Several years ago, Delta SkyMiles® American Express cardholders enjoyed a little something extra during the winter holiday season: two free premium drinks per Delta Sky Club visit.
But Aren’t Drinks Free at Delta Sky Clubs?
Sky Clubs always offer an array of both complimentary and premium beverages. (Here’s a current menu.) For example, the well/house bourbon is Old Forester 86 Proof. That’s free for Sky Club guests of legal drinking age. But if you want Woodford Reserve or Buffalo Trace, those cost $9 (or 600 SkyMiles).
Similarly, Sky Clubs feature a house cabernet. But if you’d rather sip the (delicious) premium Silver Oak cab, you’ll need to pony up $33 or 2200 SkyMiles (per glass).
But at least once or twice in the mid-2010s, Delta Amex holders could enjoy the good stuff for free during December.
How the Free Drink Promotion Worked
Delta Amex cardholders simply showed their cards to Sky Club bartenders and could receive up to two free drinks of whatever premium beverage they wanted. (At least, that’s how I remember it. I don’t believe there were any restrictions. If there were, please tell me in the Comments section.) Those of us who drink the hard stuff could opt for a double and get both pours right away if we wanted.
I remember enjoying complimentary Booker’s bourbon (a premium liquor) during Sky Club visits while traveling to Fargo at Christmas time.
I really appreciated and enjoyed this promotion. (Of course I did! 😉 .)
What I always found interesting was that bartenders apparently had to remember cardholders’ names. They didn’t write down any information so they could keep track of who exhausted the benefit. (At least, during my visits to Sky Clubs.) But they did seem to have good memories!
Plus, if an airport had multiple Sky Clubs with premium bars, a cardholder could barhop to various lounges and drink a whole lot of good booze on the house. That could get ugly for everyone — and I’m sure it happened more than a few times.
Why and How Delta Could Make This Fair for Everyone
Delta has invested time and money into its premium bar experience. They’re rolling out more specialty cocktails. Letting guests try those drinks for free is a great way to make people aware of them — and maybe entice them into buying them during future visits.
Delta SkyMiles® American Express Card annual fees have only gone up since those free premium drink promotions. Now would be an appropriate time to bring it back.
Maybe this could be reintroduced as an Amex Offer. Like, “receive $75 in statement credit for beverage purchases made at Delta Sky Clubs through December 31 or January 8” or something. That helps make sure people don’t abuse the promotion (or alcohol). It also shows some appreciation for Delta Amex cardholders — without breaking the bank.
Plus, not everyone travels during December. And not everyone drinks. So, I think there’d be plenty of breakage with a promotion like this.
One the other hand, maybe this would be a disaster, given Sky Clubs’ issues with staffing and long lines.
Delta SkyMiles® American Express cardholders used to receive up to free premium alcoholic beverages during holiday time Sky Club visits several years ago. It’d be nice for the promotion to return. I can understand why Delta may be a little apprehensive about bringing it back. But its return would be a nice show of appreciation for Delta Amex cardholders — and a strategic way for Sky Clubs to introduce their fancy cocktails to more people.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section.
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