Create an account at GreatCanadianRebates
  2. Go to the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard Credit Card
  3. Click on the link and you will be automatically redirected to the MBNA page for application
  4. When your card gets approved, wait a couple of days and you will see confirmation that you received your $60 (or whatever the current offer is)

Here’s what it will look like:

gcr-mbna-payment

You will need to wait 45 days for your rebate to come to you as this is the holding period that GreatCanadianRebates implements.  This is to protect the GCR in the event that a return happens on a purchase from an online store, which leads me to another point.  Use these portals to make all your online purchases.  It’s free money.

Some Math

So let’s think about this.  We have a credit card that has an annual fee of $75.  We have a rebate of $60.  This leaves a total annual fee of $15!

If we look at the cost for each point, referred to as Cents Per Mile (CPM), we need to use the calculation of cost/points:

$15 / 25,000 = 0.0006 CPM

This is an UNREAL value.

I know that I preach having a plan before you speculatively collect points but at $15 for 25,000 miles, you cannot go wrong.

A very prominent travel hacker has valued Alaska Miles at 1.8¢/mile (USD) so you are getting $450 USD value for $15.  A absolute no brainer.  Get this card now!

 

 

 

Series Navigation<< Credit Card Review – Capital One AspireCredit Card Review – American Express Platinum Business >>

Also published on Medium.

27 Comments
  1. Are you able to get the rebate with greatcanadian rebates more than once on the same account?

    1. Hi Teddy,

      Yes. You can absolutely get the rebate more than once. Cheers

      PointsNerd

  2. How long does it take for the points to post in the account? I put a $1 on the card. I also have the card under my wife’s name but when they asked for the Mileageplan # I put mine. Any chance this would work?

    1. Hey Dave,

      You should have no problem with having your two credit cards linked to the same Alaska account but I can tell you from past experience that if they don’t set it up correctly, it’s a pain for them to fix it.

      As far as when points post, it’s the first Sunday following your statement printing. So if you had a statement print today (January 17th), your points would be in your Alaska account on Sunday (January 22).

      Cheers
      Jayce

  3. Hi Jayce, this card charges 2.5% foreign transaction fee and Alaska airline charges everything in US dollars. If I book Alaska airline via Expedia or Flight Centre the purchase will not be qualified for the 3 bonus miles/dollar spent. Would you still recommend this card if my statement above is true? The 2.5% fee will eat away the potential earnings? Thanks.

    1. Hi Song,

      I wasn’t sure if you were right in that Alaska charges solely in USD so I called in and asked. You’re right. No way to charge in CAD so you are correct that all charges you put on the MBNA Alaska card would attract a 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

      That being said, I value Alaska Miles quite highly … probably at about 2¢/mile so if you get 3x, that’s 6¢ per dollar spent or a 6% return. That’s higher than the 2.5% cost for the FX but that’s my valuation. If you value AS miles as highly, I would suggest that it’s still good value.

      If you just don’t like the idea of paying for FX fees and still need to book directly with Alaska, I would suggest the Chase Marriott Card or the Amazon Card from Chase as they both have no FX. Alternatively, you could pay for the ticket through a OTA like Expedia and pay with your AMEX Gold and get 2x points.

      Hope that helps. Cheers

      Jayce

  4. Hi Jayce,

    I think the conditions have changed for this card. Now it seems like you have to spend 1000$ in the first 3 months in order to get the miles, I am right?

    Thank you

  5. Lately I was denied $60 cash back as they said I already had that card and TD does allow only get cash back once.

    1. Hi IceH,

      Sorry to hear about your experience. Hopefully this is an isolated experience as I have been able to receive the bonus more than once.

      Cheers
      Jayce

  6. Hi I just found your website and I’m new to this whole travel hacking thing. So if I sign up for this credit card today, can I just use the 25K points to book myself a flight anywhere Alaska flies and use the companion pass to book for my partner on the same flight?

    Follow up question, as soon as I get the 25K points, I can just cancel the card, wait 100 days and then sign up again for the same card and get another 25K points plus another companion pass?

    Seems too good to be true. Thanks!

    1. Hi Trevor,

      Unfortunately, the companion pass on Alaska is only good for paid travel, not award travel.

      And yes, you can apply for the card, get the bonus and then cancel shortly thereafter. Just wait the requisite 90 days (100 to be safe) and reapply again. Don’t forget to use GCR again and try to claim the $50 cash back again. When you get the card again, you would also get an additional companion pass. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

  7. Is this card valuable if you live in Toronto versus Western Canada?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      I’ll be honest. It’s not as great out of the East as it is the West, however, you still have very good service from American Airlines out of the East so it can be quite good if you want to fly on American Airlines (HUGE network) and potentially connect to Alaska. If you are willing to drive a bit south of the border, you could catch a flight on the former Virgin America (now Alaska) routes and connect to another partner.

      Long story short, yes, still very valuable but it’s not as simple as if you lived in the west. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

    2. Transfer to Cathay Pacific. Asia, Australia, New Zealand…

  8. Hello,

    Did anybody cancel and re-applied within te same year to get another 25000 points. Do they points expire if you cancel the card?

    1. Hi Mario, the 25,000 Alaska miles are deposited directly to your Alaska Mileageplan account. Therefore, the points will remain in your Alaska account after card cancellation and your points will be subject to the expiration rules of Alaska Mileageplan (points will not expire as long as you have 1 transaction activity every 12 months).

  9. Hi, I just applied and was approved. I want to add a supplemental card later.
    Is it free to add one or two supplemental cards and if supplemental cards have the same benefits/insurance?
    Thanks

    1. There is no fee up to 9 supplementary cards but they will not have insurance benefits.

  10. I have a MBNA Alaska mileage plan World Elite card- does it include
    Rental car collision waiver deductible coverage. Their website is unclear.

    How about the Alaska MBNA Platinum Card?
    Thank you in advance

    1. The MBNA Platinum is actually a lower tier card than the World Elite card but to answer your question, neither card has any coverage for car rentals. To see which cards might be a better match, you can check out our Credit Card Insurance Table.

  11. Why do you say this card does not come with other benefit?. It has a slew of insurance benefits, including travel accident insurance, trip interruption insurance, car rental CDW coverage, purchase price protection and purchase loss/damage protection. I even used it once when my dog chewed the corner of a new persian carpet!

  12. Hello Jayce, I was wondering – is the currency of the card in CAD or USD? I couldn’t find it from GCR or any other website. Also, it’s 99 USD annual fee after the first year of $75? (60 of which is part of the rebate)

    1. Ray, Brian here.

      The MBNA Alaska Card is a Canadian card, denominated in CAD. The annual fee used to be $75 CAD but has now increased to $99. The benefit is that the Alaska Miles awarded has gone up from 25,000 to 30,000. You can apply for the card through GCR at https://www.pointsnerd.ca/mbna-alaska-referral.

  13. Hi! I currently have this credit card- if I cancel the card would my Alaskan mileage points and companion pass still be valid?

    Also which is the best way to book flights using mileage plus or the companion pass win partner airlines. I’m in western Canada and every time I search flights I only get options in Alaskan airlines. Which are the best as I get routed through seattle.

    1. Hey Sam, if you cancel the card, you would still have you Alaska Miles. They are transferred once per month (the Sunday after your billing cycle) and once they are in your Alaska account, they are yours to keep.

      The Companion Voucher is only valid for Alaska Airlines flights.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *