Alaska Lounge Membership Cost Increasing

Filed Under: Alaska
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To coincide with the announcement of the Alaska Lounge SFO opening this summer, Alaska Airlines has revealed plans to increase the cost of lounge memberships as of this fall.

Alaska Lounge membership changes

Alaska Airlines will update its lounge membership structure. As of October 2021, Alaska will offer two tiers of lounge memberships.

An Alaska Lounge membership will just get you access to Alaska Lounges, and will cost:

  • $450 annually for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • $350 annually for Mileage Plan MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K members

An Alaska Lounge Plus membership will get you access to Alaska Lounges and American Admirals Clubs, as well as select Qantas Clubs (when flying Qantas) and select United Clubs (when flying Alaska), and will cost:

  • $600 annually for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • $500 annually for Mileage Plan MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K members

Any memberships purchased prior to that time will still receive the old pricing.

Alaska Lounge membership fees are increasing

What’s actually changing here?

For context, currently there’s just one type of Alaska Lounge membership, which offers Alaska Lounge, American Admirals Club, and select other partner airline lounge access, priced as follows:

  • $450 annually for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • $400 annually for Mileage Plan MVP members
  • $350 annually for Mileage Plan MVP Gold members
  • $300 annually for Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members

In other words, if you only value Alaska Lounge access:

  • The cost is staying the same for Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • The cost is decreasing by $50 for Mileage Plan MVP members
  • The cost is staying the same for Mileage Plan MVP Gold members
  • The cost is increasing by $50 for Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members

Meanwhile if you value access to American Admirals Clubs and select other lounges as well:

  • The cost is increasing by $150 Mileage Plan non-elite members
  • The cost is increasing by $100 for Mileage Plan MVP members
  • The cost is increasing by $150 for Mileage Plan MVP Gold members
  • The cost is increasing by $200 for Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members

You’ll have to pay extra if you want to access Admirals Clubs

This change isn’t at all surprising

I think just about everyone could have seen this change coming. With Alaska Airlines joining oneworld and forming a closer relationship with American Airlines, buying an Alaska Lounge membership has been a great arbitrage opportunity.

Since either lounge membership got you access to both Alaska Lounges and American Admirals Clubs, there was almost no reason to buy an Admirals Club membership. For example, for non-elite members an Admirals Club membership cost $650, while an Alaska Lounge membership cost $450.

I would imagine that American partly forced this change.

This isn’t surprising with Alaska joining oneworld, strengthening ties with American 

What’s the best way to access Alaska Lounges?

There are a variety of ways to access Alaska Lounges. There are a few things that make Alaska Lounge access interesting:

  • Alaska offers all paid first class passengers lounge access, whether paying cash or redeeming miles
  • Currently most Alaska Lounges accept Priority Pass members, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change once again
  • The best value for accessing Admirals Clubs and Alaska Lounges is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) — the card offers an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember, and up to 10 authorized users can be added at no cost, and they all get Admirals Club access as well (though not Alaska Lounge access)

I greatly value the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for lounge access

Bottom line

The cost of an Alaska Lounge membership will be increasing as of October 2021. The airline will now have two tiers of memberships, with one just offering Alaska Lounge access, and the other also offering American Admirals Club access

These changes don’t surprise me at all, given the closer cooperation between Alaska and American, and the clear disconnect in pricing.

Will you be impacted by these Alaska Lounge membership changes?

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  1. Awaiting the announcement that Admirals Club members will no longer get Alaska lounge access.

    At least priority pass still works.

  2. @ William — I don’t see that happening, since the two airlines are cooperating more closely and are trying to create metal neutrality. I could see the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card annual fee increasing, but that’s about it.

  3. @ Lucky…Assuming daily paid rate is staying at $50. Also, do annual passes allow for guests or just the pass holder? I’d only be interested in a pass if guest(s) allowed.

  4. If you are an MVP or above and plan to renew, do it in September and you will pay lower price and will be grandfathered into plus tier.

  5. @Ben

    The problem is that the pendulum has now swung in the other direction. Instead of getting the Plus membership, an Alaska flyer would need only to sign up for the Citi Exec card.

    Only way to equalize that would be to axe Citi Exec access (and limit Alaska access to purchased AC membership), or hike the AF to an uncompetitive level (unless AA intends to add Delta Reserve-like benefits).

  6. @ William — While the Citi AAdvantage Executive is the most generous option for lounge access now, it’s pretty standard for credit cards with lounge access to have lower annual fees than a lounge membership alone. There’s more upside to the airline and credit card issuer this way, and I don’t see the core benefit of this (an Admirals Club membership) changing. I could be wrong, though…

  7. @ Lucky…sorry last question, but relevant as some others may have it.

    To your knowledge can you call in to order and use multiple credit cards that have the $100 airline annual credit? Just have to assign Alaska as ones designated airline. 2 $100 credits would bring the “Plus” membership for non-elites down to $400. I’m in the southeast so an Alaska only pass for the west coast only really for me would be a waste. I’d pay the $450 AF for the Citi AA card for more broad access across the country.

  8. Does the new AS Plus membership get you into all AS lounges? Previously some were excluded. What happens to other partner locations? AS Plus membership included some outstation United Clubs.

  9. I believe when I redeemed miles for a first class on Alaska in the past, they didn’t let me in to their lounge. Only paid first class tickets are eligible.

    I am lucky to often fly out of the airport with an Amex centurion lounge so I use that instead.

  10. @Zee: first class award tickets get lounge access. If you bought an economy award and then were upgraded, those do not have lounge access.

  11. Will the Plus membership still have Qantas lounge access? They only seem to mention domestic lounges.

  12. The question for me will be whether there continues to be an SFO exception. (Currently, with the AA lounge being the only one in T2, which is probably 80% Alaska flights, an Alaska lounge membership does not get you access to that AA lounge. When the new Alaska lounge opens this summer, will an AA membership get you access to that lounge, or will SFO continue to be an exception. Hoping not, in which case I’ll just get the Citi card and be done with it.)

    Zero chance Alaska lounges remain within PP — not that they were actually accessible via PP more than 5% of the time anyway.

  13. @ Ben — Sorry if this has already been asked and/or aswered, but if you were to buy an Alaska Lounge membership in September 2021 (for $300 as an AS MVPG75k), would your membership continue to include Admirals Club access until its expiration date, or would you lose Admirals Club access effective October 1, 2021?

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