Today Delta announced some sweeping changes for access to the Sky Club starting this spring 2014. Many long time Delta flyers have complained that the Skyclubs over the past years have been overcrowded and that WiFi speed is sub-par and so much so that many today carry their own internet devices into the clubs. There are too many people in the clubs!
A separate discussion is the quality of the complimentary beverage selection provided (SkunkyGate anyone) as well as the lack of real food and minimal snack options.
Delta has been marketing us the improvements and will tell you the value of the Sky Club is more than just drinks, food and WiFi but it is having access to the “highly trained and qualified sky club reps” who can help you when you need it. While I value the Sky Club reps it is not for their expertise because for me most times I can get better service either on the medallion line or from @DeltaAssist. I value the reps because they will often break rules for me as an elite that I cannot get others to do, not for their skill or training.
So all this brings us to the question as to the value of the Delta Sky Club membership at nearly $700 dollars a year (or an insane number of Skymiles). This is what you will have to pay if you want to be able to have yourself and say a business client or your family join you in the Sky Club during the flying year. Does the Delta Sky Club provide that kind of value? I don’t believe so and they have priced themselves out of the market at these levels. Delta’s biggest problem going forward is the clubs like the American Express Centurion Lounges or The Lounge Clubs that are springing up and are providing real drinks, real food and all the other amenities that the Sky Club provides. Again, are “highly qualified” Sky Club reps worth the extra price of admission?
Well what about credit cards and their value. Many have tweeted me or commented on FlyerTalk that they no longer see value in their Delta American Express Reserve card since ONLY YOU will soon get in free. If you got the card simply for lounge access then, yes, you should cancel the card but also know you chose the wrong AMEX card. Keep in mind you can add a Reserve card user to your account for $175 and they will have club access too. That is basically pre-paying for 6 of the $29 entrances to the club (add on Reserve card users do get some other perks like free bags so keep that in mind). But if you feel you have been told one thing by AMEX, i.e. you paid for a FULL YEAR and are not getting what was promised, by all means call customer service and complain about this change! However, the main reason I have the Reserve card is to help meet the minimum spend to be MQD exempt, also to score more upgrade when flying Delta and or more availability for saver or lower level seats when spending SkyMiles. Lastly the buy one get one free certificate for first class or coach depending on the price of the ticket redeem can pay for a year or years of card fees. I will have to decide if it is worth spending $175 to add my Lisa onto my card or not! Plus there are other better choices like the AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards card that she could choose to use.
Will this have the desired result of reducing the crowding at the Delta Sky Club? I think it will but will more likely boost revenue to Delta. For a time many will just pay the upcharge when traveling with clients or family. Is it worth it? Not to me! Delta brags about the upgrades the past years; I just don’t see them and mostly see downgrades. I think Delta flyers are going to look to other lounges that offer much more value. Do you agree? – René
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