The ultimate guide to Delta Sky Club access

Nov 18, 2019

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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 let you breathe a little easier, enjoy complimentary food and drink, get some work done on Wi-Fi that’s often superior to what you’ll find in the general terminal, and access restrooms that are typically nicer and less commonly used (and more frequently cleaned).

Even if you don’t travel very often, having access to a lounge can make each journey more peaceful. Lounges can be used before a flight, during a connection, while you’re waiting out a delay or even upon arrival in some cases. You don’t have to be an elite flyer or on an expense account to enter an airline lounge — the right credit card can grant these lounge privileges.

Related: Best credit cards for lounge access

If you regularly fly Delta, or you live in or travel to 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 to gain that access.

In This Post

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 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 cardholder. Authorized user cards are available via the Platinum Card to the tune of up to three for $175 per year, and those authorized users also can get into the Delta Sky Club with their Platinum Amex and same-day Delta boarding pass.

Otherwise, guests — capped at two per cardholder — are $29 each. Beginning Jan. 30, 2020, the Reserve cardholder guest fee will increase to $39 per person.

American Express and Delta have just revised the policies for the Gold and Platinum Delta cobranded cards. Beginning Jan. 30, 2020, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Card from American Express will lose the ability for cardholders to pay a discounted rate of $29 to enter the Sky Club.

Related: The best Delta Sky Clubs

Paid membership

Delta’s swanky Sky Club at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

While it’s not usually the best value to obtain Sky Club access in most situations, you can outright purchase a Sky Club Membership with cash or SkyMiles. There are two types of Sky Club Memberships, which are outlined below.

  • Individual Membership: One-year rate of $545 or 54,500 SkyMiles or $50 for 12 monthly installments
  • Executive Membership: One-year rate of $845 or 84,500 SkyMiles or $75 for 12 monthly installments

An Individual Membership is self-explanatory: only the member can enter the Sky Club. However, the member can bring two guests or a spouse/domestic partner and any children under 21 for $29 per guest per club visit. An Executive Membership includes up to two included guests, while any guest beyond that will cost $29 per guest per club visit.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, Sky Club members and their guests will 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 now also 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 cardmember (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.

Related: Credit cards that help you earn elite status

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)

Delta 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 ticket

(Image courtesy of Delta)

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 the club.

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 those passengers aren’t eligible for Sky Club access.

You can also gain entry if traveling upfront on a SkyTeam partner 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 is tightening 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 a Priority Pass membership — 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) 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 airfare purchases.

With additional reporting by Darren Murph.

Featured image by Katherine Fan/The Points Guy

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.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

The card is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles + 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Apply Now
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 other purchases.
  • Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit. Starting 1/30/2020, the exclusive per-visit rate to access the Delta Sky Club® will be $39 per person.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, 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 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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