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Delta Sky Clubs are more crowded than ever, and because of that, Delta is raising the price of club membership and removing one of the biggest perks of The Platinum Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve Card effective May 1st:
Complimentary lounge access for your guests.
That means you will only have access for yourself and will have to pay $29 for each guest you bring in.
This is a big downgrade to $450 per year Platinum Card benefits, as many members relied on being able to bring their children and spouse into the Sky Clubs as part of membership. It’s also a downgrade to the Delta Reserve which also costs $450 per year.
There’s also bad news for Diamond Medallions, who will lose complimentary guest privileges on March 1, 2015.
Now, the only way to get complimentary guests will be to sign up for a $695 per year ‘Executive’ membership. ($595 for Diamond / Platinum Medallions, $645 for Gold). Individual membership will be $450 per year with no discounts.
See below for the email, and here for more details from Delta.
There is one way around part of this for Platinum Card holders. You can get up to 3 additional full Platinum Cards for $175 total. Each card offers the holder unlimited individual access to Sky Clubs. So you and up to 3 others can each enjoy full Sky Club access for $450 + $175 = $625 total per year. And you’ll still get a $200 airline fee credit each year for the first card. So it’s like getting access for 4 people for $425 instead of $695.
You can order additional cards for anyone – they just have to be at least 15 years of age and have a social security number. This isn’t helpful for families with small children, but for couples and those with older kids this is still a good savings versus the $695 Delta now wants to charge.
Here’s the summary of Guest Access changes:
Clearly, lounges are more crowded than ever and a price increase was really the only way to abate it.
But the loss of guest privileges with no discounted way to buy up to Executive level for credit and charge card holders is a big disadvantage for Platinum and Delta Reserve cardholders. A better option would have been to add a $200-$300 ‘guest privilege’ add-on for people with Platinum Card or Delta Reserve membership. But Delta may feel that’s not enough to keep the clubs inviting for fully paid members.
You might be better off buying Executive Club membership directly and then downgrading to a base mileage earning card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express for $95 year, or the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express for $175 per year. Or just not buying membership at all. Airports are more comfortable than ever with lots of power outlets, good bars / restaurants, and empty gate areas thanks to fewer flights.
One of the biggest disconnects of the price increase is that Delta downgraded the quality of the complimentary beverages it offers in the Sky Clubs substantially last year. And there is no indication that will be improved.
Are United Clubs and American Admirals Clubs next in line?
United raised its membership prices last year, but didn’t touch guest access. It’s possible they will reassess later this year once it’s clear how the Delta situation plays out.
American is in the thick of a merger, so changes there may take longer. Unfortunately American Admirals Club access for Platinum Card holders is ending this year.
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