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[Expired] Delta Devalues Basic Economy [No More Mileage Earning]

Jarrod West's image
Jarrod West
Jarrod West's image

Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

440 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

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Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...

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Delta’s Basic Economy tickets are already pretty… basic. And they’ve just gotten even worse.

Even though you can’t assign your seat before check-in, you can’t make changes to the ticket, you’re the last to board, and you’re not eligible for upgrades, you could — at least until recently— earn redeemable and elite-qualifying miles on those tickets.

Well, not anymore — let’s take a look at the details of the latest devaluation to Delta’s Basic Economy tickets.

Delta Removes Mileage Earning From Basic Economy Tickets

Effective for tickets purchased on December 9, 2021, onward, for flights departing on or after January 1, 2022, Basic Economy tickets will no longer earn redeemable Delta SkyMiles, nor will they earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs), or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) towards status qualification.

This is a massive blow to the overall value of Basic Economy tickets. While it is true that those who regularly book Basic Economy tickets are unlikely to be working towards Delta status anyway, removing the ability to earn redeemable miles makes it virtually impossible for casual Delta flyers to engage in the SkyMiles loyalty program in any meaningful way without paying extra for a Main Cabin ticket.

Hot Tip: Thinking about going for elite status with Delta? Check out our complete guide on how to earn Delta elite status — and if it’s even worth it.

Basic Economy Tickets Can Now Be Canceled: A Silver Lining?

Delta passenger scanning boarding pass at gate
Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Previously, it was not possible to make any changes to your Basic Economy ticket with Delta after the 24-hour booking window had passed.

However, Delta has announced that beginning in 2022, Basic Economy fares within the U.S., in addition to flights from the U.S. to Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, can be canceled for a fee of $99, while flights from the U.S. to all other destinations can be canceled for a fee of $199.

This fee will be deducted from the purchase price of your ticket, and you’ll receive a voucher for any remaining funds for use on a future Delta flight. While you’ll now be able to recover some of the funds of a Basic Economy ticket should you need to cancel, it’s unlikely there will be much residual value left, as Basic Economy tickets tend to be relatively inexpensive in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this is a big-time devaluation from Delta, and it comes just 1 month after the airline devalued Global Upgrade Certificates for its most loyal Diamond Medallion members.

The bedrock of any airline loyalty program is the ability to earn redeemable miles on your flights, so the fact that Delta will no longer offer this on its cheapest tickets is strange, to say the least. Fortunately, Delta is the only U.S. airline to impose such a policy for now — let’s just hope we don’t see this become the new normal.

Jarrod West's image

About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.


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