Few things make 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. But first, you need to get in.
There are plenty of methods and strategies to gain Delta Sky Club access, but Delta keeps making it harder to get in to combat overcrowding, including a slate of changes that went into effect earlier this year. And it'll get much harder to enter Delta lounges soon.
After a series of harsh restrictions were proposed – and then (kind of) rolled back – the dust has finally settled. Travelers with unlimited Sky Club access through premium travel credit cards will eventually see their visits capped. Others, meanwhile, will soon lose access altogether.
Take a look at how you can get Delta Sky Club access – today and in the future.
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 flying with 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 Delta is continuously tweaking who can get in – and how. but those rules changed in the summer of 2022 as Delta made some big changes to its access policy, and then again effective in early February 2023.
As of June 2022, Delta only allows flyers to enter the lounge within three hours of their departing flight. In February 2023, Delta instituted even more restrictions that raised the cost of bringing guests into the Sky Club or buying a day pass – and even making it harder (or more expensive) for flyers with top Delta Medallion Status to get in.
Most recently, Delta made big changes to how travelers with premium credit cards access the Sky Clubs. Some of those latest changes would take effect in 2024 while others wouldn't kick in until early 2025.
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 (For Now)
- 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?
- Can You Get Into the Sky Club with a Delta Basic Economy Ticket?
- What Are Delta Sky Clubs Like?
- New & Improved Sky Club Locations On the Way
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 card* for $50 per visit. But starting on Jan. 1, 2024, travelers with the Delta Platinum card won't even be able to buy their way into a Sky Club.
Flying first or business class on Delta (or their partners) can get you in for free. Or you can buy an annual lounge membership (as long as you have some level of Delta Medallion elite status) – or get it free through your Delta Medallion Elite status.
But increasingly, holding one of the right, top-dollar travel credit cards is the best way to unlock complimentary Sky Club access… at least for now.
Follow this handy Sky Club tip so you can get into the Delta lounge even faster!
Carry The Platinum Card from American Express
When it comes to lounge access, you won't find a better card option than *amex platinum card*.
Just for holding the card, you will receive complimentary access to the Sky Club when you are flying with Delta that day. You won't be able to bring in guests for free, but you can bring up to two guests into the lounge for $50 each.
But this benefit is taking a big hit starting on Feb. 1, 2025. After revising an even stricter limit, Platinum cardholders will be limited to visiting the Sky Club just 10 days each year. You can visit several Sky Clubs in the same 24-hour period and still count as just one of 10 Sky Club passes. And once you've used up all 10 of those days, you can buy additional access for $50 per day.
Authorized users on the Platinum Card get their own lounge allowance.
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 1,300-plus Priority Pass lounges. There won't be any access limitations for these lounges starting in 2025.
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.
Learn more about *amex platinum*.
Carry the Delta Reserve American Express Card
Much like the Platinum Card from American Express, the *delta reserve card* or the *delta skymiles reserve business* 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 $50 per guest with the ability 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.
However, starting on Feb. 1, 2025, there will be a limit on how many times you can use your Reserve card to get into a Sky Club each year. Reserve cardholders will be able to access the Sky Club just 15 days a year – a bit more than with the (non-delta) Amex Platinum Card.
You can visit several Sky Clubs in the same 24-hour period and still count as just one of 10 Sky Club passes. And once you've used up all 10 of those days, you can buy additional access for $50 per day.
If you have both a Reserve and Amex Platinum Card, you'll get a total of 25 days of Sky Club access annually. Authorized users also get their own lounge allowance.
You can avoid these limits altogether by spending $75,000 per calendar year on either of the cards, starting Jan. 1, 2024. If you do so, you'll get unlimited complimentary Sky Club access for the remainder of that year and all of the following year. It's nearly identical to the way that Amex chose to limit guest access to its own Centurion Lounges earlier this year.
Read next: Do Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards Still Make Sense? Here's How to Decide
Learn more about the *delta reserve card*
Buy Your Way in with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card (For Now)
If you've got the *delta skymiles platinum card* in your wallet, you can buy one-time Sky Club access for $50 per entry. You can also bring in up to two guests for another $50 each.
However, starting on Jan. 1, 2024, this option will disappear completely. Delta Platinum SkyMiles cardholders will no longer be able to buy their way into a Sky Club. That's one change that Delta hasn't rolled back after backlash.
Learn more about the *delta skymiles platinum card*
Cardholders with the *delta skymiles gold card* also used to be able to purchase Sky Club access. Unfortunately, Delta eliminated this card benefit in early 2020.
Don't have a Delta Platinum Card? Unlike other airlines, there are no day passes to the lounge available for everyday flyers – Delta eliminated that option years ago.
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
If you fly Delta a ton and make your way up to Delta's top-tier Diamond Medallion Status, you can select a complimentary Sky Club individual membership as one of their three annual choice benefits. But as of Feb. 1, 2023, Delta eliminated two choice benefits for Diamond Medallion members for the 2024 status year:
- Individual Sky Club memberships, meaning top elites can no longer select this as one of their choice benefits for their own Sky Club access.
- Delta Sky Club guest pass access, which allowed flyers with Sky Club access through credit cards to bring a free guest on every visit.
Diamond Medallion members can now use all three of their choice benefits for an Executive Sky Club membership, which gets you and up to two guests into the Sky Club Lounges 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 $50 each.
Flyers with lower levels of Delta status can get into the Sky Club, too – but only on certain flights. As of Feb. 2, 2023, travelers with Delta's Gold or Platinum Medallion status flying internationally in Delta Premium Select or Delta One can use the Sky Club before their flight. You can also bring one guest with you for free. An economy or Delta Comfort Plus seat will no longer get you in even if you've got Delta Gold status or higher.
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). As of Jan. 1, 2023, that price increased from $545 to $695 (or 69,500 SkyMiles) each year. An individual membership comes with no free guest privileges.
But there is one caveat: You need to have some level of Delta Medallion elite status to buy an individual membership. So unless you have Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Medallion status, this won't be an option.
You can also purchase an executive membership for a whopping $1,495 each year (or 149,500 SkyMiles). Again, an executive membership will allow you to bring in up to two guests per visit for free.
But this method makes little sense. For less money than you would pay for 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.
That calculus might change in 2025 once Delta starts limiting the number of times cardholders can get into the Sky Club, but for now, you're better off holding one of these cards than buying an individual 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. Come 2024, it won't be an option for anyone, no matter which card you have.
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?
In the summer of 2022, Delta had planned to ban access upon arrival. But after a major uproar from some of the airline's most valued customers, Delta backtracked on that policy. That means you can still 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 set a time limit on when flyers with lounge access can use their clubs, and they do not restrict access upon arrival.
Can You Get Into the Sky Club with a Delta Basic Economy Ticket?
Flyers who buy a Delta basic economy ticket can no longer use the Sky Club … with one huge exception: Access through a credit card like the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card as well as The Platinum Card® from American Express is still good to go.
However, starting on Jan. 1, 2024, even Reserve and Platinum cardholders will not be allowed into the Sky Club if they are booked on a basic economy ticket.
What Are Delta Sky Clubs Like?
It depends on where you go. Every Sky Club is different.
Some Sky Clubs have standout amenities, and none are better than the outdoor Sky Decks that you'll find at lounges in Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC), New York City (JFK), some Atlanta (ATL) clubs, Austin (AUS), and the new Sky Club near the G gates in Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP). 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. Its relatively new lounge 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.
As travel has rebounded, 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 are all the usual options like sandwiches, veggies, and snacks … plus a made-to-order taco bar with all the fixings.
At the massive new Sky Club in New York City-LaGuardia (LGA), there was even a build-your-own ramen bowl bar!
From the bar in the Sky Clubs, you can get a free glass of beer, wine, or a cocktail. There's also the option to buy upgraded cocktails or champagne for cash – or SkyMiles.
Check out Delta's current drink menu!
Self-serve coffee and espresso machines are also open for easy use.
At the end of the day, exactly what you find will vary based on what Sky Club you're visiting. Some of the newest Sky Clubs are outstanding, while older clubs are small and pretty lackluster.
Check out our reviews of the lounge in Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), 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.
How Delta is Addressing Crowding in Sky Clubs
As travel soared back near pre-pandemic levels, Delta has encountered a frequent problem: Delta Sky Clubs are overcrowded, leading to long lines outside of the airline's busiest airport clubs.
At major airports like New York City-LaGuardia (LGA), New York City (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), seeing lines like these to access Delta Sky Clubs has become all too common.
The reason? The airline has opened too many avenues for easy, free Delta Sky lounge access – especially with credit cards. Other airlines like United and American don't offer complimentary lounge access via credit cards aside from their own co-branded offerings. But even Amex's own *amex platinum card* and the small-business version can get you into the Sky Club free if you're flying Delta that day. That's on top of Delta's top-tier *delta reserve card*, which also gets you into the Delta Sky Club.
American Express has been handing out these cards like hotcakes. With big benefits and ever-increasing bonuses, Delta and American Express have said they're getting new signups for their top credit cards in record numbers for much of the last two years. More people with these cards in their wallet leads to one thing: More people lining up to get into the Sky Club.
Delta has taken a few stabs at solving the problem, adding new restrictions for who can get in – or how much it will cost. Delta's Sky Club access changes that have already taken effect include:
- Banning travelers from entering the lounge more than three hours before a flight
- Barring Delta's own employees from using lounges when traveling for work or on a non-revenue travel pass
- Raising the cost of purchasing annual Sky Club memberships
- Requiring Delta Diamond Medallion members to use more of their annual Choice Benefits for an Executive Sky Club membership while also eliminating other Sky Club access membership options
- Increasing the cost of bringing guests into the Sky Club from $39 to $50 apiece
- Increasing day pass prices for Delta Platinum cardholders from $39 to $50 – then eliminating it altogether starting Jan. 1, 2024
- Eliminating the ability for travelers with Delta Gold Medallion status or higher to access the Delta Sky Club before international flights unless they're flying Delta Premium Select, Delta One, or first class
But in the end, the only way for Delta to solve overcrowding is by simply building more, bigger lounges … or limiting who can get in with a credit card. That's exactly what they plan to do starting in 2025: The airline is dealing a big blow to Sky Club access with both the Platinum Card and the Delta Reserve card by limiting how many times a year you can get in with those cards – and gutting access for Delta Platinum cardholders altogether.
New & Improved Sky Club Locations On the Way
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 open or on tap:
- Exclusive Delta One Sky Clubs reserved for business class passengers are heading for New York City (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), starting sometime in 2023 or 2024.
- Boston (BOS) and New York City (JFK) have new Sky Clubs which opened in summer 2023
- Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) now has a third Sky Club which opened in spring 2023
- The new Sky Club in Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) is open – and it might be one of the best in the country
- 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) is now open
- Sky Clubs in Miami (MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and Atlanta (ATL) are set to be expanded in late 2023
Delta has put more and more money into new Sky Clubs (and overhauling old ones). 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. Some are much better than others.
All the while, getting into Sky Clubs has gotten a bit harder and more confusing – and more restrictions are coming in the months and years ahead. Use this guide to navigate the lounge like a pro and make your pre- or post-flight experience more enjoyable.