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How To Upgrade From Basic Economy Delta

By David Krug 5 minute read

In order to obtain the best deal on Delta flights, you’ll need to know how to get beyond the severe restrictions of Basic Economy. On Delta Airlines, Basic Economy is a smart bet when you’re seeking a cheap trip.

This class of flight is the cheapest, but you’ll have to accept a lot of limitations that will impair your trip experience in order to get these seats.

Fortunately, there are ways around some of the constraints that come with these low-cost tickets while flying Delta Basic Economy. Getting a Delta credit card with rewards is as simple and straightforward as knowing how to join the airline’s loyalty program.

With the aid of this tutorial, you’ll learn more about what a Basic Economy ticket and can Delta Basic Economy get an upgrade below.

What is Delta’s “Basic Economy”?

There are a number of different types of seats available on most airlines. It is possible to have several fare classes even within the main cabin of a plane.

Basic Economy is the least expensive fare class offered by Delta. As long as you have a seat in the main cabin, you’ll be fine on Basic Economy flights.

Even if your flight doesn’t have in-flight entertainment, you’ll still be able to enjoy a complimentary snack and a nonalcoholic beverage.

A complimentary carry-on bag is included, however, it may be gate-checked if space is at an allotment low enough. However, you are not entitled to the following:

  • Checked baggage costs range from $30 to $70 depending on the weight and final destination of your suitcase, but you won’t be charged if you just have one bag.
  • Pre-assigned seating. Once you’ve checked in, a seat will be allocated to you, and you won’t be able to choose where you sit unless you pay an additional fee in advance.
  • You have the option of making a change to your ticket. After you’ve purchased your ticket, you can’t modify it or make any other modifications. A refund is also denied if you need to cancel after a 24-hour risk-free cancellation period.
  • Preferential Passenger Seating. If you purchased a Basic Economy ticket, you cannot pay for Priority Boarding to get on your aircraft early.

However, Delta points may still be accrued when flying in Basic Economy, so at least your low-cost ticket can help you earn future free flights or other upgrades.

Tips on How to Make the Delta Basic Economy Seats More Bearable

Because Basic Economy fares are the lowest priced seats on Delta Air Lines, there are many Basic Economy restrictions, but some of them may be circumvented with foresight.

Explore these possibilities for paid or complimentary upgrades and see which one is best suited for you below.

Earn Your Delta Medallion or SkyTeam Elite Status.

Members of the Delta Medallion Elite and SkyTeam Elite programs are entitled to additional benefits that enhance their flight experiences, even in Basic Economy. These are some examples:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Waived checked baggage fees, allowing for a free checked bag or reduced fees for multiple bags

Even if you have Delta Medallion status, or are a SkyTeam member, you can’t make modifications to a Basic Economy ticket, and you can’t get paid or free upgrades to Preferred Seats. Medallion status may be achieved by joining the Delta SkyMiles program and meeting certain conditions.

If you’re eligible, you may even be able to match your status from another airline.

The number of Delta SkyMiles required to achieve Medallion status and the associated benefits vary according to your current Medallion level. For instance:

  • Earning 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (or 30 Medallion Qualifying Segments) gets you Silver status. Unless you’re eligible for a waiver, you’ll also need $3,000 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars.
  • 50,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles or 60 Medallion Qualifying Segments are required to get Gold status. If you don’t qualify for a waiver, you’ll need $6,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars.
  • If you have 75,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles, or 100 Medallion Qualifying Segments, you are eligible for Platinum status. Unless you’re eligible for a waiver, you’ll also need $9,000 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars.
  • With 125,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles or 140 Medallion Qualifying Segments, Diamond status can be achieved. If you don’t qualify for a waiver, you’ll also need $15,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars.

A Basic Economy ticket does not provide you priority access to security lanes, which is available to passengers with Gold and Platinum status only; this is not the case for those with Silver status.

SkyTeam members can also achieve Medallion Status with Delta if they hold special status with other SkyTeam airlines.

Get a Delta Credit Card

Some of the greatest airline credit cards for regular Delta fliers may be found on Delta-branded cards. Additionally, you may be able to avoid some of the disadvantages of the Basic Economy by making use of the benefits that come with your card.

There are several benefits to flying in Basic Economy, albeit you can’t pre-select your seats without paying an additional cost. However, if you don’t frequently fly basic economy with Delta, these credit cards may not be ideal for you.

Get a Credit Card From a Credit Card Issuer with Delta Benefits

There are numerous credit cards that can provide numerous benefits. Some of the available credit cards include:

  • Reserve American Express card, with 3x miles on Delta purchases
  • Gold American Express card, 3x miles on flights
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express card, which gives 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases

American Express is a financial institution that has many different rewards programs. Some American Express benefits for Basic Economy passengers on Delta flights, such as a complimentary upgrade or one free checked bag for your flight.

Bottom Line

While the Delta Basic Economy ticket is great for your wallet, it isn’t as great for your comfort while flying. Because the Basic Economy fare is much lower than seats in a higher cabin class, many cost-saving measures have been taken by Delta, but you can help mitigate the discomfort through the use of different rewards programs.

You can upgrade your Basic Economy tickets with Delta SkyMiles, or a rewards program from a credit card issuer, such as the Delta Credit Card.

David Krug