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.
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 $39 each.
Another option is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, the airline’s top-tier credit card from American Express. With a $550 annual fee, this card also comes with a free SkyClub membership and the same two-person, $39 guest access policy.
Unfortunately, single-visit passes are gone. And only cardholders of the Platinum SkyMiles credit cards can still get a discounted rate of $39 to get into a SkyClub – that benefit has been nixed from the Gold Card.
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.
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.