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'This Is a Terrible Day': Delta, American Express Limiting Access to Sky Clubs, Customers Lament 'Brutal' and 'Outrageous' Changes Delta currently operates more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs around the country.

By Emily Rella

Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images | Getty
General view of the Delta Sky Club at Los Angeles international Airport on September 02, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Seasoned travelers and frequent flyers have been complaining about overcrowding and long wait times at various Delta Sky Lounges across the country for years. Now, in an effort to mitigate the widespread issue, Delta is rolling out new restrictions regarding who is allowed into the coveted clubs — and when.

"These changes are part of Delta's ongoing efforts to help balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium experience they provide for our guests," Delta said in a release.

American Express Cardholder Access Is Being Gutted

Starting in February 2025, American Express cardholders will have limited access to the Sky Clubs.

  • American Express Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum Card holders will be limited to only six visits per year. Current rules allow an unlimited number of visits, as long as each visit coincides with a Delta flight on the same day.
  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve and American Express Reserve Business Card holders will be limited to 10 visits per year, while SkyMiles Reserve holders will be allowed two guest passes per year.
  • All of the above cardholders can gain unlimited access to the Sky Club if they rack up an annual spending bill of $75,000, with the first round of expenditures tracked from January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024.

"Based on Card Member data, this number of visits will accommodate the vast majority of Platinum, Business Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members," American Express told Entrepreneur in a statement. "Card Members will continue to have unlimited access to Delta Sky Club lounges through January 31, 2025."

More Sweeping Changes to Sky Club Access

Other significant changes include banning some previously accepted passengers.

  • Regardless of whether or not passengers have a qualifying credit card, any passenger with a basic economy ticket will not be permitted into the Sky Club.
  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card holders will no longer be granted any access to the Sky Club.

Naturally, the new rules aren't going over well with passengers. Amex cardholders and Sky Club enthusiasts were livid at the changes, questioning what the incentive is to continue to fly Delta while carrying their cards.

The changes are not completely unexpected. At the beginning of this year, Delta restricted the ability to purchase an annual Sky Club membership to Medallion Members of its frequent-flyer program, Delta SkyMiles, as well as raised the annual fee.

Just last month, Delta's managing director for Sky Clubs, Claude Roussel, hinted that sweeping changes were soon to come with Sky Club access for credit card holders.

"We continue to work with our partners and continue looking at this issue. It's not a done issue," he told The Points Guy at the time about continuing to limit access. "We have to continue making progress. Our guests are telling us that. They're telling us: 'Listen, we love the clubs. You need to fix the crowding.'"

Delta was up over 20.2% in a one-year period as of Thursday afternoon.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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