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***Update: The application is now working again through Great Canadian Rebates with an increased welcome bonus of 30,000 Alaska Miles. The $99 annual fee can be reduced by applying through this link for $60 cash back***
Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard Introduction
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of my favourite airline programs due to the generous routing rules on award tickets and multiple airline partners. However, for Canadians living anywhere but the west coast, earning Alaska miles can be tricky. Thankfully the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard is available for Canadians looking for an easy way to earn Mileage Plan miles.
I consider Alaska miles amongst the most valuable out there – so don’t be discouraged by the lack of category spend bonuses with this Mastercard. This card is well worth signing up for just for the welcome bonus. Also great is that this card is easily churnable, with repeat welcome bonuses available when you cancel and re-apply for the card (I recommend waiting 6 months between applications).
Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard No Longer Available??
Over the weekend we saw an increased welcome bonus on the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard. Through Great Canadian Rebates, new cardmembers were eligible to receive 30,000 Alaska miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of membership, compared to the normal offer of 25,000 miles.
The offer wasn’t public, and still showed as the regular bonus until clicking through to the application, at which point the increased 30,000 offer was shown. Unfortunately, yesterday that offer went back down to 25,000, and today I can’t find the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard available anywhere, including Great Canadian Rebates:
Even a search with Google still shows the application in the search results, though clicking through provides an error page.
Will We Ever See The Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard Again?
Yes, almost definitely. I’m a current cardholder, and was just informed by letter that the annual fee will be increasing from $75 ($15 after accounting for the cash back offered through Great Canadian Rebates) to $99 effective September 1st, 2018.
While fee increases are never great, they’re also introducing a new benefit: One free checked bag per passenger on the same ticket up to a maximum of 6 complimentary checked bags per ticket.
While maybe not the most useful when flying premium cabins using rewards, this could be very valuable if flying economy on Alaska. On a recent trip to Hawaii using British Airways Avios, one of my travel companions insisted on checking a bag, which was chargeable at $25USD per direction. After factoring the exchange rate, that one bag would nearly justify the annual fee on the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard alone, so imagine the potential savings as a family with checked luggage…
I suspect that the increased offer of 30,000 miles over the weekend was a glitch, and probably a good indicator of what’s to come. I think the applications have been temporarily removed while they prepare to launch the new card with the new benefit and the higher annual fee, and hopefully with the increased welcome bonus of 30,000 miles.
Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard Bottom Line
Being based on the west coast, The Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard has been a great tool in earning Alaska miles for travel on partner airlines, including Cathay Pacific first class and Japan Airlines first class.
Perhaps best of all is the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard has been highly churnable, with some people reporting being able to have multiple cards open at the same time. While I’ve never personally attempted this, I have applied (and been approved for) multiple cards in the same year, all of which awarded the welcome bonus.
I think we’ll see the application back online in the next couple of days, or worst case scenario, towards the end of summer with the new offers and terms.
If you’re short on Alaska Miles and need some ASAP, you can always transfer SPG points at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 SPG points converted (effectively 1:1.25). Or, if you have a lot of SPG points, or are able to convert some Membership Reward points to SPG, consider purchasing a Marriott Hotel + Air Package, which gives you a slightly better transfer rate for airline miles but also includes a 7-night hotel stay!
Are you happy about the fee increase and new benefits on the Alaska Airlines MBNA Mastercard? Do you think we’ll see the increased 30,000 mile welcome bonus again? Let us know in the comment section below!