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It’s hard to imagine too many folks took Delta up on its offer to spend a few hours in a Sky Club for the astronomical rate of $59 (or 5,000 SkyMiles) per visit, but as of Thursday, that option is no more. On the airline’s Sky Club News & Updates page is the below.

“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.”

In essence, this completes Delta’s long and winding road to making its Sky Club a membership-only affair. It ditched day passes some years back (which allowed a pass holder to enter various Sky Clubs in various cities throughout their itinerary across a single day), and now, single visit passes are but a memory.

Delta Sky Club Seattle SEA Ground Level
Planespotting while at Delta’s Sky Club at Seattle. Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.

Going forward, the only way to access the Sky Club will be via an annual membership, flying on an international business class ticket or via credit card. This makes the The Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cards, which include free access when traveling on a Delta flight or a Delta-marketed and Delta–ticketed flight operated by WestJet, even more alluring. For Platinum and Gold Delta SkyMiles card holders, you’ll still be able to access a Sky Club on a per-visit basis for $29, while Delta Reserve cardholders will continue to have complimentary access.

As Delta watches its overall quantity of Medallion members increase, it’s also seeing Sky Clubs become more and more crowded. As the laws surrounding supply and demand dictate, there are really only two options for solving such a quandary: either build more clubs, or make the existing ones more restrictive. Delta’s doing a bit of both, with new Sky Club locations coming to Austin (AUS) and Phoenix (PHX) in 2019 paired with far more limitations for accessing the network as a whole.

Delta Sky Club Seattle SEA Food Court
Delta’s Sky Club at Seattle. Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.

While Delta announced many of these changes in November 2017, now’s a great time to remind Delta loyalists that impacts will begin in just a few short weeks. As of Jan. 1, 2019, members must have same-day travel booked with Delta or one of its partners in order to access its airport lounges.

Currently, all Sky Club members can access the lounges as long as you have same-day travel booked — it doesn’t matter with which carrier you’re traveling. However, in 2019, Delta is enforcing stricter regulations that, even if you’re a Sky Club member, you must have travel booked with Delta or one of its partners. (Partner airlines include SkyTeam Member airlines, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Gol and WestJet.)

Delta Sky Club ATL Terminal B
Delta’s flagship Terminal B Sky Club in Atlanta. Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.

As of the same date, Sky Club members will no longer be able to access partner lounges; currently, Sky Club members have access to select Air France, KLM and Virgin Australia lounges. 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 will continue to have access to international lounges upon their departure or connecting flight.

As expected, pricing for Sky Club membership will go up effective Jan. 1, 2019. Individual Membership annual rates will increase by $50 to $545, or 54,500 miles, while Executive Membership annual rates will increase by $100 to $845, or 84,500 miles.

If you’d rather not worry over the particulars and ensure that you have access regardless of your Medallion status with Delta, consider adding one of the cards below to your wallet.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express, which has a $550 annual fee and is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, which has a $450 annual fee and is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Featured image of Delta’s Sky Club at RDU by the author.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
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Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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