The more you travel, the more you appreciate an airport lounge. The chaos of a typical airport terminal never ceases, and there’s tremendous value in finding a pocket of serenity. Airline lounges serve as a welcome oasis, where you breathe a little easier, enjoy complimentary food and drink, conduct work on Wi-Fi that’s typically far superior to what you’ll find in the general terminal and access restrooms that are less commonly used (and more frequently cleaned).
Even if you don’t travel often, having access to a lounge makes each journey much more peaceful. Lounges can be used before a flight, during a connection, while you’re waiting out a weather or mechanical delay or even upon arrival.
If you regularly fly Delta, or you live in a Delta hub city such as Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York or Salt Lake City, having Sky Club access will make your travel experience much more enjoyable. Below, we’ll outline an array of methods for gaining access.
The easiest way to gain access to Delta’s worldwide network of Sky Club lounges is to hold a credit card that grants automatic access. This method supersedes any status you have on Delta, which means that you won’t have to sweat maintaining top-tier Diamond Medallion status. It really is as simple as it sounds: if you hold one the below cards along with a same-day ticket on a Delta-operated flight or Delta-marketed WestJet ticket starting with a 006 ticket number, you’re in!
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee; 60,000-mile welcome bonus after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months)
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express ($450 annual fee; 50,000-mile welcome bonus after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of card membership)
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card ($450 annual fee; 40,000-mile welcome bonus plus 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months)
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card ($450 annual fee; 40,000-mile welcome bonus plus 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months)
If you plan to visit Sky Clubs less frequently, the below cards offer a Delta Sky Club Discounted Rate benefit. If you arrive at a Sky Club with one of these cards, you’ll be able to enter by paying $29 per person (up to three persons total per visit).
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95; 30,000-mile welcome bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months)
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95; 30,000-mile welcome bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months)
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fee; 35,000-mile welcome bonus plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months plus a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card in your first 3 months.)
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fee; 35,000-mile welcome bonus plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months plus a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card in your first 3 months.)
While it’s not the best value by a long shot, you can purchase a Sky Club Membership with cash or SkyMiles. There are now two types of Sky Club Memberships, which are outlined below.
- Individual Membership: One-Year Rate of $545, 54,500 SkyMiles or $50 for 12 monthly installments
- Executive Membership: One-Year Rate of $845, 84,500 SkyMiles or $75 for 12 monthly installments
An Individual membership is self-explanatory: only you can enter the Sky Club. You can, however, bring two guests or a spouse/domestic partner and children under 21 for $29 per guest per club visit. An Executive membership grants you and up to two added guests access, while any guest beyond that will cost $29 per guest per club visit.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, Sky Club members and their guests may now only gain access to the Club in conjunction with same-day ticketed air travel on Delta or its partner airlines. Partner airlines include SkyTeam member airlines along with non-alliance partners Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Gol and WestJet.
There’s more bad news for those who enjoy visiting partner lounges. As of Jan. 1, 2019, Sky Club members will no longer be able to access partner lounges. Currently, Sky Club members have access to select Air France, KLM and Virgin Australia lounges.
That said, Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members have SkyTeam Elite Plus Status and will continue to receive complimentary access to partner lounges when traveling on a SkyTeam international flight or a SkyTeam domestic flight connecting to/from a same-day international flight. Delta One passengers, regardless of their elite status, will also continue to have access to international lounges upon their departure or connecting flight.
Each tier of Delta’s Medallion status program includes valuable perks (which we’ve tabulated here), but for those intrigued by access to the airline’s Sky Club lounges, you’ll want to set your sights on Diamond.
Diamond Medallion members may select an Individual Sky Club membership with one of their three annual Choice Benefits. They can give up two of those three Choice Benefits in exchange for a yearlong Executive Sky Club membership.
Diamond Medallion members who have complimentary Delta Sky Club access via an eligible credit card have the new option to select a Delta Sky Club Guest Pass to receive unlimited Delta Sky Club access for up to two guests per visit when traveling with the card member. That’s huge, as it enables you to reserve one of your Choice Benefits for valuable selections such as Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates.
Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members traveling in any cabin on a same-day, international itinerary will receive access to SkyTeam lounges and any Delta Sky Club for the passenger and a guest as part of their SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits. If you’re a Delta One traveler, you’ll also receive access to third-party business lounges. Any first and business class customers traveling on a same-day, international flight operated by a SkyTeam member airline will have access to Delta Sky Club or a SkyTeam Lounge.
Delta One travelers receive access to SkyTeam Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and third-party business lounges. (And yes, this includes Delta One transcontinental flights within the United States.)
While Delta has tightened rules surrounding Sky Club access to deal with overcrowding issues, there are still plenty of ways to gain access. While top-tier Diamond Medallion members can use a Choice Benefit selection to gain complimentary access, you’d be wise to hold an eligible credit card in the run-up to achieving that level of status. Plus, by holding a card that grants access, you’re able to exchange a Choice Benefit for an award with a much higher value potential.
It’s also worth pointing out that Priority Pass — which is included with a slew of our favorite credit cards — will not get you into a Delta Sky Club.
If you’re waffling between the Delta Reserve® Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express to gain access, we’d take a close look at the latter assuming you’re eligible for welcome bonuses on both. The Amex Platinum not only grants complimentary access to Sky Club lounges, but it also gets you into American Express’ growing network of Centurion Lounges (alongside a host of other perks). Plus, its 5x points earned on airfare purchases actually trumps the Delta Reserve’s 2x miles earned on Delta purchases, and since you can transfer those Membership Rewards points directly to Delta, you’ll effectively earn 150% more SkyMiles on those purchases.