Some Delta frequent fliers say they actually like new Sky Club rules that clamp down on access

Delta Air Lines controversially clamped down on access to its Sky Club for Amex cardholders — but some frequent fliers have admitted that they don’t hate the new rules.

“If you look back at the history of the Medallion status, it was an elite club,” said Georgia business owner Mike Kirkpatrick, who’s held Delta’s top-tier status status for the past few years thanks to the massive charges he racks up on his two Delta credit cards: Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business.

“COVID happened and Delta allowed for rollover MQMs [Medallion Qualification Miles], which allowed a lot of people to reach Medallion status that never would have.”

“Now that’s being snatched away from them and they’re upset,” Kirkpatrick said of customers of American Express’ Platinum, Business Platinum, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cards.

As of Feb. 1, 2025, those customers will no longer get unlimited access to the airline’s airport lounges, instead being restricted to 10 visits per year, though infinite access can be unlocked by spending $75,000 annually.

Travelers losing access to Delta’s Sky Club were livid when the updates to its terms were announced, bashing it as a “terrible business decision” that’s “trashing years of loyalty.”

Among the many people that were quick to take to social media to bash the airline, one Redditer said: “I’m a 1 million miler, platinum for 10+ years. No reason to fly Delta now,” though another user came to the airline’s defense, replying that “there’s plenty of reasons to fly Delta.”

“I’m going to be a Silver next year and I’m perfectly fine with it,” another wrote.

One Reddit user even called on a more exclusive tier. “I’d be super satisfied if Amex came out with a card that’s more premium than the platinum, but less exclusive than the Centurion that gave back the full lounge access to Centurion lounges and Delta Sky Clubs,” the Redditer shared.

Diamond Medallion Delta status member Mike Kirkpatrick doesn’t mind the latest updates to the airline’s Sky Club terms. “What’s the point of an elite club if everybody is allowed in it?”
Facebook/Mike Kirkpatrick

“What’s the point of an elite club if everybody is allowed in it?” Kirkpatrick asked.

Without restrictions that keep Delta’s beloved Sky Club exclusive, “it’s just a benefit, it’s not anything higher,” Kirkpatrick said in an interview with The Post.

“If my business flounders next year and I don’t reach that spend and I lose the benefits, then that is what it is,” he added.

To achieve his top-tier status, Kirkpatrick dishes out $550 in annual fees and spends $350,000 per year on both his personal and professional Amex cards.

This isn’t a struggle for Kirkpatrick, though, who said his “big expenditures are business-related stuff” for his game camera and hunting supply business, Herd 360, and he uses his personal Delta Reserve card for everyday personal incidentals for his family of five, like groceries and gas.

“That builds my miles up pretty quickly,” Kirkpatrick said, noting that he particularly enjoys the “priority to be upgraded if I were to purchase main cabin” that comes with the high-spending territory.

Kirkpatrick’s status, coupled with his six-figure annual spend, also comes with unlimited access to Delta’s Sky Club, per the Atlanta-based airline’s terms, which were updated earlier this month to restrict access for card members who don’t spend enough per year.

“I’m looking forward to lower crowds in the clubs and more frequent complimentary upgrades,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick noted that though he has this elite status with Delta, he wouldn’t describe himself as rich, and maintaining Delta Sky Club access that comes with Amex cards is simple if cardholders are smart about spending, like he is.

One change to Delta’s terms: Passengers will no longer earn status based on the number of miles they fly with Delta, but instead will earn status based exclusively on the amount of money they spend with the airline.
GC Images
Delta’s 50-plus Sky Clubs across the US are beloved for their complementary food, beer and wine, increased security and more comfortable seating.
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but rich is not one of them,” he said. “Maybe there’s a bit of luck in there, but I’ve always made good choices financially. The choices I’ve made in life have gotten me where I’m at today.”

Kirkpatrick isn’t alone, and many other users on social media have expressed their satisfaction for Delta’s updated Sky Club terms, which will see Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardholders — who pay a $550 annual fee — restricted to 10 visits to Delta’s Sky Club per year.

And Amex’s Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders — who pay the highest annual fee, a cool $695 — will be limited even further, only getting six complementary lounge visits per year.

All of these cardholders could gain unlimited Sky Club access, however, by spending $75,000 on their Amex card per calendar year.

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