Few things make air travel better than having access to an airport lounge. And if you're flying with Delta (or even one of Delta's partner airlines), the Delta Sky Club airport lounge is a great place to … well, lounge before or after your flight.
About the Delta Sky Club
Delta Sky Clubs are a network of airport lounges owned and operated by Delta Air Lines in airports around the world. With over 200 locations & partner lounges worldwide, you don't have to try terribly hard to find one if you are with flying Delta.
Getting into the Delta Sky Club is another matter: You can't just walk into any Sky Club you find. Even a first class ticket with Delta may not get you into the Sky Club.
But these clubs aren't just the domain of business travelers and first class flyers. There are plenty of ways to get Sky Club lounge access … but those rules changed in summer 2022 as Delta made some big changes to its access policy.
As of June 1, Delta only allows flyers to enter the lounge within three hours of their departing flight. Fortunately, Delta backtracked on a plan to clamp down on Sky Club access even further.
Let's walk through everything you need to know about how you can access the Delta Sky Club before you make your next trip, what it's like inside, and everything you need to know about Sky Club lounge protocols.
- About the Delta Sky Club
How to Access the Delta Sky Club: Credit Cards, Biz Class or Status
- Carry the Platinum Card from American Express
- Carry the Delta Reserve American Express Card
- Buy Your Way in with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card
- Travel on an International First or Business Class Ticket
- Earn Delta Status
- Purchase a Delta Sky Club Membership
- Can You Buy a Day Pass to the Delta Sky Club?
- Can You Get Delta Sky Club Access Upon Arrival?
- What Sky Clubs are Open During COVID-19?
- What Are Delta Sky Clubs Like Now?
- New & Improved Sky Club Locations
- Delta Sky Club Bottom Line
How to Access the Delta Sky Club: Credit Cards, Biz Class or Status
There are a lot of different ways to gain Delta Sky Club lounge access.
You can purchase a single visit pass if you hold the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card for $39 per visit. Better yet, certain credit cards offer complimentary access. Flying first or business class on Delta (or their partners) can get you in for free. Or you can buy an annual lounge membership – or get it free through your Delta Medallion Elite status.
Let's walk through the different ways you can get into the Delta Sky Club.
Carry the Platinum Card from American Express
When it comes to lounge access, you won't find a better card option than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Just for holding the card, you will receive complimentary access to the Sky Club when you are flying with Delta. You won't be able to bring in guests for free, but you can bring up to two guests into the lounge for $39 each.
In addition to Delta Sky Club access, the Platinum Card from American Express will get you into Amex Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and 1,000-plus Priority Pass lounges. You'll also earn 5x American Express Membership Rewards points for every dollar you spend on airfare directly with an airline or through Amex's travel portal, amextravel.com, and a host of other great travel benefits.
Complimentary Sky Club access is one of the reasons we think the American Express Platinum card is the best card for Delta flyers. Yes, we think it's even better than many of Delta's own co-branded credit cards.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
Carry the Delta Reserve American Express Card
Much like the Platinum Card from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card can get you free Delta Sky Club lounge access. But once again, you have to be flying with Delta that day.
In addition to your own free pass into the Sky Club, cardholders receive two free guest passes to the Delta Sky Club each year. That means two guests can come with you into the Sky Club for free – or one guest twice. After that, you'd simply pay $39 per guest to bring up to two guests into the Sky Club at a time. Like the Platinum Card from American Express, there is no limit to how many times you can bring guests in with you.
With an annual fee of $550 (see rates & fees), most will be better off going with the Platinum Card® from American Express, which has an annual fee of $695 (see rates & fees) – unless if you're chasing Delta Medallion status.
Read our full comparison of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card vs the Platinum Card from American Express.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta Reserve Card from American Express.
Buy Your Way in with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card
If you've got the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card in your wallet, you can buy one-time Sky Club access for $39 per entry. You can also bring in up to two guests for another $39 each.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.
Travel on an International First or Business Class Ticket
If you are flying first or business class internationally with Delta or a Sky Team partner airline like Air France or KLM, you can also receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access.
Certain transcontinental routes within the U.S. in a Delta One business class cabin also get free Delta Sky Club access. It must be branded as a Delta One flight in order to get free Delta Sky Club entry. You won't get any guesting privileges this way.
… But No Delta Sky Club Access Just for First Class
Just because you're flying up front with Delta doesn't mean you can get a free pass into the Sky Club.
Most domestic first class fares with Delta (or even to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and even some parts of South America) will not qualify for free Sky Club access. You need to fly in a Delta One cabin, domestically or internationally – or have a credit card or lounge membership that gets you access. But a standard domestic first class seat won't work.
Earn Delta Status
Diamond Medallion members can also use two of their choice benefits for an Executive Sky Club membership, which gets you and up to guests into the Sky Club at no additional charge. It's one of the most comprehensive ways to get into the Sky Club. You can pay for up to two more guests (for a total of four) for $39 each.
Flyers with lower levels of Delta status can get into the Sky Club, too – but only on certain flights. If you've got Delta's Gold or Platinum Medallion status, you can get into the Sky Club free when traveling internationally on Delta or a SkyTeam airline – even if you're flying economy. You can also bring one guest with you for free.
Purchase a Delta Sky Club Membership
Delta allows members to purchase an individual annual membership to the Delta Sky Club for $545 (or 54,500 Delta SkyMiles). You can also purchase an executive membership for $845 (or 84,500 miles). Again, an executive membership will allow you to bring in up to two guests per visit free. An individual membership comes with no free guesting privileges.
But this method makes little sense. For roughly the same price as an individual Sky Club membership, you can get complimentary Sky Club access by holding either the American Express Platinum Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. Plus, both cards offer a host of other benefits that would make these worth far more than buying a Sky Club membership.
Can You Buy a Day Pass to the Delta Sky Club?
For years, any Delta traveler could buy a single-visit pass to get into the Delta Sky Club regardless of what seat they were in or what credit card was in their wallets. Those day passes were $59 each. Both United and American Airlines still do the same.
But they're no longer available at the Delta Sky Club. Delta stopped selling them in November 2018 to combat overcrowding in its lounges. If you don't hold the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, you can't buy your way into the Sky Club.
Can You Get Delta Sky Club Access Upon Arrival?
Of course, you can get into the Sky Club before your flight. But what about upon arrival?
Starting on June 1, 2022, Delta had planned to no longer allow access upon arrival. But after a major uproar from some of the airline's most valued customers, Delta backtracked on that policy. You will still be able to access the Sky Club upon arrival as always.
Other lounge networks like the American Express Centurion Lounges, and Capital One Lounges have implemented restrictions that do not allow you to enter the lounge upon arrival. However, no major U.S. airlines currently sets a time limit on when flyers with lounge access can use their clubs, and they do not restrict access upon arrival.
What Sky Clubs are Open During COVID-19?
Over the past two years, COVID-19 has drastically reshaped travel. And nowhere is that change more pronounced than in airport lounges – including the Delta Sky Club.
Many Sky Clubs shut down as the pandemic started to run its course in the U.S. and across the globe. In fact, Delta shuttered all of its Sky Clubs in March 2020 as the pandemic first struck.
But fast forward to the spring of 2022, and that has all changed. All of Delta's Sky Clubs across the U.S. have reopened. And Delta has even opened some new lounges recently, including the massive new Sky Club in Los Angeles (LAX), a brand new Sky Club in Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and another in Salt Lake City (SLC), and a stunner of a new lounge in New York City-LaGuardia (LGA).
Be sure to check out Delta's website to see up-to-the-minute information on which clubs are currently open.
What Are Delta Sky Clubs Like Now?
It depends where you go. Every Sky Club is different. And the lounge experience has changed drastically throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
For starters, you'll no longer have to wear a face mask any time you're moving around the lounge – that policy ended with the abrupt end of the federal mask mandate in mid-April. But Sky Club attendants are still constantly cycling through lounges, wiping down tables, and picking up trash.
Some Sky Clubs have standout amenities, and none are better than the Sky Decks that you'll find at lounges in Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC), New York City (JFK), some Atlanta (ATL) clubs, and Austin (AUS). The massive Sky Deck in Delta's flagship New York City lounge is a great spot to relax with a drink for some planespotting.
Delta is doing more and more to set its newest lounges apart with special decor touches and features. One of its newest lounges in Austin (AUS), for example, has a signature, stylish bar in the center of the lounge where you can sample a flight of bourbon or get a specialty cocktail.
In 2020, Delta drastically scaled back its food and drink offerings, replacing hot buffets with simple prepackaged snacks. But as travel rebounded in 2021 and into 2022, Delta has reintroduced hot foods at all Sky Clubs – think simple entrees and soups or do-it-yourself noodle bowls.
The new Sky Club in Los Angeles (LAX) has taken the food offerings to another level: There's all the usual options like sandwiches, veggies, and snacks … plus a made-to-order taco bar with all the fixings.
The bar in the Sky Club is open, so getting a free glass of beer, wine, or a cocktail is still possible. Delta has also resumed its full bar service, too, allowing you to buy upgraded cocktails or champagne for cash – or SkyMiles.
Self-serve coffee and espresso machines are also open for easy use.
At the end of the day, exactly what you find will vary by what Sky Club you are in. And that's constantly changing as airlines do their best to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
Check out our reviews of the lounge in Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), San Francisco (SFO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA) to get an idea of what the Delta Sky Club experience is like.
New & Improved Sky Club Locations
Delta has more than 50 Sky Clubs scattered across the country. But even more are on the way.
The Atlanta-based airline has laid out some big plans to open even more Sky Clubs – including several renovations, new locations, and one of its first international locations. Here's a look at what's currently on tap:
- Exclusive Delta One Sky Clubs for reserve for business class passengers are heading for New York City (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), starting sometime in 2023.
- Boston (BOS) is getting a bigger Sky Club in summer 2022
- The Sky Club in Nashville (BNA) is also getting expanded
- A new Sky Club in Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)'s Terminal 5 is expected to open in fall 2022
- Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) will get a third Sky Club in spring 2023
- Seattle (SEA) is getting a second Sky Club, though it's not expected to open until at least 2024
- The long-awaited Sky Club in Tokyo-Haneda (HND) could open as soon as summer 2022.
Delta Sky Club Bottom Line
Delta has put more and more money into new Sky Clubs (and overhauling old ones). Despite COVID-19, they've reopened across the country – but just as with the travel experience as a whole, what you'll find inside Sky Clubs has changed and varies from location to location.
But getting into Sky Clubs has gotten a bit harder and more confusing. Use this guide to navigate the lounge like a pro and make your pre or post-flight experience more enjoyable.