Big changes are coming to the network of Alaska Airlines lounges. This post will cover the good, the bad and what you can do to reduce the price increase. The Alaska Lounge consists of nine locations that come with the standard membership. The Lounge+ membership gives the member access to over 90 additional lounge locations.
The Alaska Lounges are unique because they serve locally sourced food and beverages and have a coffee barista and a bartender. The Lounges feature a new cocktail of the month. For November, the featured cocktail at PDX is the Ginger Apple Sangria.
Over the next three years, Alaska Lounge plans to invest $80 million as they enhance the Lounge experience with 50% more seating, modern spaces, elevated food and more. As with most airport lounges, the Alaska Lounge has experienced overcrowding problems. The addition of additional lounge capacity will certainly be a welcomed change.
Alaska Lounge Locations
The Alaska Lounge operates nine of their own lounges. Lounge+ members have access to over 90 partner lounges as well as American Airlines Admirals Club locations.
The Alaska Lounges have improved the food offerings with better “time-of-day” selections. The lounges have employees trained as baristas to get you that perfect cup of coffee. The lounges feature coffee from:
- Portland-based Stumptown Coffee at Portland and New York JFK,
- Kaladi Brothers Coffee at Anchorage and
- Umbria Coffee at the Seattle lounges.
The PDX location has been enlarged in Concourse C with greater seating capacity. They also added an “express lounge” in Concourse B.
The Seattle Concourse D location has been thoroughly renovated and reopened this past summer. The lounge in Seattle Concourse C has been reconfigured with additional seating capacity.
Alaska Airlines currently uses Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. Alaska Airlines will be moving to Terminal 1, Harvey Milk terminal at SFO. Next summer, the Alaska Lounge will open a new lounge in Terminal 1. The current Alaska Lounge in Terminal 2 just opened two years ago.
Portland International Airport is in the middle of a major construction project to be finished in 2025. When complete, Alaska Airlines will have a new and larger lounge in the new construction between Concourse C and Concourse D.
I understand the Los Angeles Alaska Lounge has plans to completely renovate that lounge.
Las Vegas Terminal 3 Lounge
Beginning December 1, 2023, Alaska Lounge+ members will have access to The Club LAS. This lounge is located in Terminal 3 and has the gates that Alaska Airlines currently uses.
Lounge Membership Prices Going Up
Now for the bad news. The cost of lounge membership is going up again. The cost of the standard membership increases by $50.00 and the Lounge+ membership will be going up by $100.00 per year.
Alaska Airlines elite members can receive a $100.00 discount on the price of an annual membership. If you pay for membership with the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card, you will receive a $100.00 discount. The rub here is that Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer elite members can’t combine discounts with paying with the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card.
At the increased price, Alaska Lounge membership is still lower than other airline lounge networks. All Alaska Lounge memberships include the member and up to two guests. There will be a change to the guest policy which I will mention later in the post. The key benefit is the power of the Lounge+ membership which includes the American Airlines network of Admirals Club locations. For comparison, here is what American Airlines charges their own members per year.
To get the same value of admitting yourself and two guests will run as low as $1,550.00 to as high as $1,650.00 for the Household membership.
Lounge Access Restrictions
Beginning February 1, 2024, access for both members and guests will be limited to traveling on:
- Alaska Airlines,
- Oneworld member airlines and
- Alaska global partner airlines.
Renew Membership Early
My Alaska Lounge membership expires on December 31, 2023. I was able to renew for 2024 at the existing rate. I used my AMEX Hilton Aspire credit card ancillary airline credit of $250.00 to pay for my membership. I checked with Alaska Airlines this morning regarding early renewal. You can renew your existing membership up to 90 days early. You could renew on January 31, 2024 for memberships expiring during the next 90 days.
Ancillary Airline Credit Card Perk
If you have a credit card that provides an ancillary airline credit, take your elite status discount and pay for your membership with that credit card so you can double dip. Credit card benefits change so be sure to check all of your credit cards. My AMEX Hilton Aspire credit card lost the $250.00 ancillary airline credit so I used the benefit for the last time when I renewed last week.
Alaska Airlines 100K Status Members
Alaska Airlines elite members who achieve 100K status can receive a “choice” benefit. They can choose from the following in descending order by value:
- 50,000 bonus,
- Alaska Lounge+ membership,
- Gifting MVP Gold status,
- Complimentary wifi access for a year or
- Complimentary CLEAR membership for a year.
The 50,000 bonus miles has a retail value of about $900.00 at 1.8 cents per mile. The Lounge+ choice is worth $650.00 so this would get you lounge access for free.
Traveling On A Paid Alaska Airlines Ticket
You used to be able to get into the Alaska Lounges on any paid Alaska Airline ticket. This was changed to paid first class tickets on flights over 2,100 miles. If you are traveling to Hawaii or the East Coast, you can still use this access.
Alaska Lounge Day Passes
This used to be a real sweet spot for access to the Alaska Lounges. You used to be able to purchase day passes at all lounges and they were valid for your entire one-way journey. Due to overcrowding, lounge day passes are only available at the Portland and JFK locations and they are now single-use entry. Day passes used to cost $50.00 and you would get a 50% discount to paying using the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card. The current cost is $60.00 per pass and the Alaska Visa credit card discount is gone.
Yes, the cost is going up but the enhancements will justify the price increase. Compared to other lounge networks, the Alaska Lounge+ membership is still a bargain. I look forward to the enhanced food options and increased seating capacity. If you are an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K, you can use your choice benefit to cover your Lounge+ membership for the entire benefit year.