Delta Will Stop Awarding SkyMiles for Basic Economy Fares — What to Know
Earning miles and elite status on Delta Air Lines just got more complicated.
Delta, which was the first U.S. legacy carrier to offer basic economy fares, will no longer allow passengers to earn SkyMiles or elite status on those bargain airline tickets, the airline confirmed to Travel + Leisure recently. After Dec. 31, travelers on basic economy tickets also will lose the flexibility they've had to make itinerary changes during the pandemic.
Delta quietly announced the changes with updates to its website last week.
Tickets booked on Delta after Dec. 9 of this year for travel on or after Jan. 1, 2022 will no longer earn award miles or count toward Medallion status. That leaves United Airlines as the only major U.S. carrier that both awards frequent flier miles on basic economy tickets and counts those flights toward elite status.
While American Airlines continues to award frequent flier miles for basic economy fares, it no longer counts those fares toward elite status for its frequent flyers.
Basic economy fares historically haven't allowed for itinerary changes, but airlines loosed those rules during the pandemic. Restrictions began coming back in the spring as Covid vaccinations were on the rise and travelers were cautiously returning to the skies.
Delta is allowing passengers the flexibility to make changes to basic economy tickets through the end of the year, but that will change in 2022.
Beginning next year, Delta plans to allow passengers to cancel basic economy tickets and receive a partial credit of the amount they paid.
"Basic Economy fares were designed for those who prioritize price, and we know that even our most price-conscious customers value flexibility," a Delta spokesperson said in a statement shared with T+ L.
Changes will however be subject to fees that may seem steep in comparison to some of its basic economy ticket prices. Travelers will have between $99 and $199 deducted from the value of their basic economy ticket when making changes to domestic itineraries.
Passengers with Diamond and Platinum status on the airline also won't be exempt from change fees on basic economy tickets.