Delta Air Lines announced a major revamp to the way Sky Clubs memberships are distributed this morning and also informed many customers that the way they access Sky Clubs today will not be the same way they access clubs in the future especially those who travel with friends and family. The changes make club membership more expensive and devalue high end credit card benefits, such as the American Express Platinum Card.
This morning, Delta sent an email out with the following announcing the following price increases:
We hope you’re enjoying your Delta Sky Club® experience, including more than $50 million in recent investments in expanded seating, renovated Clubs in Atlanta, New York-LGA and Los Angeles, the opening of the New York-JFK Terminal 4 flagship Club and The Sky DeckSM at Delta Sky Club at New York-JFK and Atlanta.
Even with these investments, we occasionally hear that overcrowding can be an issue. To maintain the Club’s exclusive atmosphere, the following changes are being introduced:
- Effective immediately, membership price is $695 annually. This Executive Membership will continue to allow two complimentary guests.
- For those customers who rarely need guest access, an Individual Membership at the current rate of $450 will be introduced Spring 2014. This membership will allow guest access for $29 per visit.
- Beginning May 1, 2014, all customers who receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access as a benefit of their eligible credit or charge card will no longer receive complimentary guest access. A $29 fee per guest will apply.
If you are an existing Club member, you now have an Executive Membership for the duration of your current membership
WOW – Talk about another Delta devaluation and a double whammy from Delta this week! As they enhanced their Sky Clubs hard product through remodels around the world and reduced their free drink selection (soft product) and offer lower end well alcohol in lieu for overpriced “SkyBar drinks” Delta is now asking for (not) shockingly more money to access their clubs—with the end goal to increase their revenue and gouge frequent flyers more than ever. Yet, the kicker to this announcement is that guests who currently access the Sky Club via the American Express Platinum Card or Delta Reserve card will NO LONGER be able to bring two guests for free and will instead be required to pay $29 per guest! The American Express Platinum Card already lost some prestige late last year when American and US announced they will no longer grant access to card holders after March 31, 2014, and now this announcement from Delta!
Current Delta Sky Club members and Diamond Elite Flyers who were given Delta Sky Club access as an Elite benefit have already been upgraded to the executive membership, which allows two guests to access the club without additional payment. However, once the current membership expires, Diamonds and regular Sky Club members will have to buy-up to the Executive Membership—just one more way Delta is devaluing the SkyMile program and benefits.
I know as an American Express Platinum holder I am not happy about this change and its making this card not much more valuable than Priority Pass and makes me wonder, can Priority Pass save the Amex Platinum? I will be tweeting, emailing, and calling American Express about reduction in card benefits and I truly hope Amex finds a way to increase value in their card—otherwise a max exodus of members may be in American Express’s future.
Today is a bad day for Sky Club members, Diamond Elite, and high end credit card holders. With all of these changes recently, I am starting to believe that it’s a preview of further reduction in benefits that are to come for frequent flyers around the globe.