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Recent Delta Sky Club Changes Have Your Head Spinning? Here’s How to Get In

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So much has changed with Delta Sky Club access rules over the past month that it's nearly impossible to keep it all straight. Harsh new restrictions were announced, only to be rolled back … but not entirely. Even our heads are spinning.

Let's back up. As part of a broader SkyMiles program shakeup, Delta last month unveiled some of the broadest changes yet for who can enter Sky Clubs: Capping how often travelers with cards like *amex platinum card* or the *delta reserve card* can get in while gutting access altogether for others – including anyone with a Delta basic economy ticket or those who paid their way in with a *delta skymiles platinum card*.

All those changes were unpopular, to put it mildly. So the airline backpedaled this week, softening some of the worst Sky Club restrictions they initially proposed – but not all of them. Some changes take effect next year while others are further down the road.

So what's actually happening now with Sky Clubs? Which credit cards can get you into a Delta lounge – and how many times a year? When do all these changes take place? What about bringing guests?

We're putting everything down in one place, answering all those frequently asked questions and many more.

Related reading: Delta Tweaks Medallion Status Requirements & Sky Club Policies After Uproar

 

Getting Into Delta Sky Clubs Today

From credit cards to top elite status to spendy business class tickets, no other airline has opened more doors to get into its lounges than Delta. So let's cover the basics of getting into Sky Clubs today, next year, and beyond.

There's no easier path into a Delta lounge than by holding a premium travel rewards credit card – and you've got several options. Today, credit cards like *amex platinum card* or the *delta reserve card* and both of their business counterparts can get you in free so long as you're flying Delta that day. Even if you've got the mid-range *delta skymiles platinum card* in your wallet, you can still buy access to the Sky Clubs at $50 per visit … but that will be ending soon – more on that shortly.

 

Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve Credit Cards

 

Another (far more expensive) way to get into the Sky Club is by flying at the pointy end of the plane. 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 get complimentary Delta Sky Club access. Certain domestic transcontinental routes in a Delta One business class cabin also get free Delta Sky Club access, but it must be branded as a Delta One flight.

 

delta one suite

 

Delta also allows its flyers with Delta Medallion status to purchase annual Sky Club memberships: You can buy an individual plan for $695 (or 69,500 SkyMiles) each year or an Executive Sky Club membership – getting free access for you and two guests – for a whopping $1,495 (or 149,500 SkyMiles) each year. But you need some level of Delta status in order to be able to buy a membership – and earning that status will be much harder starting next year.

Speaking of status, Delta's top-tier Diamond Medallion members can 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.

Read more: How to Access the Delta Sky Club

 

Delta Platinum Cards & Basic Economy Lose Access Next Year

Some major restrictions start to take effect in the New Year – and Delta hasn't scaled these back. Travelers who've got a *delta skymiles platinum card* and pay $50 to get into the Sky Club a few times a year will be the hardest hit.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholders can no longer purchase one-time passes to Sky Clubs. That option to pay $50 is disappearing altogether. You'll need to upgrade to a higher-priced Amex card, book a Delta One or Sky Team first or business class ticket, or purchase an annual Sky Club membership to get in.

Additionally, if you're traveling on a Delta basic economy fare, you'll no longer have access to the Sky Clubs, period, starting in 2024 – even if you should have access through a credit card or another form of membership.

 

More Changes are (Still) Coming Early 2025

The biggest changes for Sky Club access don't take effect for more than a year. And while they're not quite as painful as what Delta originally laid out, they're still ugly for many travelers who have enjoyed unlimited access to Delta lounges with credit cards.

Starting Feb. 1, 2025, travelers with *amex platinum card* or *biz platinum* can only use Sky Clubs 10 days per year. That's right: You go from unlimited access to just 10 days in a Delta lounge annually. On the bright side, Delta had previously planned to cap Amex Platinum cardholders to just six visits a year.

Delta is even cracking down on loyal flyers with the top-tier *delta reserve card* and a small-business version: Those flyers get just 15 days of access each year. That's up from Delta's original plan of capping Reserve cardholders to 10 visits annually.

 

delta sky club minneapolis

 

After using up those daily passes, travelers with either card can purchase additional daily visits to Sky Clubs for $50. As always, bringing up to two guests costs an extra $50 apiece.

In order to regain unlimited complimentary access to the Sky Clubs you currently get for free, you'll need to spend … a lot: $75,000 or more on one of those cards in a calendar year. That option goes live starting Jan. 1, 2024. Once you meet the $75,000 spending threshold, you'll have unlimited Sky Club access for the remainder of that year and the entire following year.

 

Sky Club FAQs

Can I Visit Multiple Sky Clubs on the Same Day With My Credit Card?

Yes! You can visit multiple Sky Clubs in a 24-hour period and it will count as a single visit.

After an uproar from Delta flyers who objected to using up all their Sky Club visits on connections, Delta has changed up how it will count Sky Club entries starting in 2025 for Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve cardholders. It's based on days of access now – not single visits.

So if you're flying from Orlando (MCO) with a long layover in Detroit (DTW) before continuing onward to Grand Rapids (GRR) and want to pop into the Sky Club before both flights, that will only count as a single day of Sky Club  from your annual limit.

 

What Counts as a Sky Club Visit?

A Delta Sky Club visit now includes all entries within a 24-hour period after first Club entry, including your departure city, connecting airports and arrival at your destination.

It's a small but significant change that will help travelers making connection, flying internationally, or potentially even overnight trips. You could even technically visit multiple Sky Clubs on separate calendar days and still have it count as a single visit.

 

delta sky club access

 

Do I Get More Visits if I Have Both an Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve Card?

Yes. Visits add up across all eligible cards – meaning you'd get 25 visits annually with both The Platinum Card and the Delta Reserve Card.

However, cardholders must present the applicable card at the time of entry into the Sky Club. This means that if you've already used up your allotment of visits on your Delta Reserve Card, you'll need to have your Amex Platinum Card with you in order to access the club for free.

Thrifty Tip: Add your Sky Club eligible card(s) to your Delta wallet online and you can simply scan your boarding pass!

 

Can I Buy Additional Visits?

Worried you'll use up those 10 or 15 annual visits and hoping to buy your way into the lounge once or twice more? We've got good news for you.

Delta Reserve and Reserve Business Cardholders, as well as Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Cardholders, can purchase additional Sky Club visits at a rate of $50 per person after exhausting their card's allotted Club visits.

 

Do My Authorized Users Get Their Own Sky Club Access?

This is a big silver lining.

Yes: Any authorized users you've added to either your Amex Platinum or Delta Reserve cards will get their own allotment of 10 or 15 visits each year, depending on which card you've added them to.

The same entry rules apply to paid authorized users on the business versions of these cards as well.

 

delta sky club crowding

 

Can I Use One of My Passes for a Guest?

No. Unfortunately, visits can only be used by the eligible cardholder and can't be used for guest entry.

Delta Reserve and Delta Reserve Business cardholders still get two, one-time guest passes each year, though. After that, guest access can be purchased for up to two people or a spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21 for $50 per guest.

Amex Platinum cardholders always have to pay another $50 per guest for up to two guests total.

 

How Can I Get Unlimited Access to the Sky Clubs?

Find a money tree and then use it to pay off your Amex Platinum or Delta Reserve Card. No money tree? Darn!

In order to get unlimited complimentary access to the Delta Sky Clubs beyond Feb. 1, 2025, you'll need to spend $75,000 per year on an Amex Platinum, Delta Reserve, or one of the business versions of these cards. Once you've met the minimum spending threshold, you'll get unlimited Sky Club access for the remainder of that year and the entire following year.

Which card is the better option for spending that kind of money? It depends on what you're looking for:

  • Spend $75,000 on an Amex Platinum Card and you'll also unlock more than a year of complimentary access for two guests to Amex Centurion Lounges.
  • Spend that same sum on a Delta Reserve Card and you'll earn 7,500 Delta MQDs. That, along with the 2,500 MQD head start you get for being a Reserve cardholder, is enough for Delta Gold Medallion Status alone.

The unlimited access also extends to any authorized users on the account – meaning if you're a big spender, you get to share the love with others.

 

Can I Still Purchase a Sky Club Membership?

Buying a Sky Club membership is another way to get unlimited access to the Sky Club – but that'll cost you, too.

Delta sells both an Executive and Individual Sky Club membership. But in order to purchase one, you'll need to hold at least Silver Medallion status.

An Executive Sky Club membership includes unlimited access for the member and up to two guests (or your spouse/domestic partner and children under 21) per visit. The cost for an Executive membership is $1,495 (or 149,500 SkyMiles) per year.

 

Atlanta Delta Sky Club

 

An Individual Sky Club membership includes unlimited access for the member only and costs $695 (or 69,500 SkyMiles) per year. Guest access can be purchased for up to two guests – or a spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21 – for $50 per guest.

A Delta spokesperson previously confirmed that none of the recent changes impact the ability to purchase a Sky Club membership. That doesn't rule out another hefty increase to the the cost of these memberships once these restrictions take effect in 2025.

If you've worked your way up to Delta Diamond Medallion Status, you can use two of three Choice Benefits for an individual Sky Club membership – or burn all three on an Executive membership.

 

What if I've Got a Delta Platinum Card?

You've got a few months left to get into Delta Sky Clubs.

Starting Jan. 1, Delta fans with the *delta skymiles platinum card*  (see rates & fees) will also lose the options of buying a $50 day pass to the Sky Club.

 

Do Delta Gold Cardholders Get Sky Club Access?

No, but that's nothing new. Travelers with the *delta skymiles gold card* lost the ability to purchase one-time Sky Club passes back in 2020 as one of Delta's earliest attempts to combat crowding.

 

Is There a Time Limit on Entering the Club?

Travelers will be able to enter Delta Sky Clubs anytime within three hours of their scheduled departure time. If you're traveling on a connecting itinerary, you can get into the Sky Club in a connecting airport at any time prior to departure.

You can also enter a Sky Club on arrival, so long as it's within the same 24-hour period as your initial Sky Club entry – or that too will count as a visit.

 

Can Cardholders Still Visit Amex Centurion & Escape Lounges?

Yes.

Delta Reserve cardholders still get unlimited access to Amex Centurion and Escape Lounges. But there's a hitch: You have to be flying Delta that day, and you must have paid for your ticket with your Reserve card.

 

lga centurion lounge seating in dining room

These changes only impact access to Delta Sky Clubs. Visiting one of these lounges won't eat up any of your allotted Sky Club passes.

 

Bottom Line

Delta flyers across the country are still smarting from the upcoming restrictions for earning Medallion Status and getting into Sky Clubs – even after the airline rolled back some of harshest changes. All this back-and-forth has led to plenty of confusion about what these changes will mean in practice.

While not much is changing immediately, getting into the airline's lounges in the not-too-distant future could be much harder – or far more expensive.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: 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.

11 Responses

  • I travel a lot at my own cost. I’ve been PM for 2 years. Under the new system I’ll barely make SM. And on top of that I have to carry an Amex Plat and then fork over an additional $695 for membership once I have status?
    Sounds like it’s back to no-lounge airport travel.
    Stunningly disappointed. Goodbye Amex Plat and my authorized user.

  • Great summary. Specific to the Amex platinum, most of the reference for change has been to the Amex Platinum or Business Platinum. Will these same club access limits also apply to the Amex Platinum Corporate?

  • Great article. Thanks for the information. It seems an unfortunate consequence of “travel revenge” post pandemic and the tightening of the screws to gain access to what used to be easy access to a comfortable airport lounge. I’ll need a spreadsheet to analyze further lol.

  • Thank you because I believe many people have questions about this topic. What I find really sad is that brand loyalty is a thing of the past and Delta is going to lose customers because there ARE better options out there. My relative is a million miler so he’s happy about the change. However, he never travels anymore really! Whereas I have a 30 year old child who DOES travel a lot and has a Delta Plat card and Gold status. She’s shopping for a new credit card and also just booked with United. So Delta, your strategy and direction is very interesting. I wish you well, but I suspect in a few years, you will be revisiting this. Me? I have both United and Delta status and cards. My preference now has been made clear and it’s no longer Delta.

  • Thank you for this overview.

    My wife and I and our 2 year old travel a lot at our own cost (monthly or more). Almost always Delta. My wife is an Authorized user on our Platinum card. We’ve been paying $50/visit to the Sky Club for our daughter (to eat a bag of pretzels….).

    Question I haven’t found an answer to: Traveling with your children- Will we no longer be able to pay $50/visit for our 2 year old / any dependents to get into the Delta lounge…?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • Just wondering about the 24 hour rule when traveling with a guest. If we use the club more than once in 24 hours, does guest have to pay $50 each visit or are they covered under the 24 hour rule?

  • These changes make the benefits of using my Delta American Express card far less appealing. I like many other travelers will be looking at using other credit cards that offer more benefits or more cash back with no or much lower annual fees, and I am seeing several. January changes coming for our primary credit card.

  • I’m traveling from Quito Ecuador back to Boston and unfortunately have to be at the airport about 6 hours before my flight. How strict are they on international skyclub use?

  • Sorry – for reference, I am flying Delta One and would like to use the lounge instead of getting a hotel room for just a few hours to hang out.

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