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 Delta.com.
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.