Delta Air Lines today quietly tried to sneak in an adverse change on its SkyMiles frequent flier program that is effective for tickets issued on or after December 9, 2021, for travel from January 1, 2022.
Basic Economy tickets are no longer eligible to earn SkyMiles or elite qualifying miles and segments.
You can access Delta here.
Here’s the announcement from Delta:
Upcoming Changes to Basic Economy Tickets
Basic Economy tickets purchased on or after December 9, 2021 for flights departing on or after January 1, 2022, will no longer be eligible to earn miles in the SkyMiles Program or earn towards Medallion Status (meaning not eligible for MQM, MQS or MQD earn).
Additionally, Delta is introducing a new policy to offer more flexibility for customers with a Basic Economy ticket. Customers who redeem their miles for a Basic Economy ticket departing on or after January 1, 2022 can now cancel their ticket and receive a portion of their miles back, following a cancellation charge that is deducted from their ticket value. Visit our Travel Planning Center to learn more.
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.
All SkyMiles Program rules apply. Visit Membership Guide & Program Rules for more information.
Here’s the T&Cs:
For Delta-marketed (flight numbers that include the “DL” airline code) or Delta-ticketed (featuring a ticket number beginning with “006”) flights, SkyMiles Members will earn miles based on ticket price, at the rate of 5 miles per U.S. Dollar (USD) spent on qualifying fares, including base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, but excluding government-imposed taxes and fees. Basic Economy tickets purchased on or after December 9, 2021 for flights departing on or after January 1, 2022, are not eligible to earn miles in the SkyMiles Program or earn credit towards Medallion Status (meaning not eligible for MQM, MQS or MQD earn).
It is unclear how Delta will handle Basic Economy tickets that are ticketed on partners (non-016 ticket stock) and marketed by them. However, the current T&Cs and partner award chart would indicate that there would be no change.
This is an unfortunate but not unexpected change. Why didn’t Delta roll out this “enhancement” when this fare family was launched? Let’s see if American and United follow and make similar fares, neither mileage earning nor elite qualifying.