Rookie Wednesday: Understanding the restrictions of Delta Sky Club access with the Amex Reserve card

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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.

This month, and wisely considering the amazing 40,000 bonus point current deal and all the perks you get, a bunch of readers have picked up the Delta Amex Reserve card. This also likely means many of you have never had it for Sky Club access. So I think it would be wise to run down what this card can and can not do for you. Also let’s address where some may be confused about the difference between holding the Reserve card vs. being a member of the club. Let’s get started via Q&A.

Do I need the card to get in? No. Once you have the Reserve card showing up in your “My Delta” all you need is your boarding pass (or a number of other things to identify you) to get in. You can use just the card if you want to get in as your SkyMiles number is tied into the card. Either way works.

Can I use it pre and post flights? Yes. You can use it any time you are flying Delta in the city you arrive in as well. The key part is you have to have flown Delta that day i.e. not another airline. That is a key difference between holding the card and being a member.

If I get an AU card can they get into the club? Yes and no. If you get the Reserve AU (authorized user) card for an extra $175 per year yes they can get in free. If you get the free Platinum AU card they do not. Keep in mind if your +1 is always with you and will visit 5 times or less per year you might as well just pay the guest pass $29.95 fee to get them in. If 6+ or on their own the AU Reserve may be worth the fee.

If I am not flying can I give my Reserve card to my +1 when they fly to get in? No. The card is tied to your SkyMiles account. They would not be allowed in unless you added them as an AU (see above).

Can I get into partner clubs with my Reserve card internationally? No. This card does not give you the perks of Skyteam Elite+. This card is for those who tend to visit domestic Delta Sky Clubs. Then again, with the current increased offer, it is almost like getting that for 1 year net=free so why would you not?

What about domestic cities where there is no Sky Club but there is a Skyteam lounge? Again, no. the above rules apply. This can be a reason to hold another card that gives you Priority Pass access to clubs.

I will be Diamond soon what about the guest pass Choice Benefit? This perk is new, very new. It is a nice perk but officially the guest must be traveling with you on the same reservation to get in free with the Reserve card. For full club members you can guest in any 2 breathing people you want. We shall see if this is really enforced or if the rep will just wave in your guests with you like they do with club members.

Can I visit more than once Sky Club per day? Yes. Visits are truly unlimited during your travel day – that is, you could visit a club before your flight, a few during your flight, and as mentioned a club in your arrival city. There will never be a charge for you the day you fly.

Will I ever be turned away from a Sky Club like Priority Pass does when crowded. No (or at least it should never happen). There are no disclaimers or restriction for you to have access based on how many members are in the club. If this ever did happen I would call Amex right away as I would think you are about to get a rather large chunk of SkyMiles in compensation for this.

Can I upgrade my Sky Club access with the card. No. Again it is important to remember this card is in no way any type of Sky Club membership. You are simply getting club access. There is nothing to “upgrade”. If you want membership you have to in some way pay for that or earn it via a Diamond Choice benefit.

So there you are. These are the most common questions and bits of confusion for those who are new to holding the Delta Amex Reserve card and using the Delta Sky Clubs. Have I missed any or was your question not covered here, then let me know in the comments below. – René



  1. Hi Rene,

    Not sure if you get a lot of feedback on these, but I love Rookie Wednesday posts. Have read the blog for a while, but always learn new info in these posts. Thank you very much for them.

  2. Keep in mind that if your AU is not with you, s/he must show the physical card to gain free access.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I haven’t had to use the reserve card yet for the Skyclub but will in January when the SC benefit is going to be a choice benefit (which is a true enhancement to the program for me anyway).

    On occasion I have to use Southwest for my BNA or SEA trips so it is going to suck not having access to the SC on those trips, especially now that Escape is no longer part of priority pass at MSP and that they have capacity controls with Alaska Boardroom with priority pass at SEA. It was always nice using the Skyclub at BNA when flying southwest, helped ease the sting of having to fly WN:)

    When using the SC on arrival with a reserve card has anyone had issues on a redeye flight seeing you aren’t technically on a Delta departure the day of arrival? A lot of times I’ll do a red eye from SEA, LAX, LAS or SFO and upon landing will shower and grab a bite to eat at the skyclub and head on to the office. I’m hoping this won’t be an issue with the reserve card.

  4. I just reached the $30000 spend on the reserve card and received the 15000 miles but not the 15000 mqms. A few days later I hit the $25000 spend on the platinum card and received both the bonus miles and the bonus mqms. Do you only get one mqm bonus now?

  5. I just picked the Choice Benefit for extra guests for this card, I am so far 3/3 for getting guests in on different PNR, in MSP x2 and LGA.

    Small data point for what it is worth

  6. I recently flew out of JFk but forgot my reserve card at home. I was denied access to sky club, despite pushing the matter.

  7. @Rene, I’m sure you have posted on this but I’m thinking about switching my Delta Reserve to an AMEX Platinum. Thoughts?

  8. @Jane – Only if:
    1. You already got Platinum new card bonus already. If not apply for new then cancel. And…
    2. Your Reserve card BOGO has posted. And…
    3. You don’t need Sky Club access. And…
    4. You don’t need Reserve higher bonus MQMs from spend.

  9. What do you think of the Hilton surpass Amex card? Do you get credit if I link through on your page and reach the credit page? I have the Hilton Visa card but saw somewhere that Hilton is going exclusively with Amex so I don’t know what happens with the Visa card. Should I wait to see if Amex sends a targeted card to folks like me? Not sure I want four Amex cards but I do stay at Hilton properties more than any others and100000 points is hard to turn down especially if I won’t be earning anything with the Visa card.

  10. Thanks, Rene. Just to make sure, the surpass card doesn’t count as either a platinum or reserve card, correct, so that I will get the bonus even though I have the platinum and reserve cards? I’m getting it because of Hilton even though I really could use the mqms more. I don’t see how you keep track of which card to use when!

  11. Rene, thanks for post! Lots of great info! Will you choose membership via Choice (one of 3 choices via Diamond in 2018) or use your AMEX cards for access in 2018 and choose 3 other awards?

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