Delta’s announcement this morning that it has raised prices, effective immediately, to access its Sky Club airport lounges is bound to draw a decidedly mixed reaction from travelers and industry-watchers.
First the changes:
- What was previously the base membership—one-year lounge access for a non-elite member and two guests, for $450—is now called an Executive Membership and costs $695. Until March 1, there are discounts on offer for Gold ($50) and Platinum ($100) members. And Diamond members’ membership is free until March 1.
- A new base membership—member access only, no guests—will be offered at $450 from Spring. Guest visits will then cost $29.
- Beginning on May 1, complimentary guest access will no longer be included as a benefit of the American Express Platinum or American Express Delta Reserve cards. (The Platinum card will also lose access to the American and US Airways lounges on March 22.)
According to the email Delta sent to SkyMiles members, the price increases are being made to “maintain the Club’s exclusive atmosphere.” In other words, to reduce crowding. In fairness to Delta, their lounges are known to be on the crowded side. And that certainly detracts from the value of investing in a lounge membership.
With the increased pricing, loungers can look forward to less congestion and a generally less stressful respite from the airport hubbub. That’s a decided upside.
But is the improvement worth the 54 percent price increase, or a downgrade in access to maintain the current price?
There are, in other words, winners and losers here.
Reader Reality Check
Higher prices, less congestion. Worth it to you?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.