Delta SkyMiles get more valuable after airline kills change fees on award flights

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Just a few weeks ago, several airlines made a blockbuster announcement that they were eliminating change fees on most of their flights.

The most welcome angle of this change (in the miles and points community) is the ousting of fees related to award flights. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines will let you book award flights and cancel them as many times as you want with no consequences. Delta, however, was the glaring exception — until now.

Delta eliminates change fees on award tickets

Starting September 22, 2020, Delta is waiving fees for changing award flights. If you book a flight with Delta miles and then decide the day before your flight that you want to cancel, your miles will be redeposited for free, no questions asked. There are two big restrictions, however: This policy only applies to domestic travel, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and you won’t be able to redeposit miles from basic economy award flights.

This makes the rewards you earn with the best Delta credit cards significantly more valuable. Previously, you’d have to pay hundreds of dollars to redeposit miles unless you had Delta elite status.

Note: Delta’s coronavirus-spurred policy of free changes to all domestic and international award travel still applies through December 31, 2020.

Delta extends credit card perks and more

Due to the pandemic, Delta is further extending a few aspects of its program to help you get your moneys’ worth.

Amex Delta credit card certificates

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – This card comes with a $100 Delta credit after you spend $10,000 on purchases in a calendar year. It normally expires one year after issue date, but if you earn it between January 1 and November 30, 2020, the expiration will be pushed to December 31, 2021
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card – If you’ve got Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes issued between January 1 and November 30, 2020, they will now expire on December 31, 2021
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card – These cards come with companion certificates valid one year after issue date. If you’ve got any unused certificates as of September 1, 2020, or if you have companion certificates issued between September 1 and November 30, 2020, your certificates will now expire on December 31, 2021

Delta SkyClub membership

  • Memberships expiring after June 30, 2021, will not be affected
  • If you had an active SkyClub membership on March 1, 2020, you won’t need to renew until Jun 30, 2021
  • If you have Diamond Medallion Delta status, you can use your 2021 Choice Benefit for a SkyClub membership or guest pass beginning February 1, 2021

Delta SkyMiles Select

Delta SkyMiles Select members will get a one-year extension of benefits, such as Priority Boarding and unused drink vouchers. Delta says that this extension will reflect in your account by September 30, 2020.

Bottom line

It’s great to see Delta get rid of change fees on award flights, although it would’ve been better if they included the lowest cost, basic economy fares. Hopefully, the pandemic continues to force airlines to innovate and create more customer-friendly policies.

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Featured photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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