Why American Express Has Started Building Lounges In Delta Hubs

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Atlanta will get an American Express Centurion lounge next year they began building lounges in major cities where Delta didn’t have a presence, to make up for losing American, US Airways and Continental Airlines lounges as those airlines merged (and their co-brands got lounge access exclusivity).

    Then they started building lounges near Delta lounges, even though (or should I say because) their Platinum and Centurion cards provided Delta lounge access when flying Delta. Amex also gives Delta Reserve cardmembers Centurion lounge access now when flying Delta. This relieves pressure on those Delta lounges and picks up costs, all part of the overall relationship and deal with Delta which now runs through 2029.

  • Frequent flyer programs should “invite each of your Russian members (of all tier levels) to name one Ukrainian member to whom you attribute top tier level in your program. I take this to mean programs in the region, broadly conceived, this will be of limited relevance to U.S. programs.

  • Host sold Times Square Sheraton at $400 million loss

  • “Caring for people on life’s journey”

  • Loyalty industry podcast on Aeroplan ignore the softball questions, the subtext of the answers around how Air Canada’s reacquisition of the program and about working with revenue management on award availability and pricing are what’s useful.

  • United Airlines No Longer Asks Passengers to Raise Their Window Shades For Takeoff and Landing

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Delta needs to do something. The Sky Club lounges are overcrowded, thanks to giving gold elites access on international flights and all the AmEx holders. Try going to the Delta lounges in the A or B concourses in Atlanta. You can never find a seat. Even during the worst of the pandemic. The food is so bad at most Sky Clubs these days that I find myself just going to Vino Volvo and taking a tax deduction for the cost of dinner or lunch and booze.

  2. Can’t wait for MSP to get a Centurion Lounge in April of two thousand twenty-never.

  3. @FNT Delta Diamond: Try AA Admiral Clubs and you’ll beg to get in ATL concourse A near gate 17 SkyClub. Food, there is none to speak of in Admiral Clubs and this is at DFW. From a million miler that goes back to walking straight to the plane when Hartsfield was off Virginia Avenue.

  4. Food has been pretty good across most SkyClubs I have visited through the system recently. A variety of sandwiches, a hot protein (roasted salmon, chicken, some kind of barbacoa), steamed vegatables, the usual veggies/hummus/etc, decent soups, etc. I’ve seen this at PBI, SFO, LAX, ATL, LGA, JFK, SEA, MSP over the past twelve months.

    To Gary’s point, additional SkyClubs in Delta terminals/airports relieves crowding in both sets of lounges. Win win.

  5. In ATL, I think you’re best off with hitting the E or International F Sky Club. But, that’s easy in ATL where everything is connected post -security by the train. Agree that the B club is almost always a mob scene. (Sometimes it leaves you wondering who DOESN’T have lounge access?)

    I have yet to be in any Centurion as I will not wait on line. I have an early flight next month out of JFK so I’m hoping to finally get in that club but…?

  6. At the AMEX Miami Centurion lounge Tuesday afternoon, a family of 12 tried to check-in using multiple AMEX platinum cards. Unfortunately, the desk agent had them wait about an hour to comply with an AMEX three-hour rule. A few large families like this could put other passengers on a waitlist. Expect to be waitlisted as March is many kiddos’ middle and high school spring break.

    I hope AMEX puts a Centurion lounge in Detroit.

  7. @Anthony: JFK, LGA, BOS, SFO all have a different catering company for the Sky Clubs. Sodexo at DTW and MSP is pretty bad.

    @Ken A: Unless American Express took a ground-level restaurant space, there is no place on the A concourse of the main terminal used by Delta and Sky Team partners for a Centurion lounge. Even with the new Sky Club that someday will be for Delta One and 360 passengers, all of the Detroit Sky Clubs remain very crowded. The new lounge only has about 80 seats. Of those 80, maybe a dozen are comfortable. The rest are too crowded and don’t have tables high enough for working on a computer or eating. It’s mostly just a place to sit and have a drink from the premium bar.

  8. The reasons stated in the article make sense, however, I suspect in the back of Amex’s mind it’s also leverage in the next round of negotiations in case Delta ever wants to extort them. Amex can exist without an airline partner and still have a robust travel product if they have lounges in every airport.

  9. omar,
    Delta is the largest source of revenue for Amex and vice versa so the two are so intertwined at this point that it would take a major falling out for them to separate.

    The bigger reason for Amex’ growth is because so many other airlines don’t have lounges in Delta hubs – including Southwest which is the #2 airline at ATL – that there is a market for Amex premium card holders that are not on Delta flights.

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