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 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 operates 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 America and South America and other locations worldwide. Some airports 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 has eliminated that option. Now, you can purchase an annual pass for $545 or 54,500 miles; if you want to bring guests, you’ll 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 Sky Club 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:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (Annual fee: $550).
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Annual fee: $595).
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Annual fee: $550).
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (Annual fee: $550).
As of Jan. 30, 2020, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card offer two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes. Terms apply.
If you have the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, you and two guests can each get in for a daily rate of $39, which increased from $29 on Jan. 30, 2020. Additionally, as of Jan. 30, 2020, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card no longer offer a discount to the Delta Sky Club.
Even though all these cards carry an annual fee, they 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 aren’t 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 eight 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 don’t 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.
All information about The Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card are no longer available through NerdWallet.
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 2020, 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 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