Alaska Air to Shrink Airport Lounge Network

By the end of this year, Alaska Airlines’ network of airport lounges will increase by four. But beginning next year, Alaska flyers will lose access to 48 Delta lounges.

“Alaska Airlines Announces New Seattle Board Room, Expanded Partner Lounge Access for Board Room Members.” So reads the headline of Alaska Airlines’ latest news release, issued this morning at 5:03 a.m. (PT).

As for specifics, Alaska’s Board Room members and first-class ticket holders will enjoy access to a new Board Room lounge in Seattle airport’s North Satellite terminal beginning on November 7. And from December 1, Board Room members will have access to United lounges at Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Phoenix airports.

So, a net four-lounge expansion of Alaska’s network of lounges? If only.

What went unannounced in today’s news release was the fact that, beginning next year, Board Room members will no longer be entitled to use Delta’s Sky Club lounges. That’s a loss of around 48 lounges currently available to Board Room members.

So, four steps forward, 48 steps back. Not exactly a compelling headline.

Some of that loss will be offset by this summer’s addition of American’s Admirals Club lounges as Board Room affiliates. But for some flyers, losing access to Delta’s lounges will significantly detract from the value of Board Room membership, which runs between $295 and $450 a year, depending on one’s elite status in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program.

Reader Reality Check

When considering a Board Room membership, would the loss of Delta lounges be a deal-breaker for you?

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.