Do I Still Get My Credit Card Perks on Basic Economy Fares?

Apr 12, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

With American and United now joining Delta in marketing stripped-down Basic Economy fares in an effort to compete with the low-cost carriers, TPG reader Lillian is wondering how this affects her co-branded credit card benefits…

If I purchase an American Basic Economy fare, do my Citi AAdvantage credit card perks still come into play?

TPG Reader Lillian

Customers who want to pay the cheapest prices on routes where these new fares are being offered can expect to get a lot less than they’re used to, including minimal advance seat assignments, restrictions on carry-ons and ineligibility for elite upgrades, amongst other limitations.

But this is where the power of your co-branded airline credit card comes into play. Because if we dive into the restrictions on American’s Basic Economy fares, we find that credit card holders are exempt from some of the restrictions.

IMG-aa-basic-economy-cc-waivers

So even if you buy a Basic Economy fare on AA, you’ll still get the promised 1+1 carry-on, a free checked bag and Group 5 boarding as long as you have a credit card like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

If you’re wondering if the other two legacy carriers offer the same, the answer is yes.

IMG-united-basic-economy-cc-waivers

United gives the primary cardmember of its United MileagePlus Explorer Card a standard carry-on allowance and credit card priority boarding privileges, plus you’ll still get a free checked bag as well.

IMG-delta-basic-economy-cc-waivers2

And in guidance to its travel agents, Delta notes that its Basic Economy fare has exceptions on checked baggage and priority boarding for folks holding the Reserve, Platinum or Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. One note on Delta, though: You cannot use your companion certificate on a Basic Economy fare.

So Lillian, go ahead and buy a Basic Economy ticket — you’ll still get all the benefits your co-branded card promised you. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook  or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.