Sunday Reader questions: Alaska MBNA?

Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions about the Alaska credit card by MBNA. The most common one is: How did you get so many Alaska credit cards? 

MBNA issues the Alaska credit card, which gives you 25,000 Alaska Mileage Plan points at sign-up, and has a $75 fee. If you get the card through gcr.ca, you will get a $60 refund cheque, making the total cost for 25,000 Mileage Plan points $15. Mileage Plan points are incredibly useful, and can be used on Alaska, American Airlines, AeroMexico, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Fiji Airways, KLM, Korean Air, LAN, and Qantas. My favourite redemptions with them are for F class tickets with Cathay and Emirates.

MBNA doesn’t seem to care how many Alaska cards you hold at any one time. That means you can have two or three Alaska cards at any one point, and it will be OK (but don’t do it to excess!). Further, if you get denied for additional cards, MBNA is happy to move over credit (minimum $500) from a credit card you have with them to this new Alaska application to get it approved. If you signed up through the GCR link, calling in to have your card manually approved does not stop the $60 refund process. 🙂

Now, some warnings: I have done this to excess, and have gotten the attention of corporate security. Play it slow, 3-4 cards a year, and hold each card for 6 months so that credit line appears as R1 (good standing) instead of R0 (too new) on your credit report. Further, when you close the card, don’t drop the credit line, ask MBNA to move it over to another card, so you can play with that credit availability in the future to get more Alaska cards approved. Last, don’t signup for this credit card from a foreign location. Sometimes when I travel and I’m bored in a lounge, I’ll do some credit card applications. Recently I had an ordeal with my last Alaska card because I applied for the card in Hong Kong. The foreign IP address got their attention, and it was a hassle to get it resolved.

A note to students: MBNA is happy to give you credit (I think it’s around $2500) if you’re a student with no income. With $5000 credit, which can be divided into a maximum of four Alaska cards, students also have the capacity to travel in First Class for (close to) free.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for that, It is important to not cancel as you said since your credit will take a bit of a hit and you are less likely to be able to sign up to other CC’s like CIBC/TD with a lot of R0

  2. So you can actually apply for a new MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard before closing/cancelling your existing MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard?

  3. So are you applying for these card staggered? Or are you applying them 2 at a time? Also what u think will happen to the rewards since TD has bought them out?

    • I’m applying to them staggered (1-3 months typically).

      Obviously I don’t know what’s going to happen with the TD conversion, but my best guestimate is that things will be OK. TD is not happy giving you multiples of a card at the same time, however, they’re OK with moving credit over from one card to another card to get it approved. Further, from my own experience, TD is sometimes willing to open an entirely new card by moving available credit over without having a hard credit inquiry (YMMV).

      Now, TD might find that this card doesn’t provide them with all that much value, especially as it is becoming a primary target for Canadian churners.

      Perhaps, instead of eliminating the card/bonus entirely, they might restrict the Alaska card to Western residents, which would make sense vis-a-vis looking to get legitimate customers. This is complete speculation, and I don’t even know if geographic restrictions would be allowed!

  4. DCTA;

    I see that Alaska is not part of any of the three major alliances.
    What’s your strategy for booking First class ticket with Alaska?

    • For First class tickets, you can use AS points to book F awards on Cathay, Emirates, British Airways, and Qantas.

      Cathay: They’re pretty good about releasing availability. To find it, you can use the BA Avios search engine, and then you call AS to book the flights.

      Emirates: The availability generally shows on the AS search engine. There is other availability, but AS agents are typically unwilling to book it. You can search for it on the Emirates site yourself (I’ve never done it.)

      British Airways: You can find the availability on the AS engine. They attach really high fuel surcharges though.

      Qantas: Typically only released when the schedule is published. Very hard to get, so don’t bank on it.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Thanks for the article. I have one question:

    Can tickets be purchased for someone else than the Alaska Mileage Plan account owner ?

  6. Thanks for the article, I just got approved for my first Alaska card, and I plan on applying for another in a few months. When you applied for more cards, did you ever need to call them, and if so what was their reaction? They will know that I already have an account open with them, and I’m not sure what I would say if they ask why I want two identical cards. Or should I just wait for a card (or rejection letter) to arrive in the mail and avoid calling them (this won’t work if I need to move credit between cards, which I probably will since I’m a student)?

    • I would wait a little longer between applications. I did have to call them a number of times, and they never really made an issue of it… I would just say something like “diversifying credit history.”

      • Ok thanks! I’ll try to wait 6 months so I can cancel my first card, but good to know that they don’t get too suspicious.

  7. Have you ever tried asking MBNA to open a new card by transferring some credit over from a card which is already open and without performing a hit on my credit? If so would they re-give you the sign-up bonus?

  8. I have the Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard and also the Alaska Airlines Platinum Mastercard. I got 50,000 points from getting both cards.

    Based on what you’re saying, we can have two-three of the same card and still earn the welcome bonus points? So I can technically have two-three Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard and two-three Alaska Airlines Platinum Mastercard?

    Thanks!

  9. I was declined for the card, even though I’m a student with a $15,000 income because of “too much new credit”. How long should I wait before reapplying?

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