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Delta Nixes Single Access Sky Club Passes, Raises Annual Fees

Delta Sky Club Passes

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Delta is eliminating the $59 single-visit passes to get into its SkyClub airport lounges and raising the annual fee for memberships starting next year by up to $100.

Delta SkyClubs nationwide are a mixed bag: Some of the newer outposts like at Seattle (SEA) are outstanding, while others have seen better days. But Delta is stepping up its game, and a lounge is still a lounge – it’s an easy way to improve your entire airport experience.

For some Delta flyers, that’s about to get a little harder or more expensive. Single-visit passes are now gone, effective immediately. Delta is also raising the price of its annual SkyClub memberships starting Jan. 1, 2019. An individual membership will increase from its current $495 to $545, while an executive membership will jump from $745 to $845.

There are some far better ways to access a Delta SkyClub, so neither of these changes is earth-shattering. In fact, it just reinforces how much better value it is to get into SkyClubs by holding certain credit cards. We’ll dive more into these better options below.

If you’re already getting into SkyClubs with credit card access, don’t worry. These latest changes won’t affect you. Nor will it affect your guest access privileges.

If you’ve got Delta Diamond status, you’ll still be able to pick a SkyClub membership as a benefit. And, of course, Delta One passengers will still get free entry to SkyClubs.

 

Our Analysis

The loss of single-visit entry to SkyClubs could be a bummer for the once-a-year traveler. But on the whole, if you’ve been paying per SkyClub visit or for an annual membership, you’re doing it wrong.

These latest changes make it clearer than ever that the best way to get into the SkyClub is by holding some top-tier credit cards.

The Platinum Card from American Express tops our list, as you can get into SkyClubs for free so long as you’re flying Delta that day. Despite these changes, Amex Platinum cardholders can still bring in up to two guests for $29 each.

At $550 a year, the card’s annual fee mirrors the new cost of individual SkyClub membership. But considering the Amex Platinum gets you insane travel perks like even broader lounge access, $200 in annual travel credits, up to $200 in Uber credits and much more, there’s no point in paying for an individual SkyClub membership anymore.

 

Delta Sky Club Passes

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express

 

Another option is the Delta Reserve Card, the airline’s top-tier credit card from American Express. With a $450 annual fee, this card also comes with a free SkyClub membership and the same two-person, $29 guest access policy.

On top of the Sky Club access, the card is also currently offering 75,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership through 4/3/19. 

 

Delta Sky Club Passes

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta Reserve Card from American Express

 

Though single-visit passes are gone, cardholders of the Delta Gold or Platinum SkyMiles credit cards can still get a discounted rate of $29 to get into a SkyClub.

 

Delta Sky Club Passes

 

Click Here to learn more about the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

 

And if you’re flying internationally with Delta Gold or Platinum Medallion Status – or up in business class – you don’t need to worry about credit cards at all. That gets you free entry into all Delta Sky Clubs.

 

Bottom Line

While the removal of single-visit passes into SkyClubs will be disappointing for some, it’s not surprising. Together with the increasing costs for a SkyClub membership, it just underscores the far better ways to get SkyClub access.

 

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Lead Photo (CC BY 2.0):  Delta News Hub via Flickr

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Responses

  1. Vin says:

    Also, is it true that starting Jan 1, no access to AF lounge, KLM Crowne Plaza lounge?

    • Mr. TT says:

      If you are only a “Sky Club Member” you no longer have access to partner lounges. If you have Delta Medallion status you will still have access to partner lounges. No changes if you have Delta status. “Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion Members have SkyTeam Elite Plus Status and will continue to receive complimentary access to partner lounges when traveling on a SkyTeam, opens in a new window international flight or a SkyTeam domestic flight connecting to/from a same-day international flight. “

  2. Griffin Foley says:

    As far as eliminating single day passes at $59…why would they do this? Seems like this would be a big money-maker for them, so it doesnt make sense. Are they having problems with lounges being overcrowded? Or simply are they trying to get people to buy a membership or a partner credit card? Just seems weird to me that someone offering up $59 for spontaneous lounge access would be turned away.

    • Kyle Potter says:

      Tough to know for sure, but you’re probably spot on. I’d guess Delta’s data shows a sizable amount of single-day traffic that’s contributing to overcrowding and that memberships/card partnerships are far more lucrative.

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