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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, and even the right credit card can grant these privileges.

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.

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Credit Cards

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 of 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!

Note that any of the above cards only provide access to the primary cardholder. Guests — capped at two — are $29 each.

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). The following Delta cards are currently offering limited time offers until August 15, 2019:

Paid Membership

Delta’s swanky Sky Club at PHX (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

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. In addition, Sky Club members are no longer able to access partner lounges — including select locations operated by Air France, KLM and Virgin Australia.

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.

Elite Status

delta Hartmann
Hartmann luggage – a gift from Delta to those who hit 1 million miles (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

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 (and holding a same-day ticket for travel). That’s huge, as it enables you to reserve one of your Choice Benefits for valuable selections such as Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates.

LAX Terminal 3 - Delta Sky Club Food
The food spread at Delta’s Sky Club in LAX Terminal 3 (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

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.)

Delta One Ticket

Customers traveling on a domestic Delta One flight, as well as passengers in Delta One on an international flight, are granted access to a Sky Club regardless of elite status or membership. If you’re on a domestic ticket that’s connecting to/from a same-day international Delta One flight, you’re also clear to enter.

In the official access policy, Delta restricts its definition of international for the purposes of Sky Club entry International travel is defined as Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Canada and Mexico. However, in order to gain access on an itinerary that departs from or arrives into one of the above regions, you must be booked in Delta One. Many short- or medium-haul international flights have a premium cabin classified as “First Class” and thus aren’t eligible for Sky Club access.

You can also gain entry if traveling up front on a SkyTeam flight. Passengers flying on a same-day international first or business class ticket on a SkyTeam-operated flight are granted Sky Club access, but you’ll need to be confirmed in first/business on the international segment of the journey.

Virgin Australia Club Access

There’s one final group of flyers that can access Sky Clubs: select Virgin Australia elites and business class passengers. Virgin Australia/Velocity VIP Platinum card, Platinum card or Gold card members traveling on a flight operated by Delta or Virgin Australia Airlines must show their membership card for Sky Club access. Virgin Australia business class flyers must show a same-day boarding pass to gain entry.

Bottom Line

delta Seattle skyclub
Delta’s Seattle Sky Club has views for days (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

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 (booked directly with the airlines or through American Express Travel) 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.

Related video:

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express, please click here.

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Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
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More Things to Know
  • Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Enjoy in-flight savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Delta Reserve Credit Card to make an eligible purchase, on board your next Delta flight.
  • Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights -that's a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • $450 Annual Fee.
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