Alaska Airlines’ Lounge Membership used to be included with Priority Pass, but in 2018 that changed. Priority Pass membership no longer granted you access into Alaska’s lounges, requiring a separate membership altogether. Though they began adding back select lounges in 2021, an Alaska Lounge Membership was the only way to guarantee you could enter the lounge.
I found value in the membership over the last few years, given Alaska’s presence in Seattle and the Admirals Club in Nashville. Because Alaska and American were partners, I could access the Admirals Club in Nashville using my Alaska Lounge Membership at a fraction of the cost of an Admirals Club Membership. It’s worth mentioning that when flying Alaska out of BNA, I had no lounge alternatives through Priority Pass, AMEX, or otherwise.
Now we have learned this all changes again in October 2021. Alaska, fresh off its oneworld Alliance announcements, has restructured its membership plan to exclude guests and partner lounges like the Admirals Club. Those who still want to bring two guests with them or want access to the partner lounges through their Alaska Lounge Membership can purchase a “Plus” membership for an added cost. In contrast, a Standard Membership will allow you alone into Alaska Lounges only.
Alaska’s membership rates, effective October 2021, are as follows:
1) Standard Membership $450 ($350 for Elite Members)
2) Plus Membership $600 ($500 for Elite Members)
Alaska is grandfathering its existing Lounge Members into the Plus program until October 2021 (i.e., not changing the level of service that they have paid for), as well as honoring early renewals as soon as today to extend your existing grandfathered membership by another 12 months. Personally, my old membership expires in December each year, so by renewing it early this month, I can enjoy Plus Membership benefits through December 2022 for the Standard Membership price.
Using Airline Incidental Credits
American Express’ airline incidental credits are among the hardest to use given the restrictive nature of reimbursable charges. However, lounge memberships are an eligible expense! By working directly with Lounge staff, you can have your annual lounge membership split between multiple cards. With some careful work, and depending on your available credits, you can use this strategy to renew your membership for free! Just make sure you’ve selected Alaska Airlines as your credit airline before starting.