Delta launched a brand new paid membership option for SkyMiles members on Wednesday called SkyMiles Select, a $59 annual membership that gets travelers unlimited priority boarding, eight free onboard drinks every year, and a special bag tag.
So far as we can tell, this new paid membership is the first of its kind – at least among U.S. airlines – allowing flyers to pay extra for a few perks year-round.
Delta pegs the value of its SkyMiles Select memberships at over $100. And there's undoubtedly some value here for travelers.
Chief among them is the eight free drinks. Considering a beer on a Delta flight starts at $8 while wine and cocktails are at least $9, using all those drink vouchers could easily offset the $59 membership cost.
SkyMiles Select members will board in Delta's Main Cabin 1 boarding group, regardless of whether they're on a standard economy ticket or flying Delta basic economy. This can help ensure there's still overhead bin space for a carry-on when you board. And that benefit passes down to as many as eight other travelers booked under the same reservation.
But that's the exact same boarding benefit you get with each of Delta's co-branded American Express credit cards. Better yet, all of those cards – including the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card – get you and up to eight others on your reservation a free checked bag on every flight. This SkyMiles Select membership comes with no such baggage benefit.
And finally, SkyMiles Select members will get a “limited-edition bag tag” for their luggage, shipped directly to the address listed in their SkyMiles account. It's similar to what big-time Delta Medallion status holders get.
This new Delta SkyMiles Select membership is certainly novel. As to whether it's worth the money, that depends.
Some of the best benefits here overlap with what you can already get by holding one of Delta's Amex credit cards. So really, it comes down to whether you fly (or drink) enough to make use of those drink certificates. Just how many
But I can't help but feel like Delta may have made a brilliant move here. They're not targeting frequent flyers or business travelers with SkyMiles Select, but the occasional traveler who likes a drink or two during the flight. The travelers who don't have Delta Medallion status and can't bring themselves to open a Delta co-branded credit card.
With this new offering, the airline gets a quick shot of cash. But more importantly, they get those free agent travelers to keep coming back for Delta flights because they want to use these new benefits.
So which priority takes priority, the existing Medallion statuses or this new “SkyMiles Select”. Will this new priority override say Silver Medallion? As the article pointed out, many of the benefits are already available with a branded Am Ex card or Medallion status. This seems to be a money grab and crowding the field of already full priorities.
Silver Medallion (unless upgraded), DL Amex holders, and new Skymiles Select will all board MC1. Gold and Platinum will still board in Sky and diamonds with First.
The drink certificates alone aren’t worth it if you have the Delta AmEx cards. Since those give 20% off on on-board purchases, a $9 drink (which is the standard charge) costs $7.20 after the rebate. 8 drinks puts it to $57.60, which is still $1.40 cheaper than the membership.
Though the AmEx cards don’t come with a baggage tag…
$59 for a brag tag?
Hmmm….is it metal or plastic?
Plastic would be a deal breaker for me
Any clue if this will count towards Amex credit? I don’t think it has huge value but I still have $100 to burn this year
Not sure but stay tuned – we will find out.
Hi, about to leave on Delta in few days. Did you find out if this counts toward Amex credit? I also have over $100 of credit to use. Any other suggestions of how to use the credit? Thanks
We believe it does! Read our story on how it works here.
Thank you. I did a chat with American Express this morning and agent said it will work to get reimbursed for travel credit
This is absolutely stupid – they offer this while they reduce benefits of AMEX card holders (used to have Sky Priority load – not lowered to Main 1 among other cuts). I’m a Delta loyal customer but someone needs to tell me why I should remain a loyal customer since all the benefits I once had are being reduced or going away.
I travel once overseas and once domestically with Delta per year. The overseas flights will include a domestic flight each way, If I already get free beer in economy for the overseas leg, this limits the benefit to a total of 4 domestic flights…would this be worth getting? I already have the Delta Platinum by AMEX, so Priority boarding is covered….what do you think?
I don’t think this makes a whole lot of sense for you – I’d stick with your Platinum Delta card.
does it give you access to Sky Lounge??
Unfortunately, no. Here’s how to get into the Sky Club https://thriftytraveler.com/thrifty-travelers-guide-delta-sky-club/