Delta’s “Unpublished Fares” Will No Longer Earn Full Mileage

Delta has announced that effective September 1, “unpublished fares” may no longer earn full miles flown, nor receive full elite qualifying miles, and shall not be subject to earning 500 miles minimum per segment.

Under this scheme, only nearly full (“M”) fare coach tickets and higher earn 100% of miles flown. “Deeply discounted” U and T fares, if those U and T fares are “unpublished,” will only earn 25% of miles flown.

Additionally, these fares may not (it doesn’t say ‘will not’) be eligible for elite qualifying bonuses or class of service (business/first class) bonuses. And these fares will not be eligible for bonus mile or elite promotions.

The biggest problem here is uncertainty. Customers now don’t just have to know the fare they’re buying to know whether or not it earns full miles. They now need to know whether that fare is published or unpublished.

While Delta gives some examples of unpublished fares (student fares, consolidator fares, cruise and tour packages, etc.) they also say that “Unpublished fares are normally purchased through a specialized agent, third party or to a group.” (Emphasis mine.)

Third party is huge. There are no guarantees on your mileage-earning unless you are certain your fare is published if you buy that ticket other than directly from Delta unless tickets are purchased from Delta Vacations, using Corporate fares, or in the Asia Pacific region as those are exceptions to the policy.

Delta would say “just buy from them” and if you want to be a valued customer rewarded for your loyalty through the Skymiles program, perhaps that’s what you have to do. If you’re making a third party booking you may not be a valued customer to Delta anymore.

This will likely come as a surprise, though, for customers booking paid business class travel in conjunction with cruises costing tens of thousands of dollars — I see several of these folks through my award consulting, they may want to use their miles if they can get the ticket they want otherwise they’ll just buy the business class ticket they’re being offered by the cruise line. They’re loyal Delta elites. I see that often.

(HT: H.M.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Originally Posted by IflyfromPHX I have used "More Rewards" in the past. Last summer the wife and I cashed in 70k points for 2 tickets to Kauai flying on Delta. We earned miles on DL and I thought it was a good deal ($400ish each fare if paying cash) This program was set up or designed to allow for "International" options, and therefore lure travelers who want to redeem miles for travel outside of the US. So today…out of curiosity. I decided to look up a domestic fare. My wife and I are looking to spend a long Weekend in NYC. On WN flying PHX/LGA (with 1 plane change) WN points fares are 27,000-30,000+ points (each)…I have a CP so no cost for the wife. The flight times are less than ideal…I would have to return 6+ hours earlier than I would like. Now…my "More Rewards" search. PHX/JFK R/T nonstop on DL. 28,980 points. Perfect flight departure and return times. And I get the miles on DL and a likely upgrade as a PM. If I wanted to more closely mirror my preferred departure/return times the WN cost jumps to 45k+ points. 1) I had no idea we could use "more rewards" to fly to Domestic locations 2) Why would an alternate airline be less or even point/cost neutral 3) I think this is great. Has anyone else experienced or taken advantage of this? Questions: – do you need to own a Southwest Credit Card? – if you redeemed points for a Delta flight today, would you still earn miles? I am referring to the change that occurred last September:…-full-mileage/ […]


  1. Hasta la vista Delta! No tolerance for airlines who shaft me on my leisure travel, especially ones that have miles that are already impossible to use.

  2. I am sure the loyal Delta Elites can ask the cruise line what is the biz class fare option on DL, esp if these unpublished fares also earn 100% MQM and 150% RDMs as in the chart.

  3. So- I’m thinking this is the change that was mentioned a few months back. Bummer.

  4. I’m a regular tansatlantic flyer with Delta, 4 flights a year. I booked online through, an IATA agent who I’ve used for years. Nowhere in the booking process is the fare class shown. The table you show above differs from that on Delta’s Website
    That shows class T & V subject to the reduced mileage credit however I got 25% on T and 100% plus 25% Silver Elite Bonus on V on a flight that was booked and flown later. Go figure! The only way to be sure of what you’re getting seems to be to buy from Delta.

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