Delta Air Lines dealt a big blow to its Basic Economy product. And that’s saying something.
A reader tipped us off to this language on the SkyMiles webpage found at Delta.com:
Effective for tickets purchased on or after December 9, 2021 for flights departing on or after January 1, 2022, Basic Economy tickets are not eligible to earn miles in the SkyMiles Program or earn credit towards Medallion Status.
Put simply: Basic Economy tickets won’t earn any redeemable SkyMiles, or MQM, MQS, or MQD. (Here’s hoping that any Basic Economy tickets you bought for 2022 were purchased before today.)
One of my first reactions is that it seems a couple of groups make up the majority of passengers buying Basic Economy tickets:
- People who simply don’t care about earning miles or status. They just buy the cheapest tickets they can find and fly the airline offering the best deal and options suited toward their preferences and budget. They’re willing to sit anywhere on the plane. Even a middle seat away from any travel companions. (Though I don’t know how much money Delta saves by not awarding these passengers SkyMiles or Medallion benefits.)
- SkyMiles members who do care about earning miles or status. But they, their employers, or someone purchasing their tickets don’t want to pay Main Cabin prices. They’re willing to (or must) play the seat assignment lottery.
From a customer’s standpoint, it certainly seems like a cheap move on Delta’s part.
Personally, I never bought a Basic Economy ticket. I know people who do and want to earn miles toward award trips. But Delta isn’t the only airline flying to their favorite destinations. I see some travelers jumping ship (and ditching their Delta Amexes) and heading to other airlines.
What do you make of this?
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
A year or a year and a half ago, when planes were mostly empty and there was no real inflight service, buying basic economy on Delta was a bargain since at the time the seats were also blocked. This was especially true for aircraft with a 2×2 configuration.
Like Chris, I have never bought an Economy seat at Delta. I’m guessing Delta did some homework and found out that none of their Sky Miles members (especially Medallions) are buying them either. For flights 3 hours or less, I almost always buy a Main and then take the upgrade to Comfort+. For longer flights, I usually buy Comfort+ and hope for an upgrade to first (happens about 25% of the time).
I too will be interested to know what other medallions think about this? I bet we’ll hear they don’t buy Economy either?
As a Platinum Medallion, I’ve only done BE once or twice in specific situations because seats and upgrading (even to Comfort Plus) are important to me. So this frankly doesn’t affect me much. However, it’s just gross how Delta continues to make the Basic experience punitive. I get the “want more – pay more” philosophy these days, however, it has always felt like people are sitting around Delta conference rooms thinking up ways to make Basic as unbearable as possible. And that’s the point, they don’t want anyone to actually purchase those fares.
I agree that is just kinda a cheap underhanded move on deltas part. As for want more pay more we don’t get that either even Delta one we get short charged on pre flight drinks nowadays and little to no service. The food presentations look like a kindergarten class put it together and then it was ran thru a shrink wrap machine it’s pitiful All it would take for any of the big 3 would be to reinstate full service to the premium seats and they would be substantially better. Please Jet Blue come to my city.
I am a Platinum and would often buy the BE seat for my almost weekly one-hour flight r/t. But I would always cross-shop it against Southwest, which flies the same route. I figured the SW product was comparable to the BE product and, in cases where the schedule and pricing was roughly equal, would always break the tie in favor Delta precisely because I could earn 500 MQMs per segment. No longer. SW will win the tie every day if that’s not there.
I’m curious how much business Southwest with earn from this (where applicable). They must be laughing their hearts out in DAL today.
If I were a BE customer, my Delta Reserve AmEx would have been smelted the moment I learned of this change. Reductions in mileage earned, I could understand. Revoking all earning? No way!
Sometimes, Ed forgets who signs his paycheck.
I ALWAYS buy BE from home to a hub because Delta(or their regional sub) still flies CRJ2’s and all the seats suck. Why buy main cabin on a CRJ2?
This new policy reeks of ULCC and is a bad move by Delta.
Together we are descending one flight at a time.
Once again DL demonstrates that its customers, even at the least expensive level mean little to them. I have been a Diamond SkyMiles flyer for 20+ years and am now looking to buy my tickets on the market. Since I fly mostly first class or premium economy, I am not affected by this latest move. However, other moves DL has made recently and the overall feeling I get, I buy my tickets based on price. I find a first class seat domestically on any airline are pretty comparable, and if United can ferry me for a few hundred $’s less, so be it. I am letting my Diamond SkyMiles status go.
Internationally, I can usually beat Sky Team prices in business class on several other reputable airlines. My two trips to the EU in Feb/Mar are not on SkyTeam airlines, but on United and SAS.
How do you buy your international tickets?
I’d love to be freed from Delta’s endless schemes and
How much has Delta saved on food, soft drinks and alcohol during Covid.
“ We’re Delta— you’re lucky we let you fly”
I’ve believed for many years that, to the airlines, people aren’t passengers. We’re just freight that breathes.
I’m a believer that loyalty to an airlines doesn’t mean much these days. I flew AA for years and am a million miler. I switched to delta 6 years ago and have not flown much since the pandemic. I’m a platinum member but don’t get upgraded often. Not sure paying for my Amex delta card at 450.00 is worth it any more! Come on Delta every passenger should get mileage for purchasing a seat on any of your flights. Your basic seats are uncomfortable and offer little leg room. Why punish people even more?
I’m a gold status and i do fly BE a lot.im small and don’t care where i sit. I don’t get it though this is not good customer service
I live in Mexico, about 45 minutes south of Cancun. I fly Delta from Cancun to Atlanta RT at least 5-7 times a year, and I typically book BE if available because the flight is so short.
As you can imagine, Aeroméxico markets all these “Delta metal” flights between Cancun and Atlanta as a code share, and I can therefore book these Delta flights off the Aeroméxico website (obviously with the AM flight number).
I can get the Delta BE fare by booking on Aeroméxico, and in Aeroméxico parlance it is simply called “economy”. What do you think happens if I do this and insert my Skymiles number in my Aeroméxico reservation?
You think I could end up getting Delta MQM and base miles by booking through Aeroméxico, even though its Delta metal and I paid the same fare amount as Delta BE?
Is there something in place to prevent that?
I don’t care about Delta MQD because I am already exempt as a resident of Mexico.
Thanks in advance.
Hi, John. As long as the AeroMexico fare class is B, M, K, H, Q, L, T, U, E, N, R, or V, and you credit it to your SkyMiles account, you should earn 100% MQM. Check out this page on Delta.com.
I guess the only thing I might miss out on is access to the Sky Club in Atlanta with my AMEX Platinum, because I don’t have a Delta boarding pass? Or do I check in at the Delta desk in Atlanta and get a Delta boarding pass which would allow me to use the Delta Sky Club, even though I have booked through Aeroméxico? Not sure how that works. Worse case is I could still go the the Priority Pass lounge in Atlanta.
If you’re a Gold Medallion or higher, you’re considered SkyTeam Elite. This means you and a guest can get into any SkyTeam lounge whenever you’re on an international itinerary.
Using Southwest on BE flights in the future. Previously with my Amex Delta (now cancelled) I would have gone to Delta. It will be interesting to see if all of dropping Delta on “ties” with competitors will impact them. They may have to reverse this policy if it impacts them financially.
I ditched Delta because we had the Delta Amex cards and earned companion flights. We ditched the cards because the fee kept increasing; $95 to $195, then $250. Both my spouse and I had cards and cancelled them. Between us, we had 3 companion flights remaining to use. When I finally got around to trying to use one, I found out that I must pay for the paid flight with the Delta Amex card. No other card is accepted. Thus, the fees we paid were wasted money. I doubt I’ll fly Delta again unless it’s to use up our frequent flyer miles. BTW – I have 700,000 miles toward million-miler status. I now fly Allegiant…frequently… and don’t care about frequent flyer miles.
Thank you again for reading the fine print. As a former 360, perennial Diamond and 2M+ miler I thought I have seen it all. Getting to the point where I no longer care as Diamond doesn’t mean much, first class is barely above coach (lucky to get 2 waters) and even Delta 1 overseas pretty much sucks. I look for reasons to do video conferences now because the travel experience sucks so bad. Take my miles away too and the camels back is now broken. Thanks Delta.
Delta continues to disregard the value of their passengers, whether they are frequent fliers or not and this is just another example. Thankfully there are other airlines that I can fly and avoid Delta at all costs. Really disgruntled now!!
Wow Delta! A few measly points when award tickets require 20,30, 60,000 miles? That’s the final straw. It is strictly low price now. And Delta will lose by far most of the time.
Why would I fly Delta (or any other airline, for that matter) when Southwest takes me anywhere I need to go, gets me there safely, without any stupid hidden fees, and gives me miles regardless of what level of seating priority I purchase?
I only fly Delta, unless they don’t service my final destination. Platinum class , clay class, aluminum class, doesn’t matter as I only make one or maybe two flights per year. The longest is usually three hours and I never fly less then comfort class. I don’t even know what basic economy class is or offers or doesn’t offer. My last three Delta flights were all in first class. Off peak seasons & days saves me money.
Looks Like Delta is not for the middle class or lower class preferred customers. They want to cater tot he rich and elite that is just not fair practice in part of Delta. It seems they want to unload their balance sheet of the mileage liabilities. This move will and is going to hurt Delta that it will regret that it took this step by that time it will be too late to gai the customers back.