Alaska Lounges Leaving Priority Pass (Again)

Alaska Lounges Leaving Priority Pass (Again)

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In early 2021, several Alaska Lounges rejoined Priority Pass. Now all but one lounge are leaving the Priority Pass network again.

Which Alaska Lounges belong to Priority Pass?

According to Priority Pass’ page for lounge updates, two Alaska Lounges have recently left Priority Pass, and another two will be leaving Priority Pass in the coming days:

  • The Alaska Lounge Portland (PDX) left Priority Pass as of May 16, 2021
  • The Alaska Lounge Seattle (SEA) left Priority Pass as of July 16, 2021
  • The Alaska Lounge Anchorage (ANC) is leaving Priority Pass as of July 23, 2021
  • The Alaska Lounge Los Angeles (LAX) is leaving Priority Pass as of July 23, 2021

The only Alaska Lounge that will continue to belong to Priority Pass is the one in New York (JFK). The terms state that the lounge is only accessible up to two hours prior to a scheduled departure (previously it was up to three hours before departure), and members are allowed to bring up to two guests.

As Priority Pass’ website describes this, the lounges leaving Priority Pass “will not be accessible until further notice.” So it’s possible that they’ll rejoin at some point in the future, but I wouldn’t expect it anytime soon.

The Alaska Lounge JFK is the only one still belonging to Priority Pass

Alaska Airlines’ love-hate relationship with Priority Pass

For years now, Alaska Airlines has gone back and forth about whether its lounge network should belong to Priority Pass. Having a lounge be part of Priority Pass is both a blessing and a curse:

  • Ideally Alaska Airlines wants you to buy a membership to the Alaska Lounge, since that’s probably the most profitable for the airline, and also leads to the most loyalty (you’re more likely to fly with Alaska if you paid for a lounge membership, since you want to be able to use it)
  • Priority Pass pays Alaska Airlines when someone accesses a lounge with a Priority Pass membership; the catch is that Alaska Airlines doesn’t want to cannibalize sales of lounge memberships
  • Over the years more and more people have gotten Priority Pass lounge memberships through premium credit cards, which has caused serious crowding issues at some lounges
  • So while some Alaska Lounges have belonged to Priority Pass when capacity allowed, the reality is that expectations haven’t been managed very well; some Alaska Lounges have belonged to Priority Pass, but turned away Priority Pass members a vast majority of the time

In early 2021 we saw most Alaska Lounges rejoin Priority Pass. This was presumably because travel demand was way down, so this was a great way for Alaska to generate some revenue and reduce losses from operating lounges. Of course at this point domestic travel is almost fully recovered to pre-coronavirus levels, so Alaska Airlines is facing the same issue it had in the past, which is that lounges aren’t big enough to accommodate Priority Pass members.

It was nice to have most Alaska Lounges join Priority Pass for a few months, but unsurprisingly this wasn’t going to last.

With domestic travel recovered, Alaska doesn’t need Priority Pass anymore

Bottom line

Earlier this year Alaska Lounges at five airports once again belonged to Priority Pass. Many of us wondered if that would last, and clearly the answer was no. By next week, only one Alaska Lounge will belong to Priority Pass, and that’s the one at JFK.

Are you surprised to see Alaska Lounges pull out of Priority Pass (again)?

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  1. Anthony Joseph

    I am a lifetime Gold member and am almost to lifetime Gold 75K status.
    I am disappointed by AS lounges flip-flopping on Priority Pass.
    I will not buy AS board room membership because of the limited number of lounges and the capacity of even these lounges. Why is it taking so long to open lounge in SFO and even SJC? LAX is always capacity limited, ANC and PDX are small for the number...

    I am a lifetime Gold member and am almost to lifetime Gold 75K status.
    I am disappointed by AS lounges flip-flopping on Priority Pass.
    I will not buy AS board room membership because of the limited number of lounges and the capacity of even these lounges. Why is it taking so long to open lounge in SFO and even SJC? LAX is always capacity limited, ANC and PDX are small for the number of flights.

    As for economics, you take frequent flier like me who was giving them over $1000.00 revenue from Priority Pass swiping at at least $25/swipe and it sure doesn't make sense to me compared to annual lounge fee. Once they started screwing PP customers I have boycotted giving Alaska Airlines Lounges any business.

  2. Homer

    LAX Alaska lounge has had a no Priority Pass sign every time I tried to go there.

  3. Barry Brann

    Alaska took over the old United Club at JFK...and the Alaska Boardroom JFK has been closed indefinitely. Since Alaska is soon leaving JFK to the West, maybe the club will revert back to United, which is back to flying out of the terminal. Right now, there is NO club open in Terminal 7.

  4. Juan

    Sad but not surprising. Priority Pass access for airline lounges tend to work best for the international carriers. They often only need their lounge for a few hours a day, so having PP members fill in the rest of time helps with that. There's never really a down time for Alaska lounges, and I just got in a visit at their LAX lounge last week.

    The downside is that if you're flying out of LAX...

    Sad but not surprising. Priority Pass access for airline lounges tend to work best for the international carriers. They often only need their lounge for a few hours a day, so having PP members fill in the rest of time helps with that. There's never really a down time for Alaska lounges, and I just got in a visit at their LAX lounge last week.

    The downside is that if you're flying out of LAX with Amex Platinum, your only option now is the SkyClub in T2 when flying Delta. The Centurion Lounge is closed again, Alaska has pulled out of Priority Pass, Virgin Atlantic turned over their Clubhouse to Delta as an overflow club, and the KAL lounge is still closed.

    Flying out of T5 in a few weeks, guess I'll just have to time my arrival more closely to my departure time then since I can't use the Alaska Lounge anymore...

    1. Ray

      @Juan: agree with the international access. I fly from BCN as my base and enjoy access from many of my destinations here in Europe. When I do fly back through the US, I rarely have success with a lounge available and most are bad anyway.

  5. Pat

    I am assuming this may be driven now based on Alaska officially joining OneWorld. They will now have a much larger pool of people who are entitled to access to lounge who belong to any of the OneWorld member airlines. I think this move is being done early in anticipation as travel globally rebounds, the lounges will get more utilised.

  6. 767

    Huge bummer. Have a trip thru SEA on AS next week. Was looking forward to some lounge time. Would've been nice if they could've given some more notice.

  7. Henry

    AS lounge membership is way too expensive and no credit card access, it almost no way to justify the costs, truely the SEA one is super nice, I would rather keep a Amex plantinum and fly DL more instead of AS as I knew I am not able to get a good lounge access with AS. Personally PPS makes me to fly AS more often.

  8. AC

    Priority Pass continues to loss value. I am glad I have my Amex Platinum and access to a much larger number of lounges (although not Alaska). When I was at LAX in June I went to the Alaska lounge since the Centurion Lounge is closed due to construction. There was about an hour wait and, sure enough, after I registered at the kiosk outside I got a text around an hour later I could enter...

    Priority Pass continues to loss value. I am glad I have my Amex Platinum and access to a much larger number of lounges (although not Alaska). When I was at LAX in June I went to the Alaska lounge since the Centurion Lounge is closed due to construction. There was about an hour wait and, sure enough, after I registered at the kiosk outside I got a text around an hour later I could enter the lounge. Very nice and beat a crowded terminal.

    Not stated in your blog but American and Alaska have reciprocal lounge access so Admirals Club members at also use the Alaska lounge. Not sure if the Citi Executive card that grants Admirals Club access also will get you into Alaska lounges though. I had it for years when I was traveling on business but one of the first cards I canceled when I retired since just couldn't justify the fee for Admirals Club access (only real benefit I got) especially when I had the Amex Platinum and a Centurion Lounge opened in my home airport (CLT).

  9. Andrew

    I was planning to visit LAX tomorrow, sure glad they gave less than 24hr notice.

  10. Bob

    The only reason the Alaska JFK lounge wasn't also removed from the Priority Pass network is that lounge is never going to re-open. Alaska just hasn't formally announced that yet. However with Alaska significantly reducing its premium transcon traffic (no more LAX to JFK flights at all), that lounge will never re-open.

  11. Scott

    As an Alaska Lounge member - I am glad for this change. They were getting crowded!

    1. Tom

      Don't want us second class citizens and service members taking up your room.

  12. Randy

    I have always accessed the AS lounge when flying AA with my AA membership - like SEA and PDX. I don't think that changes.

    With the match up - what happens now if you are flying AS flight - and have AA membership. Not allowed before - are you allowed now?

    1. ernestnywang

      Thought that had been allowed even before AS joined oneworld. Anyway, currently, it is.

      https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/clubs/admirals-club-locations.jsp, under "Partner Lounges," "U.S."
      "1Must present your membership card and boarding pass at lounge check-in counter for same-day departure on an American Airlines or Alaska Airlines marketed and operated flight (flight sold with American or Alaska flight number and flown on American or Alaska aircraft)."

  13. TheJagMan

    It's still listed in LAX, I fly out today, perhaps today is the last day?

  14. Bob

    AS lounges are a bit all over the place quality-wise. The flagship one at Seatac N terminal is super nice. We were there earlier this month and it was quiet for a 4th of July weekend travel. The one at LAX - not so much. Priority Pass should focus on medium sized US airport where there are a lot of growth but have non hub status. AUS is sorely lacking a Priority Pass option.

  15. Jan

    Aw man. I liked the lounge in SEA N terminal. Was glad to have been there just before they take away our access

  16. digifid

    I'm a fan of AS and fly them more than any other airline, but their lounges are pretty mediocre at best. They look nice, but there is not much being offered, basically feels just like sitting in a sometimes less (or more) busy part of the terminal, at least at PDX and LAX. If anything this takes the stress of trying to get in off a waitlist away. PDX REALLY needs a real PP lounge of some sort though, would love an Escape lounge or something similar.

    1. Steve

      The only AS lounge that’s worth it is the one in N terminal in SEA. All the rest are meh…especially LAX.

  17. SAN_POA

    Do you think there might be an impending tie-up between Alaska and American to offer reciprocal club access for members of the respective programs?

    1. steve64

      As an Alaska Lounge member for the past several years, I've had access to Admirals Clubs as long as I'm flying AS or AA metal (with the SFO Admirals Club being the only exception, though that restriction has since been removed).

    2. SAN_POA

      That's a good point -- I stand corrected! Found the AS lounges on American's site here https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/clubs/admirals-club-locations.jsp.

  18. Gorman1707

    While I get that it would be frustrating, if I was an Alaska FF and a member of their lounge I would not want PP access. Because of the unreliability of revenue stream, the lounge has to manage down and thus the quality has to suffer. So I get it fully why an airline's lounge would not normally want this offer. For me, I looked at PP, but at ewr for example, I can only access at the international terminal, not great.

  19. Steve

    Oh come on Alaska…you keep the priority pass access to the lounge that’s currently CLOSED!?!? And then you drop your flagship lounge in Seattle (the North terminal one) that’s never been close to full?
    What a crock!

    1. Ed2

      I visited the North Satellite lounge for the first time recently, using PP. Brought my family. We enjoyed it enough (not crowded, reasonable snack options, clean bathrooms) that I'll probably pay for a membership. So PP was probably just good marketing for a little bit!

    2. Mark P

      The JFK lounge has been open for couple weeks now.

  20. Kyle

    Their affair with PP has always been a frustrating joke for PP members. My home airport is PDX, and because of that I spend a fair bit of time in SEA and LAX as well. I think my success rate with access was about 15%.

    1. EthaninSF

      The lounge at PDX is tiny as well. I have gotten in once using PP. They always seemed to have their "not accepting Priority Pass at this time" sign up all the time.

  21. monopod

    It seems like priority pass is dying out at LAX. We used to have 3 lounges and 3 restaurants spreading out across the terminals. Now it's just the KL lounge in the international terminal.

    1. Alaska Rick

      The Priority Pass LAX page states the KAL Lounge is "temporarily closed". The Amex Centurion Lounge is also temporarily closed.

    2. Brandon Rabb

      So now its only Delta lounge, but you have to be flying Delta to access their lounge. No point of holding this card then anymore.

    3. Brandon Rabb

      If you are a holder of the Amex Platinum Card or Black Card.

Featured Comments Load all 34 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Ed2

I visited the North Satellite lounge for the first time recently, using PP. Brought my family. We enjoyed it enough (not crowded, reasonable snack options, clean bathrooms) that I'll probably pay for a membership. So PP was probably just good marketing for a little bit!

Bob

AS lounges are a bit all over the place quality-wise. The flagship one at Seatac N terminal is super nice. We were there earlier this month and it was quiet for a 4th of July weekend travel. The one at LAX - not so much. Priority Pass should focus on medium sized US airport where there are a lot of growth but have non hub status. AUS is sorely lacking a Priority Pass option.

Anthony Joseph

I am a lifetime Gold member and am almost to lifetime Gold 75K status. I am disappointed by AS lounges flip-flopping on Priority Pass. I will not buy AS board room membership because of the limited number of lounges and the capacity of even these lounges. Why is it taking so long to open lounge in SFO and even SJC? LAX is always capacity limited, ANC and PDX are small for the number of flights. As for economics, you take frequent flier like me who was giving them over $1000.00 revenue from Priority Pass swiping at at least $25/swipe and it sure doesn't make sense to me compared to annual lounge fee. Once they started screwing PP customers I have boycotted giving Alaska Airlines Lounges any business.

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