BofA Planning to Halt Sign-Ups for Alaska Debit Card?

Without anything more concrete to go on, this may just be a rumor, but rambro posted the information he got from a Bank of America call center employee who said that the bank will stop allowing new sign-ups for the Alaska Airlines debit card on November 10. That’s Sunday, with less than a week to go!

Why does this matter? Well, you have two main options to earn miles with a debit card: SunTrust offers 1 Delta SkyMile per dollar, and Bank of America offers 1 Alaska MileagePlan mile per TWO dollars. Yes, you get half as many miles with Alaska, but some would argue they’re worth more, and a lot of us don’t have a SunTrust branch anywhere nearby. I may be tech-savvy, but I still don’t trust a bank I can’t visit in person.

Bank of America does not actively promote their Alaska Airlines debit card. In fact, you need to have a checking account first, and only then can you sign-up. There is an annual fee involved, but there are several interesting things you can try to rack up enough miles to make it worth your while. Amol and I each recently discussed opportunities like the new Square Cash service that allows fee-free transfers from one checking account to another, ostensibly charged via your debit card, and the new fee-free option to load up to $1,000 a month to your Bluebird card over and above the $5,000 cap for Vanilla Reloads.

If you want to get in on this opportunity, this may be your last chance. So far as I can tell, Bank of America has already pulled any mention of the Alaska Airlines debit card from its website, and even searching for the card or airline pulls up a message that the page is not available (note the difference between “not available” and “no results found”).


Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • Neil

    Scott-I was at a BOA branch in August and mentioned the fact that the AS debit card references appeared to be gone. They told me I would be able to keep my current AS debit card through the expire date but that it would no longer be available after that. Also, the AS site no longer references the debit card either.

    • Scottrick

      This is what I’ve heard, too. So those who want to sign up (including me) need to make a visit to their local branch soon. Even for those who meet the deadline, a grandfathered card can be terminated at any time — we just won’t know when.

      • Stephanie

        I just called in and the guy at the branch told me that the debit cards will be terminated in May.

  • Huy

    when i got my alaska debit card in oct at an actual branch, the bank rep had to make a lot of phone calls and was even put on hold multiple times just to even find out about, then signing up for it was also a hassle which required another phone call and multiple holds/transfers. i really hope they don’t get rid of it!

  • Kari Cohn

    I got mine via the BoA website a few weeks ago with an 11/17 expiration date.

  • Ben L

    Scott, is there a credit pull of any kind with this card? I’m planning an AOR for early Dec and don’t want to screw with my chances of approval during that. A debit card should be completely under the radar as far as credit applications/inquieries go right?

    • Scottrick

      The debit card should not impact your credit score. There is a chance that the bank may do a hard pull on your credit history when opening a checking account. You should confirm with them before applying whether they will do a soft or hard pull.

  • disqus_qU5gFceJmr

    How do I sign up after opening a BoA account? CS reps are a little less than helpful. Any insight would be most appreciated!

  • boxedlunch

    Noticed an interesting job listing on the Alaska careers website a few days ago…think it was for an Affinity Card Analyst or something similar

  • Michelle S

    My husband tried to call and get a card yesterday, no luck :(

  • losonn

    Signed up for a checking account today and they said they would issue me an AS debit card to go with it. They didn’t give me any documentation (none on hand), but they flipped the LCD they were creating the account on around and it clearly said “Alaska Airlines Debit Card” so… *fingers crossed*

    • Scottrick

      Good call. I was very clear about this, as well, when I opened an account yesterday. They asked for my Mileage Plan number, which was a good sign. Didn’t mention anything at all about the program being phased out, but I didn’t risk asking, either.

  • me

    Just signed up for a BOA account today at lunchtime, no sign of AS debit card in their systems, and I just called BOA who transferred me to AS – the CS agent said even though new signups are being halted on 11/10, “it’s no longer possible to sign up for a new card”. I called BS and escalated – they’re looking into it for me now. I refuse to believe they don’t have the ability to sign up new cards 3 days prior to their established cutoff date.