Delta Sky Club New ‘Membership Options’ – Wow, That’s Insulting

In the middle of a frustrating episode where Delta email SkyMiles support did exactly the opposite of my request and Diamond line agents said nothing could be done, until I insisted and it could be done, this turd drops into my inbox:

We hope you’re enjoying your complimentary Delta Sky Club® membership, 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 in 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, we are making the following changes:

  • Effective immediately, membership cost 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.

Diamond Medallion® members will continue to enjoy complimentary Executive Membership through the 2014 Medallion year. If you qualify for 2015 Diamond Medallion status, you will receive a complimentary Individual Membership beginning March 1, 2015. And, if guest access is a priority, you may upgrade to an Executive Membership as one of your Choice Benefits or by using miles or cash to pay the difference

We hope these changes will provide a more comfortable and productive experience for customers like you. Please visit delta.com/skyclub to learn more.

The patronizing hutzpah is beyond even Delta’s typical. So they are doing this for me so I don’t feel overcrowded? Well, I will be overcrowded in the terminal because I am not paying $29 for pretzels. (Correction: thanks to comments below I see I misinterpreted the change to the Diamond benefit. However, when traveling with my wife, I will still be in the terminal because I will need to coax the lounge dragon into letting her take my spot.)

Delta’s push on customer experience experience has been barely tolerable given the deplorable state of SkyMiles. Complimentary Sky Club access for Diamond Medallions was one of the few areas Delta had a leg up on its primary competitors, and a key justification (or rationalization) for chasing Diamond status, which at 125,000 MQMs is the highest in the US by 25,000.

A big reason I have been considering abandoning my status challenge-earned United Premier 1K status is I like lounge access but do not want to pay for it on United. I value lounge access much more when it is free. Now Delta is literally pushing me out the door.

By the way, I don’t have one, but what happens to the Delta Reserve credit cards?

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Pingbacks

  • It looks like Diamond members and Delta Reserve cardholders will still get access for free, but guests will no longer be free. The text implies that this would be true for Amex Platinum cardholders too. That’s a big credit card devaluation for those who often bring in guests. #booDelta

  • My take on it is the same as FM’s. Big letdown by Delta here.

  • Another blow to Amex. It is actually fair to say the clubs are overcrowded, and I am sure the Amex access is a big reason for that. But agree the marketing b/s is pretty strong

  • Really, this one is kind of special.

  • Travis

    If Delta is so concerned with overcrowding, why don’t they stop doing stupid things like this: http://www.groupon.com/deals/delta-sky-club-dc

    I called and talked to a Amex rep about my Platinum Card…Amex said they won’t be doing anything on their end to compensate for the change. I’m going to cancel my Amex Platinum Card. Just not worth the $450 annual fee any more.

  • @FrequentMiler, @Charlie – rereading I agree with you, I jumped too quickly on the word “guest” thinking it meant me. I wonder how this will be for people whose membership is several years out, for instance my card shows membership till September 13, 2018, because at the time the Diamond benefit was rolled out I had just had a second year paid by my previous employer. Current employer does not reimburse any club access, unfortunately.

  • @MilesAbound – the Amex acccess I can see and understand in terms of crowding. The Diamond thing is what pisses me off. I already have spent money on airfare for 2014 that I would have directed to UA if they had not snuck this announcement in now once the year already started.

  • @Travis – didn’t Amex do much of the heavy lifting to get Delta out of bankruptcy?

  • Gene

    “Turd”. LOL.

  • Sam

    Does my $200 credit I get for having the AMX Platcount if I have to pay for my family?

  • @Sam – I have not seen any details on that released. It does not seem like they sorted out the details with Amex before dropping this on us.

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  • You can use one of your “Choices” awards to upgrade from the Individual to Executive membership starting in 2015. And your membership this year will be an Executive one.

    So at least you have a year to wait before you truly get annoyed.

  • @WanderingAramean – the annoyance came less from the decision than the pandering, I wish they would just say they are raising prices. And my membership is currently good through Sep 2018 so I am quite annoyed that they are severely diluting benefits that were party granted under Diamond, partly paid by my prior employer.