Delta Sky Club Membership Cost Increasing — and Decreasing — in 2017

I n order to continue to upgrade its Sky Club lounges — typically located in airports at destinations which are served by Delta Air Lines and including improved complimentary food and beverage options, amenities, and increased exclusivity for patrons — the cost of a Delta Sky Club membership is increasing if you are paying with money; and decreasing if you redeem SkyMiles to pay for your membership.

Amenities include a welcome surfeit of electrical power outlets; upgraded furniture; and modern lighting fixtures which compliment the improved style of the lounges overall — all implemented over the last few years.

Delta Sky Club Membership Cost Increasing — and Decreasing — in 2017

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Concourse B Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

The following membership options — payment plans of 12 monthly installments requires a one-year contract and initiation fee — include unlimited access to 251 Delta Sky Clubs and partner lounges for you:

  • Executive Membership You can guest up to a maximum of two people per visit at no additional charge — which is your best option if frequent guest access is important to you. The rate for one year is:
    • 2016: $695.00, 110,000 SkyMiles or $59.99 per month
    • 2017: $745.00 or 70,000 SkyMiles — per month cost is unknown at this time, if any; but my guess would be $69.99 per month
  • Individual Membership You can guest up to a maximum of two people per visit at the rate of $29.00 per person per visit — which is your best option if you typically travel alone and rarely need guest access. The rate for one year is:
    • 2016: $450.00, 70,000 SkyMiles or $39.99 per month
    • 2017: $495.00 or 47,000 SkyMiles — per month cost is unknown at this time, if any; but my guess would be $49.99 per month

Why I Am Not a Target Customer of Delta Sky Club Membership

The Delta Sky Club experience keeps improving significantly — and the latest proof of that which I experienced is the Delta Sky Club on Concourse B at the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. I took many photographs prior at its grand opening; and here are no fewer than 70 of those photographs — and that is not including the actual ceremonial cutting of the ribbon officially dedicated to its opening.

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Ribbon Cutting

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Despite the continued improvement of the experience of Delta Sky Clubs overall, I am still not the target customer of Delta Sky Club membership.

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Concourse B Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

If I am going to eat, I would rather either eat before I arrive at the airport — which is my preferred option — or bring my own food; or dine in a restaurant at the airport. All of those options are typically significantly less expensive than admission into a Delta Sky Club. Instead of paying for a membership, I can basically enjoy a dinner at an upscale steakhouse — and be comfortable while I dine.

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Concourse B Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

While the furniture in a Sky Club is significantly more comfortable than the seating which is found at a typical gate at an airport — and although available electrical outlets are now plentiful — I can usually find a quiet corner of the airport where I can relax and plug in a portable electronic device to be charged prior to the flight.

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Concourse B Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

I remember back in 2009 when an employee of Delta Air Lines who was associated with Sky Clubs asked why I would not consider becoming a member — sort of a spontaneous survey in person — and I responded with the following reasons:

  • I rarely arrive for a flight long enough in advance to spend enough time to enjoy the amenities of a Sky Club
  • I do not drink alcoholic beverages
  • I carry at least one portable electronic device for music — which is important to me — as well as games and other entertainment to keep my mind preoccupied
  • Although it may be slower, more and more airports are offering free Wi-Fi access to the Internet — such as in Atlanta and arguably in New York
  • Options for admission into airport lounges which are less expensive are available; but I had never paid for those either
  • The public washrooms at airports are typically reasonably maintained, so I do not need to use a washroom inside of a Sky Club; and I would personally rather shower at home or in a hotel room than at an airport lounge
  • The miscellaneous items available do not interest me, as I:
    • Typically do not need to print any documents
    • Have no interest in putting a golf ball
    • Do not hold or attend formal meetings at airports
    • Usually do not read the newspapers and magazines available
    • Rarely watch television
    • Do not drink coffee or tea
  • For the price of admission, there is usually not enough of an offering to create a meal despite the food options being more plentiful than in the past

Summary

Delta Air Lines Sky Club Concourse B Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Although many users of Delta Sky Clubs already earn free memberships as part of their American Express platinum card benefits or as Diamond elite status level members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program, the aforementioned pricing “could incentivize Delta frequent fliers to use more of their miles — which allows Delta to lower its liability of accumulated miles”, according to this article written by Kelly Yamanouchi of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The cost of accessing a Delta Sky Club for one visit increased to $59.00 greater than a year ago; but supposedly fewer than one percent of patrons pay for this one-time pass to enter a Sky Club.

Even though I am not the ideal customer for Delta Sky Club membership, that does not mean that the membership fees are not worth the money for you or someone else. The value proposition is simply not there for me…

…and even though the good news is that the value proposition became sweeter for members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program with the reduction of SkyMiles needed to procure membership for one year, also remember that earning SkyMiles are more difficult for many members since the SkyMiles program became based on revenue rather than by distance flown.

All photographs ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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