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I saw a friend post on Facebook today that while in the Newark United Club they made an announcement that the club was at max capacity and for everyone to free up whatever chairs they could. Personally I haven’t been lounge hopping too much lately- I’m always cutting it close to departure time because I love TSA Pre-Check (though I’m sure I’m going to get burned one of these days), but it made me think that maybe lounges are becoming pointless as they become even more crowded than the terminals. Maybe that’s a stretch, but I’m curious whether Delta’s new changes about guest access that they announced earlier this year will make SkyClubs less crowded and more enjoyable.
For me, this is just one of the reasons (in addition to two devaluations, slashing of the transcontinental upgrade policy and radical revenue-based changes to come in 2015) why I dumped Delta. Kinda funny that I’m writing this as I fly on them from Seattle to JFK, but more to come on that in another post.
To recap, here are the new changes:
1. Increase membership prices from $450 to $695 annually. Executive Membership will continue to allow two complimentary guests.
2. For those who rarely bring guests, you can purchase an Individual Membership for $450 annually and you will be charged $29 per visit for guest access. You can also use your Delta miles to buy membership, starting at 60,000 miles for Diamond Medallion members but this is not a good option or use of your miles, so I discourage this usage.
3. Beginning May 1, 2014, all customers who receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access as a benefit of their eligible credit or charge card will no longer receive complimentary guest access. A $29 fee per guest will apply.
Delta justified these changes by claiming that they have invested $50 million in lounge renovations and their members have been complaining of overcrowding in the lounge – so naturally they’re raising prices for access. Supply and demand at its finest. Gold Medallions get a $50 discount, Platinums are $100 and Diamonds get a $100 discount – whereas membership for Diamonds get free Individual membership. Here’s a fee breakdown:
The other major blow is that, according to Delta, “Beginning May 1, 2014, all customers who receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access as a benefit of their eligible credit or charge card will no longer receive complimentary guest access. A $29 fee per guest will apply.” That’s a major blow not only to Delta Reserve cardholders, but also to cardholders of the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards. Previously, you could guest up to 2 other people in.
There has been mixed reactions to these changes. On one hand the clubs should be less crowded, but on the other the value of these credit cards have declined due to losing guest access. Which side of the aisle do you fall on – do you love or hate these changes?