Many airlines offer discounted companion certificates to their co-branded credit cardholders but these often come with rules and restrictions that make them less valuable, if not worthless to some members. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card was a favorite among many frequent flyers because of their liberal $99 companion certificate rules. Basically, members could bring a companion for only $99 (plus taxes and fees) on any route or fare, including first class tickets to Hawaii. As of Aug. 1, 2012, the airline has added the restriction that the companion certificate can only be used for coach flights. In another downgrade, the 1,000-mile booking bonus that cardholders received when paying for flights online with their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature was eliminated on Aug. 1, 2012.
Bottom line: On the positive side, there may be fewer passengers in first class now, which means more upgrade opportunities for elites. Companion flyers of MVP Gold members can upgrade to first class when traveling with the Gold member. The 1,000-mile booking bonus was a decent benefit because the bonus was for each ticket, so cardmembers looking to max out the benefit could earn 2,000 bonus miles if they booked two one-ways instead of roundtrip.