Delta Is Adding SkyClub Access Restrictions As Of January 1, 2019

Filed Under: Delta

In 2014, Delta added some significant restrictions when it comes to SkyClub access. Back then they greatly limited the guesting privileges offered for those accessing lounges through memberships or through the Amex Platinum Card. They introduced a new “Executive Membership” that allowed the same guesting privileges as before, though it came at a higher cost.

Well, it looks like there are some more changes on the way soon, which are intended to alleviate SkyClub crowding. Delta is making some changes to their SkyClub access policy as of January 1, 2019. That’s right, they’re giving over a year notice of these changes (as they should, given that people buy annual lounge memberships). With these changes Delta is essentially requiring that you actually be flying Delta in order to access the SkyClub, even in those instances where you could previously access their lounges when flying on another airline.

Specifically, here are the policies that are changing, according to LoyaltyLobby:

  • SkyClub members will only have access to SkyClubs when flying Delta or their partners (currently they can access SkyClubs regardless of which airline they fly)
  • SkyClub members will no longer have access to partner airline lounges (currently they can access select Air France, KLM, and Virgin Australia lounges)
  • American Express Reserve cardmembers will only be able to bring guests in for $29 each if that guest is flying with Delta (currently they can be flying any airline)
  • American Express SkyMiles Platinum & Gold cardmembers will only be able to pay $29 to access a SkyClub when flying Delta or their partners (currently they can pay $29 to access the SkyClub regardless of which airline they’re flying)

Delta SkyClub Seattle Airport

As before, lounge access based on SkyTeam status requires that you’re flying with SkyTeam the same day, and lounge access based on the Amex Platinum Card requires flying Delta the same day.

Ultimately these changes aren’t a huge deal, though they’re certainly negative for those who otherwise accessed lounges when flying with other airlines.

Will you be impacted by these changes to SkyClub access?

  1. I wonder what the point of buying an individual membership now is, when you can get the same access via the AMEX Reserve at a lower fee?

  2. @ Ben — Um, people buy 3-year lounge memberships. Where is my 3-year notice? Class action lawsuit, anyone?

  3. Well this sucks. After hearing this I will definitely not be renewing my executive membership next year. I am an SEA-based Amex Platinum holder but I bought a membership because I don’t fly Delta all that often. Let’s hope that the new Centurion lounge at SEA opens up before this takes effect.

  4. Can a delta diamond member still use lounges on arrival in the US? In these instances there are no tickets on delta the traveler is going to. It’s been a great help to use lounge when landing in US after international trip or when waiting for a hotel domestically.

  5. Wait, you can’t access the SkyClub with a membership if you’re not flying Delta? What the bloody hell, that’s a HUGE change. That’s literally the only benefit to buying membership over using an AmEx Platinum card or Delta card.

  6. @Alpha – The difference now is it’s “free” versus paying for use. Still a terrible deal either way.

  7. @Gene – I would expect that the terms of your 3-year membership indicate that Delta has the right to change entry requirements at any time without notice (but it would be worth checking)

  8. @Gene,
    I would bet you can ask for a partial refund if you can demonstrate this is how you have been using the lounges.

    I use Skyclubs on arrival a lot. It seems to be fine if you have a same day ticket.

  9. Being able to access AF and KLM when flying economy in Europe is nice. Seems like that is going away. I assume if you fly business you can still access.

  10. @Tom @roberto — You could use the lounge on arrival after a domestic flight, but keep in mind that for arrival on an international flight, you’d have to clear immigration and would not be able to get back into the secure area without a same-day ticket for further travel.

  11. “SkyClub members will no longer have access to partner airline lounges (currently they can access select Air France, KLM, and Virgin Australia lounges)” What this exactly means? Can I still access Virgin lounge in London, Air France lounge in Paris or KLM lounge in Amsterdam if I am flying Delta (business or coach)?

  12. Don’t American lounges allow you access even if you’re not flying at all? That’s a pretty big difference.

  13. @Santastico – the restrictions announced today appear to be limited to those accessing Sky Clubs via memberships or via credit card access. I have not heard any similar restrictions to Sky Club access based on class of service; unless I’m mistaken, those traveling in Delta One on qualifying international flights will continue to have access to partner lounges.

  14. @Owen – Admirals Club memberships do allow access even if not flying, though finding a check-in agent to help you get past the TSA checkpoint can be a hassle.

  15. Not being able to access partner lounges is a huge change! I’m a DM MM and have been for years. I didn’t know I could access the Skyclub when NOT flying Delta. I thought. You had to be on a DL flight. I guess this gives us a year to write letters and protest the loss of partner lounges.

  16. I have a Lifetime Sky Club membership for many years. I wonder how many of us are still around? It would be very nice if Delta would let us continue to bring guests into the club until we actually reach our life journey’s end. Heck, for me it might come sooner than 2019, so it won’t really matter. BTW, I don’t even buy green bananas anymore!

  17. The partner airline club loss is huge for me —intra Europe flights (delta connectors) are all non – delta flights. When I m on a delta ticket with DL flights in every segment, when I connect in Paris to air France aircraft, I can’t use the club in Paris. Wow. That was the place to take a shower and change clothes, than see a client. No more?

  18. @Endre — It sounds like that’s the case for those who either paid for a Sky Club membership or accessed Sky Clubs and partner lounges via Amex cards. But I don’t see any changes to the policy for Delta elites (Gold and above, I believe?) to have Sky Club and partner lounge access when traveling on qualifying international routes in economy. So it depends on how you’ve been getting access up to this point.

  19. In October, I was denied entry to the Delta Sky Club in SEA using my AMEX PLAT Card, and politely referred over to the AMEX Centurion Lounge, just around the corner.

  20. Oh no. That means I can no longer shower at a DL SkyClub whilst in-transit on my all UA itinerary. So I will just be smelly on my UA flights, and I will fit right in 🙂

  21. riff raff tommy trash, who really are you? AA or US air head, Ha Ha, your well out of tune. just clicked, and your in the trash,

  22. I understand overcrowding and all but to not give access for memberships when not flying delta is just so annoying. This will deff make me rethink my renewal since having this was a benefit when flying for work and not getting to select who I fly with but being able to enjoy the lounge regardless.

  23. So confusing, like american “health” “care”. No one can figure it out–rules, regs, constantly changing things to benefit corporations etc….A big us cluster bleep.

  24. @Steffie: 100% agree. I became DM in September and went to the SkyClub at MSP and for the first time did not show my Amex Paltinum but just my boarding pass. The attendant thank me for my loyalty and for being Diamond and welcomed me into the lounge. On the way back in SFO I did the same. The attendant said I had to use one of my Choice Benefits and select SkyClub membership to get access to the lounge. I thought that change was made for 2018 but not for 2017. I said no tks and showed her my Amex Platinum and she let me in. Delta changes their rules so often that neither Delta employees nor passengers know what they can ot cannot do.

  25. @Santastico, you should report them. AFAIK, your DM still includes the individual SC membership.

    @Ben, according to the linked LoyaltyLobby post, AMEX Plat & Centurion currently get access when flying on any airline, and will change so that it’s access only when flying DL (which is the current situation). Glad that you didn’t include that “change” in your post. 🙂

    As for the changes, IMHO, SC members should get access to the SC regardless of airline. It seems like a petty and cheap change, since they’re MEMBERS of the club. “Oh, you’re a member, but you can’t come in if you’re not flying DL.” Ridiculous.

  26. For years now Delta has been very clear how much they (don’t) care about my happiness . I ‘ve used up nearly all my skymiles just to show my appreciation . Don’t plan on seeking any more .

  27. What’s the point of a membership if you’re not a member. Restrictions on privileges granted by CCs is one thing.

    They need to raise prices if they have too many members.

  28. My question is, how in the world does blocking skyclub members accessing partner lounges “alleviate” skyclub crowding?

    Just an observation. I’m an AA flyer so this does not impact me much but I don’t think Deltas doing this for the right reasons here.

  29. DL’s competitors sell their memberships for around $550 and they still include guest access and can be used with any same day ticket.

    For $745 you would think it would include access with a same-day ticket, that at least they should continue to allow Executive members to access with the same day bp…

  30. Actually, having a SkyClub Executive membership and not being able to use it unless I’m flying Delta is a big deal. I fly Delta about 75% of the time. But I have a SkyClub exec membership so that I can use the SkyClub all the time.

  31. I believe there is enough interest in their product, that is why their lounges are still considered crowded by them. Or DL may want the customer experience to be better than other airlines. Delta has proved time and again that better product and customer service is the key. Most of the OMAAT readers are looking for free access. That is less likely to happen in future. After DL made changes to their loyalty program a few years ago, other airlines followed suit. I won’t be surprised if AA and UA follow their lead in this case as well.

  32. My timing is good. I changed home bases a year ago and only fly Delta now. Before I was split between Delta and JetBlue but kept a direct membership so I could always use SkyClub.

  33. I don’t understand why Delta is limiting the access of its members to Sky Team lounges elsewhere. With that said, a platinum or diamond flying between Paris and say Stockholm on Air France should still be able to access the Air France lounge by virtue of their Sky Team elite status.

  34. I was recently turned away at the SLC Delta lounge as I wasn’t flying Delta (amex plat) … seemed to me at the time that the desk troll was wrong, but standing there arguing wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Just another day with DL.

  35. screw Delta. their prices suck.. their arrogance sucks… their award chart sucks.. their flash sales suck… their sky clubs (except for DTW) suck

  36. @dalem The “desk troll” WAS CORRECT. You need to be flying on Delta to access Sky Club with your AMEX Platinum.

    Per AMEX T&C: “For the most current Delta Sky Club access and pricing policy, please visit All Delta Sky Club rules apply to Delta Sky Club membership and use. To review the rules, please visit”

    And Per Delta: “Customers with select Platinum American Express credit cards may access Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a same-day Delta operated flight or Delta marketed WestJet operated flight booked through Delta (tickets starting with the number 006)”

  37. @Brian I guess the takeaway for me is the labyrinth of rules with Delta and “select” cards and which rules for which cards, or this or that lounge and whether my ticket starts with 006 or not — all just leaves me shrugging my shoulders and thinking why bother for a free cup of coffee and a koupla cookies (whatever).

  38. My Lifetime Membership was expensive at the time but a good deal in the long run. Now that value is evaporating. It is great to be able to run into a SC while flying another airline — sometimes routes and schedules do not make DL possible (plus their rates are at a premium and our company requires us to travel economically). I will not fly DL just to get SC access. I agree that there cannot be that may Lifetime memberships still left that keeping the old rules for those who have been loyal customers for decades. Unlike annual members I cannot “save” an annual fee and transfer to an AMEX card that will work on multiple airlines’ clubs — DL already has my membership fee for life.

  39. I will be traveling with 3 friends. I have the Reserve and Platinum card. Can I bring 2 in with one card and one with the other card for a fee? Thanks

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