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Priority Pass members have had their access to Alaska lounges on the West Coast limited. Effective May 1, 2017, Priority Pass members will not be able to bring any complimentary guests into Alaska lounges on the West Coast. The lounges affected are in Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. At this moment, the Alaska lounge in Anchorage still permits guests, although this may change. Regardless of how many guests or fee waivers it used to allow previously, your Priority Pass membership will no longer allow complimentary access for your guests.
Exceptions to the New Rules
Alaska has confirmed that children under the age of 2 are exempt from the changes and you will still be able to access the lounge with your young child. Guests will still be able to purchase a full-price day pass to access the lounge. Also, authorized users of certain credit cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express are entitled to Priority Pass Membership in their own right (Terms Apply) and can enter as an individual, not a guest (as long as they have their Priority Pass card).
Why did Alaska Change its Terms?
For a while now there has been some capacity issue with theses lounges, and Alaska would regularly have to place signs reserving the lounge for its own members. This overcrowding had become quite an issue, especially during peak travel times, however not so much during off-peak times.
This news may inconvenience some travelers. However, it is not a surprise, since Alaska lounges have suffered from increased traffic after the merger with Virgin America. In addition, with more and more people picking up premium credit cards that offer lounge access as a perk, there simply is more and more demand for lounge access. As disappointing as the new policy is, it should enable lounges to allow more Priority Pass members in since they would be entering the lounge on an individual basis and not as a large group. Overall this new rule should reduce overcrowding and increase your chance of gaining lounge access during busy periods.
Source: Travel Codex
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