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How to get free checked bags on American Airlines

Use credit cards, reach elite status or buy specific flights.

Score free checked bags on American Airlines by reaching a qualifying tier of its loyalty program. You can also get free checked bags by flying premium fare classes, flying to certain destinations and if you’re active military personnel.

6 ways to get free checked bags

Here’s how to check your luggage without paying a dime.

1. Get an American Airlines credit card.

Four American Airlines cards let you check your first bag free on domestic flights operated by the carrier.

2. Get a card with travel credits.

A general travel card might come with credits you can use to offset baggage fees, in-flight purchases, airport lounge fees and more.

3. Earn American Airlines elite status.

American Airlines’s loyalty program, AAdvantage, has four elite tiers. Each offers one to three complimentary checked bags on American-operated flights.

Free checked bags for American Airlines elites

AAdvantage GoldAAdvantage PlatinumAAdvantage Platinum ProAAdvantage Executive Platinum
1 bag2 bags2 bags3 bags

4. Earn elite status in oneworld

You’ll get free checked bags on American flights as part of oneworld, an airline alliance that includes American Airlines, British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific and more.

Free checked bags for oneworld elites

oneworld Rubyoneworld Sapphireoneworld Emerald
1 bag2 bags3 bags

5. Fly a premium fare class

When flying Business or Premium Economy with American, you can check two bags at no cost. If you fly first class on a three-cabin aircraft, you can check three bags at no cost. On a two-cabin aircraft, you’re allowed two free checked bags.

6. Visit a qualifying destination

When you fly to eligible destinations, you can check one to two bags free.

Destinations with free checked baggage

First checked bag free
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Venezuela
First and second checked bags free
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • Uruguay

    Active military members

    If you’re an active US military member on personal travel, you can check your first three bags free on each American Airlines flight. If you’re traveling on orders, you and your dependents can each check five bags free.

    How much does it normally cost?

    These rates apply to bags up to 50 pounds and 62 linear inches on domestic flights.

    First bagSecond bagThird bagEach additional bag

    On First and Business Class flights, the maximum weight per bag is 70 pounds.

    American credit cards that get you free checked bags

    Use an American Airlines credit card with a free-checked-bag perk. Be sure to open your card at least seven days prior to your flight to receive the baggage benefit. Also, add your American Airlines AAdvantage number to your reservation at least seven days before your flight.

    AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
    Annual fee$99$99 (waived for the first 12 months)$99 (waived for the first 12 months)$450
    Number of free checked bags per domestic flight1111
    Baggage benefit extends to…4 companions4 companions4 companions8 companions
    • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • 1x miles on all other purchases
    • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations
    • 1x miles on other purchases
    • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • 2x miles on cable and satellite providers, select telecommunications merchants, car rentals and gas station purchases
    • 1x miles on other purchases
    • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • 1x miles on other purchases
    Other travel benefits
    • Preferred boarding
    • In-flight savings
    • Preferred boarding
    • In-flight savings
    • Preferred boarding
    • In-flight savings
    • Savings on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases
    • Admirals Club membership
    • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
    • Priority boarding
    • In-flight savings
    • VIP airport experience

    Bottom line

    American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, and it offers several ways to avoid baggage fees. Upgrading your fare class is probably the easiest method, but it’s worth getting an airline credit card if you travel with checked bags on the regular.

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    4 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      ShawntelMarch 11, 2020

      If I have already purchased my tickets and I receive my AA credit card can I still receive my free checked bags at the airport?

        MayMarch 12, 2020Finder

        Hi Shawntel,

        Thanks for getting in touch with Finder.

        Is your AA credit card among the four mentioned above? If so, then your card automatically has free checked bags per domestic flight. To receive the benefit, you must:

        1. Open your card at least seven days prior to your flight.
        2. Add your American Airlines AAdvantage number to your reservation at least seven days before your flight.

        If you’d like to get confirmation of your checked bag benefit, please contact your credit card issuer. It’s also important to read the terms and conditions of your card to make sure you can take advantage of this free checked bags feature.

        Hope this has helped.


      Default Gravatar
      LauriJuly 22, 2019

      If a credit card offers first checked bag free, does this apply to each leg of a multi city trip?

        fayemanuelJuly 23, 2019Finder

        Hi Lauri,

        Thanks for contacting Finder.

        This depends on the cards term and condition.You can get 1 free checked bags per flight using American Airlines credit card. Please review your cards T&C or you can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind Regards,


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