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Don’t Forget To Bring This On Your Next Trip (Like I Did)

by joeheg

I’m usually good about remembering to bring things when I travel. Given, I still need to use a packing list but if that’s what I need to keep myself organized, so be it. This trip I didn’t bring something with me that I should have because I THOUGHT I didn’t have any use for it. Little did I know, before the end of my travel day I would end up wishing I had this item with me. I now know one thing I didn’t know before:

Always Bring Cards That Provide Lounge Access With You!

In another post, I’ll describe my travel day that led to this dilemma. In short, I needed to make a same-day reservation on Delta. I wasn’t otherwise flying on Delta this trip (I thought) and wasn’t even going to be in the same terminal as a Delta SkyClub or an American Express Centurion Lounge. Since I’m currently using a newly acquired card for my expenses so I can meet the minimum spending requirement and get the sign up bonus, there was no need for me to bring my American Express Platinum card and even less need to bring my Gold Delta AMEX card, or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong

I’ve never booked a flight with only five hours notice before. When I was booking this fight, on short notice, there were plenty of seats available. However, I wasn’t able to select any of them after booking. Instead I was told I was on standby and would get a seat at the gate. I’ve had this before with basic economy with Delta, but this was an (very costly) award ticket. Wanting to make sure I’d get to my destination, I left for the airport extra early. I was able to check in and get boarding passes, but no seat assignment. There were flight delays all over the place so the gate area was a mess.

I had several hours and there were no plugs to be found at the gate area. I decided to try my luck with the SkyClub. I explained my situation to the agent about not having my American Express Platinum card with me. No good. They need to have the card to swipe it to allow admission. What about the Delta AMEX. That card is linked to my SkyMiles account. It even says in the Delta app that I’m a cardholder. Surely I should be able to get the discounted admission price with that? Nope, they need to swipe the card. That’s the only way it works, as per the front desk agent.

I was stuck. It was either sit in a crowded gate area with iffy Wi-Fi signal and no power or pay full price for SkyClub access. What could I do?  I paid the fee. I felt it was necessary because if my scheduled flight was delayed, I’d miss my connection in Atlanta. Being in the SkyClub and having their agents available to help me rebook a flight would be worth the money. I’d also get free food (which was quite good and exponentially better than what we get in Orlando’s Sky Club) and base level drinks from the bar. If you want anything better than the cheap stuff, you have to pay (or use your SkyMiles).

I’ve learned my lesson. Bringing one (or two or three) extra cards in my wallet when traveling will be something that I’m going to add to my packing list:

  1. American Express Platinum Card (Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounges)
  2. United Club Passes
  3. Priority Pass card

As far as the Amex Platinum Card is concerned, I won’t leave home without it.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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