Why Delta’s SkyClub Changes Aren’t So Bad (For Us)

by joeheg

I tend to avoid making “hot takes” about news stories because I have a history of being wrong in my initial assessments. Additionally, I prefer to wait for all the relevant information to be available before forming an opinion. This means that I’m already lagging behind others in presenting my analysis. I understand why others feel the need to share their opinions as soon as possible. By publishing a post right away, it’s possible to provide commentary, opinion, or analysis that’s original and thought-provoking. These types of posts often have sensationalist headlines and are designed to generate a strong reaction, whether positive or negative.

So when I saw the headlines about the “leaked” changes to the Delta SkyMiles program and access to Delta SkyClubs, I did read them. However, I didn’t write about it because I wanted to read the “official” changes before forming an opinion.

After reviewing Delta’s recent changes, I have some thoughts to share. It may be helpful for others to hear the perspective of someone who doesn’t have Delta status and only flies with the airline a few times a year.

Here’s our current relationship with Delta Air Lines:

  • With Orlando being our home airport, we have access to a SkyClub for departing flights.
  • We fly with Delta a few times a year domestically.
  • We usually don’t fly on Delta’s Basic Economy fares.
  • I have a Delta Gold American Express card which provides early boarding and a free checked bag.
  • I have a Platinum American Express card which provides SkyClub access.
  • (Granted, after I almost went full blown “Karen”) I added Sharon as an authorized user so she can also get SkyClub access.

First of all, I don’t care about getting status with Delta. We don’t fly enough for it to make a difference. On the rare occasion that I want more legroom, I’ll pay for Comfort+ seating. On most trips, we’re sitting in the back half of the plane.

The big change for us is the reduced SkyClub access for American Express Platinum cardholders. Starting on February 1, 2025, cardholders will only get six SkyClub visits per year (Feb-Jan).

While this might seem like a massive devaluation of the AMEX Platinum Card, it really doesn’t affect us much. When I figured out the value of the Platinum card at the time of my renewal, I didn’t give any value to SkyClub access. Looking over our travels last year, we didn’t visit SkyClubs more than six times. In fact, I added Sharon as an authorized user to my Platinum card solely for her to get SkyClub and Centurion Lounge access.

a room with many chairs and tables

I think that visiting the SkyClub six times a year would work well for us. It’s important to plan when we use our visits. For example, we could go to a Priority Pass lounge instead of the SkyClub when we leave from Orlando.

a room with tables and chairs

If there’s a Centurion Lounge available, we could choose to go there instead of the SkyClub.

a glass wall with stairs and a sign

We’ve visited a SkyClub before just to see what it’s like and grab a snack, but it might be better to get food somewhere else in the airport.

Final Thought

The first thing I realized when looking at these changes is that they don’t take effect until 2025. I have over a year to crunch the numbers and see how many times we visit a SkyClub and when it’s our only choice for an airport lounge.

While I’ve read several people saying that they’re going to cancel their American Express cards because of these changes, I’m not going to make a rash decision like that. In fact, if people do cancel their cards now, that means less crowded lounges for the next year for us.

I always look at my credit cards every year to see if they’re still worth the annual fee. When AMEX and Delta cut the Platinum card access to six visits a year, I’ll have to see if that matters to us or not.

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1 comment

dee September 16, 2023 - 3:47 pm

$695 a year for 6 visits is totally not worth it!! AMerican express should be ashamed for making such a pathetic deal with Delta…


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