I am a Sky Club member no more! This month was the time my full (what Delta calls “executive”) membership ended and I just don’t care anymore. Let me tell you why, and why if you are in the same situation, it should not matter to you either.
First off, Delta changed the way top Diamond elite’s got their membership. In the past it was simply automatic. It was full membership and you could bring guests. Then Delta “enhanced” it and dropped it to individual membership, that is, only you could enter the lounges (and the partner lounges). A big blow to the “free” gift (not free as you spent a ton to earn Diamond status).
Then Delta got busy cutting even more value. Partner lounge access, i.e. those who are not full Skyteam lounges, were dropped. The only way you could get in is if you were on a business class ticket (award or paid). In other words membership, depending on where you fly, was worth very little.
Next Delta decided to make club membership an option by adding a 3rd Diamond Choice Benefit. Now after all the above cuts I really applaud this as there are really better choices. Here is why – the next “enhancement” on the way in just a matter of months.
Starting 1JAN19 real Sky Club membership will be gone. Delta still will call it membership but unless you are flying Delta, or a partner, you will NOT be able to use your membership. Wait, what? Yep, the name “membership” will become Fake News or Alternative Facts, that is, you are in reality no longer a member but just have access only if flying Delta. Plus the loss of partner lounge access really is the final nail in the coffin.
So… what does all this mean for you and me? Really it gets very simple. Since real, individual or full membership is gone why even bother with it. There are better, and much cheaper, ways.
With Amex travel cards like the Delta Reserve card (personal or business) I can get in just the same as the 2019 “membership”. Same goes for the non-Delta Platinum card (personal or business). I can even use one of my Diamond Choice Benefits to bring 2 guests in with me at no charge just like a full “membership” offers. Now the cards, like the membership, are also restricted to Delta and partner same day flights but then again so is “real” membership so why pay more when I do not have to?!?
Honestly I will not burn one of my very valuable Choice Benefits for the 2 guest add-on. My wife has her own non-Delta Platinum card so she gets in anyway and does not need me to guest her in. I would consider the 2 guest add-on choice if it were NOT restricted to only those on the same itinerary i.e. “traveling with me”! If it were anyone I want that I could see value as a perk.
Bottom line we are now only months away from real Sky Club membership ending forever and I am fine with the change because paying Delta more for less is not something I will take part in. You? – René
UPDATE: Those with lifetime memberships can still get in when flying other airlines!