Delta has been increasingly “protective” of their Sky Clubs over the past few years. Two years ago, they raised the membership fee, and removed guest access for cardmembers of the American Express Platinum card. Just last year, they increased the price of a day pass, from $50 to $59. Well, it looks like they are getting ready to increase the price for Sky Club memberships yet again.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta will be increasing Sky Club membership fees starting in 2017. In doing so, though, they will also be decreasing the cost in SkyMiles. This puts the cost (in miles) much more in line with what Delta wants you to think their miles are worth—at around 1 cent each.
- Individual Membership (no guest access)
- Cash: Increase from $450 to $495
- SkyMiles: Decrease from 70,000 miles to 47,000 miles
- Executive Membership (2 guests)
- Cash: Increase from $695 to $745
- SkyMiles: Decrease from 110,000 miles to 70,000 miles
Of course, on Delta’s end, they argue that the price hike will allow them to improve their lounges. There is also an element of maintaining exclusivity, though I am not convinced that a price increase like this will really achieve that. Delta does have some of the better lounges, at least domestically, and I would argue that their food offering is stronger than both United and American.
For the sake of comparison, American Airlines currently charges $450 for an individual membership, which comes with 2 guests. In addition, they charge a $50 initial fee, but have tiered pricing for elite members. You can get up to $50 off or $250 off (individual/household) as an Executive Platinum member. United, on the other hand, charges $550 for an annual membership, which comes with 2 guests. They also have charge a $50 initiation fee, and have tiered pricing, where 1K elites get a $100 discount.
With the price hike, individual memberships to Delta Sky Club will be the most expensive out of the 3 US legacy airlines. To be completely fair, top-tier Delta elites (Diamond Medallions) currently get a free individual membership. They are the only US airline to do this, and that doesn’t appear to be changing.
In my opinion, the best way to access Delta Sky Club remains through credit cards. For example, the American Express Platinum card gets you free access to Delta Sky Club locations. Granted, you only get access when you’re flying Delta, but that’s probably when you’d want access anyway. The card does have a $450 annual fee (which will in itself be cheaper than an individual membership), but it also comes with tons of other benefits, including a $200 annual airline fee credit. Alternatively, the Delta Reserve credit card also costs $450 a year, which also come with Sky Club access when flying Delta.
Do you currently have a Delta Sky Club membership? How do you feel about this price hike?