Do Alaska Airline MVP Gold Elites get access to Alaska Lounges en route to Costa Rica?

Do Alaska Airline MVP Gold Elites get access to Alaska Lounges en route to Costa Rica?

Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines

With all the excitement of Alaska Airlines joining oneworld today, one of the changes I am most looking forward to is access to oneworld lounges around the world.  Currently I am an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP Gold which means I now have oneworld Sapphire status.  This is mid-level status, but it does grant business class lounge access.

This week I will be flying from Seattle to Costa Rica via LAX in Economy.  I do not have an Alaska Lounge membership.

Typically when flying on a oneworld airline internationally, I would have access to any oneworld Business Class lounge “regardless of cabin class being flown”.

However, Alaska has some exceptions to this rule:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members are not eligible for access to oneworld member airline lounges when travelling solely on North American flights within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

So when I am flying from Seattle to NYC, I won’t be able to use the lounge at either airport.

However, what about when flying to one of the two destinations in Costa Rica that Alaska serves?

Costa Rica is not listed as one of the locations that is an exception to lounge access.  Therefore, on my upcoming SEA-LAX-LIR flight on Alaska Airlines, I should be able to access both the SEA & LAX Alaska Lounges (or any other oneworld lounge I pick).  Unless somehow they lump Costa Rica in to the Caribbean.

However, I think this is going to be extremely confusing for Alaska Lounge employees as LAX-LIR and LAX-SJO are the only two Alaska operated flights that would qualify for Lounge access under oneworld rules.

For example, I had a conversation with friendly Samantha on Twitter about this and much confusion in the thread ensued:

So, as the rules are written now, I believe when flying to Costa Rica on Alaska with MVP Gold or Gold 75K status, you should be able to access the Alaska Lounge.  Whether or not in practice you are granted access is yet to be seen.

UPDATE: I was able to get access with no problem today on my layover before flying to LIR (Costa Rica).  The desk agent was excited that I was the first person to use their oneworld status to get access.  She had to consult a laminated card that showed the access rules.  I’m guessing your mileage may vary especially the first few months.

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