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:
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