Priority Pass Members Win Reprieve at Alaska Lounges

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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).

Priority Pass Logo

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:

Priority Pass Alaska Board Room Access August 2017

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 (Terms Apply) 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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    Reversal is great news. I also want know how long until they become crowded again with addition of Virgin America. Mergers always bring to many people into the pool of elite customers

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    This is great news and I am going to use that soon!

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    This reversal is great to see!

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    My connection times in airports with lounges are just never long enough, but hopefully Alaska lets this last when I can take advantage of it.

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    Good news. I don’t think it’s coincidental that this is happening about the same time chase csr renewals are coming up though.

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    I had access to the Alaska lounges years ago when I was a Continental Presidents Club member and they had an agreement with Alaska. I’m glad to have access again as they always had decent food. I was disappointed when guest acces was restricted, though I completely understand why. I’m glad they’ve reconsidered and I look forward to visiting again next time I’m on the west coast.

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    If the lounge is crowded it is correct to restrict the access to only two guests.
    In my opinion it is excessive that there are cards which give a Priority Pass card allowing 10 people with you in the lounge.
    I know some lounges where already 10-20 people make them very crowded.

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    Bertrand say says:

    Good that it is now plus one again since I usually travel with my wife.

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    this is excellent for our daughter in Seattle

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    Seems like nothing has changed in LAX to prevent overcrowding at the Alaska Boardroom there. No new Priority Pass lounges or bigger Alaska lounge. If anything, should be more crowded since Virgin America flights now leave from the same terminal as Alaska. Curious…

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    Jacqueline parsons says:

    I thought one guest was standard with this pass and mandatory?

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      There are limits that can be imposed at 2 points:

      1) By the card issuers – How many people they’ll pay for.
      2) By the specific lounge – They may have capacity or timing limits in place that supersede whatever your card benefit may provide.

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    The newer AS lounges are much nicer than the ones built from years ago.

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    Is there a requirement to have an Alaska boarding pass for the day or any same day boarding pass for entry? Limiting Alaska for Alaska flyers if not now will be the next step.

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    Allowing at least 1 guest should be the norm.
    Great news!

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    angelo fonseca says:

    What good news. I think they realized that the change was very damaging to customers. There’s always time to go back.

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      I would think Alaska were more concerned about it being damaging to their profits rather than damaging to customers. If they have the capacity they will want to take guests if they are getting paid by Priority Pass for each one.