A little known card to the general public in Canada but well known in frequent flyer circles, the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard is a strong card due to Alaska’s Mileage Plan program being one of the better frequent flyer programs in North America. You may say however that this card is only for those in Alberta and British Columbia as those are the only provinces Alaska Airlines serves but with the great depth of airline partners in the Mileage Plan program this card can actually work for most Canadians.
This is the portion of the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard that is the star! MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard earns offers numerous redemption options via the Mileage Plan program. Of course, being a frequent flyer program, the primary redemption option which most people look at are reward flights on Alaska Airlines and their Mileage Plan partner airlines. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is situated very smartly, they are not part of any of the three major worldwide airline alliances but rather they are partnered with key airlines from each the Star Alliance, oneworld and even SkyTeam. The airlines you can redeem Mileage Plan miles for are as follows:
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
As you can see they have quite the varied partner list that pretty much covers the globe in terms of possible award ticket redemptions.
For redemptions on Alaska Airlines there are numerous options depending on availability. Much like many other frequent flyer programs, award seats are limited at the lower redemption level but you can use more miles to get an ‘any seat any time’ award ticket as long as the flight still has seats available. Mileage Plan also has a Miles+Money option where you can use miles to provide a discount of up to 50% off the price of a flight (capped at $200). See the award chart links below for more details on how many miles are needed for flights on Alaska Airlines.
Finally you can also you Mileage Plan miles to upgrade a qualifying purchased economy fare (Y,S,B,M,H fare classes) to Alaska Airlines first class. Those upgrades cost 15,000 miles one way regardless of the distance or cost of flight.
Central and South America
Outside of flights, Mileage Plan miles can also be donated or used to purchase magazines. This is one program that has not expanded on their rewards catalog like many other programs.
Features and Benefits
The standard MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard comes with MBNA’s Platinum level of benefits which is provides a benefit package that fits that card in the middle of the pack in terms of what is offered. These benefits include travel accident insurance, trip interruption insurance, car rental CDW coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty.
When you apply for and receive the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard you may actually get the World Elite version of the card which provides even more benefits like Price Protection, Concierge service and more. Whether you get World Elite version depends on your income level.
Other features of the card are the annual companion fare benefit (see the next section for more details) and the $50 discount on Alaska Airlines Board Room memberships (covered in the Sign Up Features section above)
What is good about this card
What is not so good about this