PSA: Free Checked Bags on Alaska Airlines by Linking BofA Credit Card to Mileage Plan Number

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Do you fly Alaska Airlines? Do you have the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card? Do you ever pay to check your bag when you fly Alaska Airlines? Something strange happened to me recently when I flew Alaska Airlines, and I just figured out what happened! For years I flew on Alaska Airlines, and if I checked a bag, I was charged a checked bag fee and paid for it. Then for a few years, I had Alaska Airlines MVP Gold elite status and got used to not paying for checked bags. That was nice! After those status days ended, I had a few flights where I got charged for checked bags and paid the fee. However, for my last five flights where I’ve needed to check a bag, I wasn’t charged a fee. I had no idea why, and I almost didn’t want to know :)

But recently, I put the pieces of the puzzle together and I want to make sure you’re in the know too! You see, I’ve also had the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card for years, and because everyone focuses on the Companion Fare benefit, it’s easy to forget, as I did, that the card also comes with one FREE checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation.

Somehow I completely forgot about the free checked bag benefit

BUT, and it’s an important but, only if your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number is linked to your credit card! That may seem obvious. I don’t think it is, and that’s how I got stuck paying bag fees. A few years ago, Bank of America didn’t automatically put your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number on the credit card. But since Bank of America started issuing chip and signature versions of the credit card, your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number should be printed on the front of the credit card. I talked with Alaska Airlines about this and they said that was the case. They also said that if you had your Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card with you and showed it when you checked in, you wouldn’t be charged a checked bag fee either. But who brings their Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card when they travel? I certainly don’t.

Chris must be an original member with such a short Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number ;)

So please, make sure your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number is linked to your credit card. If you have had the same Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card for many years and your Mileage Plan number is not shown on your credit card, call Bank of America and ask for a replacement credit card.  All the credit card information will stay the same, but you will receive a new credit card that has chip and signature technology and your Mileage Plan number shown on the front of the credit card. I’m not going to put my math hat on to add up the checked bag fees I paid that I shouldn’t have – I know it’s at least a few cappuccinos :)

If you have anything to add or want to commiserate with me, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

17 thoughts on “PSA: Free Checked Bags on Alaska Airlines by Linking BofA Credit Card to Mileage Plan Number

  1. Liz

    Interesting. I recently flew Alaska Air for the first time last week, I would say they’re comparable to Delta. (I’m in the Detroit area so I have the Delta + also Southwest CCs, but not Alaska, though)

    Reply
  2. Shelli Post author

    Thanks Liz. Sounds like you enjoyed your Alaska Air experience. That’s good to hear. I do like Delta as well, but don’t get to fly them much. Have a great day!

    Reply
    1. Liz

      Detroit is one of Delta’s hubs, so I fly them a lot, primarily for work … they tend to be a little pricey. I’ve been flying Southwest a lot more over the past 2 years and I enjoy them too. And you too!

      Reply
  3. James

    Good point, since Alaska only added the feature of the free checked bag for their Visa Signature credit card holders (business and personal) in July of 2015.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Thanks for bringing this up, James. In 2015 I had AS status and fees for checked bags weren’t an issue for me, so I wasn’t paying good attention to this added card perk. Have a great day!

      Reply
  4. Sean

    How do you accidentally pay a checked bag fee lol I always know if I’m entitled to one or not (read; alarmed if I ever pay a checked bag fee)

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Hi hear ya, Sean. As I mentioned to James in the reply above, I wasn’t keeping track of perks. Hopefully this post will ensure that others get this perk if they have both the card and a Mileage Plan number linked. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Thanks for your question, Himie. If your BofA Alaska credit card doesn’t have your AS mileage plan number on it, I’d call BofA and ask them to send you another card with your AS mileage plan number on it. That should do it.

      Reply
  5. TimmyD

    I don’t think you specifically said but I assume this applies even if you pay with a different credit card or are using miles other than Alaskan right? And I’m also assuming that they’re smart enough to remove this benefit when you cancel your card, right?

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      HI Tim, Good questions. Yes, this works no matter which card you pay for your ticket with or which miles you use. I haven’t canceled my card, but I’d think they’d catch it. Have a great weekend!

      Reply
  6. Jessica

    Just like the United Airlines credit card shows in one’s account, would the Bofa AS-credit card show up in one’s MileagePlan account ?

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Hi Jessica. As far as I can tell It does not show up in one’s AS Mileage Plan account. If anyone can find it when they log into their AS account, please let us know. Thanks for your question and enjoy your weekend!

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        [quote]
        your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number should be printed on the front of the credit card
        [/quote]

        When I received my first and brand new MileagePlan credit card yesterday, I immediately noticed that the number underneath my name is not my MileagePlan number.
        I called BofA and it was explained that they use their own numbers to link to your MileagePlan account.

        Anyone else noticed this as well ?

        Reply
        1. Shelli Post author

          HI Jessica, I just checked my BofA AS card again and it indeed is my MilagePlan number on the card. As long as it’s linked as per your conversation with BofA, I would think you’d get the benefits. Will be interesting to see if anyone else has a different number on their card and is receiving the card AS benefits. Thanks for your data point!

          Reply
          1. Jessica

            Many Thanks for your responses Shelli !
            Because I suspected as much, I just called BofA again and now it was confirmed that they assigned me a new AS MileagePlan number that is showing on the new credit card.
            (Have screenshot of my application, using my existing, legit MP account number !!!)
            This of course explains the different number on my new credit card and that you probably might not get any response from readers where this has happened.

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