Airline lounges are an oasis of comfort in the midst of a bustling airport. With so many options, how do you know which lounge might be a good choice for you? Every lounge differs, so to help make your decision, we’ve compiled a list of things you need to know about Alaska Airlines lounges.
1. Where to find them
There are seven Alaska lounges in five U.S. airports: Seattle, Anchorage, Portland, Los Angeles and New York-JFK. Alaska Airlines is building an additional lounge in San Francisco that’s set to open in 2020.
Alaska lounge members can also access select American Airlines Admirals Club locations, which adds 52 more airports to the Alaska lounge membership roster, nine of which are outside the U.S. (Buenos Aires, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Toronto, and two at Tokyo-Narita). To use Admirals Clubs, you must be flying on a flight ticketed by Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.
Qantas is another Alaska Airlines partner that offers Alaska lounge members access to its clubs. To gain access to a Qantas Club, you must be ticketed on a same-day Qantas flight. This adds an additional 31 lounges to the roster, most of which are located in Australia. Note that Qantas lounge access for Alaska lounge members does not include Qantas first class lounges.
Alaska has eight other partner lounges (including United and Cathay Pacific lounges) in the U.S. and Canada, all of which require a same-day ticket for travel on Alaska Airlines to access (in addition to your club membership).
2. How to get in
You can access the Alaska lounges with a membership or when flying first class on flights operated by Alaska Airlines. Buying a first class flight does not guarantee access to partner lounges — only to Alaska lounges.
Additionally, access for first class passengers is limited by the fare code on your ticket, meaning it may not apply to travelers who have been upgraded to first class.
3. Annual and daily cost of membership
Annual membership to Alaska Airlines lounges currently starts at $295 for Mileage Plan MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K elite status holders (these prices will be increasing on Aug. 30, 2019). The standard annual rate for those without elite status is $450, but that plan renews at $350 per year as long as you don’t let it expire. You can add a spouse or domestic partner to your membership for an additional $250 a year.
You can buy single-entry day passes for $50 per entry. Note that lounges can (and do) decline entry to day pass holders when they’re nearing capacity.
If you enjoy your Alaska lounge experience after using a day pass, you can always purchase a membership. If you do so within 30 days of your day pass visit, the cost of the day pass will be refunded.
4. How to access the lounge without a pass
If you don’t fly Alaska Airlines enough to merit purchasing an annual membership, consider the American Airlines Admirals Club instead. As an Admirals Club member, you’ll have access to Alaska lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Portland and Seattle. However, you will need to have a same-day departure ticketed on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines to access the lounges this way.
While the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, which has an annual fee of $75, doesn’t provide free access to Alaska lounges, it does give you 50% off day passes. The card’s sign-up bonus, companion fare and free checked bags benefit make it a no-brainer for those who frequently travel with Alaska Airlines.
This card’s current sign-up bonus is as follows: Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
5. Guest access rules
With an Alaska lounge membership, you can bring immediate family members or two guests with you for free. If you need to bring more guests, you can purchase additional passes for $25 per visit. Members can also purchase $25 day passes for guests who are not traveling with them. Children under 2 can visit for free with applicable adults.
Pets are allowed in Alaska lounges, as long as there is no conflict with local ordinances. All pets must remain quiet, well-behaved and kenneled. Whether you’re traveling with a service animal or a family pet, no animals are allowed on furniture, and they can’t drink or eat from Alaska lounge dishes.
6. What’s fun about Alaska lounges
Lounges are known for the free food and drinks, but Alaska lounges are upping the novelty factor with an opportunity to “print” your own pancakes. The machine can produce 180 pancakes an hour, and according to all accounts this “printer” makes pancakes that taste much better than paper.
Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.
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Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
How to sidestep the potential pitfalls of travel credit cards
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies