How To Access Delta Sky Clubs

How To Access Delta Sky Clubs

14
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!
Want to learn more about accessing US airline lounges? See my series about how to access Alaska LoungesAmerican Admirals ClubsDelta Sky Clubs, 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. The Atlanta-based airline also has the most restrictive policies in terms of how long before departure you can access lounges.

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

What should you expect from Delta Sky Clubs?

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

I find that Sky Clubs 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 Sky Clubs offer pretty solid food options

Sky Clubs 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.

I recently redeemed Delta SkyMiles for Dom Perignon in the Sky Club!

Delta Sky Club three hour access rule

Before we talk about the different ways to access Delta Sky Clubs, I wanted to cover some access restrictions that were implemented in mid-2022, in order to help reduce crowding (though I’m not sure these new rules accomplished all that much).

With few exceptions, Delta Sky Clubs can only be accessed within three hours of a flight’s scheduled departure. The exceptions include the following:

  • Those with Delta 360 status and those with the Amex Centurion Card can access Sky Clubs more than three hours before departure
  • If you have a connecting itinerary, you can access the Sky Club more than three hours before departure if your connection is that long
  • Select eligible travelers can use Sky Clubs upon arrival, in which case there’s no limit to how long you can stay

Delta is the only major US airline that restricts for how long you can use lounges. Then again, the airline also seems to have the most crowding issues, as there are frequently lines to get into Sky Clubs.

How to access Delta Sky Clubs

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 lounges than American or United, given the credit cards that offer Sky Club access.

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

Buy a Delta Sky Club Executive Membership

The option to access Sky Clubs 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 member, 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 Sky Clubs when traveling on Delta or a partner airline same day
An Executive Membership offers guesting privileges

Buy a Delta Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs 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 Sky Club access. Specifically:

  • You can redeem one of your three Choice Benefits for a Sky Club Individual Membership
  • You can redeem two of your three Choice Benefits for a Sky Club Executive Membership
  • If you already have Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs

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 Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs 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 Sky Club access

Have a Delta Reserve Card

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

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

  • Those with the Reserve Card get two Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs 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 Sky Club access, they do offer discounted access. The following two cards are eligible:

You need to be flying Delta same day to buy access to Sky Clubs:

  • 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 Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs 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 Sky Club 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 Sky Club access

Book an eligible SkyTeam business or first class ticket

Beyond Delta One, you also get access to Sky Clubs 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 Sky Club access in Atlanta, if you’re flying Kenya Airways from New York to Nairobi you’d get Sky Club 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 Sky Club access

Book an eligible WestJet business class ticket

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

WestJet business class passengers get Sky Club access

Be a SkyTeam Elite Plus member on an eligible itinerary

SkyTeam Elite Plus members (including Delta Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members) receive Sky Club 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 WestJet Gold or Platinum member on an eligible itinerary

WestJet Gold and Platinum members have Delta Sky Club 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 Sky Clubs

Delta doesn’t sell Sky Club day passes anymore

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

Is Delta Sky Club access worth $39?

As you can see above, many options for Sky Club access involve paying $39 for guests. Is it worth paying $39 to be able to access a Sky Club? Since Sky Club access is generally only granted three hours before departure, realistically you’ll have at most two (or so) hours in the lounge.

I’d say if you’re hungry and/or plan on having a couple of drinks, it’s probably worth it, at least compared to alternatives in the terminal. Meanwhile 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, power outlets in gate areas, and free Wi-Fi. In this situations I’m just as happy sitting in the gate area as sitting in a lounge.

I would say that you should view the math a bit differently if you have complimentary access and you have to pay $39 for your companion. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t use a lounge and leave my companion to fend for themselves in the terminal.

So for me the question becomes whether it’s worth paying $19.50 per person to access the Sky Club, since I view it as a package deal. Of course not everyone will think that way, but for those that do, I think that’s worth keeping in mind.

Is Delta Sky Club 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. Furthermore, Delta places limits on how long before departure you can access lounges.

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

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

Conversations (14)
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.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Aaie Guest

    1). I am Skyteam elite plus (fb premium). I am flying to Atlanta on auf business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter?
    2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to Detroit. Am I right I...

    1). I am Skyteam elite plus (fb premium). I am flying to Atlanta on auf business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter?
    2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to Detroit. Am I right I ca NOT enter on departure?
    3) Detroit to Paris a few days later, in eco (no upgrade). Am I Right I cannot enter?

    Sorry. I read the thread intently, but wasn’t sure about the domestic onwards, in particular as it relates to 1)

    Cheers
    3) flying a few days later

    1. Aaie Guest

      Sorry, autospell. Correct below…

      1). I am Skyteam elite plus (flying blue platinum). I am flying to Atlanta on AF business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter?
      2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to...

      Sorry, autospell. Correct below…

      1). I am Skyteam elite plus (flying blue platinum). I am flying to Atlanta on AF business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter?
      2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to Detroit. Am I right I ca NOT enter on departure?
      3) Detroit to Paris a few days later, in eco (no upgrade). Am I Right I cannot enter?

      Sorry. I read the thread intently, but wasn’t sure about the domestic onwards, in particular as it relates to 1)

      Cheers

    2. NorseFA Guest

      As long as you have an international itinerary you are allowed access to the Delta Lounge as a SkyTeam Elite Member--even if you have domestic legs in the itinerary.

      In the situation you described above, the only situation where you would not have access to the Delta Lounge is on your domestic-only itinerary from Denver to Detroit.

      The US is the only country I found where first class passengers are not entitled to lounge...

      As long as you have an international itinerary you are allowed access to the Delta Lounge as a SkyTeam Elite Member--even if you have domestic legs in the itinerary.

      In the situation you described above, the only situation where you would not have access to the Delta Lounge is on your domestic-only itinerary from Denver to Detroit.

      The US is the only country I found where first class passengers are not entitled to lounge access. In the US, the airlines don't care about which cabin you are flying in--even if you are an Elite Member--you will not be let in no matter which cabin you're flying in if you have a domestic-only itinerary. You can be an Elite member who paid $4,000 on a domestic first class ticket from Atlanta to Hawaii (10+ hour flight) and you will not be let into the lounge. Strangely, you can buy a $200 coach ticket on a 1 hour flight from Detroit to Toronto and you will have access to the lounge. It doesn't make any sense.

  2. iamhere Guest

    Main problem is how full the lounges tend to be.

  3. Laurie Guest

    What about Lifetime Membership rules?
    I recently found out some of those

  4. Jb Guest

    Delta sucks just upgraded to delta platinum from gold thinking I could access the lounge for free. Well that is not the case..... have to pay 39 dollars each. No major difference between gold and platinum on delta.

    1. Santos Guest

      and you didn't research this before pulling the trigger?

  5. FlyingtheFriendlySkies Guest

    Best advise I could give to access the skyclub is to wait until there is a large crowd. I always pretend to be on the phone and talking - act like you've already been checked in but are returning. Half the time, the front desk personnel are so busy they don't even notice you. - No need to pay for any credit card or lounge access program.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Given the many infamous excessive use of force or flight crew made up rules and overreactions recently, trespassing probably isn't a good idea.

    2. John Guest

      'Trespassing...isn't a good idea'
      Eskimoo's exquisite pearls of wisdom flow without cease.

  6. Darin Member

    “How To Access Delta Sky Clubs” could have been answered in one sentence: wait in line like everyone else!

    In all seriousness, the plethora of methods to gain access you’ve laid out is why you probably don’t want to access DSC’s. If you can get in within a reasonable amount of time to still make your flight, you’ll find them more overcrowded than the gate/terminal areas you’re trying to avoid. You’ll have a better experience...

    “How To Access Delta Sky Clubs” could have been answered in one sentence: wait in line like everyone else!

    In all seriousness, the plethora of methods to gain access you’ve laid out is why you probably don’t want to access DSC’s. If you can get in within a reasonable amount of time to still make your flight, you’ll find them more overcrowded than the gate/terminal areas you’re trying to avoid. You’ll have a better experience finding a table at a terminal restaurant/bar.

  7. Jan Guest

    1. Get an Amex Platinum
    2. Wait in line like you’re riding Space Mountain
    3. ???
    4. Boom SkyClub

  8. DeltaTruth Guest

    Don't be conned into that high annual value fee for the card. What this blogger isn't showing you are the LONG lines EVERYDAY at most SkyClubs to get in. How stupid would you feel paying $400+ for that shiny new card only to see a 30 minute line to enter?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      What $400 shiny card you're talking about?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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.

NorseFA Guest

As long as you have an international itinerary you are allowed access to the Delta Lounge as a SkyTeam Elite Member--even if you have domestic legs in the itinerary. In the situation you described above, the only situation where you would not have access to the Delta Lounge is on your domestic-only itinerary from Denver to Detroit. The US is the only country I found where first class passengers are not entitled to lounge access. In the US, the airlines don't care about which cabin you are flying in--even if you are an Elite Member--you will not be let in no matter which cabin you're flying in if you have a domestic-only itinerary. You can be an Elite member who paid $4,000 on a domestic first class ticket from Atlanta to Hawaii (10+ hour flight) and you will not be let into the lounge. Strangely, you can buy a $200 coach ticket on a 1 hour flight from Detroit to Toronto and you will have access to the lounge. It doesn't make any sense.

0
Aaie Guest

Sorry, autospell. Correct below… 1). I am Skyteam elite plus (flying blue platinum). I am flying to Atlanta on AF business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter? 2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to Detroit. Am I right I ca NOT enter on departure? 3) Detroit to Paris a few days later, in eco (no upgrade). Am I Right I cannot enter? Sorry. I read the thread intently, but wasn’t sure about the domestic onwards, in particular as it relates to 1) Cheers

0
Aaie Guest

1). I am Skyteam elite plus (fb premium). I am flying to Atlanta on auf business, then on to Dallas on domestic first on delta. Am I Right to understand that I do NOT have access, as my domestic is a mere first (and not delta one)? Or am I allowed to enter? 2) flying economy fare (upgraded automatically to domestic first) a few days later from Denver to Detroit. Am I right I ca NOT enter on departure? 3) Detroit to Paris a few days later, in eco (no upgrade). Am I Right I cannot enter? Sorry. I read the thread intently, but wasn’t sure about the domestic onwards, in particular as it relates to 1) Cheers 3) flying a few days later

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published