Delta Air Lines, headquartered in Atlanta, is set to implement significant changes in its Sky Club lounge access policies and the criteria for achieving elite frequent flyer status, starting in 2025. These adjustments aim to address overcrowding concerns in the airline’s popular lounges and align with the evolving landscape of the airline industry.
Effective February 1, 2025, Delta will introduce modified rules for accessing its Sky Club lounges. Currently, customers with American Express Platinum and Platinum Business cards enjoy unlimited visits to these lounges. However, under the new policy, cardholders will be entitled to a maximum of six visits per year unless they achieve an annual spending threshold of $75,000 on their card.
Similarly, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business cardholders will experience a change in lounge access privileges. They will receive ten Sky Club visits annually, provided they meet the minimum spending requirement of $75,000 within a year.
Notably, this adjustment will also impact Delta’s SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express cardholders. These cardholders will no longer have automatic club access as a benefit. Instead, they can gain entry either by purchasing a club membership separately or by holding elite status with Delta, which may include club membership as one of its perks.
To put this into perspective, the annual cost of a Delta lounge membership is $695, making it a substantial investment for frequent travelers seeking the comfort and amenities of these exclusive spaces. Additionally, some restrictions related to lounge access will go into effect as early as January 1, 2024. Delta has announced that passengers booking basic economy tickets will no longer be allowed entry into Delta’s lounges, even if they possess a Platinum Card or any other premium credit card.
Delta’s decision to revamp its lounge access policy comes in response to challenges associated with overcrowding at its major hubs, such as JFK Airport and Atlanta. The move is intended to strike a balance between providing access to valued customers and maintaining a comfortable lounge experience.
In tandem with these lounge access changes, Delta is overhauling its criteria for achieving elite status within its SkyMiles program. Historically, passengers earned status based on the number of miles flown with Delta. However, the airline is shifting its focus to revenue-based criteria. Moving forward, passengers will earn elite status solely based on the amount of money they spend on Delta flights.
Under the new system, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express cardholders will earn one Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) for every $10 spent on their card. Meanwhile, Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members will earn one MQD for every $20 spent.
These changes reflect Delta’s ongoing efforts to adapt to the evolving landscape of the airline industry, address operational challenges, and cater to the evolving preferences of its passengers. As Delta implements these adjustments, travelers and cardholders will need to reassess their strategies for enjoying lounge access and achieving elite frequent flyer status with the airline.