Bad news for budget travelers, especially those who fly Delta Air Lines because they just made a major change and I hope other carriers don’t follow suit.

According to The Points Guy, “Overnight, the Atlanta-based carrier discreetly added a note to its website that basic economy fares will no longer earn award miles in the SkyMiles program or earn credit towards Medallion elite status. The change is effective for tickets purchased on or after Dec. 9, 2021 for flights departing on or after Jan. 1, 2022. On top of that, Delta is ending its flexible travel waiver for basic economy but introducing a new cancelation option.” Here’s the direct quote from

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Whenever an airline makes changes to their mileage program, seldom is it a good thing and today’s move by Delta proves it. Back in March 2012, Delta introduced Basic Economy fares to try and take the growing business away from budget carriers like Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit. American and United soon followed suit by offering bare bone fares that had all kinds of restrictions like no pre-assigned seats, checked bags and charging to use space in the overhead bin. Here’s more on what Basic Economy is.

Delta had one of the most lenient basic economy policies as passengers could use the overhead bin and earn miles. Unfortunately, that’s all changing and if you go to Delta’s website, you will see how their marketing people are trying to spin it as a good thing. It says:

“With Basic Economy, you’ll experience:
-No seat(s) assigned until after check-in, not together
-No changes allowed*
-Cancelable for partial eCredit (cancellation charge applies)**
-Last to board & not eligible for upgrades
-No miles earned; no credit toward SkyMiles Medallion Status***

“You’ll experience” is creative language, eh?

If there’s a possible bright side to today’s changes, it’s that Delta’s Basic Economy tickets will now be cancelable, albeit at a high cost and possibly more than the ticket itself so it might not be worth it. For domestic tickets, the cost to cancel is $99 and for international destinations, it’s $199.

Let’s just hope American and United don’t follow suit.

6 Comments On "Uh-Oh: Delta Just Made Two Major Changes to Basic Economy Tickets"
  1. W.Wes|

    My response to your articles about what Delta is doing is, “Fine, make it even more uncomfortable to fly and we’ll just stay home”
    We used to fly at least 10 – 20 times a year. In 2021 we flew RT once. We are kind of over it. I think that’s not good for humanity in general because travel brings us together. I am sure there are thousands, if not millions, who are on the same page and will just find other things to do rather than fly.

  2. Peter Fisher|

    I could see other airlines doing something similar. But if the other carriers had some vision, they’d make it a point in their advertising that they AREN’T like Delta and possibly sweeten deals for flights they have in common with Delta to draw in a higher portion of the traveling public.
    “Oh Delta’s price is $20 dollars less than ours?? Well with US you’ll experience: Picking your seat, free changes up to 6 hrs before departure (small fee closer to departure), Free cancellation, Eligible for upgrades, and DOUBLE *airline* points for routes that Delta also does.”
    The other carrier would be flying at a capacity where they’d need bigger jets

  3. Terry Bavousett|

    It’s frustrating that so many airlines seem to calculate the best way to take the joy out of air travel. What’s next? First and Business class gets fresh air and Economy travelers will get recycled air?

  4. Chandler|

    We have always flown Delta for years when possible. Sky Miles credit card the whole enchilada.

    We currently have a RT from Palm Springs to Asheville, NC. After that flight we are done with Delta.

  5. LK|

    Southwest FTW!

  6. Lynn|

    I hope they lose a ton of business travel!!

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