You can’t beat lounge access for food, drinks, and Wi-Fi at the airport when you have a long layover, a few hours to kill before takeoff or a delayed or canceled flight. But how do you get in without paying a fortune?
It’s easier than you might think if you carry the right travel credit card. Delta Air Lines has over 50 Sky Club locations and 250 partner and third-party lounges around the world that flyers can take advantage of with the right ticket, status or card.
Be sure to check Delta’s website, though, as access varies by membership or ticket. For example, new rules went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, requiring travelers to have a same-day ticket on Delta or one of its partners to get lounge access. Also, Delta Sky Club Members can no longer access Air France, KLM Crown or Virgin Australia partner lounges.
Delta operate Sky Clubs in its hubs of Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle-Tacoma, as well as other locations across the U.S. and a few internationally.
Delta partners provide lounges in Europe, Asia, Central/South America and other locations worldwide. Some airports even have multiple partner lounge options.
How to get Sky Club access
In the past, travelers could buy a day pass for $59 to get into a Sky Club, but Delta eliminated that option last year. Now, you can purchase an annual pass for $545 or 54,500 miles; if you want to bring guests, you’ll also pay $29 per person per entry. An annual pass that lets you bring two free guests all year costs $845 or 84,500 miles.
If you don’t fly Delta often enough to justify that cost, there are a few other options to gain entry for free or at a discounted rate:
Fly Delta One or a premium SkyTeam cabin
If you are flying Delta One (the carrier’s premium product) or are booked on an international flight in a premium cabin with one of Delta’s SkyTeam partners, your ticket will get you into the Delta SkyClub lounge.
Earn elite status
SkyTeam Elite Plus members receive access for themselves and one guest into the Sky Club. This includes Delta Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion members traveling on an international flight or connecting to an international destination.
Diamond members can also select an Individual membership to the Sky Club as one of three Choice Benefits available annually.
Carry one of these credit cards
You’ll get free Sky Club access (assuming you’re flying Delta or one of its partners), plus the $29 guest rate, with any of these credit cards:
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express (Annual fee: $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020))
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (Annual fee: $550)
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Annual fee: $595)
If you have the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express credit card, you and two guests can each get in for a daily rate of $29. As of Jan. 30, 2020, this is increasing to $39 with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and the benefit will be removed completely from the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.
Even though all these cards carry an annual fee, they do come with welcome offers and airfare credits that can offset some of the cost.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
Other things to consider
There are also a few other things to keep in mind that determine whether you meet the criteria for Sky Club entry:
- You need to have a same-day boarding pass on Delta or one of its partners, and you need access to the Delta concourse to get in.
- You need to be at least 18 to enter without an adult (or 21 if the lounge has a self-service bar).
- You can’t bring in outside food and beverages or remove refreshments from the lounge.
- Business meetings and conference calls are not allowed in Delta Sky Clubs.
- If you are traveling with a pet, the lounge rules are the same as the airline’s carry-on pet policy. Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old and will need to stay inside its kennel. Service and emotional support animals need to be trained and remain under your control.
If you have a lifetime lounge membership (which is no longer available for purchase), you can bring up to two guests or a spouse/domestic partner and kids under 21 with no additional fees. Also, the new rules about having a Delta ticket do not apply to lifetime members; they can access Sky Clubs with any same-day travel ticket.
The bottom line
If you fly frequently and value consistent Sky Club access, getting one of Delta’s credit cards might be the easiest means of entry. The Platinum Card® from American Express will get you into Delta Sky Clubs as well as Priority Pass and Centurion lounges.
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
How to sidestep the potential pitfalls of travel credit cards
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies