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Delta Removing Medallion Upgrades on Basic Economy Fares

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Over the past year, Delta has really chiseled away their SkyMiles program by implementing tons of negative changes for frequent flyers. They’ve announced Mileage Accrual Based on SpendingAdditional Revenue Requirements for Medallion StatusReduced SkyClub Guests and Increased FeesTightened Their Same Day Confirm PolicyBlocked Access to ExpertFlyer, and Limited Partner Transfers to SkyMiles. Well, they’re at it again, and this latest change comes to their Basic Economy fares.

Medallions will be spending more time in coach now.
Medallions will be spending more time in coach now.

In order to remain competitive, Delta offers Basic Economy fares on select routes where they compete with some of the low-cost carriers. These Basic Economy fares are Delta’s value-fare product for price-driven customers, offering limited flexibility and product attributes in select markets.

Delta launched Basic Economy back in March of 2012, but starting February 1, 2015, many new changes will be implemented. Here’s a rundown of new restrictions on Delta’s Basic Economy fares (E fares):

  • Non-refundable/changeable fares
  • No advance seat selection (prior to the check-in window)
  • No Same Day Confirm or Same Day Standby
  • No Complimentary Medallion Upgrades
  • No Preferred Seating or Economy Comfort
  • No paid upgrades allowed
Delta Medallions will no longer get upgrades on Basic Economy fares.
Delta Medallions will no longer get upgrades on Basic Economy fares.

We reached out to Delta who confirmed the following, Basic Economy fares are not eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades, paid, complimentary or discounted Economy Comfort, paid or complimentary Preferred Seats, and are not eligible to make same-day confirmed or same-day standby travel changes, regardless of Medallion or other elite status, for flights flown on or after February 1, 2015. However, you will still earn SkyMiles, Medallion Qualification Miles and Medallion Qualification Dollars on these fares (at least for now).

Stripping Medallions of complimentary upgrades on Basic Economy fares is a huge negative in my opinion. Currently, these fares (E fares) are only offered on a handful of routes, but Delta could very well expand them to more routes, so taking away one of the most valuable benefits from Medallions is a big loss.

What are your thoughts on this latest blow to the Delta SkyMiles program?

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