How To Access Delta SkyClubs

Filed Under: Delta
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Want to learn more about accessing US airline lounges? See my series about how to access Alaska Lounges, American Admirals Clubs, Delta SkyClubs, and United Clubs.


Every airline is unique when it comes to their approach to offering lounge access, though Delta is in a whole different league when it comes to discouraging memberships and day passes, and rather focusing on offering lounge access through credit cards.

In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how Delta Air Lines lounge access works.

Delta SkyClub basics

Delta operates a network of over 50 SkyClubs around the world (find all the locations here). In my opinion Delta SkyClubs are superior to American Admirals Clubs and United Clubs, as they generally have much better service, and significantly better complimentary food.

I find that SkyClubs have actually decent and enjoyable food that’s often better than what you’ll find aboard (Delta’s first class catering is pretty bad), and also better than the cubed cheese and veggies you’ll find in many other airport lounges.

SkyClubs also have complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails, and then they have premium drinks available for purchase. Funny enough, some of their premium drinks can be a great value with miles.

For example, if you’re feeling especially festive you can typically redeem just 10,000 SkyMiles for a $150+ bottle of champagne, like Dom Perignon!

I’ve redeemed 10,000 SkyMiles for a bottle of Krug

How to access Delta SkyClubs

Among the “big three” US carriers, I’d say Delta gives people the most options for accessing their lounges, though they also have so many restrictions associated with each type of access.

I would speculate that Delta has a higher percentage of non-club members using their lounges than American or United, given the credit cards that offer SkyClub access.

Let’s take a look at all of the options for accessing SkyClubs, ranging from a membership, to having the right credit card, to buying access.

Buy a Delta SkyClub Executive Membership

The option to access SkyClubs with the fewest restrictions is to buy an Executive Membership. You can purchase this for a year for $845 or 84,500 SkyMiles, and there’s no discount if you have elite status (though there is one other option for getting this if you’re a Diamond Medallion, which I’ll address below).

With an Executive Membership:

  • You can bring two guests, or a spouse/domestic partner and children under 21
  • You can also bring up to an additional two guests for $39 each per club visit
  • You can only use SkyClubs when traveling on Delta or a partner airline same day

An Executive Membership offers guesting privileges

Buy a Delta SkyClub Individual Membership

While the Executive Membership comes with the most privileges, you can also purchase an Individual Membership annually for $545 or 54,500 SkyMiles. Once again, there’s no discount if you have elite status.

With an Individual Membership:

  • You can’t bring any guests for free, though you can pay to bring two guests for $39 per person per visit
  • You can only use SkyClubs when traveling on Delta or a partner airline same day

Select access as a Delta Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit

Delta Diamond Medallion members can select three Choice Benefits every year, and some of those include SkyClub access. Specifically:

  • You can redeem one of your three Choice Benefits for a SkyClub Individual Membership
  • You can redeem two of your three Choice Benefits for a SkyClub Executive Membership
  • If you already have SkyClub access through a credit card, you can redeem one of your three Choice Benefits for a guest pass, allowing you to always bring two guests with you into SkyClubs

The same access policies apply regarding having to fly with Delta or a partner airline the same day.

Have an Amex Platinum Card

There are several credit cards that offer SkyClub access when flying with Delta same day. Let’s start with the Amex Platinum cards, which include the following:

If you have one of these cards then you can access SkyClubs either on departure or arrival, as long as you have a same day Delta ticket. You’re not allowed any guests, though.

The Amex Platinum comes with SkyClub access

Have a Delta Reserve Card

In addition to the Amex Platinum Card, the Delta Reserve cards also offer SkyClub access:

You need to be flying Delta same day to access SkyClubs with these, though there are a couple of additional things worth noting:

  • Those with the Reserve Card get two SkyClub guest passes per year, which they can use to bring guests into the lounge at no additional cost (each is valid for one person for one visit)
  • Those with the Reserve Card can bring up to two additional guests or immediate family members into SkyClubs at the rate of $39 per person per visit

Buy access for $39 with Delta Platinum Amex

While the Delta Platinum Amex cards don’t offer complimentary SkyClub access, they do offer discounted access. The following two cards are eligible:

You need to be flying Delta same day to buy access to SkyClubs:

  • You can buy access for $39 per person per visit
  • You can buy access for up to two additional guests or immediate family members at the rate of $39 per person per visit

With the Delta Platinum Amex you can buy SkyClub access for $39

Book an eligible Delta One ticket

Delta One is the name of the Delta’s business class experience. If you’re booked on a Delta One ticket then you receive access to SkyClubs throughout your same day travel journey (both at your long haul gateway and on connecting flights, though you don’t receive lounge access purely on arrival).

This includes domestic flights marketed as Delta One (like New York to Los Angeles), as well as international Delta One flights, including to Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Canada, and Mexico (travel to the Caribbean, Guam, Palau, and Saipan, is excluded).

This means that a standard domestic first class ticket won’t get you SkyClub access, while a flight marketed as Delta One will get you access.

Business class passengers can’t bring any guests into the lounges for free.

A Delta One ticket comes with SkyClub access

Book an eligible SkyTeam business or first class ticket

Beyond Delta One, you also get access to SkyClubs if you have a same day international SkyTeam business or first class ticket. The definition of international is the same as for Delta One.

This means if you’re flying Air France from Atlanta to Paris you’d get SkyClub access in Atlanta, if you’re flying Kenya Airways from New York to Nairobi you’d get SkyClub access in New York, etc.

Business class passengers can’t bring any guests into the lounges for free.

A same day SkyTeam business class ticket gets you SkyClub access

Be a SkyTeam Elite Plus member on an eligible itinerary

SkyTeam Elite Plus members (including Delta Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members) receive SkyClub access when flying internationally same day. They can even bring a guest into the lounge with them.

Lounge access is provided at all connecting and transfer points, though not upon arrival. The only “international” flights that don’t qualify are travel between the US and Caribbean.

Delta doesn’t sell SkyClub day passes anymore

This is perhaps specifically worth calling out. Aside from the above eligible passengers, Delta no longer sells SkyClub day passes. If you don’t have access through one of the above means, you can’t just buy a day pass to a SkyClub anymore.

Is Delta SkyClub access worth $39?

As you can see above, many options for SkyClub access involve paying $39 for guests. This increased pricing is new as of 2020, as prior to that guests typically cost $29.

At $29 per person I think it was easy enough to justify SkyClub access, assuming you have a long layover or are going to have a couple of drinks.

The $10 price increase to $39 makes this harder to justify, in my opinion.

Is it worth it? I’d say if you have an especially long layover, are hungry, or plan on having a couple of drinks, it’s probably still worth it. But if you just have 30 minutes to relax in the lounge, I’d say it’s not really worthwhile.

In many cases terminals have gotten better, with more comfortable seating options, for power ports in gate areas, free wifi, and more. In many cases I’m just as happy sitting in the gate area as sitting in a lounge.

Is Delta SkyClub access worth $39?

Bottom line

As you can see, Delta is unconventional when it comes to lounge access. They don’t sell day passes without having the right credit card, and in many ways they discourage you from getting a membership.

Assuming you’re not traveling on an eligible international ticket or a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, the best way to access SkyClubs is with an Amex Platinum or Delta Reserve Card.

Hopefully the above clears up everything you could want to know about Delta SkyClub access. If I missed anything, please let me know.

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Comments
  1. Lucky there is a heated debate right now of FT on whether GS/1ks should get Polaris lounge access. I feel like that would be a super interesting post if you reviewed the thread then gave us your opinion on the matter. Thanks

  2. Hey Lucky, a couple additional points:

    1. “Platinum and Centurion American Express Card Members may enter the club with up to two guests for and additional fee.” – I would assume it’s the same $39.00 per person as other cards, although I’m not 100% on this dollar amount.

    2. Lifetime members can travel on any other airline and still access the SkyClubs. From Delta’s website: “*Excludes existing Delta Sky Club Lifetime Members and their guests. Lifetime members may continue to access the club with same-day ticketed air travel on any airline. Note: applies to existing Lifetime Members only; new Lifetime Memberships are not available.”

    3. Members of the Delta SkyBonus business program can purchase five single visit passes for 95,000 SkyBonus points, or an individual membership for 160,000 skybonus points.

    I find being able to pick up five single passes on the SkyBonus program are pretty useful with traveling with office groups. The program is easy to join but requires 5 travelers per year and 5K in Delta Airlines spend.

  3. If I have a platinum card and delta reserve to access the lounge myself, would my wife be able to use her amex gold card to pay the $39 fee for access when she is with me, thus using part of her $100 airline credit?

  4. I know Amex Plat members could buy guest pass for $29. Has that changed to $39 as well, or no paid guests are allowed any more?

  5. I do object to the point about SkyClubs having better food than “first class” – Delta One meals (while not great, especially compared to international carriers) are better than what you will get at most SkyClubs. At the JFK clubs you can get bland chicken, soup, salad, etc, then board your flight to LAX or CDG or whatever and get a real meal. Delta should offer a way for Delta One customers to get a quality meal on the ground before departure. Amex Centurion will help but is not a permanent solution

  6. I don’t know for how many people this may be useful, but another wonderful way to get access to SkyClubs is via Delta’s partnership with Virgin Australia. Virgin’s program is only open to those who can quote an Australian, New Zealand, or Pacific Islands mailing address, although as a travel-savvy bunch this isn’t too hard. VA’s Gold and Platinum members receive SkyClub access on all itineraries (domestic or international), and qualification thresholds are quite modest. Of course, VA elites also receive SkyPriority, and Comfort+ upgrades as well.

  7. You are supposed to be able to access the lounge with Amex platinum on delta metal or “delta marketed” flights but the latter not a slam dunk. Delta’s own website states delta marketed flights are eligible but just yesterday I was turned away at JFK because I was on a Virgin flight (which was clearly delta marketed, In fact I purchased the ticket on delta). I showed the host the website language but she had a cheat sheet in her hand given to her by corporate that explicitly stated that only DL metal was allowed. She told me to raise it with Amex (again despite the explicit language on DL’s own website). I called Amex to raise and they gave me a modest (30 bucks) statement credit to compensate.

  8. The problem with Delta lounges is that it is difficult to find a seat. I was in many Delta lounges recently and that was my biggest issue because so many people can have access through various methods.

  9. I recently had several domestic flights in Australia booked directly with Virgin Australia in economy. I’m Skyteam Elite Plus and was somewhat surprised to be offered access to the lounge, when I flew SYD-DAR. When I checked in for the next flight DAR-BNE, I was told I had lounge access, only to be turned away at the lounge. Found out that access is only in Sydney.

  10. I’ve been a solid user of the Delta lounges for a few years now – my observations:

    – Consistently full (almost overcrowded), unless traveling late at night. MSP clubs are always packed, as are the smaller clubs located in the ATL terminals. I have found some niches along the way – but won’t share them here
    – Wish they had more showers. MSP has no showers available. DTW has one shower left I think (and no toilet in your shower bathroom). Pretty ridiculous for airports that have multiple international flights arriving daily
    – Food overall is very good (at least in the larger clubs). The selections in the smaller clubs get a little blah.
    – Service (especially front-desk) is typically excellent and friendly.

  11. Virgin Australia gold and platinum members have delta sky club access when travelling on a delta flight in any class. I’m VA platinum and have used it multiple times, in FLL SEA MSP ATL LAX etc

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