Alaska Airlines operates a network of nine lounge locations from Los Angeles International Airport to Anchorage, Alaska and one at Terminal 7 at New York JFK airport. I have been a member of the Alaska Lounge for two decades because they do a good job of providing the lounge experience at a price less than the competition at American, Delta and United.
Improving The Lounge Experience
The Alaska Lounge has been facing increasing demand for entry. In order to maintain an appropriate level of experience, Alaska Airlines has been increasing the size of its lounges. In Portland, they have added seating capacity of the lounge next to gate C-5 and they have an auxiliary lounge located at the B gates. Construction is underway at the Seattle lounge located in the C concourse to increase seating capacity.
In efforts to avoid overcrowding, the Alaska lounge no longer sells day passes for lounges located at Anchorage, Portland and Seattle locations. Priority Pass was an option for Alaska Lounge admission but this is no longer an option.
Alaska Lounges have upgraded its food and beverage selections. In addition to barista service, new additions include a deli platter, choice of two soups and pulled pork sliders.
What Alaska Lounge Membership Costs
The Alaska Lounge has two levels of membership – regular membership and Lounge+ membership. With each, you are allowed to bring in two guests.
- The regular membership has access to Alaska Lounges,
- The Alaska Lounge+ membership adds over 90 partner lounges including American Airlines Admirals Club and United Club depending on airport location.
Looking at the current pricing for annual membership including two guests, the costs are:
- Alaska Lounge starting at $350.00 for Alaska Lounge only or $500.00 for Alaska Lounge only depending on your elite status,
- American Airlines “household” membership begins at $1,150.00 depending on your elite status,
- Delta Sky Club membership starts at $845.00 depending on your elite status and
- United Club membership begins at $550.00 depending on your elite status.
The Price Change for January 1, 2023
The prices for both levels of annual membership will increase by $50.00 effective on January 1, 2023 for new memberships and membership renewals. Here are the details from the email that I received yesterday:
Lounge Access From Paid First Class
Alaska Airlines has always granted Alaska Lounge access when traveling either on paid first class or tickets redeemed for first class. This is about to change soon. For tickets purchased as of November 18, 2022, and for travel as of February 15, 2023, complimentary lounge access will be granted to those ticket holders of flights of at least 2,100 miles. If you have a connecting flight that is less than 2,100, you will still have access for the day that you are traveling on a qualifying segment length.
You Have Choices
There are two ways to ease the burden of this price increase. Many premium rewards credit cards have an ancillary airline fee credit that can be used when purchasing a membership with that card. I have used my AMEX Hilton Aspire card where AMEX picks up the first $250.00 of my membership cost.
Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K members will be able to get free Lounge+ membership if they choose lounge membership as their choice benefit. The MVP Gold 100K choice benefits option should be alive in early 2023.
While I dislike anything that increases in cost, I still look at my Alaska Lounge+ membership as a good value. The increase will be worth it to reduce overcrowding, especially in Seattle. My membership expires on December 31, 2022 so I will be one of the first to face the music. I will again use my AMEX ancillary airline credit to pay the first $250.00 and I will have to pony up the remaining $300.00. It is still a deal in my opinion.