This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s a good news, bad news situation. Delta has quietly expanded what was already a quiet launch of Basic Economy award tickets to encompass even more cities, including its hubs in Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis–St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (SLC) and Seattle (SEA).

That’s the bad news: There appears to be no stopping the subtle creep of BE fares, even on the award side. The good news is that it does appear some fares are lower than we’ve ever seen, such as the ability to fly from Detroit (DTW) to Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) on Delta’s brand new A220 for 9,500 SkyMiles each way.

You can now book a Basic Economy SkyMiles award ticket aboard Delta’s newest jet, but we wouldn’t recommend it

Delta initially rolled out BE award fares to a pair of test markets — Pittsburgh (PIT) and Charleston (CHS) — and clearly the trial was successful. With its major hubs now selling Basic Economy award seats, it’s only a matter of time before every airport, both domestic and international, is included. As alluring as it may be to spend a few less miles for a seat, we’d urge extreme caution.

BE award fares have come to the Delta mothership in Atlanta
BE award fares have come to the Delta mothership in Atlanta

Delta’s Basic Economy fares aren’t the most restrictive in the industry, but they’re still a huge pain. You won’t get a free checked bag, you can’t select your seat ahead of time, you’ll board last and you’ll get zilch in return should you need to cancel your flight.

To Delta
To Delta’s credit, 5,000 SkyMiles from SEA to SFO is a bargain

Mercifully, you can bring a carry-on aboard and you still earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).

No seat selection en route to Hawaii? No thanks.
No seat selection en route to Hawaii? No thanks.

In what can only be viewed as a move completely devoid of aloha, Basic Economy award seats are now being sold to Hawaii.

Those BE rates are about what Delta used to charge for Main Cabin
Those BE rates are about what Delta used to charge for Main Cabin

Basic economy tickets, classified as E fares, have historically been non-changeable and non-cancelable after 24 hours. No refund, no partial value toward future travel. Nothing. Per verbiage on the airline’s website and as indicated during the booking process, Platinum and Diamond Medallions will not be excepted from this policy. To get the fee-free cancellation perk they’re used to, they will need to pony up for pricier Main Cabin (or above) seats.

delta-back-rear-economy-main-cabin-seat-seating-airplane-cabin
If you snag a Basic Economy fare, be prepared to sit in the rear of the aircraft (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

To combat the drawbacks of Basic Economy, we recommend holding a credit card that offers free checked luggage, priority boarding and even Delta SkyClub lounge access.

If you’re looking for a card that provides these benefits, consider getting one of the following cards:

RELATED VIDEO:

H/T: Thrifty Traveler

Featured image of Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport by the author.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta Business Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta Business Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business card, click here.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
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.