Skip to content

Alaska Airlines confirms San Francisco lounge is opening soon; updates membership pricing

April 08, 2021
5 min read
Alaska Lounge SFO
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Alaska Airlines has been steadily improving its network of lounges over the last few years, including opening new and renovated lounges in key cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. However, there's one lounge in particular that Alaska flyers have been waiting for: the Alaska Lounge at San Francisco (SFO).

The Seattle-based carrier first announced the opening of the SFO lounge in early 2019 and gave an estimated opening date of sometime in 2020. However, the pandemic forced the airline to delay its opening and adjust some of its original plans.

Well, we now know when the lounge will open and have new details about where the lounge will be located.

With the opening of the new lounge will also come significant updates to Alaska's paid lounge membership options.

For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Alaska Airlines San Francisco Lounge

After lengthy delays, Alaska Airlines confirms that the long-awaited SFO lounge will open by late summer 2021. As expected, it'll be in the airline's home at Terminal 2, though the specific location is a bit different than originally planned.

The new Alaska Lounge is now slated to open in the terminal's former American Airlines Admirals Club space. Originally, Alaska planned for a completely new space on the top floor, touting that “guests will be treated to the highest viewpoint of any other domestic lounge at SFO with stunning sights of the Bay and runway.”

While AvGeeks might not get the view they were originally expecting, at just under 10,000 square feet, this space will be slightly larger than the 8,500-square-foot lounge that was first announced. This will make it Alaska's second-largest lounge behind the flagship lounge in Seattle's North Satellite Terminal.

(Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

The former Terminal 2 Admirals Club was already considered one of the better lounges in American's network, with plentiful seating, a large bar area and lots of natural light. Renderings suggest that Alaska is keeping the bones of the lounge, but will give it a fresh look with new furniture and design elements. The infamous pine trees are going, but there will be a new circular fire pit at the center of the lounge.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Amenities of the new lounge will include an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista, a full bar featuring complimentary local craft brews, West Coast wines and spirits and complimentary snacks like made-to-order pancakes, fresh salads and various soups. It's currently unclear what Alaska will do with the former lounge's shower suites.

(Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

New Alaska Lounge membership pricing

Along with the new lounge, will come changes to Alaska's paid lounge membership options. In October 2021, the airline will split lounge memberships into two tiers: Alaska Lounge and Alaska Lounge Plus. The standard membership will provide access to Alaska Lounges only, while the extended option will also offer access to a network of partner lounges, including all American Airlines Admirals Clubs and some United Clubs.

In other words, Lounge Plus members will have access to all of the same lounges members currently get, while standard members will lose access to non-Alaska lounges. Alaska says that these updates are "to give members more options and flexibility," though they're a devaluation overall.

Here's how the pricing will break 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

New lounge membership enrollments and renewals made before the two-tier structure goes into effect in October will be grandfathered into an Alaska Lounge Plus membership for the year. So, if you were thinking about signing up, now's a good time to do so. The current membership fee is between $300 and $450 per year, depending on your status with the airline.

While annual dues are going up for some members, it's worth mentioning that these fees are still lower than what American charges general members for an Admirals Club membership. General AAdvantage members must pay $650 for their first year of Admirals Club membership.

Other ways to access Alaska lounges

Alaska Airlines lounge at LAX (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Luckily, there are lots of ways to access Alaska Lounges other than just with a paid membership. For starters, unlike the other major U.S. airlines, Alaska offers lounge access to domestic first-class passengers (excluding those who were upgraded). You'll also get access if you're an Admirals Club member.

Now that Alaska is part of the Oneworld alliance, you might also get complimentary access with your elite status. Alternatively, you may get access if you have status with Emirates, Hainan Airlines or Icelandair and are traveling on an eligible itinerary.

Finally, while it's unclear whether the SFO location will be included, most Alaska lounges welcome Priority Pass members.

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

Bottom line

The good news is that Alaska flyers who frequently travel through San Francisco have a new lounge to look forward to. However, Alaska lounge memberships will be getting more expensive for some members. Luckily, there are a number of ways to access Alaska lounges beside a paid membership.

Featured image by The Alaska Lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023