Delta Air Lines makes big changes to Basic Economy fares, impacting SkyMiles


Look closely at those terms and conditions on Delta’s website, and travelers will find some big changes coming to the airline’s cheapest fare class.

As of Thursday, new Basic Economy tickets booked for Jan. 1, 2022, and beyond will no longer earn miles toward Delta’s SkyMiles frequent-flyer program nor contribute toward elite Medallion status.

Customers who want to earn miles for reward trips or qualify for the perks that come with Medallion status, like seat upgrades and access to airport lounges, will have to book Main Cabin tickets or higher.

Delta is also tightening up its change policy, which had been relaxed throughout the pandemic.

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special temporary waiver had allowed customers to change or cancel Basic Economy flights without paying fees from travel through Dec. 31, 2021. That waiver has been extended to Jan. 31, 2022, for Basic Economy travel originating in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. 

For everyone else, starting in the new year, no changes will be allowed on Basic Economy flights. Customers can, however, cancel their tickets for partial credit, which is new.

“Basic Economy fares were designed for those who prioritize price, and we know that even our most price-conscious customers value flexibility,” Delta said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Those who need to cancel their Basic Economy trip will be able to conveniently adjust their plans through delta.com or the Fly Delta app and may apply a portion of the cancelled ticket value to their future travel.”

Cancellation fees will be deducted from the value of the original ticket. For travel within the U.S. and Canada or from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean, the fee is $99. That fee shoots up to $199 for all other international travel originating in the U.S. and Canada. 

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In most cases, an eCredit will be issued for a future trip after a cancellation, but there are a few exceptions.

If the cancellation fee is higher than the original ticket price, customers won’t get anything back.

Delta’s website says, “It’s recommended to purchase a Main Cabin ticket or higher for customers who value greater flexibility, advanced seat selection, overhead bin space, no change fees, and the continued ability to earn miles in the SkyMiles Program and earn towards Medallion Status.”



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