Alaska Airlines Lounges Seattle Leaving Priority Pass

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Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of airport lounges, with 1,200+ lounges around the world. Several popular premium credit cards come with Priority Pass memberships, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. Given how popular these cards have become, the number of people with access to these lounges has greatly increased.

This is both good and bad news. It’s great news because more people have access to lounges than ever before. Furthermore, Priority Pass has gotten aggressive about adding new lounge locations, including some untraditional lounges, like airport restaurants and even an airport spirits tasting room.


House Spirits Distillery in Portland — not your average Priority Pass lounge!

The bad news is that this has led to overcrowding in many lounges, to the point that it has in some cases taken away the tranquility of lounges, and in other cases has caused lounges to turn Priority Pass members away.

American, Delta, and United lounges all don’t belong to Priority Pass, though Alaska Lounges have, historically. They’re actually the only US airline to have lounges belonging to Priority Pass, with locations in Anchorage, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Portland, and Seattle.

However, these lounges have also consistently had crowding issues, so it’s not uncommon to get turned away from these lounges with Priority Pass. This has probably been the most common at the lounges in Seattle, where they’ve pretty consistently turned away Priority Pass members. As a result, it looks like Alaska’s acceptance of Priority Pass is soon changing.

The Points Guy reports that as of September 1, 2018, all three Alaska Airlines Lounges Seattle will be leaving Priority Pass. This is apparently “following a mutual review,” and includes the lounges in Concourse C, Concourse D, and the North Satellite. Fortunately Alaska Lounge locations at other airports will continue to belong to the network, at least for now.


The Alaska Lounge New York JFK continues to be part of Priority Pass

This means that Priority Pass members will soon only have access to two lounges at the airport, which is the two locations of The Club at SEA. Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express also have access to the Centurion Lounge.


The Club at SEA continues to be part of Priority Pass

My guess is that this decision was mostly made by Alaska Airlines and was due to overcrowding of the lounges. I know the Alaska and Priority Pass partnership has been mutually beneficial, and Alaska has made tons of money off this, since they get paid for each Priority Pass member who enters the lounge. However, at some point I guess they just couldn’t handle the volume of visitors anymore.

SeaTac lounges are notoriously overcrowded, so I hope that Priority Pass adds some airport restaurants to their network, as they’ve done at other airports, as that would go a long way.

Are you surprised to see Alaska Lounges in Seattle leave Priority Pass?

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Comments

  1. Lucky, as you know, the Delta SkyClub in Seattle is fantastic, almost as good as the AA Flagship lounges at LAX and JFK. I would generally choose to fly Delta to gain access to this lounge if I flew out of Seattle regularly.

  2. i tried to visit the lounge in North Terminal a week ago and there was this notice saying ” Not accepting Priorty Pass members at this time” ON most of the time

  3. No, not surprised at all.

    Back in February, I managed to hang out in the newest Alaska Lounge in SeaTac terminal C, but only because my flight to Vegas was so late. This past Sunday afternoon, the Alaska Lounges were not accepting PP customers–and the Centurion Lounge was packed.

  4. Just so you know, BA at O’Hare is proactively turning away Oneworld Emerald members at the First Class Lounge. I was there at 6P before my Qatar flight at 6:50P and there was 1 person in the lounge, and they still turned me away. I can understand if the lounge was full or getting full, but not if it’s practically empty. Plus I told them I just wanted 10 minutes of peace and quiet before my Qatar flight that boarded in 10 minutes and they still refused. It was 6P and their next flight was after 8P. So, the lounge had not even started getting busy yet. Disappointing when these are some of the few perks left for Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers and they are denied.

  5. @Joel – I have had that experience several times with BA including at LHR T5, and that played a part in my decision to stop being loyal. Traveling in J as a OWE with Emerald status printed on my boarding pass, declined. That was the last time I flew BA.

  6. The negative change needs to be balanced with more priority pass options at SEA. I’d welcome some restaurant additions.

  7. Probably the least surprising SEA news. AA lounges have become zoos at all times. Which is too bad as new C lounge was an oasis till everyone found it. That said, nothing is as bad as Centurion lounge at SEA. At all time it seems like a nightclub two blocks from campus on Friday night. It’s a nice space, though small, yet I gave up trying to get in months ago.

    Delta lounges are amazing, and S lounge is always pretty empty with opening of main terminal one. If there is an upside, the PP SEA lounges are above average and have so far been lightly used. And anything is better than PP PHX.

  8. I’ve been frustrated the last few months or half a year with Alaska Lounges in Seattle. They always have “No Priority Pass” member signs up. In a recent instance, my gate was next to one of the lounges. From when I started counting, more than 40 people left the lounge yet the sign stating No Priority Pass was never taken down.

  9. Almost meaningless for Priority Pass holders since this lounge was almost never accessible in the first place.

  10. Its not just Seattle. I have been denied entry into the Board Room LAX more than 75% of the time, even as a 75K and million miler. Thanks Delta for the Platinum challenge. I’m done with Alaska.

  11. Disappointing, but not a huge loss. The lounges – even their new ones – aren’t too special. Food offerings are minuscule and the free bottom shelf wines are barely drinkable. Sure, the pancake machine is neat, but thy have it at a Hampton Inn, too.

    My only fear is what will happen to the Amex lounge now that more flyers will be filtered in there. As other have said, the Delta lounge is amazing – but only if you’re flying DL and don’t mind coughing up $28 for each guest.

    A Capers-like restaurant option at SEA would be fantastic.

  12. Tried to access the Priority Pass restaurant at Denver Airport last month. The line snaked down the concourse. There was no chance of getting seated for several days. We spent $60 on a mediocre dinner at another airport restaurant.

    Priority Pass needs to have more restaurants and lounges to make it worth getting.

  13. Priority Pass is a rip off, pure and simple. Lack of accountability for poor service and availability, hiding behind card providers.

  14. Alaska’s lounge access policy is already so generous with their own people (paid members, paid F) that I’m not surprised by this. Priority Pass is a good lounge backup program, but it’s insufficient for regular use.

  15. Finally. Saw this one coming. The only question is now what restaurant can they add with all the construction going on, there isn’t much of a choice. “Anthony’s” being a priority pass member would be awesome!

  16. Sucks for me as I go to SEA D lounge with PP when they open at 430am and are empty.
    I don’t go enough to justify paying for membership, even as a 75K.

  17. Priority Pass is totally useless in the post CSR world. Everyone and their entire family has a PP membership and airline/contract lounges aren’t even bothering to let in people who aren’t business/first on the airline anymore. I’ve been turned down every time at the Club at SJC. They don’t even bother letting in any PP holders until around 1pm or later. They say they’re waiting for PP holders to leave but they don’t take inventory of who’s there on PP and who’s not. They just don’t let anyone in unless you’re a premium customer with the airline. It’s a meaningless perk now.

  18. What’s the best option for a card with lounge access? AMEX Platinum for Centurion lounges?

  19. Just last week I complained to PP via email that I encountered the “No PP members” sign at three Alaska lounges – two in Seattle and one at LAX. PP tried calling me (once at 4:30 am and once at 5:30 – they’re in South Africa and not aware of the whole time zone thing) to “discuss” my experience with me. So it’s all my fault, sorry. PP does need to tweak its business model a bit, I think. That said, based on my experience, I’m rethinking my Chase Sapphire Reserve membership as it’s becoming less worth the $150 net I pay each year.

  20. Lucky, Phil and/or Ray,

    Someone has to learn from someone sometime in life, and that is me on the subject of Priority Pass!

    I’m not at embarrassed to admit that I’m new to business travel, and yet I got Priority Pass with my American Express Platinum card. Obviously, I have better alternatives 90% of the time, but just in case I don’t, will someone bother to explain why 1)high-level-high-volume-business travelers would pay a fee to enter a lounge and 2) Priority Pass is so UNwelcomed at the other lounges?

    Thanks in advance.

  21. Priority Pass is terrible in the post CSR world. It’s brought a decidedly Walmart crowd to all these lounges.

  22. The Centurion Lounge at SEA sucks too, I was there two weeks ago and they said there was an hour wait to get into the lounge. Cruisers sitting in the lounge for 8+ hours ruining the experience for everyone.

  23. Right decision by Alaska. Over the last twelve months, I was only once able to visit a Alaska lounge at SeaTac based on PP. No point in advertising it as a benefit.

  24. SeaTac lounges are really crowded. The club at sea lounges are relatively small, not sure how they will handle all of the PP traffic. It’s generally been pretty quiet for my late night flights to Asia in J, probably won’t be the case anymore.

  25. Joel/Steve

    They will admit OW Emerald flyers who achieved that status via the BA EC

    The problem is that so many OW Emerald do it via AA so it’s another problem like PP.

    Not all Emeralds are equal.

  26. Your title image for this post is the lounge in PDX.

    But it, too is tiny and crowded and often closed to PP.

  27. I was denied access to the Alaska Lounge at Terminal C (I think) at SEA about 2 months ago, and was told they didn’t allow access during that time period (which was early evening).

  28. What a shame I can no longer bribe them to accept my priority pass membership
    Oh well was too good to last

  29. > Its not just Seattle. I have been denied entry into the Board Room LAX more than 75% of the time, even as a 75K and million miler.

    I asked them about this. Apparently PP lounges can’t use your status as a reason to let you in the lounge anyway when others are turned away.

  30. No love lost.
    All AS lounges are boring.
    The little airline that thinks they invented first class, and entitled Flight Attendants certainly has not put any thought in their overall design and décor.

  31. I love lounge access, but as a PAID member of the Alaska Lounges, its pretty hectic. I also have priority pass and use PP in other locations as I travel (over 100k a year total annual travel), but it has indeed been a challenge. I recently saw a video on youtube on how airports make money (name intentionally withheld, google it) and it shed some light on PP’s plight. Lounges don’t make much revenue for the airport. Retail space is king. I think PP needs to rethink its model, for a bit, and offer more of the “dinner” and “tasting room” options available in the airports. Another possibility is “free access to PP lounges, and non PP lounges get a set dollar amount towards the “daily fee”. this will allow those who truly WANT a specific lounge experience a way to get it, and well as free lounges available elsewhere.

  32. The AS lounges aren’t the best by any means, BUT they’re nice to have when you can. At some airports (ANC), it’s the only lounge I’m aware of.

    Perhaps I’ve been lucky. Every time I’ve used the AS lounges in SEA & ANC, I’ve been able to get in. This week the ANC AS lounge did have the sign out and indeed the lounge was quite packed. I politely asked when/if the lounge might be open to PP members. She advised me to try again in 30 minutes. Sure enough, 30 minutes later no problem getting in.

    The Club at SEA isn’t bad, but it’s location is a royal pain to get to. Then again, SEA airport really needs to be completely bulldozed and a complete new complex built. They keep putting more lipstick on that pig, but it’s still a pig.

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