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Friday, April 28, 2017

What's going on with the mbna Alaska Airlines MasterCard?


You may have noticed that as of April 26th the mbna Alaska Airlines MasterCard disappeared from the mbna website and even when you click on the link for the card from Alaska's website you get the following:

We talked to our contact at TB/mbna today for some clarification on what is happening.

The card is not being discontinued. It is the third most popular card in the Canadian market in terms of an airline co-brand with membership somewhere in the five figure range. Less than Aeroplan and WestJet but definitely way more than other airline co-brand cards like British Airways and Cathay Pacific, so it has a strong following. When mbna reached out to us earlier to remove all links for the card they did ask if we have geo-targeting capabilities for the card in the future so we wanted that answered as well. What we learned from that is that this card will no longer be available to residents of Quebec. Why? Well the card is being changed slightly, it is going to have higher income requirements and a minimum spend requirement which does not meet Quebec laws apparently (not sure how other World Elite MC's still work in Quebec)  Now for the rest of Canada to get the initial sign up bonus of 25,000 miles and your first year companion ticket you will have to reach a minimum spend of $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days of having it. The higher income requirement is now matching the number set by MasterCard for World Elite cards of $80,000 personal or $150,000 household. That leaves the WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard as one of the few World Elite MC's with the older lower numbers of 70k/120k.

If you were thinking about this card you'll have to wait for perhaps a week or so (maybe less) to apply for it again or in the meantime if you are looking for a credit card that can earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (mainly for those of you in Quebec) we'd recommend the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express as Starpoints convert 1:1 to Alaska (and they throw in 5,000 more miles when you convert 20,000 points at a time)

UPDATE:
We have learned more about the reasoning behind the Quebec issue. It is due to Bill 791 which should be introduced shortly in Quebec that follows the legislation set in place by Ontario but goes even further than just banning expiry dates but is also including the provision that you cannot change redemption rates on consumers! So this is why you won't see this card in Quebec anymore because it would prevent Alaska Airlines from making changes to their award charts! And now the bigger question is, outside of all the cash based programs (like proprietary credit card programs, WestJet, Petro) what is going to happen to them in Quebec? Aeroplan is huge in Quebec, what will happen to their classic flight rewards and merchandise catalogs?

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