Effective on August 15th, members of Alaska Airlines’ Board Room will enjoy access to the entire network of American Airlines Admirals Clubs when flying on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.
The new program, announced today, is an expansion of Alaska and American’s prior agreement, which granted Alaska Airlines’ Board Room members access to a handful of Admirals Clubs at Austin, TX (AUS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Denver, CO (DEN), and New York – Newark, NJ (EWR).
Admirals Club members were already able to access Alaska Airlines’ four Board Rooms in Seattle, WA (SEA), Portland, OR (PDX), Anchorage, AK (ANC) and Los Angeles, CA (LAX); this benefit will naturally remain in place.
Not only does the expanded partnership include access to all Admirals Clubs worldwide, but with the merger between American Airlines and US Airways well underway, Alaska’s customers will also enjoy access to the former US Airways clubs, which have been rebranded as Admirals Clubs.
The partnership makes Board Room membership significantly more appealing than it used to be, with nationwide coverage and better options at key hubs. For example, Alaska Airlines airline shut down their lounge in San Francisco a few years ago, then struck a local partnership with Cathay Pacific, granting Board Room members access to Cathay’s Business Class lounge in International Terminal A where Alaska’s flights depart from. While that was a convenient option for Alaska flights, the Cathay lounge was out of bounds for American Airlines passengers. Board Room members now have no less than three options in San Francisco, with access to the much larger, recently renovated and centrally located Admiral Clubs in Terminal 2, and continued access to the Delta Sky Club (which will soon be replaced by a much larger club airside.)
Board Room members will be able to bring their immediate family (spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21) or two guests into all Admirals Club lounges. And that might just be the silver lining. Alaska Airlines and Delta, while still partners in theory, have effectively become fierce competitors namely around the Seattle hub. Reciprocal benefits have been slashed, and while Board Room members still have access to Delta Sky Clubs at key locations when flying on Alaska or Delta, they may not invite guests anymore unless they choose to fork $29 per person.
Therefore the two logical questions following today’s announcement are: how long will the partnership with Delta Sky Clubs survive, and, will Alaska raise the price of Board Room memberships? Time will tell, though we wouldn’t be surprised to at least see Sky Club access benefits further diminished.
A final note — the program does not grant Alaska Airlines’ First Class passengers access to Admirals Clubs. In a rather unique move for a US carrier, Alaska offers lounge access to their First Class passengers on paid fares, but the benefit does not extend to partner lounges.
Featured image: American Airlines Admirals Club – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)