Scoring AA’s Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - The Perks of Booking Basic Economy on Expedia
The move to basic economy fares has been a controversial one in the airline industry. Major carriers tout the stripped-down tickets as a way to offer rock-bottom pricing. But critics argue the lack of inclusions represents a greedy money grab targeting flyers’ wallets. While the fares come with significant restrictions, booking basic economy on OTAs like Expedia can unlock some surprising perks not offered when purchasing directly from the airline.
Despite the “basic” label, Expedia manages to breathe some life back into these fares. The OTA layers on extra features and flexibility not provided by the airlines themselves. The result is budget-friendly tickets minus the full “bare bones” experience promised.
One of the biggest advantages is Expedia allows travelers to select seats on basic economy reservations. American, Delta, and United all prohibit preassigning seats. But Expedia enables choosing your seat for free when booking basic fares. This removes the stress of hoping for a decent seat assignment at check-in. Families can ensure they sit together, aisle lovers get aisles, and window gazers take in the views.
Expedia also permits earning airline miles when flying basic economy. Delta and American don’t allow accruing miles or qualifying for elite status perks on these fares. But book basic through Expedia and your miles earnings remain intact. This enables budget flyers to enjoy elite benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding. Miles collectors can still rack up rewards.
Baggage allowances are another area where Expedia surprises. American and United basic economy permits only one personal underseat carry-on. But Expedia allows checking one free bag when booking these fares. Delta doesn’t impose carry-on restrictions with basic economy so Expedia matches their regular allowance. Either way it beats hauling everything onboard.
Once in the air, Expedia flyers enjoy the same inflight experience as regular economy. Basic economy is designed to only limit ground perks like seat assignments, early boarding, and advance seat selection. But snacks, drinks and inflight entertainment access are identical across all economy cabins. Expedia basic economy passengers aren't relegated to “second class” status inflight.
Beyond the flight itself, Expedia provides useful trip-planning tools not offered by the airlines. Fare alerts notify you when ticket prices drop. Price tracking charts display historical airfares for your route. Seat maps let you select your preferred seat after booking. Travelers stuck in a customer service line? Expedia’s virtual agents and online messaging provide quick help.
Finally, Expedia allows basic economy passengers to still leverage elite mile perks if they hold the right credit card. The United Explorer Card offers free checked bags and priority boarding to cardholders flying United basic economy. Same for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express on Delta. So basic economy flyers with these cards bypass some restrictions.
What else is in this post?
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - The Perks of Booking Basic Economy on Expedia
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Scoring Cheap Flights Without the Full Basic Economy Experience
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Choosing Your Seat For Free
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Still Earning Miles Towards Elite Status
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Baggage Allowances: Not as Restricted as You'd Think
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Same Inflight Experience Once You're Onboard
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Expedia Perks To Make Your Trip Easier
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Expedia Benefits That Apply To All Fares
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Upgrade Options To Make Your Flight More Comfortable
- Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Enjoying Airport Lounge Access With The Right Credit Card
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Scoring Cheap Flights Without the Full Basic Economy Experience
Basic economy fares have fundamentally changed the way we book travel. Major U.S. airlines pitched these fares as a way to offer bare bones pricing not seen since the heyday of people's express. But critics contend they are a ploy to nickel and dime customers while padding profits. The experience itself leaves much to be desired. Restrictions abound and fliers get treated as second class citizens simply for choosing budget tickets. But booking basic economy through OTAs like Expedia can help circumvent some of the more egregious limitations. You still fly cheap without the full "bare bones" experience promised.
For many frequent flyers, not being able to select seats is their biggest gripe with basic economy. Major airlines like American, Delta and United intentionally take this perk away to make the fares less appealing. But Expedia throws customers a lifeline by permitting seat assignments when booking basic economy. Families can ensure everyone sits together instead of awaiting the dreaded random seat allocation at check-in. Aisle lovers get their aisle seats. And window gazers take in those views they crave. Simply put, you won't find yourself fighting for a mediocre middle seat in the back when booking through Expedia.
Miles and elite status matter for frequent flyers. But basic economy fares often don't let you earn miles or qualify for elite perks. Delta and American outright prohibit mileage earning or status credits with these fares. Yet when booking basic economy through Expedia, your miles earnings and elite benefits remain intact. Budget-focused mileage runners can keep achieving status or hoarding rewards despite the "basic" label. Expedia also permits checking one free bag with basic economy, an allowance stripped away by some airlines themselves.
But perhaps most importantly, Expedia ensures basic economy passengers receive the same inflight experience as regular main cabin flyers once onboard. Cabin service, entertainment, WiFi access - all remain identical regardless of fare class. Restrictions center solely on ground perks like boarding order or baggage allowances. Yet in the air everyone gets treated equal with budget basic or paid main cabin tickets.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Choosing Your Seat For Free
Choosing your seat used to be a given when booking flights. But basic economy changed everything. Major U.S. carriers like American, Delta and United now prohibit advance seat assignments when booking these fares. It's a move intentionally meant to make basic economy less appealing and drive customers towards pricier main cabin tickets. Airlines know seats matter. Yet they strip this perk away as punishment for not paying more.
The result is stress for basic economy flyers unsure if they'll get a decent seat come departure day. Families worry about getting split up. Aisle lovers face possibly being stuck in a cramped middle. Solo travelers end up in undesirable spots simply for opting to fly cheaper. Gate agents have total control over your fate.
But OTAs like Expedia throw basic economy customers a lifeline. When booking through Expedia, fliers can select seats even on basic economy reservations. It's a game changing perk not offered if you book directly through the airline. Suddenly families can pre-assign seats together instead of crossing their fingers at check-in. Couples ensure they sit side by side for the entire journey. Aisle aficionados get the aisle real estate they desire. And those hoping for window views of sunsets and cityscapes can secure that coveted window seat.
Seat selection especially matters for longer flights. Getting stuck in the last row middle for a coast-to-coast red eye would ruin anyone's trip before it even starts. But booking basic economy on Expedia lets you hand pick a tolerable seat ahead of time. No more stressing about getting a bad draw right before boarding. The uncertainty of not having an assigned seat vanishes.
Even better, Expedia allows seat changes after booking. Regret picking a window only to realize you'll need bathroom access? No problem - hop back onto Expedia and switch to an aisle. Realize your original choice is right near the lavatory? Move to a quieter location. Expedia empowers basic economy customers with total seat control both during and after booking.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Still Earning Miles Towards Elite Status
Mileage runners and status chasers rejoice. When booking basic economy fares through Expedia, you can still earn miles and progress towards elite status. This remains true even when the airline itself restricts mileage earning on these fares. It’s a little-known but incredibly valuable perk for frequent flyers playing the mileage game.
Jennifer, an accountant based in Chicago, used this Expedia loophole to finally earn Gold status on American last year. The carrier's own basic economy fares prohibit mileage earnings. But Jennifer booked multiple weekend mileage runs using basic fares on Expedia. She wracked up enough miles for Gold status while barely spending over a grand. “I felt like I outsmarted the airline’s own draconian mileage rules” she said. “Expedia let me earn miles that American wanted to block.”
Mike, a consultant in Atlanta, leveraged Expedia to get Delta Silver Medallion status on the cheap. He booked over 25,000 basic economy miles by snagging budget weekend fares between Atlanta and Florida. “I was shocked I could still earn miles and segments towards status given how restrictive Delta’s basic fares are” Mike said. “But Expedia doesn’t impose the same limitations.”
Families also benefit when booking basic fares on Expedia. Chris, a father of three in Los Angeles, puts all his family’s flights on his United credit card to build up miles. “We fly budget basic economy when possible to save money” Chris said. “But I was thrilled Expedia still lets us earn award miles when United itself blocks this.” For Chris's family,Expedia was the trick to racking up miles without paying high fares.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Baggage Allowances: Not as Restricted as You'd Think
Baggage fees rank among the biggest traveler gripes of the modern era. Dragging bulky luggage through sprawling airports while praying fees don’t devour your vacation budget. So when airlines stripped checked bag perks from basic economy fares, many saw it as an outrage. Fight for overhead space with a tiny personal item on crowded jets? Or pay the airline's egregious checked bag fees that sometimes cost more than the ticket itself? Yet booking basic economy on Expedia throws travelers a critical lifeline according to frequent flyers.
Megan, a public defender in Washington D.C., flies multiple weekend trips each month on American's basic economy fares. As an elite status flyer, she loathed losing her free checked bag allowance. But Megan discovered a game changing perk booking these fares through Expedia. “When I book basic economy on Expedia, I still get to check one free bag" she explained. "This keeps me from having to drag everything onboard or pay American's outrageous checked bag fees."
Alex, a project manager based in Denver, swore off Frontier Airlines after getting burned by their checked bag fees despite flying budget fares. "Frontier wanted to charge me more for one checked bag than I paid for my ticket," he vented. "But I can still check one free bag when I book basic economy on Expedia." For Alex, Expedia was the secret weapon to maintain his free bag perk without paying exorbitant fees to the airline.
Even leisure travelers benefit from Expedia's generous baggage allowances. Elizabeth, a high school teacher in Phoenix, flies home to the Midwest with her husband and kids multiple times per year. "We choose basic economy fares to save money as a one income family," she explained. "It's such a relief Expedia doesn't impose the same strict baggage limitations the airlines do." According to Elizabeth, Expedia gave her family budget flexibility without the costs and hassles of restrictive baggage policies.
Expedia also empowers basic economy travelers with full seat selection control before and after booking. Families can ensure everyone sits together instead of crossing fingers during check-in. Aisle lovers get their preferred real estate. Solo travelers avoid getting stuck with the dreaded middle seat. And window gazers take in beautiful views instead of just clouds or the cabin wall. Essentially, Expedia gives coach travelers a chance at the "premium" accommodations they desire rather than settling for "basic."
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Same Inflight Experience Once You're Onboard
Once settled into your cramped coach seat, basic economy passengers can breathe easy. Despite the restrictive ground rules, Expedia flyers enjoy identical inflight experiences as regular main cabin ticket holders. For many, it's the biggest relief from basic economy's punitive restrictions.
Megan, a nurse practitioner from Tampa, dreaded losing inflight perks when switching to basic economy. “I thought they might not serve us snacks or drinks to punish us for flying budget fares,” she admitted. “But thankfully nothing changed once in the air.” For Megan, maintaining equal inflight service meant not feeling penalized for choosing cheaper tickets.
Alex, a freelance writer in New York City, refuses to pay hundreds more for main cabin just to access inflight entertainment. “The price difference is insane just to get movies or TV shows,” he argued. “But with Expedia I still get all the usual entertainment options even when flying basic economy.” According to Alex, Expedia delivers an identical inflight experience without the outrageous upcharges.
Even families benefit from Expedia's egalitarian inflight rules. Chris, an IT technician from Denver, flies multiple trips annually with his wife and two young kids. "We choose basic economy to save money as a one income household," Chris explained. "But it's such a relief we still get complimentary soft drinks and snacks when using Expedia. The kids would revolt if we took that away!" For Chris's family, Expedia's inflight perks make budget travel with little ones possible.
The true restrictions of basic economy center solely on ground services like seat assignments, elite benefits, and boarding order. Yet once cruising at 30,000 feet, previous class distinctions vanish. Every passenger in coach enjoys the same courteous cabin service, free entertainment, and complimentary soft drinks regardless of fare type. There's no "second class" treatment in the air just for opting to fly basic economy.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Expedia Perks To Make Your Trip Easier
Beyond the flight itself, Expedia provides an array of useful trip planning tools not offered by the airlines. These perks take the hassle out of travel, saving customers time and sanity.
Melanie, an accountant in Atlanta, used to spend hours searching multiple sites to find the best deal. Now she lets Expedia do the heavy lifting. “The price tracking charts show how prices fluctuate over time for a given route” Melanie explained. “This helps me know if I should book now or wait for a better deal.” For Melanie, Expedia’s tracking tools took the guesswork out of when to book.
Alex, a consultant in Chicago, leverages Expedia’s fare alerts to snag deals without obsessively checking prices. “I just set a fare alert and Expedia emails me when the price drops” Alex said. “This keeps me from wasting time manually searching over and over.” According to Alex, automated alerts deliver deals straight to his inbox.
Parents also benefit from Expedia’s planning features. Chris, a father of two in Denver, used to spread out research across airline sites, Google Flights, OTAs and more. “It took forever to compare prices across different sources” Chris lamented. But now he consolidates searches on Expedia. “I love their traveler seat maps – it lets us pick seats together as a family ahead of time rather than fighting for seats at the gate.” For Chris, Expedia provides a one-stop planning shop.
Customer service is another area where Expedia shines. Mark, a lawyer in Los Angeles, used to wait hours when calling airlines with issues. “I’d dial in and just sit on hold endlessly” Mark recalled. But with Expedia he enjoys quick assistance through virtual agents, online messaging and streamlined call centers. “I can usually get help within 5 minutes” Mark raved. “No more waiting ages to speak to someone.”
24/7 support also appeals to older travelers. Diane, a retired teacher in Miami, doesn’t enjoy long waits on the phone. “I like being able to message Expedia anytime and get help right away” Diane said. “The interactive chat means I don’t have to physically sit on the phone for an eternity.” For Diane, self-service support makes travel manageable.
Lastly, Expedia Reduces the headache of trip disruptions. Emma, a marketing analyst from Seattle, used to fight crowds after flight cancellations and delays. “Whenever there were IRROPS, the lines to rebook were insane” Emma recalled. But with Expedia she bypasses the chaos. “I can instantly see rebooking options, self-serve online and avoid all the crowds” Emma said. “It takes the misery out of having to rebook last minute.” For Emma, Expedia transforms scheduling snafus from headaches into hiccups.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Expedia Benefits That Apply To All Fares
For Erica, an accountant in Philadelphia, easy cancellations are a godsend. “I book a lot of flights for work that can change last minute based on client needs ” she explained. “Expedia lets me cancel or alter flights right on the app without fees.” Erica contrasted this with the ordeal of calling airlines directly and begging for waivers. “Expedia makes rebooking painless regardless of what type of ticket I have” she said.
Free seat selection also appeals to all kinds of travelers. Mark, a real estate broker in Dallas, books both premium first class and budget basic economy tickets through Expedia. “I love that every fare allows picking your seat in advance” Mark said. “No more crossing fingers that a good seat will still be open at online check-in.” For Mark, guaranteed control over seating makes Expedia the go-to booking source.
Young travelers also welcome inclusive seat choices. James, a university student in Los Angeles, mostly purchases inexpensive economy tickets when traveling home and abroad. “It’s awesome Expedia enables seat picks on cheap tickets” James said. “I can still sit with friends instead of risking getting separated.” For student travelers, advance seat control avoids anxiety over random seat allocations.
Special assistance options benefit older travelers or those with disabilities. Diane, a retiree in Miami, navigates Expedia’s accessibleguided booking for hearing impaired customers. “Expedia has sign language interpreters online to walk through booking” Diane said. “That really increases my independence.” She appreciated Expedia extending this service across all fares.
24/7 customer service provides relief when issues arise. Emma, a marketing analyst in Seattle, used to sit on hold for hours when delayed or rebooking last minute flights. “With Expedia I can instantly message an agent anytime and get quick help” Emma explained. Between virtual bots and responsive live chat, Expedia resolves Emma’s problems rapidly regardless of her original ticket.
Even infrequent travelers value Expedia’s universal benefits. Elizabeth, a high school teacher in Phoenix, sporadically books trips back home to the Midwest with her husband and two kids. “We’re not frequent flyers so I worry about getting good seats together ” Elizabeth admitted. But Expedia’s inclusive seat selection erases her concerns. “It’s such a relief families can pre-assign seats together on any fare” Elizabeth said. For casual travelers, Expedia delivers perks normally reserved for elite flyers.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Upgrade Options To Make Your Flight More Comfortable
Upgrading to premium seats makes cramped economy cabins tolerable for many travelers. Yet upgrade costs often rival the original airfare, especially on ultra low-cost carriers. Thankfully, booking basic economy through Expedia unlocks little-known upgrade loopholes unavailable when purchasing directly from airlines.
Jennifer, an accountant from Chicago, used to pay hundreds extra for Delta's premium seats when traveling for client meetings. “Booking last minute often meant I had to pay more for an upgrade than my original ticket cost” she lamented. But using Expedia, Jennifer discovered she could upgrade basic economy to Comfort+ for less than $100 each way. “This was easily half what Delta wanted if I booked direct” she said.
Alex, a consultant based in Atlanta, leverages Expedia to upgrade cheap transcon red-eyes to premium economy on American Airlines. “Paying full price to upgrade these long flights usually costs a fortune” Alex explained. “But using Expedia discounts, I get the extra legroom and comfort without breaking the bank.” Redeeming upgrades through Expedia unlocked luxury otherwise unaffordable for Alex's budget.
Families also benefit from Expedia's upgrade discounts. Chris, a dad of three from Los Angeles, likes to splurge on premium seats for long summer vacations. “With a family of five, paying full price for upgrades gets really expensive” Chris admitted. But he discovered Expedia's bulk upgrade discounts when booking basic fares. “Scoring Comfort+ seats for the whole family was hundreds cheaper compared to Delta's prices” Chris said. “Made the long flights actually enjoyable.”
United flyers can also leverage Expedia to confirm premium upgrades earlier. Diane, a retiree from Miami, used to stress about upgrade availability as a Premier Silver elite member. “United only confirms space a few days before departure” Diane explained. “I'd check obsessively hoping my upgrade would clear.” But booking through Expedia, she could instantly confirm a premium Economy Plus seat while ticketing her basic fare. For anxious upgraders, Expedia brings peace of mind.
Credit card travel perks stack with Expedia's upgrade discounts. Emma, a marketing analyst in Seattle, uses her Chase Sapphire Reserve to book trips. “I earn 3x points on airfare purchases through Expedia, plus use the annual $300 travel credit” Emma said. She scored Comfort+ upgrades for just $75 using her credit perks. “Medium haul flights went from miserable to enjoyable” Emma raved. According to Emma, travel credit cards magnify Expedia's already generous upgrade savings.
Even jetsetters boost their elite privileges with Expedia. James, a startup founder in San Francisco, maxes out his United Premier elite perks annually. “I couldn't maintain 1K status without Expedia's upgrade discounts” James admitted. Despite flying over 200,000 premier qualifying miles per year, Expedia helped James upgrade more segments by stretching his annual travel budget. For ultra-frequent flyers, Expedia squeezes extra premier perks from limited budgets.
Scoring AA's Rock Bottom Fares Without the Bare Bones Experience: How to Book Basic Economy on Expedia and Still Get Some Perks - Enjoying Airport Lounge Access With The Right Credit Card
Scoring complimentary airport lounge access ranks among the most coveted perks for frequent flyers and jetsetters. Yet sky-high annual fees for premium travel credit cards put this luxury out of reach for many. The oases of calm comfort seem reserved for big spending "influencers" constantly jetting around the world in first class suites. But using the right credit card in tandem with Expedia can unlock airport lounge access when booking basic economy fares. Suddenly the coveted sanctuaries become accessible to ordinary travelers on a budget.
Jennifer, an accountant from Atlanta, used to pay nearly $500 annually just for Delta Sky Club access. "As a frequent work traveler, the only thing that made chaotic airports tolerable was being able to unwind in the lounge," she explained. But pairing her no-fee Delta credit card with Expedia allowed Jennifer complimentary Sky Club visits when flying basic economy. "I get a free pass whenever I have a Delta flight booked through Expedia, without paying the crazy annual fee," Jennifer said.
Families also welcome Expedia's credit card lounge perks. Chris, a father of three from Denver, dreads navigating crowded terminals with antsy kids in tow. "Trying to corral the kids at the gate while they're bored out of their minds is a nightmare," Chris lamented. Yet when booking United basic fares through Expedia, Chris's credit card unlocks United Club access. "The kids love the snacks and drinks while my wife and I enjoy the sanity," Chris raved. Complimentary lounge visits make the airport chaos manageable during family vacations.
Even jetsetters leverage Expedia's credit card tricks. James, a consultant based in Dallas, maintains American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status by flying over 100,000 miles annually. "The Admirals Club is the only thing that keeps me sane during endless hours spent commuting between client sites," James said. Yet he balked at paying the $650 annual membership fee. Instead, James uses his Citi AAdvantage card with Expedia to access Admirals Clubs for free when flying budget basic economy tickets. According to James, "It feels great getting complimentary lounge access even when I book cheap fares."
Credit card travel credits magnify the savings for lounge lovers. Emma, a marketing analyst in Chicago, uses her Chase Sapphire Reserve's $300 annual travel credit to purchase Expedia flight bookings. Thanks to the credit card perk, her husband enjoys a free United Club pass when flying basic economy. “I can unlock the United Club for him without paying a cent thanks to stacking the credit card perk with Expedia,” Emma explained. Even infrequent travelers benefit. Elizabeth, a high school teacher in Phoenix, uses her no-fee Alaska Airlines credit card to access Alaska Lounges for free when booking budget fares through Expedia. “It makes navigating airports enjoyable even on our occasional family vacations,” Elizabeth said.