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So What? Delta Sky Club Access Changes Hardly Affect These People

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Delta Sky Club Access

Yet again, Delta has dared travelers to not be loyal.  They just annihilated elite qualification requirements while underscoring how much simpler it would all be.  (Wisely, American understands consumers shouldn’t always have to give up one to obtain the other.)  Meanwhile, perhaps something they hoped would be lost in the elite qualification news shuffle, Delta made it tougher to enter their generally-solid Sky Club lounges.  Beyond my Loyalty Points experiment (based on some quite fortuitous spend opportunities) in 2022, I haven’t cared about airline elite status in many years.  So this latest Medallion Mess doesn’t affect me.  But, with a midsize regional airport, I’ve come to enjoy Sky Clubs during necessary connections.  There’s no doubt that the new changes affect many visitors.  But other Delta Sky Club enthusiasts aren’t feeling much of anything.  These are just a few types who are largely unscathed by the Delta Sky Club access changes.

Aggressive Amex Hobbyists

Starting in February 2025, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Reserve Business primary cardholders are entitled to ten Sky Club visits per program year.  It’s even worse for Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders; those Membership Rewards-earning cardholders only receive six visits per year.

Delta Sky Club Access

The silver lining is that these visits stack across card versions.  For instance, someone who holds a Delta Reserve and an Amex Platinum will be entitled to 16 Sky Club visits.  The saying I’ve read, one I’m not a particular fan of, is the visits are “additive.”  Whatever you call it, if each unique card has its own set of Sky Club visits, I’m a fan.

I’m a very active Amex cardholder, as many of you are, as well.  More cards mean more Sky Club visits, plain and simple.

Free Agents

I often say that my favorite rewards currency is my biggest weakness.  Similarly, travelers who depend most on one airline or hotel chain are more prone to being negatively impacted by their favorite programs when they “evolve.”  Conversely, diversifying your travel needs across different airline and hotel programs (and their points currencies) can help mitigate the devaluation of any one entity.  Of course, being a free agent, especially with airlines, is much tougher for some than others.  Hub captive – have you ever heard of it?

But, in my view, thanks to the deception that is elite status, many travelers self-select into manipulation.  Breaking free from elite status opens one’s options beyond any single travel provider.  If travelers fly a variety of airlines, they’ll be flying Delta comparatively less and wouldn’t be visiting Sky Clubs as much, anyway.

Delta Sky Club Access
Image source: Chase

Lounge Enthusiasts

I firmly believe that travelers are the winners in the current airport lounge arms race.  Overcrowding is an issue, but most other developments have been remarkably positive.  There’s a much bigger lounge footprint now than ever before, and the providers are more varied.  Consequently, we enjoy a relative wealth of options for how we access the different lounge networks.  Opting for even just one more provider can change the game, and many in our hobby try to have a way in with as many as possible.  That six, ten, or more Sky Club visit allotment lasts much longer when you’re taking more advantage of everything else available.

Adventurous Travelers

One reason lounges are a good fit for me is that I prefer to get to the airport early and schedule plenty of time between connecting flights – maybe still my biggest dad move.  But clearly, many differ.  These people arrive at the last minute for their flights or book ridiculously short connections.  While I choose not to take part such risk-taking, it seems others are fueled on the juice from such adventure.  On multiple occasions, Shawn has regaled me with stories about how late he arrives for flights.  Visiting a lounge is much lower on such a traveler’s to-do list, at least during these escapades.

I’ll take a big bite out of Capital One lounges and a few Delta Sky Clubs, as well.


I’m often the first three of these, and sometimes the fourth (even if that’s unintentional).  The Delta Sky Club access changes undoubtedly sting some, but I don’t think the long-term negative effects are as big as they’ve been portrayed.  Shocker, people on the internet overblow things.  Regardless, I’ll enjoy my periodic visit to Delta Sky Clubs, hopefully less crowded locations, come 2025.  What’s your take on the recent changes to Delta Sky Club access?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. I recently traveled on Delta and purchased a cash First class ticket for domestic travel. I was taking a flight out from JFK. I went to the lounge “assuming” I’d get into the lounge since I had paid for a first class ticket – to my surprised I was told “No, you need to also hold the AmEx Delta card.” That was a new one for me.. I was flying out on a Delta flight… I was about to walk away and go to the Centurion lounge since I have the AmEx Plat card but a friend used one of friend visits so I could get in. This left a very sour taste… I will definitely think 2x before purchasing another cash first class ticket on Delta. The price for the ticket is not cheap, I should have been allowed into the lounge without the need to be a Delta AmEx card holder. I flew into NY on Alaska first class and they like other airlines allowed me to use their lounge because I paid for a FC ticket.

    • FYI United, American none of them give you lounge access if you have a first class domestic ticket. The exceptions are American Flagship route JFK-LAX. I dont think you fly much if you think First class gets you lounge access in the US. Overseas business and first will get you in a lounge. If you had the proper card and flying Delta that day you could use the lounge in any class of service.

    • If you have the Amex Platinum card and are flying Delta same day, you have access to the Delta Sky Club. Doesn’t matter if it’s a cash or an award ticket, economy or first (but no basic economy without Amex Plat or Delta reserve, until Jan 2024 when no basic economy period).
      You should’ve been allowed in based on everything you said (not b/c of the paid first ticket, but because of you are an Amex Platinum cardholder).


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