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

April 12, 2017
3 min read
Do I Still Get My Credit Card Perks on Basic Economy Fares?
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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...

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[pullquote source="TPG Reader Lillian"]If I purchase an American Basic Economy fare, do my Citi AAdvantage credit card perks still come into play?[/pullquote]

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.

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.

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.

Featured image by JT Genter

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
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  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees