Airport lounge memberships are a luxury that most can afford but very few can actually justify. If you don't fly at least semi-regularly, it just doesn't make financial sense to spend almost $500 for an annual lounge pass. A $50 day pass, maybe. But even that's a stretch.

Don't expect lounge access to get any more affordable, either. If anything, prices are likely to rise, as airlines continue to widen the gap between the travel haves and the have-nots.

For its part, Delta this week posted lounge pricing for next year, and not surprisingly the new rates are bad news for budget-conscious travelers.

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Individual Sky Club memberships will increase in price from $450 to $495 per year, up a hefty 10 percent. On the other hand, for those looking to pay for their memberships with frequent-flyer miles, the price will fall, from 70,000 miles currently to 47,000 miles, a 33 percent decrease. That's more or less in keeping with the 1-cent-per-mile value that Delta has targeted as its redemption standard.

Lounge memberships remain a complimentary perk for top-tier Diamond elites, and holders of the American Express Platinum card (annual fee: $450).

Also unchanged will be the price of a single-visit lounge pass, at $59.

Reader Reality Check

Can you justify paying $495 for an annual lounge membership?

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Read the original story: Delta Raises 2017 Lounge Membership Prices by 10% by Tim Winship, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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