Want to learn more about US airline lounges access? In my series, I’ll teach you 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, especially since the airline has just joined the oneworld alliance. Alaska is unique among US airlines when it comes to lounge access as it is the only major US airline that allows all paid first class passengers access to lounges.
There are of course many other ways to access the Seattle-based airline’s lounges. So let’s take a full look at how Alaska Lounge access works.
Alaska Airlines Lounge locations
While American, Delta, and United 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.
In addition, an Alaska Lounge will be opened in San Francisco (SFO). It was supposed to open at the end of 2021, but this has been delayed due to the coronavirus.
Rendering of the new Alaska Lounge San Francisco
How to access Alaska Lounges
There are so many different ways to access Alaska Lounges, although there are some fine print associated with some of the lounge entry options. Below, I’d like to explore all of the ways you can access Alaska Lounges, from premium tickets to membership, day pass, Priority Pass membership, and oneworld elite status.
Buy a first class ticket (with cash or miles)
Alaska Airlines is the only US carrier offering lounge access in First Class to all paid passengers.
This applies to passengers paying with cash or miles (in fare classes C, D, E, J and I), but excludes passengers who have upgraded (regardless of whether the upgrade was done with miles, purchased or ever is free according to elite status). .
When visiting with your first-class ticket, you cannot bring guests with you for free.
When you pay for a first class ticket in Alaska, you have lounge access
Buy an Alaska Lounge Membership
You can purchase an annual membership in 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 fly. This makes Alaska the only major US airline that gives members access to lounges even when flying other (non-partner) airlines.
Alaska Lounge members can bring two guests or immediate family members (partners and children under the age of 21).
Buy an Admirals Club membership (with miles or cash)
Alaska and American have a reciprocal lounge arrangement, so you can alternatively purchase a membership in the American Airlines Admirals Club. This gives you access to Alaska Lounges when flying either Alaska or American on the same day.
Here are the cash costs of buying an Admirals Club membership:
Then here is the cost of buying an Admirals Club membership in miles:
With an Admirals Club membership, you can bring two guests or immediate family members (partner and children under the age of 21) with you.
As you can probably tell from the above, given the mutual agreements, there aren’t really many reasons to buy an Admirals Club membership versus an Alaska Lounge membership.
Get the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card
This is similar to the point above about obtaining Admirals Club membership, but needs to be mentioned separately.
Maybe, ironically, that Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (Rating) is the best credit card to get access to the Alaska Lounge.
The card has an annual fee of $ 450 and provides Admirals Club membership for the primary card member that gives them access to the Alaska Lounges.
The icing on the cake is that those with the card can add up to 10 authorized users for free. Each of these authorized users will get Admirals Club access if they fly American Airlines on the same day for them and two guests or an immediate family (they don’t). I don’t have to fly with the primary card member.
However, this benefit does not apply to Alaska Lounges – only the primary card member can access the Alaska Lounge.
Buy a day pass for $ 50
You can purchase a day pass to the Alaska Lounge for $ 50 per person. This applies for 24 hours from the first use. You can even use it to visit multiple Alaska Lounges on the same day.
You can buy a day pass even if you are traveling on another airline. The card can be purchased directly from an Alaska Lounge.
You can purchase a day pass directly from an Alaska Lounge
Get access for $ 25 with an Alaska Credit Card
If you have one of Alaska’s credit cards, you can buy day passes for 50% off, which means you can buy access for just $ 25 per person. This is a solid deal and less than you would probably pay for a few drinks in the terminal.
Suitable cards for this purpose are the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card (Review and Alaska Airlines Visa® business credit card (Review).
Free tickets as an MVP Gold 75K member
Alaska Airlines’ premium MVP Gold 75K members receive four free Alaska Lounge day passes per year. These are stored online in the members’ mileage plan accounts every year and can even be shared with friends and family.
If you share them with others, just give them the coupon code.
Have a Priority Pass membership
Priority Pass members get access to select Alaska lounges. In particular, members can access all lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, and select lounges in Seattle.
Note that even in the lounges where Priority Pass members have access, there are often capacity controls in place. So don’t take this as a safe bet.
In the United States, some of the most popular credit cards for Priority Pass memberships and their guest privileges are listed:
Have oneworld sapphire or emerald status
Now that Alaska Airlines has joined the oneworld alliance, there is a completely new way to access Alaska Lounges based on oneworld status:
- Individuals with oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status in a program other than Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage can access Alaska Lounges when flying a oneworld flight on the same day, even if the flight is domestic
- Individuals with oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status on the Alaska Mileage Plan or the American AAdvantage program can access Alaska Lounges when flying a oneworld flight on the same day that includes travel outside of North America
In other words, a oneworld Emerald member through the British Airways Executive Club could access Alaska Lounges when traveling exclusively within the United States, while a oneworld Emerald member through the Alaska Mileage Plan could not.
Eligible oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members can bring a guest to the Alaska Lounges.
Alaska Lounges can be accessed by those with status on a oneworld program
Have partner elite (non-oneworld) status
Select partner elite members can access Alaska Lounges when flying with Alaska on the same day. This brings some catches with it, however, and is a pretty niche outside of oneworld. For example:
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Platinum & Gold members can access Alaska Lounges when flying in Alaska on the same day
- Icelandair Saga Club Gold members can access Alaska Lounges when flying to Alaska on the same day
Select partner elite members can access Alaska Lounges
Be an active member of the military
Active U.S. military personnel traveling on order can receive a free day pass to the Alaska Lounge. You must be able to check your active status, place orders, and get a ticket for an Alaska flight within three hours.
There are many ways to access Alaska Lounges, from a paid first class ticket to lounge membership (either Alaska or American) to purchasing a day pass and partner airline elite status.
Alaska is unique in providing lounge access to first class passengers. Additionally, the airline has one of the most reasonable costs of membership in lounges and continues to allow people to access lounges when flying on other airlines.
Finally, I think buying Alaska Lounge access for $ 25 coupled with a co-branded Alaska visa could be good deal, especially if you have some time and want to have a drink or two.
Hopefully, the above clears up everything you might want to know about Alaska Lounge access. If I missed something, please let me know.
The following links will take you to the prices and fees for the American Express cards mentioned. These include: American Express Business Platinum® Card (Rates and Fees), American Express Platinum Card® (Rates and Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ™ American Express® Card (Rates and Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).