fbpx

Advertiser Disclosure

Alaska and Bilt Card Combo

The Perfect Two-Card Combo for Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.

Despite recent changes to Alaska Airline’s Mileage Plan program, the airline still has some of the most valuable miles out there thanks to amazing partner airlines and traditionally low redemption rates. 

Alaska miles haven’t always been the easiest to earn. That changed recently when Bilt Rewards – the rewards program that allows you to earn points on your monthly rent payments – announced Alaska as one of its transfer partners, opening up another way to keep piling up Alaska miles.

Now, if you want to earn a lot of Alaska miles, there’s a pair of credit cards that can help you do so simply by paying one $95 annual fee: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card and the *Bilt Mastercard*. 

With more miles-earning potential and travel perks like free checked bags, these two cards are a powerful combination to have in your wallet whether you frequently fly with Alaska or not. The miles you earn on each can be used to book Alaska flights or flights on any of its airline partners like Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and even American Airlines. 

Here's everything you need to know. 

 

Card Benefits Overview

Before we dive deeper into what makes these two cards great together, let's look at the benefits of each card. 

Both cards allow you to earn valuable points and miles you can use to fly Alaska and its partner airlines. But the type of travel rewards you earn with each card – and how you earn them – is vastly different, as are the travel perks they provide.

Here's a brief overview of each card.

 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ (paying a $99 fare plus taxes and fees, from $23) after spending $3,000 or more within the first 90 days
  • Alaska's Famous $99 Companion Fare (plus taxes and fees from $23) each account anniversary after you spend $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year. Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com
  • Check your first bag free on every Alaska flight purchased with this card for up to six guests traveling on the same reservation
  • Priority boarding in Group C (even with a saver fare)
  • 3x miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases, such as inflight food and beverages
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on eligible gas, EV charging station, cable, streaming services, and local transit (including rideshare) purchases
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on everyday purchases
  • 20% off in-flight purchases such as food or drinks, and get $100 off an annual Alaska Lounge+ Membership when you pay with your new card
  • 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned from card purchases if you have an eligible Bank of America® account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $95

 

alaska visa card
Learn more about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card (for full disclosure: this is not an affiliate link).

 

Bilt Mastercard®

  • 1x points per dollar spent on rent in the Bilt Rewards app (up to $100,000 per calendar year) without paying a transaction fee
  • Earn double points on Rent Day (the 1st of the month), up to 10,000 bonus points per month
    • 6x points per dollar spent on dining
    • 4x points per dollar spent on travel
    • 2x points per dollar spent on everyday purchases
    • 1x points per dollar spent on rent
  • 3x points per dollar spent on dining
  • 2x points per dollar spent on travel
  • 1x points per dollar spent on everyday purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0

 

*bilt mastercard*

 

Learn more about the *Bilt Mastercard*.

Read our full review of the Bilt Mastercard!

 

What Makes This Combo So Perfect?

The Alaska card offers plenty of value for frequent Alaska flyers from free checked bags to priority boarding. But even if you never plan to fly Alaska, the miles you can earn on this card from its big signup bonus can be used to book flights all over the world on one of Alaska's many partner airlines including Japan Airlines, Qantas, Condor, Starlux, and even American. 

But if you want to continue to earn Alaska miles, that's where the Bilt card comes in. You can earn points on everyday spending, including rent, and transfer those points directly to Alaska to book flights. And all without paying an extra dime in annual fees. 

If you already have an Alaska card in your wallet, adding the Bilt card is a no-brainer. 

 

A New Way to Earn

Previously, the only way to earn Alaska miles on a credit card was by spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

But Bilt recently added Alaska as a transfer partner, the only rewards program to partner with the Seattle-based airline. Now, travelers can earn points from spending on the *Bilt Mastercard* and transfer them to Alaska Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

 

Bilt Rewards Alaska Transfer

 

While you can certainly use your Bilt card to pay for your rent through Bilt, reaching for your Alaska card instead will actually net you even more points on those monthly payments. 

As part of Alaska and Bilt's exclusive partnership, Bilt members who use an Alaska card to pay for rent through Bilt will earn 3x Alaska miles on their rent payments, up to $50,000 annually. That benefit should be available sometime this spring. 

Despite some recent award chart changes, Alaska miles can still take you far. In fact, booking the shortest Alaska flights now cost even fewer miles: as low as 4,500 miles in economy and 13,500 in first class for flights under 700 miles in distance. 

Here's a look at the short flight from Seattle (SEA) to San Francisco (SFO), as an example. 

Alaska Airlines SEA to SFO

 

You can also use Alaska miles to book flights on any of Alaska's Oneworld or other partner airlines, like these Condor business class flights to Europe. 

 

Condor Airlines award deal

 

Just 55,000 Alaska miles is all you'd need to book one of these seats flying across the Atlantic. 

 

More Options for Redeeming Rewards

Earning all those Bilt Rewards points and pooling them with your Alaska miles is one thing, but the fun part about Bilt points is that you can redeem them for non-Alaska flights, too. Thankfully,  the *Bilt Mastercard* makes it simple to put your rewards to good use by earning flexible points.

Having 17 airline and hotel partners where you can move your Bilt points opens up a world of travel opportunities. But whether you're a newbie to points and miles or an old hand, these transfers are a whole new can of worms, with confusing twists and considerations to keep in mind.

Bilt has more partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards and boasts a list that currently includes three domestic airlines – Alaska, American (for now), and United and our favorite hotel rewards program, World of Hyatt.

ProgramTypeTransfer Ratio
Aer Lingus AviosAirline1:1
Air France/KLM Flying BlueAirline1:1
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAirline1:1
American Airlines AAdvantageAirline1:1
Avianca LifeMilesAirline1:1
British Airways AviosAirline1:1
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesAirline1:1
Emirates SkywardsAirline1:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesAirline1:1
Iberia AviosAirline1:1
Turkish Miles & SmilesAirline1:1
United MileagePlusAirline1:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubAirline1:1
World of HyattHotel1:1
IHG HotelsHotel1:1
Marriott BonvoyHotel1:1
Hilton Honors Hotel1:1

Each Bilt point you send to the airline will result in one mile (or point) in the corresponding currency. That means you can easily turn 10,000 Bilt points into 10,000 Alaska miles, 10,000 British Airways Avios, 10,000 Virgin Atlantic points, and so on. 

Whether it's booking a cheap United Airlines flight to Hawaii for just 25,000 points roundtrip with Air Canada Aeroplan, a one-way Star Alliance business class partner flight to Europe for around 88,000 United miles, or even Delta flights for a fraction of the points by transferring them to Air France/KLM Flying Blue, you'll have the option to move points to whichever program makes the most sense for your travels – and maybe even take advantage of a transfer bonus in the process. 

 

San Francisco to Hawaii in economy using Aeroplan points

 

Read more: Save Points When Booking Flights: Transfer Them to an Airline Partner

 

Money-Saving Travel Perks

The Bilt Card is great but doesn't come with much in the way of travel perks and benefits. Don't worry though: This an area where the Alaska Card pulls its weight. 

The Alaska Card is a great choice for casual Alaska flyers looking to earn miles and take advantage of perks such as free checked bags (for you and up to six other passengers booked on the same itinerary) and priority boarding in Group C when flying Alaska. 

 

alaska visa card

 

As of Jan. 2 2024, your first checked bag flying Alaska will almost always cost $35. Alaska Airlines bag fees increase to $45 for a second checked bag, while you can expect to pay $150 per bag after that. 

 

Alaska Airlines baggage fees

 

Considering bags cost at least $35 each way, those savings can add up fast just by holding an Alaska card. 

You'll get other perks flying Alaska, too: When you use your Alaska Card to pay for in-flight purchases like food & drinks, you'll receive 20% off in the form of a statement credit.

In addition to the companion fare you'll receive as a part of the welcome bonus offer, cardholders can get another companion fare each year on their account anniversary after spending $6,000 or more on the card during the prior year. It's not a buy one, get one free flight, but it's close: The companion fare allows you to add a companion when you book an Alaska economy flight for as low as $122, which includes the $99 companion fare plus taxes and fees starting from $23 for that companion ticket.

While you won't get lounge access with this Alaska card, you'll get $100 off an annual Alaska Lounge+ Membership when you pay with your new card. This gets you access to all nine Alaska Airlines lounges and 90-plus partner lounges for you and up to two guests are included.

Finally, cardholders with an eligible Bank of America® account will get a 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned from card purchases each year.

 

Elite Status Shortcut

If you want to work towards earning status with Alaska, this combination of cards could help you get ahead with bonus Elite Qualifying Miles through spending on the Alaska card.

For every $10,000 you spend on purchases, you'll automatically earn 4,000 EQMs (up to 20,000 EQMs total). For MVP Gold 100K members, any EQMs earned beyond 100K will roll over toward requalifying for status in 2024.

Considering you could earn status with Alaska through a combination of flying and spending on any eligible Oneworld or partner airline, with the lowest tier elite tier requiring only 20,000 EQMs to qualify for MVP status, you'll be on your way towards gaining more perks like upgrades, discounts, priority checking, and more when you fly.

 

Where This Combo Falls Short

The Alaska card and Bilt card work well for Alaska loyalists and really any flyer seeking more Alaska miles to book flights. But it doesn't make sense for everyone, especially those looking for premium travel perks. 

 

No TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Credits

Want premium travel perks like statement credits to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry? Neither the Alaska nor Bilt Card comes with such a credit, which puts Alaska flyers at a disadvantage as many other airline co-branded cards through Delta Air Lines and American Airlines provide this credit on their more premium credit cards. 

 

global entry kiosks

 

Related reading: Cheap Credit Cards That Get You Free TSA PreCheck & Global Entry

 

No Lounge Access

Want access to lounges to enjoy a free meal and drinks before you fly? You're out of luck here, too. You won't get access to the Priority Pass Lounges or the Alaska Airlines lounges with either of these cards. 

Unlike Delta Air Lines' top tier *delta reserve card* that gets flyers complimentary access into Delta SkyClubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when flying Delta, Alaska Airlines doesn't have a premium travel credit card that grants cardholders free access to its own lounges. 

 

msp sky club bar seating
The new Delta Sky Club at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

 

You can purchase an annual Alaska Lounge+ membership with your card for $650 (that includes the $100 cardholder discount), which gets you access to nine Alaska Lounge locations and nearly 90 partner lounges. Or pay slightly less ($550) for access to just Alaska lounges. 

 

alaska lounge seattle

 

Unless you can cough up the extra change to get a lounge membership, you'll have to have Oneworld elite status or be flying on a first class ticket of at least 2,100 miles to gain complimentary access to these lounges when you fly.

Related reading: The Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access in 2024 & Beyond

 

Bottom Line

If you're an Alaska loyalist searching for the perfect two-card combination, look no further than the Alaska Card and Bilt Card. With these two cards in your wallet, you'll get perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and more all while earning flexible bonus points on your everyday spending.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

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

Get Free Flight Alerts

Cheap international and domestic flight deal email alerts

Get Cheap Flight Alerts