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The largest carrier at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has made some major changes to how travelers earn frequent flier miles.

Delta Air Lines on Thursday rolled out a change to its SkyMiles program that means those who fly basic economy (Delta's cheapest fare) will no longer earn SkyMiles nor credit toward reaching Delta's medallion status. 

This goes in effect for basic economy flights booked after Thursday for travel in 2022. 

So, if travelers want to earn miles to use for "free" flights or qualify for perks that come with the medallion status, they must book main cabin tickets or higher. 

Thrifty Traveler says no major airline has exempted basic economy fares from earning miles, though they have exempted the fares from building toward elite status. 

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The publication notes that as people return to traveling "it's all about convincing them to pay more to avoid basic economy" and to get "perks" that were once free, like the ability to choose your seat. 

This comes on the heels of Delta receiving $5.6 billion in government pandemic aid in 2020. 

In an apparent effort to make things seem not as bad, Delta did adjust its change policy. Delta says customers who change their basic economy flight will receive credit, less a change fee, rather than getting nothing. 

There's been a lot of outrage on social media in the wake of Delta's announcement. 

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