How To Access Delta SkyClubs (2021)

How To Access Delta SkyClubs (2021)

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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 has a different approach when it comes 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, and also better than the cubed cheese and veggies you’ll find in many other airport lounges.

Delta SkyClubs offer pretty solid food options

SkyClubs also have complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails, and then they have premium drinks available for purchase. Funny enough, some of the premium drinks can be a great value with miles (though not as good of a deal as they used to be).

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 lounges, though the airline also has 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 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 allowed to bring in two additional guests for a fee of $39 per person.

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

Book an eligible WestJet business class ticket

WestJet business class passengers can access Delta SkyClubs with a same day international WestJet business class ticket, even at connecting airports on an itinerary. No guests are permitted.

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 the 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 United States and the Caribbean.

Be a Virgin Australia Velocity Gold or Platinum member

Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum members have Delta SkyClub access whenever flying Delta the same day, even if it’s domestic. These members are allowed to bring in one additional guest at no charge.

Be a WestJet Gold or Platinum member on an eligible itinerary

WestJet Gold and Platinum members have Delta SkyClub access with a same-day transborder boarding pass on either Delta or WestJet. These members are allowed to bring one guest into the lounge with them.

WestJet elite members can access Delta SkyClubs

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 had a long layover or were 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 Wi-Fi, and 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. The airline doesn’t sell day passes without having the right credit card, and in many ways, the airline discourages 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.

Conversations (8)
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  1. Bubba Guest

    @shoeguy: I'll agree that the downside to the SkyClubs (at least in the beforetimes) has been the sheer number of people, many of whom obviously are not used to being in a lounge, it's not always easy to work with screaming kids running through, and seating at capacity, as the staff struggles to keep the hummus tray (or whatever cheap protein they're slinging) full.
    My last time in a United Club was International out...

    @shoeguy: I'll agree that the downside to the SkyClubs (at least in the beforetimes) has been the sheer number of people, many of whom obviously are not used to being in a lounge, it's not always easy to work with screaming kids running through, and seating at capacity, as the staff struggles to keep the hummus tray (or whatever cheap protein they're slinging) full.
    My last time in a United Club was International out of SFO. I remember a bar and a couple towers of sadness.
    They're all a study in controlling costs, and general lounge food and drink is designed to be just below what you can buy airside (and that's usually terrible and, in the US at least, way overpriced). I suspect post-pandemic lounges will follow the hospitality industry on the short term: cost-cutting as business travel is slow to recover. Maybe not as bad as LH's outstation "bottle of water and a bag of chips", but not great either. Touchless towers of sadness.

  2. shoeguy Gold

    @Jan, not apples to pears and that's just my point. SkyClubs are to Delta what United Clubs and Admirals Clubs are to United and American respectively. They haven't invested in a second format for long haul intercontinental and I suspect that is due to the fact that they've got very little in the way of competition at their biggest hubs (ATL, DTW, MSP, SLC).

    @Bubba, I don't agree. Many United Clubs are actually pretty nice,...

    @Jan, not apples to pears and that's just my point. SkyClubs are to Delta what United Clubs and Admirals Clubs are to United and American respectively. They haven't invested in a second format for long haul intercontinental and I suspect that is due to the fact that they've got very little in the way of competition at their biggest hubs (ATL, DTW, MSP, SLC).

    @Bubba, I don't agree. Many United Clubs are actually pretty nice, particularly the renovated ones, as are a number of Admirals Clubs, though some are about as chic as they were in 1990.

    SkyClubs look and feel like cafeterias.

  3. Bubba Guest

    Aye, the advantage that Delta has is that they don't have Polaris or Flagship. So they don't cheapen the standard lounge to make the other stand out. Serves my interests better.

  4. Ole Guest

    or have an agent who mistakes Amex Delta Plat as Amex Plat and grants you free access.

    I think its worth at least during pandemic.

  5. Jan Guest

    @shoeguy apples to pears I think; DL doesn’t have a Polaris or Flagship equivalent to SkyClub, which competes with United Club and Admiral

  6. WhoIsRS Guest

    I wish Delta would consider opening up lounge access for elites on longer flights even if they are domestic. I get not allowing people in for a regional flight, but I would say if you are on a flight 1500-2000 miles + you could get access.

  7. shoeguy Gold

    Delta needs to rethink the SkyClub format. They look dated, don't feel premium, and at least pre-pandemic, were always crowded. It feels like they are distant third behind the AA Flagship and UA Polaris concept.

  8. John Guest

    Ben, I think Delta now excludes flights to Canada.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Bubba Guest

@shoeguy: I'll agree that the downside to the SkyClubs (at least in the beforetimes) has been the sheer number of people, many of whom obviously are not used to being in a lounge, it's not always easy to work with screaming kids running through, and seating at capacity, as the staff struggles to keep the hummus tray (or whatever cheap protein they're slinging) full. My last time in a United Club was International out of SFO. I remember a bar and a couple towers of sadness. They're all a study in controlling costs, and general lounge food and drink is designed to be just below what you can buy airside (and that's usually terrible and, in the US at least, way overpriced). I suspect post-pandemic lounges will follow the hospitality industry on the short term: cost-cutting as business travel is slow to recover. Maybe not as bad as LH's outstation "bottle of water and a bag of chips", but not great either. Touchless towers of sadness.

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shoeguy Gold

@Jan, not apples to pears and that's just my point. SkyClubs are to Delta what United Clubs and Admirals Clubs are to United and American respectively. They haven't invested in a second format for long haul intercontinental and I suspect that is due to the fact that they've got very little in the way of competition at their biggest hubs (ATL, DTW, MSP, SLC). @Bubba, I don't agree. Many United Clubs are actually pretty nice, particularly the renovated ones, as are a number of Admirals Clubs, though some are about as chic as they were in 1990. SkyClubs look and feel like cafeterias.

0
Bubba Guest

Aye, the advantage that Delta has is that they don't have Polaris or Flagship. So they don't cheapen the standard lounge to make the other stand out. Serves my interests better.

0
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