Why Your Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Was Denied Lounge Access

Lifehacker Managing Editor Virginia grew tired of the high annual fees for her Chase Sapphire backup card when Delta announced a redesign of its American Express SkyMiles cards. The card set offered similar additional benefits and an attractive sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus miles if she spent $ 2,000 on the card in the first three months.

But her experience with the card serves as an example of why you need to pay close attention to the fine print – and perhaps reconsider whether subscribing at all is worth it because of the card’s benefits. Because these brag-worthy perks could be taken away at any moment.

When Delta and American Express announced a redesign of SkyMiles cards and benefits in September, they lured new users with the promise that if they sign up in October, they will have access to large signup bonuses and gain access to new benefits when they joined. effective January 31st.

On January 30, Delta and Amex announced the official arrival of an updated map set and a new batch of registration proposals. Some of these proposals were even better than those in October. Even Virginia’s mid-tier gold card now offered an extra 10,000 bonus miles after members reached their one-year anniversary.

Virginia then received an email on January 31st describing “important changes” to her SkyMiles card. She had a new advantage: a $ 100 loan for her next flight after spending $ 10,000 on a card in a calendar year. In return, the card denied access to Delta Sky Club lounges (which actually still cost you $ 39 per visit).

This update came just a day after American Express canceled its Centurion Lounge access policy for Platinum and Reserve cardholders, explaining that you can’t just wind up and pass the day just because; you must prove that your flight departs within a reasonable time frame in order to gain access to the lounge.

All of the changes made Virginia wonder if it was worth having a credit card at all. “I wish I hadn’t signed up for this,” she lamented on Lifehacker Slack. But she was quick to add, “I’m still getting my sign up bonus.”

Let’s be clear that American Express and Delta technically did nothing wrong when they made these software changes. They outlined which perks will be added on January 31st and which will be removed in a graph that was published in the fall. But like everyone else, they downplayed the benefits that were on their way out in small print.

Anyone excited by the prospect of a big sign up bonus is likely to skip the fine print – especially if the big campaign was to “sign up now to get new benefits later”.

So what’s the problem, you ask? The point is, credit cards don’t owe you a damn thing when it comes to reward programs and other benefits. Credit cards now have protective bumpers that weren’t there before the recession. Then, for example, your card issuer can change your interest rate at any time. But while changes in interest rates, payrolls and late payment schedules have become more transparent, reward programs have not been coercively tied to any parameters. The government does not require credit card issuers to disclose any regulated information about their reward programs or fringe benefits such as travel insurance.

This way, you can play the reward card game by trying to use as many of the available cards as possible while they exist. Or you can leave.

Frustrated with program changes, cardholders can always choose to downgrade their card instead of canceling it altogether, as many Chase users have mentioned, now that the annual Sapphire Reserve card fee is increasing to $ 550.

Or, as offers Wirecutter, you could completely cut her purse and put an end to his hopes to become an expert in the selection of credit cards. Focusing on just one or two credit cards can help you earn more rewards rather than chasing sign-up bonuses for cards that might later lose their luster.

This post has been updated to include the cost per visit for the Lounge Access Privilege, which has been removed.

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