Why choosing Executive Skyclub Membership is such a bad choice for your Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit – A Rookie Wednesday post?

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

delta skyclub membership choices

Are Delta Diamond Medallions ever “rookies”? I mean they can qualify by flying 140 segments a year. How can that kind of flyer ever be considered a rookie? Well let me tell you there are more than a few Platinums and Diamond Medallions who either forget to choose (shudder) their “Choice Benefits” or frankly are not making the best choice possible for themselves.

On this post I wanted to look at one that I have been told by so many they have selected as their second Diamond choice after 1st choosing Global Upgrade certs (clearly one of the single most valuable choices you can make) that is, upgrading their Skyclub membership to Executive Status. But is this a wise move? I say no way and would never do that. Why? Let’s break it down.

As a choice you are getting 1 or 2 people extra free entrance into the club with you. If you are doing this for your spouse you are saving $29 per visit. If you were just to pay for 7 visits (not that I am suggesting this is smart btw), you would pay $203. So, if you are bringing your +1 in less that than you are better off with another choice of say 25,000 SkyMiles worth at least $250 or one of the other $200 in value choices. Or, even the Gold Medallion status for someone as that is hard to put a value on but most say it is at least worth $500-$1,000!

So what is smarter choice to me? The personal non-Delta  AMEX Platinum card <–LINK  gives you a ton of value the first year because, once approved and you have met the $3,000 required spend you get:

  • 40,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • $100 Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credit (when paid with the card)

Plus, after the 1st of the year, 2016, you get another $200 Airline Fee Credit. You see my point, the first year the non-waived $450 is not bad at all for value received.

But, and here is the point of this post, say you have your spouse and others over 15 you want to add on to your account. Notice what you can get:

For only $175 you can add up to three additional secondary cards on your primary account. These Additional cardholders get Delta Skyclub and other Club access like Airspace Lounge & via Priority Pass so many more. Plus, they also get Centurion Lounge access & a $100 credit for Global Entry that includes TSA PreCheck (when the $100 application fee is charged on the additional card). Don’t forget the primary can call and each additional user also gets SPG Gold status as long as they hold that card!

In other words, depending on your circumstances, you are better off this route to get Skyclub access AND enjoy a bunch more perks than just using your Choice Benefit this way.

You may ask what do I choose each year as my Diamond Medallion choice benefit? Naturally, Global upgrade certificates first choice. Next, either Gold Medallion membership for my wife or 25,000 SkyMiles depending on how were are flying that year.

The bottom line is the valuable perk of attaining Diamond medallion status and being able to select Choice Benefits is tremendous. Just think through what is the best choice for YOU and consider all your options as once you make your selection there is NO going back for the year. – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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  1. As someone who flew on $18,000 worth of upgrades using my first 4 GUs, I want to play devils advocate.
    I haven’t chosen the Executive upgrade option yet, but am considering it and here is why. When I travel it is never with family and is only with co-workers(or different friends). Many or most do not have Sky Club access. Cards are not an option when it could be more than a dozen different people with whom I am traveling. With well over a 100 segments per year and only flying alone around 15-20% of the time, that’s a lot of potential Sky Club guests visits.
    Now, I would much rather pay Delta the $200 to upgrade my membership to executive, but it doesn’t appear that is an option.
    With 2 PM and 2 DM benefit years in the bank still to choose with, I am torn.

  2. I also like to take my co-workers into lounges when traveling internationally – esp in AMS, NBO, EBB and KGL. Maybe there is a little pride in my head, “here dear co-worker, come into the lounge with me” but still, it’s a nice benefit and without the hassle of paying at the door, which can be problematic at some hubs in Africa. Rene, I see your logic (you know how to count the beans!) but choosing the lounge pass upgrade means my wife doesn’t have to deal with and track another card. That is worth about $1000 in our marriage!

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