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One of the nice perks of having a premium travel credit card is getting lounge access at many airports around the world. That is….it’s nice until it gets taken away from you.
Over the past few months, more and more travelers have been turned away at multiple Alaska Airlines lounges due to “capacity constraints”. This has caused more than a little consternation to travelers. It feels like you are being robbed of a benefit you already paid for as part of the annual fee for your card. However, it is completely at the lounges discretion to turn away Priority Pass holders.
So far there had been no official policy to the Alaska Boardroom closures, except that they were becoming more frequent, especially at Portland and Seattle. It is likely that the flood of new Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders is part of the cause of the increased Alaska lounge traffic.
No more guests at 4 Alaska Lounges
I headed to the Priority Pass website to see if I could find any more info on any coming policy changes. Sure enough, three of the Alaska Boardroom lounges has a note saying:
“Effective 01MAY, due to capacity constraints, the lounge cannot accommodate accompanying guests at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
The lounges affected are the boardrooms at Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle (both). The Portland lounge hurts the most, as it is the only Priority Pass lounge at the airport. In Seattle there are two other non-Alaska options.
I am assuming the third Seattle lounge will be under the same constraint when it is completed (if it even joins the program). The Anchorage lounge appears unaffected.
Will Alaska cut ties with Priority Pass completely?
There is some speculation that this could be in the works, but there aren’t any details as of yet. Back in March View from the Wing speculated that this was a possibility for the Alaska lounges as a means of combatting overcrowding issues. One Mile at a Time has a rundown on their communication with Priority Pass, and nothing indicates a severance of the relationship.
Ultimately, we’ll have to see how this plays out. It is unfortunate that most Alaska lounges are now limiting Priority Pass members, but at least there is an official policy that travelers can (hopefully) anticipate. It’ll be frustrating if many of the lounges still decide to turn away Priority Pass members entirely.
Featured image courtesy of Traveling Otter under CC 2.0 license.