Delta Airlines made a surprise announcement yesterday that, effective immediately, they were no longer going to sell single visit passes to Delta Sky Club lounges for $59 (or 5,000 SkyMiles). In 2017, Delta announced other changes to the Sky Club entry policy for all members and others with club access, which included the requirement you must be flying on Delta that day to enter the club. These changes were announced over a year in advance, giving those who purchased a Sky Club membership the ability to decide if they wanted to renew knowing the new policy. However this change only affects those who are not members, so it could be implemented right away.
Delta has been investing money into renovating their clubs, while at the same time they are looking to increase the revenue from the clubs by charging for drinks and selling food items above the basic lounge fare. So why would they stop selling single day passes, and how can you still buy one?
Delta’s explanation of seemingly every change to the Sky Club access policy is the same, overcrowding. No matter how nice your lounge looks, travelers aren’t going to like it if they can’t find a seat. Here’s how they nicely stated the same in the press release:
Each day we’re continuing to invest in the Club to provide an elevated experience, and today access to the Club is in higher demand than ever. To ensure we can continue to provide an exceptional Club experience and take care of guests that choose to fly with us or with our partners, we are making the following changes:
Starting November 15, 2018
- We’ll no longer sell the $59/5,000 mile Single Visit Passes
- Any Single Visit Passes that guests already have will be accepted through the expiration date printed on the pass, as long as they are being used in conjunction with same-day ticketed air travel on Delta or partner airlines.
Paying For Sky Club Access
I’m sure there are people who are wondering “Does anyone actually pay $59 for club access?” Yes, they do and I was one of them. On My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day (With A Happy Ending) I purchased a single visit pass to the DCA Sky Club. The reason was twofold. I arrived at the airport super early for my flight because I was stressed over the weather and needed somewhere I could sit comfortably and get some work done. I also wanted access to Sky Club agents in case my flights were delayed or cancelled. Lounge agents can be incredibly helpful to rebook flights and I was willing to pay for the convenience.
If Delta has stopped selling single visit passes, how can you still buy one? You need to have one of the Delta credit cards issued from American Express.
Platinum and Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Members from American Express
- Card Members and up to two of their guests must be traveling on a Delta flight to access the Club for an exclusive per-visit $29 rate, per person.
This benefit is part of the contract between Delta and AMEX and it makes sense that since AMEX is using as part of their marketing of the credit cards, Delta’s unable to eliminate it without any notice. In some way, this benefit is worth even more because it’s the only way to buy a single day pass anymore. Here’s a link to my full review of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card.
The one thing to remember, that I learned the hard way, is that you need to physically have the Delta AMEX card with you to buy a single day pass. Just being an account holder isn’t enough to get access to the club.
AMEX is currently offering sign up bonuses of 60,000 SkyMiles for the Gold version and 75,000 SkyMiles for the Platinum version of their personal Delta cards. We’d appreciate it if you use our referral link when applying for the cards, as we get some extra SkyMiles from AMEX.
There are plenty of other people who still have access to Sky Clubs, including American Express Platinum cardholders (who can also bring two guests along for $29 each). If you plan on visiting Sky Clubs multiple times, this would be the best way to purchase access instead of paying for single day passes.
I’m not sure about Delta’s reasoning behind the sudden discontinuation of single day passes for SkyClubs. Winter storms are dumping snow all around the nation and the Thanksgiving holiday is just a week away. Maybe Delta’s concerned about the SkyClubs getting overcrowded. I do know that I’ll make sure to bring my Delta AMEX card with me when I travel, regardless if I have flights with Delta or not, because you never know what might happen.
H/T: Doctor of Credit
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary