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Update: Delta has subsequently eliminated change fees on all flights (except Basic Economy) originating in North America and extended its no-fee booking window.
Delta just announced several major program updates for Delta loyalists. And, that good news is it's all positive. The airline is extending Sky Club memberships, Medallion status perks, and co-branded credit card benefits. In addition, Delta is permanently slashing fees and restrictions on many domestic award tickets. But, unfortunately, not all award types are included.
These extensions are in addition to the collection of extensions Delta announced in April. Let's dive into the details.
Extended Delta Co-Branded Credit Card Benefits
With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, Delta decided co-branded credit cardmembers deserve more time to enjoy their card's benefits. Over the next few weeks, Delta will roll out the following extensions:
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card — Any earned $100 Delta flight credits will have expiration dates extended through December 31, 2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — All unused companion certificates will have expiration dates extended to December 31, 2021.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — Any unused companion certificates and Delta Sky Club guest passes will have expiration dates extended to December 31, 2021
These extensions apply to cardmember benefits issued between January 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020.
Additional Extended Benefits
Beyond co-branded credit card benefits, Delta has also announced several further extensions:
- Delta Sky Club Memberships — All memberships active as of March 1, 2020 will be further extended. All applicable memberships will now be valid through June 30, 2021.
- 2020 Medallion Choice Benefits — Diamond and Platinum Medallion members who selected Sky Club memberships, Sky Club guest passes, Delta Travel Vouchers, gifted Medallion status, or upgrade certificates as Choice Benefits will get to choose new Choice Benefits on February 1, 2021, or as they re-earn Medallion status.
- SkyMiles Select Members — All priority boarding benefits and unused drink certificates will be further extended another six months.
Added Flexibility for Domestic Award Bookings
The biggest news in Delta's announcement is a couple of permanent changes to domestic award bookings:
- Delta is eliminating change and redeposit fees for domestic awards. Before this change, it would cost $150 to change or cancel and redeposit miles on a domestic SkyMiles award ticket.
- Delta is eliminating its 72-hour deadline for changes and cancellations to domestic award tickets. Before this change, SkyMiles award tickets became non-changeable and non-cancellable at 72 hours to departure.
However, there's a major exception to both of these. These new policies won't apply to basic economy awards. That means SkyMiles members will still need to pay $150 for changes/cancellations to basic economy and international award tickets. Also, international awards will still be subject to the 72-hour rule.
Delta is further extending many of its most popular co-branded credit card benefits and Medallion perks. Given the circumstances of travel in 2020, I feel that these extensions were necessary. At the same time, it's nice to see Delta make these customer-friendly moves.
Additionally, it's positive for SkyMiles collectors that Delta is removing fees and restrictions on domestic award bookings. However, leaving out basic economy awards is a big exclusion.
Also, Delta isn't quite catching up to the competition. Starting January 1, 2021, American Airlines will allow free changes to all awards 60 days to departure. Meanwhile, United is now allowing free changes to all awards more than 30 days to departure. And of course, Southwest allows free changes and cancellations to all awards. So, Delta will stand alone in not allowing free changes and cancellations to awards on international and basic economy awards.
How do you feel about Delta's program updates?
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