Amex and Delta about to limit SkyClub access (maybe), Chase shutdowns and a $450K ticket to space (Saturday Selection)


What to do if Chase shuts you down, a Las Vegas high-roller pays $200K to throw a tantrum, Virgin Galactic launches its first space flight and is Amex about to limit Delta SkyClub access for Delta Reserve and Amex Platinum cardholders? All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).

How to handle a Chase shutdown like a pro

a woman in a white dress with black dots

Shutdown. The very mention sends chills down the spine of even the most hardened points and miles collector. When a bank decides that they don’t like you, either because your activity looks like a money-laundering drug dealer or because you used Chase cards to participate in a shady, fake-fitness-related Ponzi scheme, they can decide to shut you down. This usually involves closing one or all of your accounts, taking your points and then leaving you in the corner to think about what you’ve done. Chase is one of the least-likely banks to shutdown folks who creatively maximize their credit, but we’ve seen a small crest of them recently (due exclusively to the aforementioned Ponzi scheme). The vast majority of us won’t be among the condemned, but it gave Matt at Miles Earn and Burn the opportunity to give some pointers on how to handle a Chase shutdown (besides weeping) if it ever comes your way.

Will Amex limit SkyClub access for Platinum cardholders?

a man holding his hand up
Oh, you thought you were getting into the SkyClub, did you?

When it comes to rumors, us points and miles folks are an eager, little sewing circle. We’re quick to grasp onto opaque forum posts, offhand comments from chat reps and the alignment of celestial bodies to confirm what we always suspected: this hobby is doomed! With that said, the blogosphere has taken notice of a Reddit poster claiming to have inside knowledge of Amex and Delta making significant changes to the rules for SkyClub access for Delta Reserve and Amex Platinum cardholders. Currently, both groups have unlimited access as long as they’re traveling on a same-day Delta flight. The Reddit poster claims that this is going to be reduced to 6 visits per year for Platinum cardholders and 10 visits per year for Reserve cardholders. I have a hard time believing that Delta is going to soup nazi folks who pay $550/year for the Reserve card, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Platinum access curtailed. SkyClubs are about as crowded as a Taylor Swift show…except the music is much, much worse. Delta has been looking for ways to pry out a person here and there; nerfing access for a tangentially-related card, like the Platinum, seems right up its alley.

Virgin Galactic successfully launches tourists into space

Virgin Galactic Completes First Private Astronaut Spaceflight 'Galactic 02' | Virgin Galactic
(Image courtesy of Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic was launched in 2004 by Greg The Frequent Miler-attacking billionaire Richard Branson. Its goal was to be the first company to actually carry tourists into space. 18 years ago, the first tickets were sold for $200,000 (the price has since risen to a cool $450K). Since then, the project has been plagued by delays and competition from other members of the super-wealthy, space exploration club: Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Earlier this week, Virgin Galactic finally launched its first successful voyage, taking three passengers 55 miles above New Mexico on a flight that lasted all of 15 minutes ($30K/minute, for those keeping track). Disappointingly, there were were no billionaires in cowboy hats to be found post-flight.

Vegas high roller pays $200K to taunt nightclub manager

a large building with a sign
Taunting Niko from the side of Resorts World for $200K? What a bargain!

Ah, Las Vegas. The place were people can go and just be themselves, get back to what really matters. Ben Ralph, a billionaire from Australia, did just that last Saturday. Ralph showed up at Wynn’s nightclub an hour before service, assuming that they would be willing to open up early because, well, he’s Ben Ralph. When the manager, Niko, told him that wasn’t possible, Ben got increasingly frustrated, eventually necessitating intervention from law enforcement. He then decided to head on over to Zouk, a nightclub at Resorts World, where he proceeded to drop over $200K on table service. As those who have spent $50K+ on a VIP package at Zouk will undoubtedly know, one of the perks is being able to request that messages be projected onto the side of the building using Resorts World’s display system. Ben sent a few out that night, including one that took aim at Niko, the Wynn nightclub manager. According to local observers, it appeared that alcohol may have been affecting Ralph’s decision-making.

TSA appears to change its mind about CLEAR and ID’s. Again.

a man standing in front of a glass wall
(Photo courtesy of CLEAR)

A couple weeks ago, we shared a story about TSA going after everyone’s favorite biometrically-intrusive fastpass, CLEAR. Because of some attention lapses from CLEAR employees, there were a couple of folks who got through that shouldn’t have, although none of them posed any real danger. Even so, TSA was PO’d. It decided that pictures, retinal scans and fingerprints weren’t good enough, and that they would soon be requiring that CLEAR customers also show ID to a TSA screener. Since then, TSA has reconsidered and decided that it is simply going to screen “a lower percentage” of CLEAR’s customers…at random intervals…just like they already do now. I guess good policy decisions aren’t always, uh, clear.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This just seems like it would be a disastrous change for Delta itself. I fly on business trips at least 20 segments/year plus leisure travel and pretty much 80% of the reason I fly Delta nearly exclusively for domestic travel is SkyClub access. If I’m limited to 10 visits/year even with a Reserve card absolutely no way sticking with Delta makes any sense at all. They’re going to lose a significant number of Delta business travelers and we spend a LOT on airfare every year, just to make things a little less crowded for leisure travelers? It makes no sense, economically.

The Platinum card restriction makes more sense. Restrict SkyClub unlimited access to real Delta loyalists. But if there’s no way to get unlimited access then I certainly would probably switch my loyalty to AA, much as I hate to say that, and try to get elite status there even though Admiral’s Clubs are much less nice than SlyClubs. AA points and status and much more useful for international travel than Delta.


I’m in the group adversely affected by the rumored SkyClub policy change and I say “good.” Something needs to change. I’d rather have less access with a less crowded experience than more access with a more crowded experience.


As many have commented, an over-crowded lounge is worse than the concourse. So, to those giving a thumbs down, is it that you don’t care about the over-crowding and you just want the free food? What’s your solution to the over-crowding?

Paul Mulwitz

We need to remember that TSA exists solely to violate two different constitutional rights of all air travelers – the second and fourth amendments. Their sole purpose is to prevent travelers from bearing arms and to conduct unwarranted searches of those travelers.

JP Maldonado

Really? ‍♂️


Al-Qaeda is in complete agreement.


I never considered the second amendment implications of airlines. Conceptually interesting. Although I disagree with the claim about the purpose of the TSA.


You forgot the /s, hopefully.


Platinum cards don’t give free access – just $50/pop. Can’t imagine that will actually have much impact on crowding.


Vanilla platinum does grant free unlimited access for card holders and authorized users. Delta branded platinum Amex does not. The author was referring to the former.

Last edited 8 months ago by John

Can you please explain this suggestion in the article from Miles Earn and Burn:

Isolate addresses to avoid any contagion spread through


If you’ve been shutdown but your player 2/3/4 is going to start/continue to churn and MS hard, make sure they don’t have the same address as you. The bank may shutdown anyone with accounts at the same address, hence the contagion.

Last edited 8 months ago by Scott

Some people make investments in what they feel is a legitimate business opportunity without knowing that there is risk involved. Others MS Staples gift cards knowing full well that it violates credit card point earning terms.


@Tim, Is the advice similar for Amex shutdowns?


What is “a shady, fake-fitness-related Ponzi scheme” referencing?


Yes, same question here. The article referred to manufactured spending at a fitness club, but google didn’t turn up anything.


Look up the Hardbody shutdown.


It was a ms generator and alleged ponzi scheme. Buy stuff, earn points, and some time later(35 days IIRC) the money you spent will be sent back to you, not on card but ach or something. Combined with modified/”hacked” chase ink links, that bypass typical checks. The name of the business was hardbody fitness club/supplements. Here is a link to a pretty heated reddit discussion about it after it blew up:

Last edited 8 months ago by Scott
Andy Solomon

And I’m laughing all the way to the bank!


to follow up on GemGal, would like to pass along a big “THANKS!!” to the FM team. Have a great weekend


Very entertaining writing Tim!