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Rookie Wednesday: Reminder – Why it is always SMART to fly with REAL Delta frequent flyer cards (including Sky Club).

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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.

my delta sky club executive membership card renespoints travel blog delta diamond medallion million miler
My Sky Club Welcome Packet

As regular readers will know, I gave up on waiting to claim my “Guest Pass” 2018 Diamond Choice Benefit to be able to bring up to 2 guests into the Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta due to my Delta AMEX Reserve card that gets me in but no one else when I am flying Delta. So, I chose to burn 23,000 SkyMiles to upgrade my membership from individual (free as Diamond for now but going away) to the full membership or Executive, as Delta calls it.

As you can see from the top of this post the membership welcome packet is less than impressive. All you get is the stock letter with the adjustment of mentioning Executive vs. Individual and a new plastic membership card with your updated expiration date.

why you should have the real physical delta sky club card with you
Clear Warning on

But you may say “who cares” about the card at all when you have the Sky Club “card” in digital form in your phone anyway? Well beside the fact that fighting the horrid “off-line” mode can be an issue (till they fix it one day) is what you see above that I have highlighted on – that is, you may have to produce the card at partner lounge locations to get in!

And since Delta has clearly warned you about this you have no reason to gripe if you are not let in.

Beyond that, when it comes to your “real” Delta SkyMiles card there can be reasons to present that as well to make sure all goes as planned. I have had times in the past traveling where they could not get my frequent flyer number correctly into the record without swiping my real Delta SkyMiles card. In other words, they were about to charge me a bag fee because they could not override the system that I was in fact a Skyteam Elite+ and should not have to pay. Not to mention the issue of properly earning frequent flyer points to credit to Delta.

Now before I get blasted in the comments that you have never needed either of these cards and this has never happened to you and you have always used the digital cards fine – that is just peachy and great – but just know the warnings are listed on for a reason and things can happen and tossing two tiny plastic cards into your travel bag can save the day! – René



  1. Rene, I am not as well versed as you are in all the Delta levels, cards, etc. I think a post with a good table that shows all the ways to get into the Sky Lounge would be great. I just learned, the hard way, that my AMEX Bus. Plat. gets me into the Sky Lounge, but not my wife, unless we pay. What are all the ways to gain access to the Sky Lounge and can you bring someone with you?

  2. rene

    @John – See linked post reg “guest pass” choice benefit. Or, you can get an AU card for her on your Plat card (for a yearly fee) that will get her in free.

  3. I am curious as to what information they are able to ascertain when they “swipe” your SkyMiles card since they have no barcode or a chip as far as I am aware of.

  4. Disregard my last. It does have a barcode. Mix up with the new luggage tags. My apologies.

  5. Fred Zulager

    This happened to me with KLM even with my DM card they still wanted to charge me for my bags coming back from Sweden. I had to ask for a KLM Supervisor to get them to waive the bag fees.

    I also used my Skyclub Card to get into the lounge during one of their computer outages. It was also lucky that I printed my boarding pass at home because when they finally released the flight, you needed a paper boarding pass to board.

    It is always good to have a backup.

  6. rene

    @Fred – Thanks for your real life examples. Yep, just smart to have the backups just in case!

  7. dot cahill

    Air France wanted to see my real delta card to board in SKY even tho i was in Business class seat?????

  8. rene

    @dod cahill – That is unbelievable. Wow. Skyteam at it’s best.

  9. stacy jordan

    How do you get a “real” card when you’re not DM or PM and just GM? It is my understanding that you only have the digital choice if you’re a lower status elite.

  10. rene

    @Stacy Jordan – You are correct. Shameful of Delta is it not?

  11. I showed my VS Gold Card at the DTW skyclub (I was flying VS premium economy back to LHR) and the woman said “I don’t know what this is or what this is for”

  12. Vladimir

    When I received my DRC, I called to CS to find out if I should be getting a Sky Club card. They advised all I need to present is my Reserve CC to any of the partners. I was not aware I can only enter the partners’ club if I am flying business or first class?

  13. rene

    @Vladimir – Your Reserve card only gets you into Delta Sky Clubs (not partners) and only when you are flying Delta. If you are GM+ you get in to Skyteam lounges pre-flight (or connecting) on any class of service.

  14. Vladimir

    Appreciate the clarification Rene. Good all my traveling is domestic and have not had the need to embarrass myself by being rejected at a partners club for lack of knowledge.

    I am hoping will have no issues when traveling international (I am GM at the present time)

    Thank you as always for your attention to details.


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