We knew this day would arrive. My toddler daughter was charged Delta Sky Club admission.
Because she’s two years old and must have her own paid reservation, she can no longer be an infant-in-arms and score free access to Delta’s airport lounges.
Before rushing to the Comments section or blasting this post on social media with a disparaging take, know this: I understand this is a true First World problem.
Last week, my wife, daughter, and I traveled from Los Angeles to balmy Fargo, North Dakota. Both my wife and I have the personal Delta Reserve card, which grants cardholders complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a Delta itinerary.
The Sky Club check-in rep at LAX’s T2 lounge scanned my wife’s boarding pass and then mine (more on that in a few minutes) before asking our daughter’s age.
I knew where this was going.
I could’ve fibbed and said, “she’s almost two — but still only one!” But this would’ve been sketchy for several reasons, such as:
- It’s lying
- I’m a terrible liar
- The rep could’ve checked my daughter’s reservation or SkyMiles account for her true age
- My daughter is very tall for a two-year-old.
So I told the rep my daughter is two. And I was charged $29.
“You have to pay (for her) with your American Express Platinum card,” the rep said.
That was interesting (at least to me). One might think a Delta employee should push the Delta American Express cards, given the mothership’s cozy relationship with Amex.
I used my Business Platinum Card from American Express — and the charge eventually credited back toward my annual $200 airline incidental credit. So it wasn’t anything extra out of pocket.
As we left the club to catch our flight, I overheard the same rep insisting to others that their guests be paid for with American Express Platinum cards. This lady loves her some Amex Platinum.
(I wonder if she’s considered a career blogging about points, miles, travel, and credit cards… 😉 ).
We stopped at MSP’s C Concourse Sky Club during our layover in the Twin Cities. It was close-ish to our connecting flight at gate C23.
But the same thing happened. The rep scanned my boarding pass, my wife’s, and then asked our daughter’s age. We told him she’s two and he said we’d have to pony up $29.
There’s a kids play area across the way, so my wife and I decided we’d take turns: one of us would get work done in the lounge while the other played with our daughter.
My daughter was hungry and thirsty after about 20 minutes of sliding, climbing, and running. So we eventually trekked to the Escape Lounge — which is complimentary for Amex Platinum cardholders and two guests.
What Bothers Me About This
Did my daughter consume $29 worth of food and beverages at the LAX Sky Club? Oh, heck no.
But, hey, rules are rules. And while it would be nice if Delta let her in for free, it’s perfectly within their right to charge her. I certainly don’t fault them for enforcing their rules.
What does seem cheap, though, are the Sky Club reps scanning the adults’ boarding passes — and only then asking for the accompanying child’s age.
Everything we’ve heard and read indicates Amex pays Delta a per-visit fee each time one of its cardholders visits a Sky Club. So if upon learning we had to pay the $29 fee for my daughter ($39 next year) after our boarding passes were scanned and go somewhere else, Delta would still receive their fee/commission/payment/whatever — while we (the Amex members) didn’t use the benefit.
Options Going Forward
We like airport lounges because they save us money on food and beverages. And my daughter loves sampling their various desserts. 🙂
Diamonds can add the Sky Club guest perk (provided they hold a qualifying Delta Amex card) as a choice benefit.
You might be thinking, Why doesn’t he add his kid as an authorized user to one of his Amex cards?
American Express requires authorized users to be at least 13 years old, so we’re over ten years away from that. That’s fine; I’m in no hurry for my little girl to grow up.
As I mentioned, both my wife and I hold the consumer/personal Delta Reserve card, which comes with two single-visit Sky Club guest passes each year (starting January 30, 2020). Plus, I hold the Delta Reserve for Business Amex, which also will get the Sky Club guest passes.
I hold both the Platinum Card for American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express. Those cards’ $200 annual airline incidental fee credits will definitely come in handy with Sky Club guest admissions. Plus, they provide access to Centurion Lounges, as well. (But only within certain timeframes.)
Several of our credit cards include Priority Pass memberships — and we’ll certainly use those more because they include two guest admissions per visit. We’ll spend more time at the LAX Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse when flying out of T2. Plus, my Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s Priority Pass membership still includes select airport restaurant discounts, too.
We travel through MSP about 6-10 times a year and will utilize the MSP Escape Lounge, too.
But Most Importantly…
Again, not having an airport lounge to visit is such a wonderful “problem.”
Wherever we are as a family is always a good spot. Airports have plenty of fun areas to explore, plane spot (which my daughter loves), and enjoy.
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