Update: The Alaska Lounge Portland will once again be leaving the Priority Pass network as of May 16, 2021, after having just rejoined a few months ago. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other Alaska Lounges that recently rejoined leave once again as travel demand recovers.
Below you can find the original post published on February 26, 2021. Thanks to reader Jonathan for the heads up on this change.
It looks like most Alaska Lounges once again belong to Priority Pass, which is an exciting development. Here’s to hoping it lasts.
Which Alaska Lounges belong to Priority Pass?
The following five Alaska Lounges once again belong to Priority Pass:
- The Alaska Lounge Anchorage (ANC) South Terminal
- The Alaska Lounge Los Angeles (LAX) Terminal 6
- The Alaska Lounge New York (JFK) Terminal 7
- The Alaska Lounge Portland (PDX) Concourse C
- The Alaska Lounge Seattle (SEA) North Satellite
In each case, lounge access is restricted to within three hours of a scheduled flight, and Priority Pass members can bring up to two guests into lounges. As before, Alaska Airlines reserves the right to restrict lounge access to Priority Pass members due to capacity constraints.
For situations where the lounges are at capacity, a virtual waiting list is used, which is a nice alternative to the old system of just turning people away. The links to these can be found on the Priority Pass website — for example, here’s the one for the Seattle lounge.
Alaska Lounge Seattle
Why did Alaska Lounges leave Priority Pass?
What has actually changed here? The Alaska Lounges in Los Angeles and New York never left Priority Pass. However:
- In late 2019 the Alaska Lounges in Anchorage and Portland left Priority Pass, while they rejoined in late 2020
- In mid 2018 the Alaska Lounges in Seattle left Priority Pass, and now one of the lounges has rejoined as of last week
As you can see, one of these developments is brand new, while the other development is a couple of months old. The Alaska Lounge Seattle rejoining is particularly exciting, especially since the location that joined is Alaska Airlines’ flagship lounge, as it just opened in 2019.
Why did Alaska Lounges leave Priority Pass to begin with? Well, the economics of Priority Pass can be complicated for airlines that sell lounge memberships:
- 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
- With demand for travel way down, I suppose Alaska Airlines is back to looking for a new lounge revenue stream, and this is certainly one option
I’ll be curious to see if Alaska Lounges permanently stay in the Priority Pass network now, or if this is just temporary.
Alaska Lounge Seattle
Alaska Lounges at five airports once again belong to Priority Pass, which is a fantastic development. Specifically, the Anchorage and Portland locations rejoined as of late 2020, while the Seattle location rejoined as of last week.
With lounges being much emptier right now due to reduced travel, I’ll be curious to see if these lounges stay part of Priority Pass, or if this is just a temporary measure.
Has anyone accessed an Alaska Lounge with Priority Pass lately?
(Tip of the hat to Ian)