Delta Just Responded to the Backlash Over Sky Club Access Changes

The airline is backpedaling after customers were unhappy with prior changes.

delta sky club lounge
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Just last month, American Express cardholders who like to travel were reportedly quite upset with Delta Air Lines. Based on a quick scroll through X (formerly Twitter) back then, plenty of folks were expressing their frustrations with Delta, while other airlines jumped at the chance to try and woo Delta customers over to their own loyalty programs. But now, Delta is making amends—and changing its policies once again.

The carrier just backpedaled on its decision to make changes regarding Sky Club access for select cardholders, which would limit the number of times travelers could visit the lounge depending on their card. That was a huge deal, considering there was no cap before.

The reason behind the changes allegedly had to do with overcrowding at Sky Clubs. According to a previous Delta official news release, they were "part of Delta's ongoing efforts to help balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium experience they provide for our guests."

Now, it will be slightly easier to access its Sky Club airport lounges—though there will still be limitations, just a little more lax. Starting on February 1, 2025, Amex Platinum Card members will be allowed 10 annual visits (instead of the previously proposed six visits), while Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders will be granted 15 visits per year (up from the former 10) and owners of Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cards will receive the same amount of available annual visits. If you own a Centurion Card (the iconic "Amex black"), congrats—no capped number of visits for you.

If you're willing to pay up, though, you can basically buy yourself an unlimited number of Sky Club visits. You can choose between buying a Sky Club membership for $695 (if you're a Medallion Member), flying on Delta One business class, or by using your now-limited Amex to spend $75,000 or more during one calendar year (from January 1 through December 31). Card members will also have the option to purchase Sky lounge access for $50 per day after using up all their Sky Club allowance.

September changes also made customers mad in terms of how (not) easy it would be to reach Medallion status. After previously announcing it would eliminate Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS) and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Delta is now revisiting its policies, and it is also increasing its Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) spending threshold.

It will now be easier for customers to reach different status levels. Specifically, travelers will need 5,000 MQDs to achieve Silver Medallion status (1,000 MQDs less than before), 10,000 MQDs for Gold status (instead of the previous 12,000 MQDs), 15,000 MQDs for Platinum status (down from 18,000 MQDs), and 28,000 MQDs for Diamond status (versus the former 35,000 MQDs).

Finally, the airline is introducing new choice benefits. Among them, through an MQD accelerator, Platinum Medallion members will be offered $1,000, while Diamond Medallion members will be offered $2,000. They'll also be offered a Wheels Up flight credit.

In a note accompanying news of the updates, Delta CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged the backlash to the SkyMiles changes and said he "appreciate[s] your opinions and understand[s] your disappointment. Your voice matters, and we are listening."

For more information on the updated Delta Sky Club access policies, you can visit this website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.