Earning Alaska Miles

The reason why churners love the MBNA Alaska World Elite card is because it feels like it was made for them.  This card earns Alaska miles,  which is worth even more than Aeroplan miles and is otherwise pretty hard to earn (Alaska airlines doesn’t even fly to Eastern Canada) and is not a transfer partner of American Express.

It is extremely easy to get approved – after you have your first MBNA card approval and the welcome bonus posted, downgrade it to the no fee MBNA rewards card instead of cancelling it.

Subsequently, anytime a MBNA card application is not instantly approved, you can call in and ask them to move some credit limit over from your rewards card to the new card.  MBNA has a generous policy of allowing you to split your credit limit to get your card approved.  Refer to the guide here for more details.

Finally, you are pretty much guaranteed to get the welcome bonus again after you cancel and re-apply (I usually wait 3 months, although there have been data points of getting these if you apply literally again the next day).

canadiantraveltips - mbna alaska world elite

The card has a $99 annual fee, but you get $60 cashback if you apply through Great Canadian Rebates.  In exchange for what is effectively $39, you get 30,000 Alaska miles and a “companion ticket” that allows you to purchase a second ticket on the same itinerary as another ticket on Alaska Airline for $121 USD (best value when used on long hauls).  Alaska Airlines flies to Vancouver, Calgary and Victoria so people living close to these cities can make use of this voucher.

There is a new “Platinum plus” version that gives you 20,000 Alaska miles for $75 annual fee with $60 cashback from Great Canada Rebates.  There hasn’t been a lot of data points on if you can hold both of these cards yet, but from the few I have seen it doesn’t look likely (since they belong to the same “family”).  However, since they are different “cards”, it may shorten the churn time, so as soon as the World Elite is closed you may be able to apply for the platinum plus version without waiting the generally recommended 3-6 months.

canadiantraveltips - mbna alaska platinum

These cards are the the easiest way for Canadians to try premium cabins with Alaska’s Partner airlines, rather than just the boring “Star Alliance” group of airlines you get with Aeroplan.  Alaska miles allows you to fly  Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Hainan Air, Japan airlines & Korean Air.

This is the award chart for Cathay:
50k is effectively 2 churns, which you can get in 7-8 months (get bonus, hold card for 3 months, cancel, wait 3 months to reapply then get the 2nd bonus after 1-2 months).
If you want to experience first class, churn it once more (another 3-4 months).

Travel Hacking Cathay Pacific
Experience first class in a world class airline!

Now if this isn’t travel hacking, I don’t know what is.  For around $90 with minimal effort put in, in return you get first class, caviar and champagne across the Pacific?!

I’ll share some tricks I use to help with hitting the minimum spend on the next page.
If you want to see how to best redeem Alaska miles, read here.