New Alaska Airlines Visa Card Benefits
Starting tomorrow, June 1, 2019, the Alaska Airlines Visa Card from Bank of America will add two new benefits.
50% off Alaska Lounge Day Pass
This benefit has actually been around for a bit as a trial, however now it is being written into the terms of the card.
It isn’t clear whether or not you will have to pay the full amount and then receive a statement credit or if you will only have to pay the 1/2 price at the time of Lounge entry. I have confirmed that the price you pay at the Lounge will be $25.
This means Alaska Lounge access will cost $25 per person for a one day pass.
I find this interesting in light of the reduction of Alaska Lounge access for Priority Pass members. In the past couple of years, Alaska Lounges have reduced or altogether stopped allowing entry with Priority Pass. Alaska Lounges were extremely overcrowded before the change.
Denial of Priority Pass entry has helped with the overcrowding issue. However, Alaska Airlines post-Virgin America merger has notoriously cut customer centered benefits to increase their profits. I am sure by limiting their partnership with Priority Pass, Alaska has taken a hit in revenue. Consensus is that most lounges are reimbursed $20-$25 for each visit.
This move seems to be a way to increase profits by hoping to lure back those people that visited with their Priority Pass with a reduced cost day pass. $25 is more than “free”, so I don’t think it will move the needle in terms of overcrowding returning to the Alaska Lounge. It may bring back a bit of revenue being missed with the lack of Priority Pass without hurting the climate of the Lounge for those with Alaska Lounge Membership or flying First Class.
I do wonder if this could cannibalize paid Alaska Lounge Memberships. Currently someone with no status pays $450 ($350 renewal), MVP pays $375 ($325 renewal), MVP Gold pays $295 ($295 renewal). Depending on your status level, you would have to visit an Alaska Lounge at least 12-18 times before it makes sense to purchase an annual membership.
Of course there are other benefits of the Alaska Lounge Membership (guesting in family/friends, access to certain non-Alaska lounges). But for some, like me who often travels solo, it might make more sense to just purchase a day pass when I need one rather than purchasing a Membership.
In related news, I noticed that Alaska Airlines now offers active military members traveling on orders free access to their Lounges when departing on an Alaska flight.
20% back on Alaska Airlines In-Flight Purchases
Purchases include food, beverage, and wifi. Though this isn’t as generous as the JetBlue credit card, for example, it is a nice added benefit. At the time of purchase, passengers will pay the full amount and receive a credit for 20% within 7 days.
I love my fruit and cheese plate. This will save me about $1.50 each time. It also will encourage me to keep my Alaska Visa in my wallet when traveling (which I don’t currently do). It may also drive an increase in sales.
While overall these added benefits are not game changers, it is nice to have added benefits to an already valuable card.
If you want to apply for the card, my suggestion is to apply at the time of booking an airline ticket as you will likely be offered a $100 statement credit in addition to the 40,000 mile sign up bonus. If you don’t need to book a flight, you can always create a dummy booking — look for the prompt at the check out screen.
What do you think of the added benefits? Are they enough to increase your use of your Alaska Visa or apply for one if you don’t have one already?