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Save on Flying With the Alaska Companion Fare

Why do you fly on Alaska Airlines?” we’re often asked by friends and family when flying to Mexico, and in particular, Cabo San Lucas.

Because it’s cheap.

Especially if you use the Alaska companion fare.

Use the Alaska companion fare to fly inexpensively to Mexico.
We love using the Alaska Air companion ticket to fly inexpensively to Mexico

Flying with the Alaska companion fare

Why fly Alaska Airlines to Mexico?

Los Cabos resort
Once we get to Cabo, we’ll indulge in some pool and beach time!

Flying Alaska from the U.S.

If you’re flying from the U.S. to Mexico on Alaska Airlines, it’s easy peasy.

From Seattle, L.A. and San Francisco, for example, there are many direct flights to Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun (your gateway to the Riviera Maya).

Flying Alaska from Canada

Flying on Alaska Airlines from Canada is another story.

We have to fly through the U.S. with a layover and plane change, typically in Seattle.

And the schedule is ugly.

We usually have to drag ourselves out of bed at 2:30 am to catch a 6:00 am flight to get there.

After our Baja time in sunny Cabo – on the return home – we’re lucky if our flight touches down at the Victoria airport before midnight (meaning we’re not home till the middle of the night).

Flying through the States is somewhat of an extra hassle too for us Canadians.

But, without a discount, we’d pay just under $600 USD each. Not bad.

Now WestJet is much more convenient for us Canadians. It offers direct non-stop flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, depending on the day of the week. That means we wouldn’t have to stop in the U.S. and go through U.S. customs. And the flight departure hours are much more civilized.

Indeed, we’ve flown WestJet to Mexico – and it’s a great way to go. But it costs us much more. For a high season booking in winter, we’ve paid up to $900 each for a ticket. Ouch!

Note: All dollar values cited here are USD.

What is the Alaska Airlines companion fare?

Aaah, but we’re savvy travelers who like saving money.

We want a discount.

And Alaska Airlines has this nifty program.

We learned about it several years ago on one of our flights. (The flight attendants usually sweetly announce it around the time they start selling duty free goods onboard).

Customer service on Alaska Airlines is usually friendly and good.
We’ve found the Alaska Airlines customer service to be friendly and good

If you get an Alaska Airlines credit card, your companion flies for a base fare starting at $99 (plus taxes and fees, so really $122).

Now the annual credit card fee is $95.

But even factoring that in, we can cut our cost down per ticket to about $400 each by using the Alaska Airlines credit card companion fare.

Much better.

(And, pssst, don’t tell Alaska Airlines or the credit card company this, but we only use this card to buy our flights on Alaska Airlines and occasionally as a spare credit card for traveling.)

It’s just too bad we can only get one of these companion deals a year.

Be happy saving money with the Alaska companion ticket.
No, this isn’t us, but we’re as happy as this couple when the Alaska companion ticket saves us money

What is the Alaska airlines credit card?

There are two basic types of credit cards that offer Alaska companion fares.

For us Canadians, the Alaska credit card is a Mastercard.

For folks who live in the U.S., it’s a Visa credit card.

Other benefits of the Alaska Airlines companion pass

There are no black-out days. This is a big plus because we often use our Alaska companion pass to fly to Mexico over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.

The person who has the Alaska card gets a free checked bag for themselves and their companion (up to six other passengers, actually, so your children can also get a free checked bag if flying with you on holiday).

And both you and your companion earn Alaska miles on your tickets.

Conditions of the Alaska Air companion fare

You can only book an Economy ticket with the Alaska companion fare
You can only book an Economy ticket with the Alaska companion fare (but you can upgrade)

Of course, there are certain conditions associated with the Alaska Airlines companion ticket. They include:

  • You can only use the Alaska companion fare on flights operated by Alaska Airlines.
  • You and your companion have to book the same itinerary.
  • The companion fare is only valid for Economy tickets. (But you can upgrade using miles or paid upgrades).
  • The tickets must be paid for with your Alaska card.
  • You have to book your travel through the Alaska Airlines website (

How to book an Alaska companion ticket?

How to book the Alaska Airlines companion fare

It’s quite easy to book your Alaska companion fare.

Log into your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

Navigate to the left side and scroll down to where it says “Discount and companion fare codes.” Click “View valid discounts.”

The actual code is a series of letters and numbers that shows up underneath the “Shop” button. (We’ve blurred out our code in the photo above.)

Then click the “Shop” button, which takes you to the booking page to book your flights. It automatically puts a code into the “Discount or companion fare code” box.

Alaska companion fare rules and details

For more details on the Alaska Airlines companion fare, see Alaska’s webpage on this.

How to maximize your Alaska Airlines credit card companion pass

There are a couple of ways to truly leverage the Alaska Airlines companion ticket that comes with credit card.

First, aim for a ticket priced over $200 or so.

Finding a ticket at that price might be somewhat challenging for shorter West Coast journeys. But, if you’re eyeing destinations like Hawaii, you’ll likely find fares that ensure you get more than your money’s worth.

Second, don’t limit yourself to traditional round trips. Do what’s called an open-jaw, where you fly into one city and depart from another. It’s a great way to see more without the hassle of backtracking. And, yes, this approach is eligible for the companion fare.

Third, add a stopover.

For instance, if you’re flying from New York to Seattle, consider a layover in Portland. While there’ll be the regular ticket cost and some extra fees for your companion’s additional flight, it’s a neat way to maximize your journey and stretch the value of that companion benefit.

How to apply for an Alaska credit card

We mentioned that Americans get a Visa card, while Canadians get a Master Card.

There are also 2 types of Alaska Visa cards and 2 types of Alaska Mastercards.

Alaska Visa cards

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card: See here for details and to apply.
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card: See here for details and to apply.

Alaska Mastercards

  • Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard: See this site for details and to apply.
  • Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard: See this site for details and to apply.

Now you know why we like the Alaska Airlines buddy pass

So there you have it. We like flying Alaska Airlines so we can get the Alaska Air companion ticket.

$400 or $900 for a plane ticket to Cabo San Lucas?

What would you choose?

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Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Photo credits: 6 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 1, 3, 5 Alaska Airlines

We always pay for our flights on Alaska Airlines like everyone else, and we haven’t received any payment or future discounts from them to write this post (they don’t know who we are). And we don’t receive any payment or commission from the Alaska credit card companies either. 

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!


Tuesday 25th of March 2014

Wow, great tip about the companion ticket. I wonder if they have any good flights to / from NYC that we could use. Will have to look into it.


Friday 21st of March 2014

Thanks for this tip. I was just looking at Alaska Airlines last night for a summer trip to BC and this will come in handy. It's hard to keep all the info straight and yours was perfect timing.

Janice and George

Friday 21st of March 2014

Glad the info helped!


Wednesday 4th of December 2013

I have always heard great things about using the Alaska Airlines credit card and the $99 companion fare. You've got some great tips here. San Diego is a 2-hour plane ride to Cabo and we've been toying with the idea of a long weekend. Alaska is one of the airlines along with Spirit which is really cheap but I'm very leery of flying. But, I do know which app to get now :) Thanks for the tips and I need to start looking into the Priority Pass for a big trip this summer.

Janice and George

Thursday 5th of December 2013

Glad the tips are helpful! And you're lucky Cabo is so close for you - if you go, you'll bump into many Californians there :-).

Irene S. Levine

Tuesday 26th of November 2013

BTW, the Alaska Airlines deal sounds great! Have to look into it :-)

Janice and George

Tuesday 26th of November 2013

We get at least one really inexpensive flight to Mexico for the two of us a year through this. And there are no black-outs (you can use it for flying over the Christmas period too).

Irene S. Levine

Tuesday 26th of November 2013

I've used the Priority Pass lounge at SJD airport but Wings is a great waiting place for those who don't have a priority pass:-) For the price of a couple of sodas and decent food it's an escape from the masses around the boarding gates.

Janice and George

Tuesday 26th of November 2013

Thanks for this other good tip!