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Airlines with free checked bags

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Avoid baggage fees of up to hundreds of dollars per flight.

Baggage fees are one of the annoying extra costs that come with flying with most major US airlines. Luckily, there are a few ways to get around those fees, including using credit cards, elite status and fare upgrades.

What are the airlines with free checked bags?

Checked baggage fees are standard across the airline industry — except for with Southwest — where you can check two bags free. But for every other airline, you can get the fees waived.

Learn how to avoid baggage fees on major US airlines

  • Delta
  • United
  • American
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Alaska Airlines

How to get a free checked bag with a credit card

There are two types of credit cards that can get you a free checked bag:

  • A cobranded airline card.
    This type of card is sponsored by two entities. An example is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, which is sponsored by Citi and American Airlines. An airline card may let you check one or two bags for free on flights operated by the cobranded carrier.
  • A general travel card with travel credits.
    This type of card is usually more flexible than a cobranded card. You’ll earn points or miles that you can use for a variety of travel redemptions, such as flights, hotels and car rentals. If the card has travel credits, you can use them to offset different travel expenses: baggage fees, inflight purchases, airport lounge access and more.

Compare credit cards with checked bag perks

Updated June 16th, 2019
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee Filter values
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 after your first Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
75,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases
$195
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time. Rates & fees
75,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & fees
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
3x miles on Avianca, 2x miles on gas and groceries, 1x miles on all other purchases and 15% 15% Multiply Your Miles discount
$149
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated June 16th, 2019
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee Filter values
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
25,000 points after spending $2,500 in the first 90 days
3x points on travel or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member and 1.5x points on all other purchases
$0
25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days
3x points on travel and mobile wallet purchases and 1x points on all other purchases
$400
Earm 50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to get a free checked bag with airline status

Airlines have loyalty programs in which you can earn elite status. You’ll reach higher status tiers based on how frequently you fly.

Elite status may afford you privileges such as free checked baggage, priority boarding and fare upgrades.

Who gets a free checked bag with elite status?

If you get free checked baggage with your elite status, travel companions on the same reservation may get the benefit as well.

For example, if you have Delta Gold Medallion Status, you and up to eight of your travel companions can each check one bag free on Delta flights.

How to get a free checked bag with a premium ticket

The quickest way to get a free checked bag is usually by upgrading your fare class. When you fly premium classes, you can often check two to three bags free.

For example, you can check two bags free when flying Premium Economy or Business on American Airlines. And you can check three bags free when you fly First Class on a three-cabin American Airlines aircraft.

How to get a free checked bag with a premium ticket

Every airline has its own checked baggage fees. Typically, you’ll pay around $30 for your first checked bag and around $40 for your second.

Here are one-way baggage fees for a few major US airlines:

AirlineChecked baggage policy (each way; terms apply)
Alaska Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Additional bags: $100 each
Allegiant Air
  • $25-$35 each depending on route
American Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Third bag: $150
  • Additional bags: $200 each

*For domestic flights.

Delta Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Third bag: $150
  • Additional bags: $200 each

*For domestic flights.

Frontier Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $45
  • Additional bags: $85 each
Hawaiian Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Additional bags: $100 each

*For domestic flights between Hawaii and destinations in North America.

JetBlue
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Additional bags: $150 each

*For Blue fares.

Southwest Airlines
  • First bag: $0
  • Second bag: $0
  • Additional bags: $75 each
Spirit Airlines
  • First bag: $30-$35
  • Second bag: $40-$45
  • Additional bags: $85-$90 each

*Prices at time of Spirit.com booking.

United Airlines
  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Additional bags: $150 each

*For domestic economy flights.

Data obtained April 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Bottom line

Most airlines charge checked baggage fees. Luckily, there are ways to get around these costs — including credit cards, elite status and fare upgrades.

For help finding the right airline credit card, check out our guide on the topic.

Frequently asked questions

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