On Thursday, November 15th, Delta announced two changes to their ever-shifting Sky Club access policies:
- Effective immediately, single-visit passes, previously sold for $59 or 5,000 SkyMiles, will no longer be available.
- Effective January 1st, 2019, annual individual memberships will increase in cost from $495 to $545 (or 54,500 SkyMiles), and annual executive memberships will increase in cost from $745 to $845, or 84,500 SkyMiles.
While these changes impact full-paying members and drop-in visitors alike, they haven’t exactly shouted this announcement from the rooftops. Emails have been circulated to select SkyMiles members, but not everyone was notified of the changes. You can read about the policy changes in detail on this page, but you have to scroll pretty deep to get there. Like, past the cocktail list and CLEAR policies deep:
As a matter of fact, the general Sky Club membership page hasn’t even been updated yet to reflect the new prices.
These changes are in addition to the new access policies that Delta announced a year ago, where access will be limited to members and cardholders who are flying on Delta-operated flights.
Who this does not impact
Before the internet gets into a tizzy, let’s start by looking at who won’t be impacted by these changes. I know that many of us probably get Sky Club access through a credit card or Medallion status, and the following policies will remain the same:
- Delta Reserve cardholders can continue to access the Sky Club at no additional cost, and can bring in up to two guests for $29 each, provided they are traveling on Delta.
- Delta Platinum and Gold SkyMiles Cardholders can continue to purchase day passes for $29 for themselves and up to two guests, provided they are traveling on Delta.
- Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and The American Express Centurion Card can continue to have access to Sky Clubs when traveling on Delta, and they can bring up to two guests for $29 per person.
- Delta Diamond Medallions can continue to select Sky Club memberships as a Choice Benefit.
- Delta Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallions will continue to have SkyTeam Elite Plus status, and thus will still receive lounge access when traveling on SkyTeam flights, regardless of the class of service.
- Delta One tickets will continue to include lounge access
So for many of us, it’s business (and pimento cheese dip) as usual.
What this means
While I can almost hear some of you scoffing behind your computer screens at the mere thought of paying $59 for hummus and Sweetwater Ale, this could be a potential hit for anyone bringing in more than two guests. But the ones most likely to be hit are those paying for membership outright; a $50-$100 increase is nothing to sneeze at.
Now more than ever, access via credit card seems to be the way to go. With the American Express Platinum, American Express Platinum for Business, and Delta Reserve cards pricing at annual fees of $550, $450, and $450 respectively, I really can’t see much upside to paying outright for a club membership.
Especially with the new guest access policies in place.
Like any new restriction, I’m sure there’s a hope of “thinning of the herds,” but don’t expect to walk into an empty B-Concourse Sky Club in Atlanta anytime soon. I imagine some paying members will shift toward accessing the clubs with a credit card – and I hope that American Express doesn’t raise their annual fees in conjunction with the new Sky Club membership prices.
So for now, this may be as good a time as ever to grab an American Express Platinum or Delta co-branded credit card. And hope that they bring back the mac and cheese.
What do you make of these Sky Club access changes?