Is raising the Sky Club prices a solution to over crowded Delta Sky Clubs? You tell me!

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The Skydeck at JFK New York

Yesterday the AJC broke the news that once again Delta Sky Club annual membership is going up. I not surprised. Those of us who spend a great deal of time flying Delta know that much of the time Delta Sky Clubs can be packed. Not just that, you can run into this on the “food” buffets:


At the B Delta Sky Club

The non-Delta contract folks who do the work of providing food and service in the clubs can be, well, lacking at times. Very frustrating when you consider it can cost you as much as $59 for a single one time visit to a Sky Club. BTW that price has not gone up and is already ridiculously high for what is provided.

The key part for flyers to understand is that the Sky Clubs are not really there for us to enjoy. These are pure profit centers to improve the $DAL share price. In the new SEA Sky Club they are selling everything under the sun including spa treatments at prices that would make a used car salesman blush. Sad when clubs like the Centurion from AMEX offer these services for the cost of entering the club.

Let’s face it now paying nearly ¾ of a GRAND for full year membership is stunning considering what is provided for that price. Especially so when either a Delta AMEX Reserve card or a non-Delta AMEX Platinum card for same Delta day travel will get you in. This partnership is really profitable for Delta. Notice what in SeakingAlph the President of Delta said in this year’s Q2 report:

“Our partnership with American Express produced $90 million of incremental value in this quarter and we expect over $300 million for the year. New current acquisitions are on a pace for another record year and have increased 30% year-to-date over our record 2015.” – Glen Hauenstein Delta President

The really funny part of this change is that just the other day I showed how with a little bit of creative spending and one credit card from Bank of America you can get free full Sky Club membership each year.

Now Delta being Delta is changing a few things for what some would say is the better, but I would say for the worse. They are reducing the cost to buy club membership either on an individual or a group (executive) level if you pay with SkyMiles. The price, compared to the new “cash” pricing, makes a SkyMile worth just over 1 cent each. This is a really scary trend we are seeing develop in the minds of Delta that they want a SkyMile pegged near 1 cent in value. To me the absolute minimum value of a SkyMile is 1 cent – not the goal to shoot for for value. This is why I feel SkyMiles should only be collected when they are FREE as there are any number of other travel points that have far superior value.

These are truly interesting times. Everything that was once “sacred” in travel is now for sale to the lowest bidder. Things that were expected to be free are now an “upgrade” even when the fact that it is an upgrade is a completely laughable farce. So much so it seems according to the rumor mill that Delta will in fact next week announce that you can opt out of middle seat C+ “upgrades”. Smart since anyone in their right mind knows a middle seat is never EVER an upgrade (you can only push marketing spin so far before someone calls you on it).

So are Delta Sky Clubs worth the new price they are offering and will they have any impact on overcrowding? I can tell you personally, when I have a choice, I head towards the Escape Lounge in MSP or THE CLUB in ATL or the CENTURION lounge anywhere I avoid the Sky Clubs like the ZIKA. There really is no comparison in value, offerings and quality. And yet Sky Clubs are still packed! So do you think this price hike will make any difference in Sky Club overcrowding issues? – René


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  1. Rene, spot on analysis. I am cancelling this year and my renewal is up currently. Not allowing a guest, like my wife, to come in with me, unless you pay was the final straw. Also, except for coffee I find little use. I recently did the American Express Platinum and will be switching clubs. After seeing your photos I wish I would have taken one last night at the LAX terminal 5 location of the 12 deep line of people for a simple beer or mixed drink. Also, the staff at that location is particularly unpleasant. The rest of the locations I have not had problems with on the service side. But the food is bland and boring which along with the increase, lack of guests, and crowd size simply pushed me out.

  2. When in Seattle you would chose the AMEX Centurion Studio over the new Skyclub right next door ??

  3. The new ATL Sky Club on B is sometimes pathetic. Monday there was soup, but out of crackers. Out of chocolate chunk cookies. No regular chicken salad, only the ‘southwest’ version. I can’t eat. I’m also allergic to the pasta salad. The mac n cheese was empty most of the time, but it’s one of the few things I can eat that doesn’t have peppers in it. Sad. I have executive membership through 1/18 but only rarely travel with another person. May or may not renew the non free part.

  4. @Jack – I have not yet been to the Seattle Sky Club. I was under impressed with Centurion but they are redoing it bigger. I look forward to seeing both soon.

  5. on monday last week i went to ATL E and A at 5;00 and 5:10 pm both had run out of Goldbergs chicken salad !!!!!! It is better than all of the other cities chix salad because u can find the chicken vs so much mayo!!!but 5pm and none???and the soups were very low….

  6. On my current trip to Asia I visited both the new B club in ATL and the new club in SEA. The overcrowding was amazing. I found the description of ATL B from @carolk to be accurate. Even when the mac and cheese was refilled it was burned. The SEA club is new and glitzy but had no substance worth while. (The apple was even rotten in the center)
    If I recall the increase in costs along with no guests was how they were going to weed out us dead beat non business travellers …
    Oh please.let Centurion have a major expansion!
    Also I would love to have a dollar for every time I hear “I’m sorry” for poor service from sky club reps or Delta in general.

  7. Hi Rene! Since so many of us readers are predominantly Delta fliers, and with the recent offer from Chase for the Reserve card with free Priority Pass select membership (plus guests!) – have you thought about writing a guide for Delta fliers to make their way to the Priority Pass lounges instead of skyclubs? I haven’t been able to find one, all I can find is a list of which US airports they are in and where they are located. What would be nice is something describing how to get their airport by airport if you are flying “Delta Terminal 5 in LAX after check in take tunnel to Terminal 6 to Alaska Airlines Board room”, or “head to terminal F on the train for Club @ ATL”, and with a note for each location if it is too much hassle like i found in PHX with having to clear security twice to find the Priority Pass lounge when flying Delta. Thank you again for all that you do!

  8. I am Platinum and fly Delta weekly. Last June, I let my Sky Club expire and Do Not miss it a bit. There are lots of restaurants in ATL that have nooks and crannies where you can get GOOD food, reasonably priced and a power port. What do I need a Sky Club for?

  9. The new B club is way better than the B-10 option.

    That said, the new club is always PACKED! Last week it was 3-4 deep for a drink all the way around the bar and yet one guy was attending the “wine station” of blah selections I wouldn’t have in my house.

  10. The new SkyClub B in ATL was poorly staffed and the food bar lacking. I’d much rather visit a smaller lounge. Also, was in the KLM lounge in ASM this past Monday morning. People were waiting to find a seat. I’ve never seen it more crowded, but the food never ran out.

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