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In May 2016 we reported that Priority Pass members would have their access restricted to Alaska lounges to primary card members only; they would no longer be able to bring any complimentary guests with them into lounges on the West Coast. The change affected Alaska Lounges in Los Angles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), and Portland (PDX).
Now it seems that this policy has been reversed by Alaska and Priority Pass members can bring two complimentary guests or immediate family members with them. Looking at the updated terms and conditions for Portland, you find the following:
Why the Change in Policy
Priority Pass reimburses Alaska every time a member and guests use the lounge; it makes sense for Alaska to want that revenue. At the time, the restrictions were put in place because the lounges were getting overcrowded and steps needed to be taken to ensure that those with access to the lounges outside of Priority Pass could be accommodated. Since the introduction of the new policy a couple of things have happened:
- A new Priority Pass lounge has opened in Portland, bringing the total to 4 at the airport
- Alaska has opened a new lounge in Seattle, bringing their total to 3 and increasing the number of Priority Pass lounges as well
With an increased lounge capacity, it is now easier for Alaska to extend access to guests for Priority Pass members, it is a win-win for both parties.
While the first ban may have inconvenienced some travelers, its reversal is good news for them as well as other Priority Pass members using West Coast airports. However with so many Premium Credit cards offering complimentary Priority Pass Membership, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® it is only a matter of time before demand starts to cause problems with lounge capacity. In the long run, as more and more people gain access to lounges, either capacity will have to be increased or access reduced, which will not be popular.
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