I wrote in my “what I expect to see happen” post last year that I fully expected that Delta, in coordination with American Express, would make some drastic changes to the non-Delta Amex Platinum cards: card_name and card_name. Clearly, that did not happen.
Well, at least it hasn’t happened yet.
We have all seen Delta make unexpected, and highly unpopular, moves in an attempt to stop the often massive lines waiting to enter major hub Skyclubs. Moves like:
- Reducing entrance to three hours before flight
- Preventing access unless flying Delta (even for members)
- Removing access for Delta Elite+ flyers in coach (US only)
- Restricting Delta employees from Sky Clubs when non-rev
I just don’t see any of these changes having any material impact on overcrowding. Yes, they will lighten the load but not in any significant manner. Delta is building more clubs — but we are talking years to add more space and all the while, as Delta and Amex have told us, they are constantly adding massive amounts of new card members who also will have access.
So we all, including Delta, know the only real fix is fewer folks with easy access to the Sky Clubs. The trick is doing this with some balance of reducing access while avoiding a complete wave of card cancellations.
Delta keeps saying, and correctly so, that those who spend the most are those they view as the most valuable customers. But those who get Amex cards are also the most valuable.
The fix really is what is already in place on so many levels. Delta has a minimum spend with Amex to earn your MQD Medallion elite waiver up to Platinum Medallion for $25,000. Amex, for their side of the lounge equation, is weeks away from requiring $75,000 minimum spend per year on their Amex Platinum cards to bring a guest free into the Centurion lounges.
It is clearly time to only reward big spenders on the card_name and/or card_name (both cards allow members to access Delta Sky Clubs when flying a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. Terms apply.) What level? Considering now the required spend needed is only paying the annual fee, a large spend level is needed. (Each card’s annual fee is $695. See rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express. See rates and fees for card_name.)
Then what level should be implemented?
Between $10,000 to $20,000 yearly.
This change would have a measurable impact on reducing those who only get cards for access along with all the perks included with premium cards.
Would this be popular? No. But compared to the very frustrating and less-than-effective moves made so far, this one can be completely justified by the company and give them the flexibility to adjust the spend threshold as needed moving forward either up OR down.
I think this move is inevitable. Why? Folks not being able to access Sky Clubs, (e.g., waiting in line for hours) will soon cause as big a wave of cancellations as making a change to minimum yearly card spend but without the positive impact for the Amex bottom line.
What do you think? Do you think as I do this is just a matter of time or if not what else is Delta going to do to try to fix the overcrowding issue? – René
To see rates and fees for card_name, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for card_name, please visit this link. Terms apply.
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Nope. Delta and Amex have a contract that runs into 2029, can’t do this without a renegotiation.
@Gary – We shall see. The 1/4M MQD waver was a real shocker as well.
Putting the contract to the side for a minute . . .
– Require $75k in Amex Platinum Card / Business Platinum Card spend per year
– Bump Amex Delta Reserve Card annual fee to $1000
– Limit direct Sky Club membership to Platinum Medallion and up, bump annual fee to $1000
As for the contract, it would serve both Amex and Delta to renegotiate. There are material adverse changes and unforeseen circumstances.
You have to nip it in the bud.
Lol…that’s a ridiculous amount of spend and Delta would be shooting themselves in the foot given the avalanche of cancellations that would follow.
Love this idea.
I’d be fine with a 10-20k min. But if it went over that I would drop the card like a hot potato. I spread my spend around on cards depending on cashback bonus and points categories. Unless Amex Plat matches all my other bonus levels, they aren’t getting all my spend. I suspect many others would do the same.
Would this apply on the Reserve card too? Most of us spend on that to at least $30k anyway for the MQD waiver and MQM boost.
@Empty Nester – In my post I am mostly focused on the non-Delta Amex Platinum card that many get for access not just to Delta clubs but others as well (i.e. Centurion or Priority Pass).
But, as first reported about here, there are clearly some interesting changes on the way for the Reserve card! 🙂
Thanks – what changes? I haven’t seen anything, but maybe I missed it.
My Take: Sky Club Admission Changes Punish Delta’s Own Elites, But Reward Amex Cardholders
Why I Dislike the Delta Sky Club Changes — and Don’t Think They’ll Truly Solve Overcrowding Issues
@Empty Nester – Stand by for updates soon!
DELTA needs to “think outside the box”. The DELTA “RESERVE” card needs to raise the annual fee to start. Also, the DELTA “Co-Brand” cards combined spend should equate to the “MQD” waiver of $25k for SKYCLUB access and the DELTA “Co-Brand” Platinum and Gold cards should NOT be allowed to purchase daily access when flying DELTA. NO guest complimentary access PERIOD!
@Bridge – Some interesting ideas. Thanks!
Card would need a more compelling value proposition then though. Why DL Reserve not AX Platinum.
Even today the MQM bonus is nuanced math because unless you are buying $30k of delta flights you are living spend reward on the table. Even hotels globally get 3x on the DL Platinum card so that card gets directed a bunch of my spend.
As I always say, the overcrowded Sky Clubs are really no different than overcrowded and congested highways. Adding additional traffic lanes to existing highways never eases congestion. It’s been proven time and time again.
Expanding the size of lounges, as Delta has done with LAX, LGA and soon JFK, doesn’t work because there’s no reduction in the number of customers allowed access.
Delta should have taken away Sky Team Elite status from gold status customers before it stripped Sky Club access from diamonds or platinums flying economy on international flights. This would have had a more meaningful impact and at least pretended that Delta still cared about platinums and diamonds, when in reality 360 is the new diamond status.
Delta could also expand its Sky Club Express locations. Right now, there are two: Boston and New York JFK. These Express lounges feature grab-and-go food, including salads and wraps. Implement grab-and-go food at all Sky Club locations. There are a good number of customers who would gladly grab a sandwich or salad and leave, as opposed to struggling to find a seat for mediocre buffet food.
The Delta One lounges won’t come online until at least 2024. It will probably take 3-5 years for all of Delta’s airports with international flights or domestic Delta One to feature Delta One lounges. Why not just offer a voucher for eating in the airport restaurant to Delta One passengers until the special Delta One lounges come online? If Delta gave me $30 to spend in the airport, I’d gladly go to a restaurant somewhere in the terminal instead of the Sky Club.
Last but not least, Delta could get rid of complimentary alcohol or limit complimentary alcohol to one drink per visit per lounge. The complimentary wine these days is $5 wine. Eliminating virtually unlimited free booze would significantly reduce overcrowded lounges.
The non co-branded Platinum cards really are the problem. I’m so glad to you pinpointed this. They have the least barriers to entry. Less conditions on the Amex Platinum card than on any co-branded card, the Reserve included. Over the last 6 years or so, everyone has encountered new hurdles at one point or another, except the Amex Platinum cardholders, who aren’t even beholden to a Skymiles membership. Requiring a high spend should absolutely apply to those NON-DELTA cards specifically. But seeing as they are the only ones with no change, I suspect something contractual limits any changes to their access. I hope whatever contract that is expires soon. The greatest benefit to those of whom the least loyalty is required is nuts to me.
I don’t see this happening. The annual fee on the Platinum card is expensive. It is somewhat offset by various offers but those alone are certainly not enough to entice one to apply for or keep the card.
The real draw is lounge access. As things stand now, waits to get into Centurion lounges and Sky Clubs are frustrating enough to have one question whether or not the card is worth keeping. The alternative is dining at airport eateries generally much more conveniently located to gates and don’t require a pre-paid annual charge for access. Having multi-thousand spend requirements will drive away many existing cardholders
@growler – You make my point and please don’t take this the wrong way but from a business stand point you are exactly the type of card holder that would be AOK to let go that is one who only gets the card for the perks vs those who spend on the card to bring in money for Amex.
Disagree. I can easily get $700+ of value out of Amex Plat before I even consider club access. $200 airline credit, $200 FHR, $200 Uber, $100 Saks (OK that’s worth less than the face value probably), Amex Offers, 5x on airfare. Club access is great, but the card pays for itself without that.
Same. I wrote a post all about this!
The FHR credit is a joke. I tried to use it multiple times last year, and everytime I checked the hotels direct site it was substantially cheaper than booking thru amex. I’m glad you find value in getting a credit for paying jacked up prices.
I think it depends on which hotels one books. I usually can find decent prices at Bellagio in Las Vegas (albeit for weeknights and the odd weekend). The food and resort credits are helpful with meals.
Military. There. I said it.
@CHRIS – Ummm… yikes!
I am going to disagree with the majority of commenters here. IMO, the clubs have gotten too crowded over the years because of all the credit-card holders, as opposed flyers who actually pay for a club membership. If Delta wants to be just a credit card company, they should get rid of the planes. If all you Amex’ers (and admittedly, I am one) just want a club, go to the Centurian club.
@D.A. – Delta makes simple ridiculous amounts of money from cards and that is not going to change. Sorry.
And that is the problem (IMO), Is Delta a bank or an airline? They obviously cannot manage the situation by being both. Kind of like Delta trying run their oil refinery. They need to stick to a core business, whatever that business is.
@D.A. – I guess you never heard the old joke about Delta? They are not really an airline at all but an old southern law firm that happens to fly a bunch of jets? 😉
They replaced some of the Delta placards outside the jetbridges at some airports I flew through recently to AMEX ones so we may not be far off.
Definitely agree. I am a AMEX cardholder too but also Diamond Medallion. I believe they should prioritize those with higher flying status… since they are an airline… as opposed to those who fly 3x a year but put the kids tuition on the AMEX. Diamond status makes you a much more loyal Delta customer.
FWIW, some clubs give Diamonds and 360 entrance priority when things get busy.
Yes they do, but all that does is allow you to skip to the “front of the line”. If there is a wait, you still need to wait in a sense.
It doesn’t matter though. Delta is getting rid of the individual membership for Diamond members, and only allowing Executive membership as a choice benefit. Executive allows for bringing up to 2 guests (or your spouse/domestic partner and children under 21) per visit. So someone can bring in 4 other people (spouse and 3 kids for example) if they purchase an Executive membership, but I can have an individual membership (as part as a choice benefit) when I fly 99.99% of the time alone (as a road warrior). Tell me again who is overcrowding the clubs?!!!
Can’t, not can.
The Lounge is an entirely separate business model/partnership between Delta and Amex. One division of this business partnership model is the Delta branded “Sky Club” lounge, and the second is the Amex branded “Centurion” lounge. The frequency that you fly with Delta has nothing to do with this Lounge partnership business model. Apples and oranges.
The people with credit cards are flyers too, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Also – at least for the Delta Reserve – paying for the credit card IS paying for membership. Your comment applies more to people with Amex Platinum which is the subject of this e-mail.
I like the idea of limited drinks. I think that would have a real impact. No drinks…no long stays…
@jemared – Many Priority Pass lounges have a limit of 1 or 2 drinks per visit. I agree this could maybe reduce how long some folks stay at a Skyclub.
It’s an interesting suggestion but there are a few reasons I don’t think that’d happen.
1) How do you enforce it? Drink tickets whenever someone enters the lounge? That’d slow things down. Plus, not everyone drinks and might just hand their coupons off to others.
2) Many Sky Clubs feature bars with, well, middle-shelf alcohol. People can people buy those premium drinks with cash, credit card, or SkyMiles. In my experience (just from observing here and there, and personally imbibing), most Sky Club guests opt for the complimentary hooch. But I’ve seen people purchase premium wines and other drinks. My wife and I occasionally treat ourselves to specialty cocktails. So, limiting drinks could impact that revenue stream.
Eliminating complimentary drinks would greatly reduce the lounge overcrowding situation. Why should the alcohol be free? The free wine that’s being served in the Sky Club is pretty awful. They’re deliberately downgraded the free wine to get customers to buy the premium wines.
Assuming I don’t have a client to expense a meal to when traveling, I could basically a $40 dinners or $40 worth of drinks 15 times per year for the same annual fee as a credit card. When I can’t get in the lounge or the food and wine is so bad that I can’t eat or drink, I’m probably better off dropping $40 in the airport terminal.
I look forward to seeing change to limit club access. When Country Clubs are filled with members who divide the number of golf rounds into the monthly dues to justify membership … the club is on its way downward. The best clubs are full of members who love and play the game. The same for airport lounges. Airport lounges should be a respite for those that enjoy traveling and fly the airline a great deal. They need and enjoy a place away from the hustle of the airport. However, the airlines realized the money to be made with credit cards if only they could attract more credit card holders – magic – offer lounge access to those that don’t fly much. Now where do those that fly a lot go? “Where will they go?”, should be the question the airline executives asking.
Doesn’t United limit credit card access to people holding a United Club Infinite Card? I would think that limiting credit card access to people holding a Delta SkyMiles Reserve card would make a pretty big dent. Perhaps people holding a non-branded AMEX Platinum card could get a limited number of passes.
Based on the first comment, it sounds like the AMEX/Delta deal would need to be renegotiated. However, there may be a way to make it a win-win for both companies if there was some sort of financial incentive to hold both cards. What if an AMEX Platinum cardholder could also hold a Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card for $350? Would enough AMEX Platinum cardholders decline that deal to keep them out of the clubs?
“Doesn’t United limit credit card access to people holding a United Club Infinite Card?”
Not as far as I can tell. In fact, two guests are permitted to enter with the cardholders.
What I meant is that Delta provides access to Sky Clubs from both the branded Reserve card and the non-branded Platinum card. The United Club Infinite Card comes from Chase, and to the best of my knowledge, you can’t get into a United Club with any non-branded Chase cards (but I could be wrong).
What I am proposing is limiting Sky Club access to people that hold the branded SkyMiles Reserve card and eliminating (or reducing) access using the non-branded AMEX Platinum card. I know a lot of people would not be happy (myself included), but I think this would certainly reduce Sky Club usage and would reward people that hold the Delta’s SkyMiles Reserve card.
It sure would!
United let anyone with a ticket, the app and a $59 swipe into their lounges and it’s a day pass, all lounges on the Itinerary not just the one you swipe at.
Compare to Delta. Ax Delta Platinum card (and fee) and $50 and only for that airport.
Remove all the FOOD, and go back to just liight snack and drinks!!!
The food is a major perk of lounge access.
It would limit it, but also kill the Amex Platinum numbers and Delta supposedly makes a fortune from their partnership.
I think that a spend amount is a good idea. Similar to how my Delta Plat has a $25k target for platinum medallion status, there should be one for Amex Plat and Delta Lounge Access. I fly 40 something weeks a year and it’s been a pain lately with a) how crowded and b) lines. Now the lines aren’t as annoying now that they’re letting Diamonds jump the line but caution “first world problem” it does suck traveling this much and the experience is meh.
Give me the old Pan Am lounge in Miami, now that was lovely. Hell, even the Virgin Clubhouse in LHR is a great experience, Delta could learn from that.
My $99 United card comes with two free passes I forget to use and I think I can pay for access.
How about those who have lifetime memberships? Do we have any privileges? Or restrictions?
This post may help. (Perish the thought of accessing the Sky Club if you fly Basic Economy.)
Do you think if they removed Sky Club access for Plat authorized users it might help? I see numerous comments from folks who add AUs just for access. Only the primary cardholder would have access. Just a thought.
It absolutely would reduce crowding in Sky Clubs.
But they are still paying Delta $50 a visit. I’m sure they like that spend.
The AUs don’t pay for access, or am I misunderstanding your comment? I am one of those that has AUs who only use it for lounge access. Now they don’t travel much, but I much rather my wife be in the lounge than out in the terminal. Last week she flew Jet Blue and didn’t have her Priority Pass with her, that wasn’t a cheap terminal visit!! I just paid that tab off, she now has PP on her phone lol
Have you factored in the adverse revenue impacts to Delta which would result from your idea?
How much does Delta get in revenue per AMEX Plat person who comes in? $30 at least? Crowded lounges are good for Delta shareholders.
Next, how many AMEX folks choose to fly Delta over another carrier because they can get lounge access?
I know I do.
Definitely not getting $30 a visit. No way does Amex pay Delta 2500-3K a year a person for frequent fliers accessing the Sky Club.
It’s simple. Reserve access for the loyal FLYERS that deserve them. This might take years to accomplish but eventually getting back to the reason they even have lounges (to reward their most frequent flyers) should be an obvious solution. Stop all the credit card nonsense & give back to the loyal customer that actually step aboard an airplane.
@Cody – The problem with your suggestion is card holder ARE the most loyal as they bring in mega bucks to Delta.
Cody, I’m unclear on why you think someone would use the Platinum just to go to the lounge and then not actually take the flight. By definition someone using the card to access the lounge is also a loyal flyer.
The reason they have lounges is to increase profits. If they make more selling access to an Amex cardholder than providing it for no marginal revenue to a passenger with status, it’s a hard sell to convince them that they need to turn down the Amex revenue in order to marginally increase the available space for a frequent flyer who might want it.
Not gonna happen. Way too many frequent Delta flyers became frequent Delta fliers because of the Amex Platinum. Delta knows this. (Anecdotal I know but I’ve been Diamond for several years and should be Diamond again next year all because I chose to put my flights on Delta due to having the Amex Platinum.) I’m in Sky Clubs about 80 times a year, holding the Platinum (which allows me to save a choice benefit). Delta knows that. (And yes they absolutely want fliers who go to Sky Clubs 80 times a year as that means 80 Delta flights a year.) It’s not just the Amex revenue, it’s that people actually choose to fly Delta because they hold the Platinum.
DM/2MM here. Also a longtime Reserve cardholder (yes, I have the 747 metal). Probably a bold suggestion, but get rid of non-Delta AMEX lounge access and require at least Silver (or Gold) for lounge access with Delta AMEX. Anyone with a Reserve card who isn’t at least Silver shouldn’t have one anyway. Then you’ll really hone in on the loyal Delta flyers.
Also, glad the DM choice benefit went away, since as a Reserve card holder it was a wasted option regardless.
As someone who flies only 6-8 times a year round trip, all paid out of MY pocket and MY personal vacay time, this is the 1st year I finally earned silver status (my family lives too close for me to earn more 2000 miles round trip), I got the Delta 747 metal reserve card for the SkyClub access instead of just purchasing a membership. (And being an airplane geek, well…)
Why do I care about the SkyClub…because Delta (and other airlines) can’t be bothered to put WORKING charging stations at EVERY seat at the gate, with some airports having no place to charge your phone/tablet. I #1 use the SkyClub for charging my electronics (and the chocolate chip cookies). I also must travel at odd times because my two visits to the T3 LAX SkyClub were not overly crowded, no lines to get in and plenty of seating.
As a Delta DM (since I started my current job in 2020, with no flying before that), getting rid of the individual membership as a choice benefit (and requiring all 3 for executive next year) is insulting. 99.99% of the time, I fly alone for work. I visit the clubs weekly…I see people going in with the CC taking a guest and multiple kids, yet I’m the reason they are overcrowded?! They should still offer individual memberships for DMs, heck even require 2 choice benefits. They’re will be less DMs with the new MQD requirement. If they truly value their best customers, they’ll stop screwing over their DMs
Mark’s comments are spot-on. Just perfect. The DM traveling alone is not causing the overcrowding.
But I think Delta feels the truly best customers are Diamonds or 360s with Reserve or Platinum cards.
I think most DMs and 360s are flying for work, and have a company credit card (like myself). There are 8 people on my team in North America…4 of us fly…3 are DMs, one is a PM. All have to use the company card. Us 3 DMs spend $20k+ a year on Delta. There are more in my office (different teams) that are in the same boat. All Delta is doing is screwing over us… especially since we flew the whole time during the pandemic (I had 154 segments in 2021, and that’s not including the bonus Delta gave out).
Delta’s best customer is Amex…and Amex’s best customer is anyone willing to pay a premium for their Platinum and Reserve card. Sadly, eveveryone else, be it fair or not, is just noise in the background to both Delta and Amex.
Ditto. That all these Delta “status monkeys” can’t figure this out is amazing.
I agree. What they have done is make the new way to pay be with an Amex membership.
The problem always have been and always will be, the Platinum card. The problem for Amex and Delta is that while there is a select group of folks who will no doubt hold the Platinum card even if it doesn’t have SkyClub access, there are more folks who do care and will drop the Platinum before one can blink and eye if such access were to be nerf’d.
Look at how fast Delta backpaddled when they tried to cut access on arrival. The “people” spoke and Delta, knowing who pays their bills (hint, it ain’t rev pax) quickly changed their mind. If they don’t have the guts to cut access on arrival, do you really think they’re going to go after those with the Platinum or Reserve cards by way of requiring a spend amount for access? I don’t think so.
Amex and Delta aren’t going to institute a spend requirement for access, building more clubs won’t make any difference. In fact, there may be even more folks visiting these clubs due to Amex constantly dangling 100-150k MR subs on their variety of personal Platinum and NLL Biz Plat cards that certainly provides more value than the $695 these cards cost…and that’s before you take into account access to lounges and all the credits that follow.
Folks aren’t even going away after the first year sub because they can usually get a retention offer that’s good enough to keep the card open for another year.
Face it folks…what you see today is the “new norm” unfortunately.
How about…Reserve cardholders get sky club free and $50.00 to enter a Centurion? Amex plats… the reverse…Centurion free and $50.00 a pop for the sky Club? In airports where there is no Centurion? No change. Let’s face it…the Sky Club lines are really only at a handful of hubs (jfk, lga, atl, etc.).
Last I heard, Amex is signing people up for new cards all the time.
People are waiting in line to get into the skyclub
Why would Delta do anything?
I don’t think people complaining will really make a difference.
If people start canceling their cards or dropping membership, maybe they will do something.
Until then, they will make random changes designed to affect very few low profit people.
They will tell us “We are working to reduce crowding, be sure to fly Delta One and sign up for another Amex card”
How about annual limits on the number of visits?
I fly every 7 days all year and I think I’ve already seen a reduction in the club now that Delta stopped the COVID rollover B.S. for it’s medallion upgrades! I’m diamond and Amex Play (not delta amex).
@JL – Everyone who was a elite at whatever level last year is still an elite at the same level until 1FEB fyi.
Honestly, my last 2 stops at the Delta Skylounge made me wonder why I even spent the money for my husband and I to get in.
They only had tiny paper plates with plastic utensils.
Half of the food had run out and they didn’t refill it.
Absolutely nothing was special or worth the $39 fee. As it was morning, we weren’t going to drink.
The bathrooms left much to be desired.
One of the coffees were empty and when I mentioned it to the staff, they could really care less.
I couldn’t believe I was in a Delta Skylounge and I’d paid almost $80 for almost no food and sub-par coffee.
I know, first-world problems. However experience should equal the price and lately, it absolutely hasn’t.
I must fly odd hours. I’ve never been stuck in a line waiting to get in, including MSP and JFK.
That said, the honeymoon is over1st; been there, done that. I don’t care anymore about the other side of the velvet rope.
Moreover, it readily is apparent that SkyLounge is a CC operation with occasional glasses of paint thinner served by surly staff, along with the amenity of a Delta aircraft seat.
Speaking of the airline seat as an amenity, 1st class now is horrendous, with surly staff asking if we really wanted to actually eat, as if were expected to pig out at the Skylounge buffet feeding frenzy and spare the 1st class flight crew the extra effort of meal service.
Let the CC AI algorithym sort out its Skyclub product. I”m going independent. I have nothing against credit cards and the American way of life; I just choose to not stress about getting past the velvet rope and entrance guards, anymore.
The short term solution is full Priority Pass and Plaza Premium access including restaurants to relieve pressure on lounges.. Long term most lounges should he expanded and new lounges built.
I am a diamond member and I think that people who fly the most are the ones that should get priority for getting into the sky clubs.
I don’t care how much you spend on a credit card. The people that should get priority are those who actually do what Delta is in the business of, flying.
One thing I think would also be a very good idea is to limit the number of guest passes people get each year. Make it at most a maximum of one.
That way you won’t have somebody coming in who flies very little but spends a whole bunch on their Amex cards and they then bring in their family of six and their children run around the club, making a nuisance for everybody and clogging up the clubs.
The sky clubs should be as I said before, people who are frequent flyers and that’s Delta’s primary business.
@Rodney – You seem to be under the assumption that flying is the only way Delta makes money. You may not care about the credit card side but Delta does and does very much as they are in business to make money and cards do just that.
“One thing I think would also be a very good idea is to limit the number of guest passes people get each year. Make it at most a maximum of one.”
The Delta Reserve cards (both business and consumer/personal) limit their complimentary guest passes to two per primary cardholder.
Plus, some people are willing to pay $50 each person to bring guests in with them.
Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? Are you ready to walk away from Delta if you don’t get your way? No, because DM gives you “status” which fills some gaping hole in your personality. Delta knows quite well that all you “status monkies” they created during Covid with the MQM rollovers will not do anything but whine. On the other hand, regular AMEX Plat holders will walk away in 5 minutes. Delta revenue earned from you “status monkies” will not decrease despite crowded lounges, because the status scam is a pure psychological game played on you fragile folks.
Whoa. I have several gaping holes in my personality that need fulfilling — not just one. 😉
Wow. For the most part, these comments were a civil discussion.
Hey Dave Walker…before you go insulting people for which you know nothing about…how about we stat small and you learn how to spell? The word is spelled m-o-n-k-e-y. And the plural would be: monkeys!!!
“… those who only get cards for access along with all the perks included with premium cards.” So, that would be every card holder then!
@Andrew S – No. I know a Diamond who runs hundreds of thousands on his Amex cards because he values not just the perks of the card but the value of the Amex relationship. Amex, and Delta, are looking for folks who spend on their cards. I think this should be part of the equation to get into the clubs not just hold the card and pay the annual fee.
Sky Club sucks!! Make the lounge better before making these increases and I would be on board.
@Chris, sorry for joining late. Are you suggesting this for the Reserve Card to? It doesn’t seem like you are and I wouldn’t support that nor think it would be good for Amex or Delta to do that, since Club access is the main selling point of the Reserve card! Doing it for the “regular” Platinum card seems like an interesting idea.
Rene is suggesting this for the Amex Platinum card.
Or—hear me out—building more and larger lounges. Raising the price or erecting barriers does reduce demand, but all that extra money just pads airlines’ bottom lines without providing any extra value for the customer. It’s why I don’t pay for Admiral’s Club access anymore: it was worth it 10 years ago when I could access the lounge no matter which carrier I was flying, but not anymore that lounge access is tied to flying AA.
I hear you —- but space is fairly limited at most airports.
Here’s my thought…charge for club membership. Amex (platinum and reserve) holders get a reduced rate, say $400/year or 40K sky miles. A lot of us who have the reserve card already make sure to spend $25k for the mqm waiver. Non Amex or platinum or reserve holders…club membership is $1000/year.
Yes and No. When you have a Delta Reserve you are paying for a club membership. That is the new best way to pay to be a Sky Club member. If you have an Amex Platinum you are not just paying for a club membership, so it could be fair to charge extra for Club membership. However Amex might lose a lot of members if they were to do that. I am sure that before they make any changes, they will do ample homework to ensure that they don’t shoot themselves in the foot.
Originally when I opted for the Reserve card (well before C), club access was definitely one of the perks. Now that things have evolved, the biggest perks are the MQD waiver and MQM boost. I would be willing to pay an add’l fee for club access in order to have an enjoyable experience pre-flight. I do remember paying a yearly fee for access to the “Crown Room” before AMEX came into the picture, which I guess is why I wouldn’t mind an add’l (albeit reduced) fee for club access. I understand that AMEX collaborated with Delta and things went on a path of their own, which has created a very frustrating experience for a lot of frequent travelers, including myself. Although there might not always be a line to enter the club, once you’re in it’s difficult to find a seat or there’s a large group of leisure travelers partying loudly at 9am before they board their flight to wherever. However, as some have mentioned, I’d like to see how things level out in the next few months when the “carry-overs” don’t have status after Feb. 1st. Perhaps this won’t apply to club access and only to upgrades. I do hope crowds will alleviate sooner than later!
I agree with you, there are other benefits that I also discovered after getting this card, that I hadn’t appreciated were so valuable until after I had it.
Folks, the ONLY way forward is “Price Discrimination”. Although, you’re halfway home, in addition to charging an additional fee, I’d suggest tying club membership to frequent flier status as well. If you’re not Gold or Higher, then, unfortunately, you don’t get access privileges.
Actually, I think you missed the boat completely!!! The biggest problem is that Each Non-Delta branded AMEX card holder can get (3) — Let me repeat — THREE, additional card for only $175 per year total. YES, you got that right, for only $175 one can get 3 more people into the club. So mom and dad, are happy to pay $175 so one spouse and 2 of their college kids can access the club. Have you noticed the age demographic of the clientele inside the club? Not to say young college kids cannot afford to pay the nearly $700 per year annual fee, but I think it is very rare though. BTW, many agents at different Skyclub have confirmed to me that most of the younger crowd who enters the skyclub are using the Additional (instead of the Primary) Non-Delta branded AMEX Platinum cards. How do they know that? A Primary Card holder can link his/her card to the Skymile account and once s/he scans the board pass, the kiosk will light up green – no need to present the AMEX card. An Additional AMEX Card Holder, on the other hand, will have to actually insert the card into the Kiosk everytime to gain access. Think about this… Primary non-Delta Branded AMEX Platinum Card Annual fee is about $700 and for $175 one can get 3 more additional Card which also gets them club access. Here is the math: $700+$175=$875. For $875 I can get 4 people annual access to the club or ~$220 per person. That is far cheaper than buying individual Skyclub membership!
Therefore, the solution I believe is to either charge the Additional Card holder a pay per use fee for the Skyclub, or require the Non-Delta Branded AMEX Platinum Card Primary holder to pay an additional SkyClub access annual fee IF the Primary card holder wants to have the Skyclub access benefit for the Additional Card holder(s).
Thank you for your response. Isn’t what you’re suggesting a form of “price discrimination”?