There is no shortage of airline loyalty programs for travel enthusiasts to collect points with. While undoubtedly, those who hold United States credit cards have many more options when it comes to earning and building points, there are still some great choices in Canada. Most Canadians will default to Aeroplan as their sole points program, as a result of the accessibility.
But as we know, diversity is king when it comes to collecting miles and points. You should endeavor to explore other airline, hotel, and credit card rewards programs. As strong as Aeroplan is, it is only healthy to diversify in loyalty programs to further open up your options for redemptions and sweet spots.
Enter MBNA, a credit card issuer that is a division of the Toronto Dominion Bank (TD). While they offer many credit products, including some focused on balance transfers, in my eyes the most interesting cards are the two co-branded Alaska Airlines credit cards
Let’s dive into our MBNA Alaska World Elite Mastercard review.
While many credit cards often switch up their welcome bonuses, the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard is one that has been consistent for years. Not only that, but the minimum spending requirement has remained consistent and easily reachable as well.
This card offers 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles upon spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. Cardholders will also receive an Alaska Airlines companion fare voucher upon meeting the spend.
The MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite card earns Alaska Miles and offers cardholders benefits on Alaska Airlines flights, including an annual companion fare and free first checked bag.
Check out our MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite review for more details about this card.
This card is currently discontinued and is unable to be applied for.
30,000 Alaska Miles
We will get more into the details later in this review, but it is important to note that 30,000 Alaska miles get you over halfway to being able to redeem towards a business class seat from Canada to Asia.
Of note, we have seen additional statement credits added to the welcome bonus offer in the past. For example, in the early summer of this year, the Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard had a $100 statement credit attached to all approved applications. Considering that the card has a $99 annual fee, not only did that statement credit offer make the card first-year-free, but you also netted an additional dollar. That’s definitely a Frugal Flyer win!
Benefits & Insurance Coverages
Similar to other airline co-branded credit cards, the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard offers perks and benefits on Alaska Airlines flights in addition to insurance coverages.
Complimentary Checked Baggage
Cardholders are eligible to receive one complimentary checked bag for themselves and up to five other people on the same Alaska Airlines flight (for a maximum of six complimentary checked bags). In order to take advantage of this perk, the cardholder will need to make a qualifying flight reservation while holding an active Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard.
Eligible carriers include Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest, and PenAir; this perk cannot be used on codeshare flights operated by other carriers.
Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare
Upon reaching the $1,000 spend requirement for the welcome bonus, and on the account anniversary, the cardholder is awarded one voucher for Alaska’s famous companion fare. This companion fare code will show up under the “Discount and companion fare codes” section of your Alaska mileage plan account.
The companion fare voucher can be applied to an Alaska Airlines operated flight booked in the coach fare class within or between Canada, the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Similar to the companion fare on the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard, the cardholder will pay the full cash price for their ticket and only $99 USD + taxes and fees for their companion.
For example, if you were looking to visit Anchorage, Alaska, you could apply the comparison fare and book a roundtrip flight for yourself and a companion going from Vancouver-Seattle-Anchorage:
I’m not entirely sure about the value of this perk, as it requires two key components to be satisfied: you want to book an Alaska Airlines flight with cash, and you live near an airport that is serviced by Alaska Airlines. For myself, there simply isn’t value within this companion fare for how I tend to travel, and as such, they usually sit on my account and expire.
This card offers a few insurance coverages including purchase assurance, price protection, and extended warranty benefits.
Purchase assurance covers cardholders for the first 90 days after marking an eligible purchase. This insurance covers theft or damage to personal property items that were purchased by the cardholder. Certain items are not eligible for coverage or have varied coverage limits; reference the terms and conditions to understand how this coverage applies.
Price protection applies if you make an eligible purchase on your Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard and find the same product advertised at a cheaper price in Canada within 60 days of the original purchase. Cardholders are then able to submit a claim to receive a rebate for the lower price, up to $500 per purchase, and up to $1,000 per calendar year.
The extended warranty benefit doubles the written warranty on most new purchases made with your card, up to one additional year.
As always, refer to the certificate of insurance that you receive as a new cardholder to ensure you fully understand how it applies.
Earning Alaska Miles
Building your Alaska Airlines mileage plan balance can be a bit difficult in Canada because outside of the welcome bonus on the Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard, there aren’t any quick ways to acquire a large number of miles.
The MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard earns Alaska Airlines miles on all purchases, at a varying rate depending on the purchase category.
You can expect to earn:
- 3 Alaska miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases including flight tickets, vacation packages, and cargo purchases
- 1 Alaska mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
With a rate of 1 Alaska mile per dollar spent on the majority of your purchases, this might not be the daily driver credit card you are looking for. For example, there are a significant number of other cards in Canada that provide you with a greater return on your grocery and restaurant spending, to name only a few categories.
Related: Best Credit Cards for Grocery Purchases in Canada
Alaska Miles can also be converted from Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 60,000 Bonvoy to 25,000 Alaska Miles. If you are looking to top up your balance for a big redemption, this might be a suitable option to consider.
It is important to note that if you are earning miles with a significant other, do not expect to be able to combine Alaska Airlines miles between yourselves. While it is possible, it does come at a cost of 1 cent per mile transferred, absolutely decimating any value you wish to extract. You can however redeem miles for award tickets for other people with no issues.
Redeeming Alaska Miles
While you could redeem Alaska miles for Alaska Airlines operated flights, the greater value lies in redeeming for flights with their partners.
As Alaska Airlines is a member of the OneWorld Alliance, there are over twenty airline partners that miles can be redeemed with. Partners of note include Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
A few popular redemptions that you may consider include:
- 60,000 Alaska miles to fly from Canada to Asia on Japan Airlines business class
- 50,000 Alaska miles to fly from Canada to Asia on Cathay Pacific business class
- 15,000 Alaska miles to fly from Canada to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines economy class
My most recent redemption was using 85,000 Alaska miles per person, per way, to fly Montreal-Doha-Malé to enjoy Qatar Airways QSuites, which is considered to be the best business class product in the sky.
Who is the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard Best For?
If you meet the personal income requirement of $80,000 or the household income requirement of $150,000, this card is for you. While I say that half-jokingly, this card presents such a great value opportunity with an easy-to-meet spend requirement that I think it could absolutely find a place in everyone’s wallet.
However, I would definitely have a goal flight redemption in mind before you apply. As the card focuses on Alaska Airlines and partner redemptions, it is easier to use Alaska miles in the western part of Canada thanks to an Alaska Airlines hub located in Seattle. You are able to add Alaska Airlines segments in conjunction with a partner redemption at no additional cost, making it very easy for those from Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton to redeem.
If you are not nearby, you may need to book yourself a positioning flight using another points currency or cash in order to utilize your miles. If you don’t think that the miles will be usable based on your current redemption goals, perhaps consider holding off on this credit card for now.
If you don’t meet the income requirement for the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard, there is another version that is available. With no income requirements, the MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard is a great alternative if you still want to accrue Alaska miles but aren’t quite at that level to be qualifying for World Elite cards.
The main difference between the Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard and the Platinum Plus version is that the Platinum Plus has a slightly lower annual fee ($75) and a lower welcome bonus, clocking in at 20,000 Alaska miles. This is still a sizable bonus that can get you on your way to your next flight redemption.
The MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus card earns Alaska Miles and provides cardholders with an annual companion fare for use on Alaska Airlines.
This card is currently discontinued and is unable to be applied for.
20,000 Alaska Miles
Either way, if you are interested in flying on any of the airline partners that are redeemable with Alaska miles, I absolutely recommend adding one of these cards to your wallet.
If you haven’t started collecting Alaska Miles, you are missing out on a world of opportunity and the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard is a great place to start. Not only is the welcome bonus easy to collect with a minimal spending requirement, but Alaska Airlines miles are also redeemable for a wide variety of business and first-class experiences around the world. More specifically, if you plan to travel to Asia in business or first class, there are some great redemptions to be had.
This card is a cornerstone in my miles and points goals; perhaps an Alaska Airlines credit card will find a place in your wallet soon too.
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2 comments on “Review: MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Card”
Thanks for the review. I am enjoying your site. Youhave said “You are able to add Alaska Airlines segments in conjunction with a partner redemption at no additional cost” Would I be able to add a free Alaska connecting flight to fly from YVR to LAX, or would I be restricted to the nearest Alaska hub – i.e, Seattle?
Yes, that would be a valid segment to add – there are no requirements that segments are flown into the nearest hub. So if you were flying YVR-LAX-HND on Japan Airlines in business class, the total cost would still only be 60,000 Alaska miles + taxes and fees, even with the additional segment of YVR-LAX on Alaska metal added.
For those of us in Western Canada, this presents added value to redemptions within the Alaska program.