Delta Air Lines customers will no longer earn miles or credit toward elite status on purchases of Basic Economy tickets.
The change, which Delta quietly announced on its SkyMiles Program news page Thursday, applies to purchases of flights departing on or after Jan. 1.
A Delta spokesperson said the carrier is making the move because Basic Economy predominantly appeals to price-conscious travelers who are not SkyMiles members.
Previously, SkyMiles members have earned the same number of reward points for every $1 spent on Basic Economy tickets as they have earned for purchases of other Delta products. The carrier awards between 5 and 11 SkyMiles per dollar spent, depending upon an individual's loyalty status.
SkyMiles members obtain loyalty status by reaching required annual spending thresholds coupled with flying a required number of flight segments or a required number of miles. Under the new policy, expenditures on Basic Economy fares no longer count toward those thresholds.
More changes related to Delta's Basic Economy
Delta also announced Thursday that beginning Jan. 1 it will allow ticket holders to cancel Basic Economy itineraries and retain a credit for future flights, but with a fee. Until now, Delta's normal policy has been to not allow any changes or cancellations on Basic Economy tickets. However, in July the carrier invoked a temporary measure through the end of this year allowing Basic Economy itinerary changes without a fee. The airline invoked that measure as the delta variant caused an alarming jump in U.S. Covid-19 cases.
Under Delta's new long-term policy, cancellation fees for most long-haul international travel will be $199. The fee for most domestic and short-haul international flights will be $99.