How to Access Delta Sky Club Lounges in 2023
Delta Sky Club airport lounges can be a welcome place to rest and enjoy refreshments before a departure flight or connection. There are several ways to access this airline lounge network, although the entry policies are tightening in 2024 and 2025 to reduce overcrowding.
As a result, certain SkyMiles members and travel credit cards no longer have complimentary access just by presenting a same-day flight itinerary.
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What is Delta Sky Club?
There are more than 50 Delta Sky Club locations across the United States and the world. Complimentary amenities include cocktails, fresh food, high-speed internet, flight assistance, and showers (at select club locations). Operational hours vary by lounge location.
You must have a qualifying Delta-operated itinerary to be eligible for access, as this is an airline-operated lounge. Passengers on eligible partner airline itineraries can visit as well. In most cases, you need an annual membership or a premium travel credit card to gain access, as general one-day passes are no longer available.
The network is expanding its footprint as complimentary airport lounge access has exploded in popularity.
You will need to be at least 18 years old to enter without an adult and at least 21 years to consume alcoholic beverages.
Grab and Go Visits
A small yet increasing number of Sky Club Lounges offer a Grab and Go section, offering visitors limited amenities at a smaller price. The additional guest fee may only be $25 or 2,500 miles instead of the standard rate of $50 or 5,000 miles for a full access pass.
The benefits include:
- Grab-and-go meals
- Beverages that can be enough to satisfy during a short layover.
This isn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet as each guest is limited to one primary food, snack, sweet, and beverage.
Delta One Lounges
Sky Club is in the initial stages of building locations exclusively for Delta One customers at:
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
The LAX location will open first. This premium airline lounge network is similar to the United Airlines Polaris Lounge for select business class and elite status members.
Delta Sky Club Changes for 2024
Visiting Delta Sky Club for free or purchasing lounge passes in 2024 and 2025 will be more challenging. The airline announced entry policy changes in September and made them less strict with an announcement on October 18, 2023, after much negative feedback from loyalty members.
The following changes build on the January 1, 2023, implementation of these access policies:
- Only Delta SkyMiles Medallion members can buy or renew annual memberships
- Basic Economy itineraries are barred lounge entry (American Express cardholders are exempt from this restriction)
Here is a summary of the changes going into effect for the 2024 and 2025 program years.
Delta Sky Club Changes for 2024
Cardholders with these two co-brand Delta Air Lines credit cards can no longer purchase per-visit passes:
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
Additionally, American Express credit cards with Sky Club access will need to make at least $75,000 in annual purchases between January 1 and December 31, 2024, to continue having unlimited SkyClub visits starting on February 1, 2025.
Additionally, the airline is introducing new ways to earn Medallion status sooner and ending the current Medallion status boost and Medallion qualification dollar waiver features.
Delta Sky Club Changes for 2025
The 2025 Delta Sky Club program year begins on February 1, 2025. On this date, the American Express credit cards currently offering unlimited Sky Club access will offer 10 or 15 free visits per year, and each additional visit costs $50 per guest.
The co-brand Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card offer 15 complimentary visits plus two one-time guest passes.
Delta Sky Club Access Rules
Several guidelines determine who can visit a lounge and if an entry fee is necessary.
3-Hour Access Policy
Eligible visitors can enter a lounge no earlier than three hours before scheduled departure at the start of a trip. This entry period doesn’t apply at connecting airports during layovers or flight delays.
Further, it must be at least three hours after a Grab-and-Go experience before visiting a full lounge, or vice versa.
The three-hour time limit also doesn’t apply to Delta 360 and lifetime SkyClub memberships.
This access policy is similar to most airline lounges, which began implementing the time restriction several years ago to address overcrowding.
Another restriction is that you cannot visit when you don’t have an upcoming connecting flight. Before this policy change, it was possible to come into a Sky Club at the arrival airport to grab a bite to eat, shower, or use the internet before leaving the airport.
What Counts as a Delta Sky Club Visit?
A single “visit” is a 24-hour period that starts with the initial club visit. For instance, visiting a lounge at 9 a.m. means you have until tomorrow at 9 a.m. to enter other Sky Club locations at no extra cost.
The 24-hour window will become more critical in 2024 and 2025 as American Express cardholders only get a limited number of free visits each program year.
This flexibility means you can visit lounges at your departure and connecting airports on a one-way itinerary. You can also visit lounges on the return leg if it’s a quick trip.
Delta Sky Club discontinued selling day passes in 2018 to the general public. Select American Express credit products can purchase single-visit passes after exhausting their annual allowance of complimentary visits.
Since January 1, 2023, annual memberships and renewals are restricted to Delta SkyMiles Medallion status members only. Eligible travelers can purchase a membership through their online loyalty account.
There are two different membership options:
- Individual Membership ($695 or 69,500 SkyMiles): Free visits for the primary member. Two additional guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner, or children under 21 years) cost $50 or 5,000 miles per person per visit.
- Executive Membership ($1,495 or 149,500 SkyMiles): Free visits for the primary and two guests or immediate family. Two additional guests can visit at 5,000 miles or $50 per person.
For either membership plan, the guest fee for Grab and Go visits is $25 or 2,500 miles per person ineligible for complimentary visits.
Neither membership package offers access to the Air France-KLM Crown Lounge or VS Lounge.
Finally, Sky Club members can only gain access when on a Basic Economy fare if they have an American Express credit card. This change went into effect for departures on or after February 2, 2023.
High-end American Express consumer and business credit cards are the only way to access Delta Sky Clubs by credit card when flying on an active Delta Air Lines itinerary. This is the only way to visit a Sky Club location in Basic Economy, as the other access methods can require being in the main cabin or even a premium class.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Centurion Card from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Starting February 1, 2025, cardholders will only have either 10 or 15 free visits during a program year.
A Delta Sky Club program year runs from February 1 until January 31. After exhausting your free visits, each additional visit costs $50 per person including, the primary cardholder.
One way to keep getting unlimited Sky Club visits is by making at least $75,000 in card purchase transactions during a calendar year. This qualification period is from January 1 through December 31.
Related: Best Travel Credit Cards
Delta SkyMiles Elite Status
Delta Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members can receive complimentary Sky Club access with the following itineraries:
- When flying in Delta Premium Select internationally
- Delta One (or a partner airline equivalent)
- Traveling in First Class (or a partner airline equivalent) to Canada, Mexico, or Central America
It may still be possible to visit the lounge of a partner airline when Medallion members fly in Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+.
Diamond Medallion members can purchase an individual membership in 2023 with one Choice Benefit. Regarding the 2024 Choice Benefit selections, an Executive Membership is available for three credits.
SkyTeam Elite Plus
Non-Delta members with SkyTeam Elite status flying on a SkyTeam international flight or a connecting domestic flight on the same itinerary can visit Club lounges for free with one guest.
Similar benefits can be available to LATAM, WestJet, and Virgin Atlantic elite members. A full list of access policies is available here.
Delta One Cabin Class
Passengers flying in the Delta One cabin class, whether it’s a domestic-only fare or international bound. The lounge benefits are reciprocated when flying on qualifying First Class or Business Class flights on SkyTeam partners.
Credit Cards with Delta Sky Club Access
The following American Express credit cards offer complimentary visits to American Express lounges.
As a reminder, many frequent flyers are used to getting unlimited Sky Club visits by using these cards with a same-day Delta flight itinerary. However, each product has a fixed amount of free visits per year for the basic cardmember starting on February 1, 2025. After that, each additional visit costs $50, but you can still get unlimited visits by spending at least $75,000 between January 1 and December 31, 2024.
Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is best known for its luxury air travel benefits, including complimentary access to several airport lounge networks. In addition to Delta Sky Club, you can visit The Centurion Lounge, Priority Pass Select, Plaza Premium, and Lufthansa Lounge.
Beginning February 1, 2025, basic cardmembers can receive 10 complimentary visits per year and then pay $50 per subsequent visit to Delta Sky Club locations. Other networks have different entry guidelines.
Other notable travel benefits include:
- Annual $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 in Uber Cash per year
- Up to $200 back in hotel statement credits
- Earn up to 5x Membership Rewards on flight and hotel purchases
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- $189 CLEAR® Plus application fee credit
You can redeem your points for award flights or 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers to achieve the maximum redemption value.
The annual fee is $695 for the basic card plus $195 per secondary card.
Learn More: American Express Platinum Card review
Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers unlimited Sky Club visits during 2024 but is limited to 10 complimentary visits starting on February 1, 2025. Cardholders also have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection.
Some of this business travel credit card’s most valuable benefits include:
- Annual $200 airline fee credit
- 35% airline bonus (up to 1,000,000 points back per year)
- $189 CLEAR® Plus application fee credit
- Earn 5x Membership Rewards on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com
- Over $1,000 in business statement credits
In addition to the 35% award flight redemption bonus, you can make 1:1 point transfers.
The annual fee is $695 for the primary card.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers complimentary Sky Club visits for cardmembers along with two one-time guest passes for companions or immediate family. Each subsequent visit costs $50 per person per visit.
Effective February 1, 2025, cardholders receive 15 complimentary visits per year and then pay $50 per extra visit.
Cardholders also have access to The Centurion Lounge network from American Express, which is another well-revered airport lounge.
Additional card perks worth noting include:
- 15% off award flights with miles through Delta
- Annual domestic companion certificate
- Upgrade priority
- Free first checked bag for the cardholder and up to eight companions
- Earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases
The annual fee is $550.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card awards complimentary access to the cardmember plus a $50 per-visit rate to two additional guests or immediate family members. Cardholders also receive two one-time guest passes each and will continue to do so after February 1, 2025, when access changes go into effect.
Other laudable benefits include:
- 15% off Delta award flights
- Complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounge
- Round-trip companion certificate per year with each card renewal
- Access to complimentary upgrades
- Main Cabin Priority 1 Boarding
- Free first checked bag
The annual fee is $550.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Starting January 1, 2024, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card will no longer offer the ability to purchase single visit passes.
These cards are also ending the Medallion status boost opportunity on January 1, 2024.
For the duration of 2023, Platinum cardmembers and up to two guests or immediate family can purchase a per-visit pass at $50 per person or $25 for a Grab and Go Experience.
Despite this setback, these cards are still an effective way to earn Delta SkyMiles quickly. The mid-tier products also offer other free checked bags, 15% off Delta award flights, and an annual companion certificate.
Visitors will need a participating American Express credit card, Delta One itinerary, or Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite status to visit. Single-visit passes are not available to general SkyMiles loyalty members or the general public.
As only Medallion members can buy an annual membership, the only way to visit a Sky Club or Grab and Go location is by having a Platinum Card from American Express, Business Platinum Card from American Express, Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, or Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card. Medallion members and Delta One passengers can also gain entry on qualifying fares.
One-day passes have been unavailable since 2018, and only eligible American Express cardmembers can purchase one-time passes for additional guests.
Most Sky Club visitors can only visit when their initial departure flight is scheduled for three hours or less from the entry time. Additionally, Club members and Amex cardholders must wait at least three hours between lounge visits or Grab and Go visits. This restriction doesn’t apply to Delta 360 and lifetime Club memberships.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
Delta Sky Club is experiencing crowding problems like most airport lounge networks these days. The incremental changes to the entry policy are a frustration to many frequent flyers, as it’s challenging to get unlimited visits once February 2025 arrives.
Having a high-end American Express credit card still remains the best way to visit Sky Club locations now and going forward consistently.
If lounge access is an important travel perk, you may also consider a premium card like the Platinum Card from American Express or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which offer complimentary access to several independent networks.
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