The ultimate guide to Alaska Airlines lounge access

4d ago

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If you frequently fly on Alaska Airlines, access to one of the carrier’s airport lounges can significantly improve your preflight experience. Luckily, getting inside isn’t too difficult.

Today, we’ll look at the different ways to gain access to Alaska lounges.

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In This Post

Alaska lounge overview

Alaska Airlines offers a rather extensive lounge network for a primarily domestic and short-haul airline. It operates a total of eight lounges across six airports throughout the U.S.

Alaska Airlines lounge at LAX (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Alaska Airlines lounge in Los Angeles. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Here are the Alaska lounge locations. Alaska has renovation plans — mostly for additional seating — for its lounges in Seattle and Portland:

  • Anchorage (ANC) — Concourse C, near gate C-1.
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) — Terminal 7 on the mezzanine level, just above security.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) — Terminal 6 on the mezzanine level, near gate 64.
  • Portland Airport (PDX) — Concourse C, across from gate C5.
  • San Francisco (SFO) — Terminal 2, just beyond the D security checkpoint.
  • Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — Concourse C, on the mezzanine level next to gate C-16.
  • Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — Concourse D, just beyond the central security checkpoint.
  • Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — North satellite on the mezzanine level, above gates N13-18.

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access

Alaska lounge amenities include fast Wi-Fi, easy access to power outlets, barista-made espresso beverages and a full bar featuring complimentary local craft brews, West Coast wines and spirits. Lounge guests can also enjoy complimentary prepackaged snacks, such as steel-cut oatmeal, fresh pancakes, various soups and cheese.

Paid membership

Like most major airlines, Alaska Airlines sells annual memberships to its lounges. The price is based on whether or not you have MVP elite status, as follows:

Alaska Lounge membership
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

As you can see, lounge memberships are split into two tiers: Alaska Lounge and Alaska Lounge+. The standard membership provides access to Alaska Lounges only. Meanwhile, the extended option offers access to a network of partner lounges, including all American Airlines Admirals Clubs and some United Clubs.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down:

  • Alaska Lounge membership: $450 annually or $350 for Alaska Airlines elite members.
  • Alaska Lounge Plus membership: $600 annually or $500 for Alaska Airlines elite members.

Related: Your first look at the brand-new Alaska Lounge in San Francisco

Alaska is smaller than legacy carriers like United and American and the standard Alaska Lounge membership prices are much more reasonable, especially for frequent flyers.

Membership includes access for you and up to two guests or immediate family members. Additional guest passes are available at a reduced rate of $30 per person (versus $60 for day passes for nonmembers).

You’ll need to present a same-day boarding pass from any airline to use Alaska lounges. If you’re visiting one of Alaska’s partner lounges included in the Alaska Lounge+ membership, you may need a boarding pass for that specific airline.

Day passes

As mentioned above, nonmembers can visit Alaska Lounges for $60. However, you can only purchase day passes at the Alaska Lounges in San Francisco, New York-JFK and Los Angeles. You can also receive 50% off your passes if you pay with your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.

As with some other airline lounges, you’ll receive free access if you’re on active duty and in uniform. Military members on active duty but not in uniform can purchase a one-time day pass at any location for $30.

Related: 6 things you need to know about Alaska’s new lounge access rules

Alaska Lounge SFO
The Alaska Lounge SFO. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Elite status

Alaska Airlines offers one of the most underrated elite programs, thanks largely to the generous mileage multipliers that elite members can earn.

The program has four tiers of status: MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K. You’ll earn four Alaska Lounge day passes if you qualify for MVP Gold 75K or MVP Gold 100K. With day passes normally selling for $60, this equates to a nice $240 benefit for top-tier elites. Alaska even lets you share these passes with friends and family, giving you more flexibility in how and when you enjoy your lounge access.

Also, now that MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K members have Oneworld status, they can access Alaska Lounges on qualifying long-haul international itineraries operated by Alaska or a Oneworld partner — regardless of what class of service they are flying. Alaska elites don’t get access when traveling solely within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

That said, if you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status in any program other than Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage, you can access Alaska Lounges when flying any Oneworld flight on the same day. Eligible elites are allowed to bring one guest.

 Alaska Airlines first-class meal.
An Alaska Airlines first-class meal. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Certain non-Oneworld elites have access to Alaska Lounges as well. For example, Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Platinum members can access Alaska Lounges on eligible international itineraries that connect to/from Alaska Airlines.

Related: What is Alaska Airlines’ elite status worth?

Ticket type

The legacy U.S. airlines don’t include lounge access as a benefit for standard domestic first-class passengers, only for international and premium transcontinental flyers. Since Alaska doesn’t really have an international route network, though, it makes sense that it would offer the use of a lounge to domestic first-class customers.

Passengers traveling on a paid first-class ticket or a first-class award ticket can access Alaska lounges (but not partner lounges) on the day of their flight. However, passengers who upgraded to first class, whether as a complimentary upgrade, a paid upgrade or an upgrade with miles, won’t have access to Alaska lounges.

Related: Your complete guide to Alaska Airlines partners

Priority Pass

Until recently, those with Priority Pass had access to Alaska’s lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and New York-JFK. However, the airline has removed all of its lounges from Priority Pass, except for the New York-JFK lounge, which is in Terminal 7 on the mezzanine level just above security.

The JFK lounge has been known to restrict access to Priority Pass members during peak hours. If there’s space available, though, you should be able to get in. Otherwise, you may be able to join a waitlist.

If you don’t currently have a Priority Pass membership, consider adding one of the many credit cards that offer Priority Pass airport lounge access to your wallet.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Priority Pass program

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines Airbus A321
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Alaska Airlines offers several ways to access its lounges, including reasonably priced paid memberships and day passes for elites. The airline is also unique in that it offers lounge access to domestic first-class passengers (excluding those who were upgraded).

Whether you’re a frequent Alaska flyer, a Oneworld elite or just looking for a day pass before a single trip, you have several options to make your predeparture experience more relaxing.

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg and Kyle Olsen.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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