Now that people are returning to the skies (and airports, of course), many are likely wondering what they can do to make the travel experience less stressful.
Airport club lounges are great places to recharge (yourself and your electronic devices!). You can relax, get some work done, grab a quick bite to eat, and enjoy a beverage.
Given the limited time offers available on six Delta American Express cards, you might wonder if one is the “best” for getting you into Delta Sky Clubs.
Well, sort of.
First, think about how often you use Delta Sky Clubs and want to bring guests with you. And how important bonus MQM, Companion Certificates, discounted onboard drinks and food, and free checked first bags are to you.
Ready? Let’s take a quick look.
Which Cards Get You Into Delta Sky Clubs?
These American Express cards grant complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when you’re traveling on a same-day, Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flight:
- The Platinum Card from American Express ($550 annual fee)
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express ($595 annual fee)
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee)
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card ($550 annual fee)
Both the primary card member and any paid additional cardholders may enter for free. The Centurion American Express card and co-branded Platinum Cards (i.e. Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, etc) also receive the benefit.
Two other cards offer admission to Delta Sky Clubs — but for $39 per person, per visit. The primary cardholder is not exempt and must pay also pay the admission fee.
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card ($250 annual fee)
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card ($250 annual fee)
If you don’t value any of the Amex Platinum benefits, couldn’t care less about the Delta Reserve cards’ perks, and just want to pop into the Delta Sky Club every so often, either of the Delta Platinum cards should be fine.
As long as you don’t rack up more than seven total visits during an entire year, you’re OK. (Seven visits at $39 each = $273.)
But those expenses can quickly add up.
For example, airlines consider my toddler to be an adult — and that goes for airport club lounge access. Say you’re a parent traveling with a spouse/partner/etc., and a child. One Sky Club visit is going to cost $117 for the three of you.
And that’s just at the first airport on your journey.
Have a connecting flight and want to stop at that airport’s Sky Club? There’s another $117.
If you’re going to rack up at least eight Sky Club visits a year, then you’re much better off with one of the Reserve cards or Amex Platinum cards.
You can bop into Sky Clubs to your heart’s content.
Better for Sky Club Access: Reserve Card or Platinum Card?
The four premium cards (the Amex Platinums and Delta Reserves) waive the Sky Club entrance fees for the primary cardholder. So if you’re a frequent-ish Delta traveler, you should consider one of those.
But which one?
This depends on what Delta status benefits you crave, how often you visit Delta Sky Clubs, and if you bring guests.
If you don’t need MQM or a Companion Certificate, then the The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express are a solid way to go. Some people buy first class or use miles. They can afford to pay for companions and don’t need to play the complimentary upgrade lottery. Some people don’t even care about airline status! 😉 (If you want access to Centurion Lounges, too, the Platinum cards are a much better option than Delta Reserves, which also offer the perk. I’ll explain why in another post.)
But if you like spending your way to bonus MQM, using Companion Certificates, etc, then I’d recommend the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card.
But Don’t the Reserve Cards’ Guest Passes Give Them an Edge?
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card offer two, one-time guest passes for Delta Sky Clubs.
So that’s a potential additional savings of $78 per card account year. (Guest admission is, of course, $39 per person, per visit.)
Both of those Amex Platinum cards offer a $200 airline incidental credit per calendar year. (Enrollment and airline selection required.) Airport club lounge fees count toward that credit. So the airline incidental credit could buy you up to five guest visits at Delta Sky Clubs and still give you $5 leftover.
I value and use (that’s important) the benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card and The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express — and hold all three. It’s certainly one way around the decision-making conundrum.
Several different American Express cards offer access to Delta Sky Clubs. If you often travel with companions, it’s probably worth getting The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express and using their $200 airline incidental credit to offset guest passes.
But if you rarely travel with guests and/or want to take advantage of Delta-heavy benefits, then the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card are solid options.
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