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Alaska Airlines has today opened its new lounge in San Francisco (more on that in a separate post) and the airline has used this as an opportunity to remind flyers that it is introducing a new two-tier lounge membership program in October which will see it (mostly) increasing the cost of membership.
Alaska Airlines New Lounge Memberships
From 1 October 2021 Alaska Airlines will offer two distinct lounge membership packages – Alaska Lounge and Alaska Lounge+ (no sleep was lost coming up with those names!).
The key difference between the two memberships (other than price) is that while the standard Alaska Lounge membership will only grant travelers access to all Alaska Lounges when flying on any airline, Alaska Lounge+ membership will also grant travelers access to what the airline calls “an extended network of more than 90 partner airline lounges across the country” which includes all American Airlines Admirals Clubs.
The new lounge membership prices will be as follows:
Alaska Lounge membership: $450 annually ($350 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members)
Alaska Lounge+ membership: $600 annually ($500 for Alaska Airlines MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75k members).
Alaska Airlines has said that anyone purchasing/renewing the lounge membership that’s currently on offer will be grandfathered into an Alaska Lounge+ membership for the duration of the membership period.
As things stand, standard Alaska Lounge membership (the only membership that’s currently available) gives flyers access to all Alaska Lounge locations and “95+ Global Partner Lounges” (which include all the American Airlines Clubs) for between $300 and $450 depending on a flyer’s elite status (link).
- No Status – $450
- Mileage Plan MVP – $400
- Mileage Plan MVP Gold – $350
- Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K – $300
Going forward, any flyer wishing to keep access to the same lounges that the current lounge membership offers will have to part with at least $500.
Strangely, the way Alaska Airlines has structured its new lounge memberships, it’s the airline’s top-tier elites who suffer the most – Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75Ks who only wish to keep access to Alaska’s own lounges will have to pay $50/year more and those who want to keep their current access rights will have to pay $200/year more – while those who hold the lowest level of elite status with the airline (Mileage Plan MVP) do best (least badly).
Clearly, with Alaska Airlines confirming that anyone buying or renewing membership before 1 October 2021 will get grandfathered into the Alaska Lounge+ membership for the remainder of their membership year, now is the time to buy or renew Alaska Airlines lounge membership if access to American Airlines Admirals clubs is important to you – you’ll save at least $100.
Alternatively, as Admirals Club membership also gives travelers access to Alaska Airlines lounges, some may find it worth signing up for the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard which costs $450/year and offers the primary cardholder an Admirals Club membership as well as access to Admirals Clubs (but not Alaska Airlines lounges) for up to 10 authorized users.
In a month’s time, Alaska Airlines will introduce its new two-tier lounge membership program and for most flyers this will see the cost of lounge access increase significantly. Right now there’s an opportunity to lock-in the current lounge membership pricing for another membership year and if you value access to both Admirals Clubs and Alaska Airlines lounges, this is definitely something you should be considering.