Delta Air Lines’ CEO admitted on Monday the airline “probably went too far” in clamping down on its SkyMiles reward program and access to its 50-plus Sky Clubs — and signaled the company plans to relax some restrictions.
“There will be modifications that we will make, and you will hear about it sometime over the next few weeks,” Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said at an event at Atlanta’s Rotary Club this week, according to AP News.
“I think we moved too fast, and we are looking at it now,” Bastian added, promising to announce updates “sometime over the next few weeks,” per AP.
He didn’t give any additional details on what these “modifications” would entail.
Bastian’s comments came two weeks after Delta
announced that as of Feb. 1, 2025, American Express’ Platinum, Business Platinum, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders 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.
The overhaul had many social media users lashing out against the airline. “Personally I’ll have dropped my Delta Reserve Amex by this time next fall because w/o unlimited Sky Club access for $700 / year, it’s time for a change,” one angered user shared on X.
The switch-up in how cardholders earn status was particularly upsetting to frequent fliers, who bashed the move as a “terrible business decision.”
“I spend at least $60k a year on the card and now I will not have access to lounges. I was mad you wanted me to pay $50. Now no access? You should be falling over backwards for my loyalty in flights and spend,” one furious user wrote on X. “What a terrible business decision.”
One restriction set to start as soon as Jan. 1, 2024: Customers who book a basic economy ticket will no longer be allowed in Delta’s lounges, regardless if they carry a Platinum Card or any other premium credit card.
Representatives for Delta declined to comment beyond Bastian’s remarks.
Delta originally billed the updates to its SkyMiles loyalty program as part of the airline’s “continued efforts to help preserve the premium experience in the airline’s popular lounges.”
It also claimed that the new terms are “simplifying its award-winning SkyMiles Program.”
Though the airline didn’t disclose the reason for the changes, Delta has notoriously struggled to handle overcrowding at popular lounges at Delta’s major hubs like JFK Airport and Atlanta, which have become beloved for offering free food and beverages, more comfortable seating and greater security.
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, though unlimited access could be achieved with a $75,000 annual spend.
In addition, 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.
Also under the new terms, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business American Express card members earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) for every $10 spent on the card, while Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business American Express Card Members earn 1 MQD for every $20 spent.
To reach Silver Medallion status, cardholders must spend 6,000 MQDs, or $60,000.
To reach the highest status — Diamond Medallion — travelers will have to chalk up $350,000 in order to earn 35,000 MQDs.