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Delta Air Lines announced a host of changes to its Delta Sky Club access policy. Unsurprisingly, there is no good news here. Instead, the airline has slashed access to its lounge network for many travelers.
The announcement should be no surprise since Delta — seemingly more than other airlines — has been struggling with lounge overcrowding. Even after restricting lounge access in June 2022, the airline still needs to reduce the number of passengers visiting lounges that are bursting at the seams.
Limitations on Who Can Buy a Sky Club Membership
Unfortunately, the first negative development is who can purchase Sky Club membership from January 1, 2023. To be eligible to buy a Sky Club membership, you must already have qualified as a Delta Medallion Diamond, Platinum, Gold, or Silver.
Price Increase for Delta Medallion Members
Delta Diamond Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion members who used to purchase an annual club membership are facing a steep fee increase. However, the new prices will come into effect from January 1, 2023.
- Individual memberships are increasing from $545 or 54,500 miles to $695 or 69,500 SkyMiles. That is an eye-watering 27.5% increase in cost.
- Executive memberships are increasing by a monumental amount from $845 or 84,500 miles to $1,495 or 149,500 miles. That is a staggering 76.9% increase in price!
Unfortunately, companion access for guests doesn’t get a reprieve. Access is also increasing from $39 (or 3,900 SkyMiles) to $50 or (5,000 SkyMiles). Compared to other increases, this is a modest hike of 28%.
This price increase is massive and almost kills the value of purchasing a Sky Club membership entirely. Multiple Delta co-brand credit cards and others allow you access to Sky Clubs or come with complimentary Sky Club membership. However, most of these cards carry an annual fee that is the same or lower than the standalone cost of a Sky Club membership.
You are better served to open a credit card with complimentary membership and pay the annual fee. This gives you far more benefits and perks than a simple standalone membership. Only time will tell whether this price hike will be the death of paid Sky Club membership.
Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit Sky Club Membership Cost Increase
Starting in 2024, Delta Diamond Medallion members will have to pay more rewards for a Sky Club Executive Membership. Diamond Medallion members will now have to use 3 of their Choice Benefits instead of the current 2 for Executive Membership.
More bad news: Sky Club individual membership and credit card guest pass access will no longer be possible via a Choice Benefit starting February 1, 2023.
Sky Club Members Cabin Access Rules
Delta Sky Club members flying on basic economy fares will no longer have access to the Delta Sky Club. However, basic economy flyers can still have access if they hold an eligible American Express card.
This new change comes into effect on February 2, 2023. Therefore in the future, Sky Club members will need to be flying in Main Cabin or a premium cabin to gain access.
Medallion Members Flying Internationally
Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members will now only receive Sky Club access when flying internationally in the following fare classes:
- Delta Premium Select
- Delta One
This new policy comes into effect on February 2, 2023. From then Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members will no longer receive access when flying internationally in the following fare classes:
- Main Cabin
- Delta Comfort+
Members can still gain access if they have an alternative access method like Sky Club Membership. Or an eligible credit card that grants Sky Club access.
Amex Card Members Sky Club Policy Change
The only change is the increase in the companion fee. The increase in price affects all eligible American Express cards with Sky Club access and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. From February 2, 2023, companion guest access will increase from $39 to $50. (Effective 1/1/24, this benefit will no longer be available – Learn more.)
Access Policies Not Changing
Wondering who is not affected by these changes? Delta Sky Club access policies for all of the following flyers have not changed:
- Delta 360 Members
- SkyTeam airlines Elite Plus members
- SkyTeam & Delta Elite Plus members flying in Delta Premium Select and Delta One or partner airline equivalent.
- Travelers in Delta one or partner airline equivalent cabins
This lack of change is no surprise since all of these involve deals with other airlines. Clearly, Delta cannot act unilaterally and start limiting access without the agreement of its partners. If it did, it could face a backlash and see its own elites punished reciprocally.
How to Access Delta Sky Clubs
Although there are many new restrictions in place, you still have plenty of options if you are a regular with Delta and want to access Delta Sky Clubs. The following Amex credit cards allow you complimentary access Delta Sky Clubs with a same-day Delta boarding pass — or with a Delta-marketed WestJet ticket beginning with a 006.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.
- Centurion® Card from American Express.
(Starting 2/1/25, Reserve Card members get 10 Delta Sky Club visits yearly. Spend $75,000+ on the card between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24 for unlimited visits, and each calendar year thereafter – Learn more.)
On the other hand, this is disappointing news if you're affected, and Delta has gone to town on its lounge access. However, if you have tried getting into a lounge recently and failed due to overcrowding. Or have if you had a terrible experience due to the crowds, these changes may improve things in the future.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways dedicated Delta flyers can access Sky Clubs. Although if you are willing to visit other lounges, many credit cards include complimentary lounge access when traveling. Finding the right card for you and your travel goals is certainly still feasible.
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