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Delta’s now allowing non-elites to stand by for an earlier flight for free

Aug. 04, 2021
3 min read
Delta’s now allowing non-elites to stand by for an earlier flight for free
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What a lovely mid-week surprise! Effective immediately, Delta flyers can stand by for an earlier flight — completely free of charge.

Delta Air Lines already discontinued most change fees, but a difference in fare may apply. If you're looking to move flights within a few days of departure, your new pick could be significantly more expensive, potentially costing you hundreds of dollars in additional airfare.

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As of today, flyers have a new free option at their disposal. Previously, general members and Silver Medallion elites had to pay $75 to stand by for an earlier flight — now, Delta's no longer charging fee.

Related: Delta permanently drops nearly every change fee and more

As the airline explains, "the new flight must depart the same day, and standby requests or a confirmed change must be made within 24 hours of departure. Customers can make their same-day travel change directly within the Fly Delta app or delta.com."

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Note that the free standby feature will not appear if the new flight you're selecting has seats available in the same fare class you originally booked. If that's the case, you'll only be able to select a confirmed seat on the new flight.

For most travelers, a confirmed change carries a $75 fee, though it's waived for Diamond, Platinum and Gold elites.

With limited premium-cabin availability, you may find it easier to stand by for economy than business or first class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

While Delta is often the first U.S. legacy carrier to implement policy changes (with American Airlines and United following), that isn't the case this time around. Both American and United already offer free standby — American began on Oct. 1, 2020, and United flyers have been standing by for free since the beginning of this year.

American and United have the upper hand when it comes to flexibility, too — both airlines allow basic economy flyers to stand by for an earlier flight, but that isn't the case with this new Delta policy. Note that Delta basic economy flyers do have the option to change their flights through the end of 2021, though a difference in fare may apply.

Some carriers have route restrictions as well. American and Delta only offer standby on flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for example. Some otherwise eligible routes only have one flight each day, so there may not be an earlier option available domestically, as well.

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

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

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  • 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.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023