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Delta Dramatically changes Sky Club Access
Delta has had a problem with overcrowding in their Sky Clubs and has said that they were going to do something about it for quite a while. I like in Atlanta and the lines could be dozens long. Well…they DEFINITELY made some changes, and in all honesty, I doubt they will reduce occupancy that much.
See, Delta flies planes, but they make far more money selling miles to credit cards than they do flying people around. Have you seen that movie, He’s just not that into you? Basically, if you’re a passenger who flies Delta…they’re just not that into you.
You know who they are into…
Amex cardholders. That’s right baby, hardly a change made to their access. Amex and Delta have a deal that stretches to 2029 and with this announcement I think its safe to say that Delta highly values it. We’ve talked about on this blog, TikTok, and Instagram. If you want Sky Club access…go with an Amex that has it as a cardmember benefit. The big winner is the Amex Platinum.
Other Amex cards that comes with Sky Club access….
- The Delta Reserve/Business Reserve comes with free access
- Platinum/Business Platinum comes with pay per visit ( going up to $50 )
Ok…let’s get to the changes.
If you bought a SkyClub membership and you’re flying domestically in basic economy… you’re not getting in. Unless…you have an Amex that includes access.
How crazy is this?! Starting 2/2/23 if you’re flying Basic Econ you won’t be allowed in the lounge unless you’re accessing it via an eligible Amex Card
Delta Sky Club members flying on Basic Economy tickets cannot enter unless they have a benefit through an eligible American Express® Card which allows for access*. Effective Feb. 2, 2023.
Delta Sky Club memberships will only be available to Delta Elites… unless you have an Amex that includes it.
If you don’t have Delta elite status…you won’t even be eligible to buy a Sky Club membership any more. Effective 1/1/23 you’ll need to have some sort of Delta elite status.
Effective for new membership purchases and renewals starting Jan. 1, 2023.
Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members only
Delta SkyClub Fees are going up alot…unless you have an Amex that includes it.
If you do want to buy a Delta Sky Club membership…the fees are going up A LOT. To put these fees in perspective, the Amex Delta Reserve and Business Reserve are $550 a year. Now a full $145 a year cheaper than the individual membership. Amex Platinum is $695.
The fees for an annual Club membership will increase as follows (effective Jan. 1, 2023):
- Individual: From $545 or 54,500 miles to $695 or 69,500 miles.
- Executive: From $845 or 84,500 miles to $1495 or 149,500 miles.
The fee for companion guests will increase from $39 to $50, or from 3,900 to 5,000 miles for Club members who wish to pay with miles. Effective Feb. 2, 2023.
Starting for 2024 Medallion Year. Delta Diamonds must use 3 choice benefits for an executive membership. Individual membership no longer an option.
I don’t know why anyone would choose a Sky Club membership vs just getting a credit card that provides it. Diamonds only get 3 choice benefits and you need to use them all on a Sky Club membership? Holy smokes.
- Members who reach Diamond Medallion status for the 2024 Medallion Year and beyond: The cost for an Executive Membership will increase from two to three Choice Benefit selections.
- Individual Membership and Credit Card Guest Pass access will no longer be offered via Choice Benefits for the 2024 Medallion Year and beyond. Effective Feb. 1, 2023 for the 2024 Medallion Year.
No changes for Amex cardholders that get Delta SkyClub access via card-membership aside from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express card which will see entrance fees rise.
- If you have an Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express card the fee is going from $39 to $50 on 2/2/23
Long story short… if you want into a Delta Sky Club you’re better off getting an Amex that grants you access than any other path. It’s also decent odds that Delta will probably soon follow in the footsteps of American and completely make it based off spend and allow top tier status to be easily achieved via spend alone and fold in choice benefits at certain elite mileage thresholds.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.