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[Expired] Delta Makes Big Changes to Sky Club Access Rules

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James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Delta has had chronic issues over the past several years with overcrowding in its popular Sky Clubs at airports across the country.

There are simply too many people and not enough places to sit. The airline has taken a few steps to attempt to curb the overcrowding at its airport lounges, but nothing’s worked all too well.

However, as of next year, there will be a new set of access rules that will impact many people trying to get inside.

Let’s take a look at all the details.

Only Medallion Members Can Purchase Memberships

Delta LAX SkyClub Deck
It’s going to be a lot harder to enter Delta Sky Clubs next year unless you hold an eligible American Express card. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

The first change Delta is making is restricting Sky Club memberships to its Medallion elite members only as of January 1, 2023. Keep in mind this purchasing a membership outright, not receiving one through a credit card or other means.

This means that if you do not have any sort of elite status with Delta, you will not have the option to purchase a Sky Club membership moving forward.

For Medallion members considering purchasing a membership, the cost to do so is increasing significantly:

  • An individual membership will cost $695, up from the previous $545
  • An Executive membership will cost $1,495, up from the previous $845

Diamond Medallions Lose a Choice Benefit

Delta’s top-tier Diamond Medallion members can choose from 3 Choice Benefits when they earn that level of status.

Previously, you could select an individual Sky Club membership in exchange for 2 Choice Benefits, but as of February 2, 2023, an individual Sky Club membership will no longer be an option.

If you wish to purchase the far more expensive Executive membership, you’ll still be able to do so, but will need to utilize all 3 of your Choice Benefits picks.

Basic Economy and Elite Flyers Losing Access

If you’re flying on a Basic Economy ticket and have a Sky Club membership (not through a credit card), you’ll no longer have access to the Sky Club come February 2, 2023. However, there’s a loophole: if you have an eligible American Express card, you’ll still be able to access the lounge.

And if you’re a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Medallion member, you’ll no longer be able to get into the lounge on a complimentary basis on an international ticket when flying economy class, also as of February 2, 2023.

You must be flying Premium Select or Delta One to be able to get inside. Previously, Delta allowed all elite members to utilize the Sky Club before long-haul flights, regardless of cabin class. This will be a major blow to many Delta frequent flyers.

However, similar to the new Basic Economy rules, if you have the correct credit card, you can still access the lounge as you normally would.

Hot Tip: If you’re a SkyTeam Elite Plus member through a different SkyTeam carrier, you will still have access to the lounge no matter the class of service you’re seated in.

The Silver Lining: No Changes to Credit Card Access Policies

While there are a lot of changes to absorb, the major silver lining here is that those who have an eligible Amex credit card can still access Delta Sky Clubs under the existing rules.

As a reminder, the following cards get you into Delta’s lounges:

Do note, however, that as of February 2, 2023, guest fees when accessing the lounge with any of these cards are increasing from the current $39 (or 3,900 SkyMiles) to $50 (or 5,000 SkyMiles) per visit.

Final Thoughts

Delta’s getting serious about its Sky Club overcrowding issue, and it’s making some major, unfortunate changes to the way many can (or, soon, cannot) enter the Sky Club.

If anything, this makes picking up an eligible American Express credit card even more worthwhile. With any of the cards mentioned above, you’ll still be able to enter the lounge as you normally would.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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