How To Access Alaska Airlines Lounges

Filed Under: Alaska
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Want to learn more about accessing US airline lounges? See my series about how to access Alaska Lounges, American Admirals Clubs, Delta SkyClubs, and United Clubs.


In this post I wanted to take a look at how to access Alaska Lounges. Alaska is unique among US airlines when it comes to their lounge access policies, as they’re the only major US airline to allow all paid first class passengers into their lounges.

There are of course many other ways to access their lounges as well, so let’s take a comprehensive look at how Alaska Lounge access works.

Alaska Airlines Lounge locations

While American, Delta, and United, all have dozens of lounges, Alaska Airlines has a comparatively small network of lounges.

Alaska Airlines has a total of seven lounges at five airports. There are Alaska Lounges in:

  • Anchorage (ANC), Concourse C
  • Los Angeles (LAX), Terminal 6
  • New York (JFK), Terminal 7
  • Portland (PDX), Concourse C
  • Seattle (SEA), Concourse C, Concourse D, and the North Satellite

The new flagship Alaska Lounge Seattle

As you can see, all of the above airports have a single Alaska Lounge, with the exception of Seattle, which has three Alaska Lounges.

On top of that, an Alaska Lounge will be opening in San Francisco (SFO) later in 2020.

Rendering of the new Alaska Lounge San Francisco

How to access Alaska Lounges

There are so many different ways to access Alaska Lounges, though many of them come with some sort of catches. Below I want to look at all the way you can access Alaska Lounges, from first class tickets, to a membership, to a day pass, to a Priority Pass membership.

Buy a first class ticket (with cash or miles)

Alaska Airlines is the only US airline to offer all paid first class passengers lounge access.

This applies to passengers who pay with cash or miles (in fare classes A, D, F, P, and I), though it excludes passengers who have upgraded (whether the upgrade is with miles, purchased, or complimentary based on elite status).

When visiting based on your first class ticket you can’t bring any guests with you for free.

Paying for an Alaska first class ticket gets you lounge access

Buy an Alaska Lounge membership

You can purchase an annual membership to the Alaska Lounge at the following costs:

  • $300 as an MVP Gold 75K member
  • $350 as an MVP Gold member
  • $400 as an MVP member
  • $450 as a non-elite member

Members can access Alaska Lounges regardless of which airline they’re flying, which makes them the only major US airline to allow members to access lounges even flying other (non-partner) airlines.

Alaska Lounge members can bring two guests or immediate family members (partners and children under 21) with them.

Buy an Admirals Club membership (with miles or cash)

Alaska and American have a reciprocal lounge agreement, so alternatively you could purchase an American Airlines Admirals Club membership. This allows you to access Alaska Lounges when flying either Alaska or American same day.

Here’s the cash cost to buy an Admirals Club membership:

Then here’s the cost to purchase an Admirals Club membership in miles:

With an Admirals Club membership you can bring two guests or immediate family members (partners and children under 21) with you.

As you can probably tell based on the above, there’s not really much reason to buy an Admirals Club membership over an Alaska Lounge membership, though, given their reciprocal arrangements.

Get the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card

This is along similar lines to the above point about getting an Admirals Club, but is worth pointing out separately.

Perhaps ironically, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® (review) is the best credit card for getting Alaska Lounge access.

The card has a $450 annual fee, and offers an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember, allowing them to access Alaska Lounges.

The icing on the cake is that those with the card can add up to 10 authorized users at no cost, and each of those authorized users receives Admirals Club access when flying American Airlines same day for them and two guests or immediate family (they don’t have to be flying with the primary cardmember).

However, this benefit doesn’t extend to Alaska Lounges — only the primary cardmember gets Alaska Lounge access.

Buy a day pass for $50

You can buy an Alaska Lounge day pass for $50 per person. This is valid for 24 hours from the first use, and you can even use it to visit multiple Alaska Lounges the same day.

You can buy a day pass even if you’re traveling on another airline, and the pass can be purchased directly at an Alaska Lounge.

You can purchase a day pass directly at an Alaska Lounge

Get access for $25 with Alaska credit card

If you have one of Alaska’s credit cards then you can buy day passes for 50% off, meaning you can buy access for just $25 per person. That’s a solid deal, and less than you’d likely pay for a couple of drinks in the terminal.

Eligible cards for these purposes include the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card (review) and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card (review).

Free passes as an MVP Gold 75K member

Alaska Airlines’ top tier MVP Gold 75K members receive four free day passes per year. These are deposited into your Mileage Plan account online every year, and you can even share these with friends and family.

If you do share them with others, just give them the voucher code.

Have a Priority Pass membership

Priority Pass members receive access to select Alaska Lounges. Specifically, members can access lounges in Los Angeles and New York, but not lounges in Anchorage, Portland, and Seattle.

Note that even in those lounges where Priority Pass members get access, you may often find that there are capacity controls, so don’t take this as a sure bet.

In the US the following are some of the most popular credit cards to come with Priority Pass memberships, along with their guesting privileges:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
Chase Sapphire Reserve®2Yes$75 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Credit Card2Yes$75 Per Person
The Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0

Be an active duty military member

Active duty US military personnel traveling on orders can receive a complimentary Alaska Lounge day pass. You must be able to verify your active status, provide orders, and be ticketed to fly on an Alaska flight within three hours.

Have partner elite status

Select partner elite members can access Alaska Lounges when flying with Alaska same day.

However, this comes with some catches, to the point that it’s of very limited use to most. For example, Qantas Gold, Platinum, and Platinum One members can access Alaska Lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, but only if flying on an Alaska flight, and connecting to or from a Qantas flight.

Qantas elite members can use Alaska Lounges when flying Qantas same day

Bottom line

There are many ways to access Alaska Lounges, ranging from a paid first class ticket, to a lounge membership (either with Alaska or American), to buying a day pass.

Alaska is unique in offering domestic first class passengers lounge access. On top of that, they have among the most reasonable membership costs for lounges, and continue to allow people to access lounges when flying on other airlines.

Lastly, I think buying access to Alaska Lounges for $25 in conjunction with the Alaska Airlines Personal Visa or Alaska Airlines Business Visa could represent a good deal, especially if you have a bit of time and are going to have a drink or two.

Hopefully the above clears up everything you could want to know about Alaska Lounge access. If I missed anything, please let me know.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. I’ve never been able to get into an Alaska lounge with PP, so I stopped trying.

    Honestly, I’ve never quite understood the cult of adoration for Alaska – I’ve had objectively crappy experiences with them on way more flights than I’ve had on UA (and I have >1.5M miles on UA).

  2. @Greg
    Coz u have lifetime gold. I bet u keep higher status with UA every year.
    I flew AS and UA in January for a short trip. Both used 737-800. AS boarding process is faster with less group. AS FA is more friendly and more engaged with pax in service.
    Big 3 FA? They are not bad either, but the different is u need to be nice first then they are nice to you. Idk if any regular pax can feel good and ready to be nice if they sit in the cramped seat.
    AS FAs are nice to you first and you are inspired to be nice to them, which creates a much better in flight mood with most pax.

  3. @Daiko – I’ve found AS FA’s to be just as mixed as UA’s. I’ve had happy crews and grumpy crews.

    What I haven’t had happen, though, for instance, is when AS decided to leave all of the checked bags in JFK, so that they didn’t have to make a stop for fuel, and didn’t tell any of the passengers until 45 minutes after arrival. Or how AS advertised wifi on their flights, but it turned out, after chatting to the provider using the in-flight wifi, that AS made a specific decision not to allow a number of their aircraft to actually use the wifi for internet service.

    I’ve just found them to be mediocre, and certainly no better than UA, even after adjusting for the extra status I get from UA.

  4. AMEX Aspire Hilton Honors credit card does allow the $250 airline fee credit benefit to be used for “airport lounge access day access and yearly memberships”. This is according to an AMEX email I received two days ago. It wouldn’t take care of the entire $400 charge (MVP member) but it would offset a good portion of it. Especially since they charge $50/person for day access – that would cost too much given that my wife and I travel frequently. I am looking at this as an option now that American’s lounges are (apparently) also allowed to be used with an Alaska Airlines Lounge Membership.

  5. Got in to LA lounge in December with PP. They put us on a list and if capacity allowed entry was 3hrs before our departure. We were granted access, but had to get to lounge within 5 minutes of them texting us. It was fine, but nothing special.

  6. “Alaska and American have a reciprocal lounge agreement….” Not quite. First class on Alaska won’t get you into AA’s Admiral Clubs.

  7. With Alaska’s new partnership in the OneWorld, I wonder when Priority Pass Access will be a thing of the past and when they will start to adopt American’s policies.

  8. Why free access to members of the armed forces traveling on orders? If a company sends you to travel, particularly if you hate it or the destination, no free Alaska Lounge access is provided.

    On the other hand, why not free access also to doctors, nurses, medical students, paramedics, and dentists? Also homeless, too.

  9. Every single time I’ve tried to use PP to get into an Alaska lounge in the last year, even during very slow periods, they won’t allow PP members. At this point they need to just stop participating in PP because it’s fraudulent at this point to say they allow access.

  10. I am an MVP Gold 75k status holder.
    Some of the lounge agents thinks that all MVP Gold 75k status holders have Alaska lounge membership, because in the past 2 months I was given access twice (just myfels in LAX and me and two of my guests in JFK). I wanted to use my 4 lounge passes, but both times at the front desk they told me its not needed.
    And still all of my lounge passes show as unused in the website.
    I was flying with BA both times.
    I think I was just lucky.

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