How to get free checked bags on Alaska Airlines | finder.com
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How to get free checked bags on Alaska Airlines

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Check up to two bags free with Mileage Plan elite status.

If you don’t travel light, you could pay a hefty premium on your original fare as checked baggage fees add up fast. This guide will show you how you can use credit cards, elite status and fare upgrades to avoid those fees.

How do I get a free checked bag on Alaska Airlines?

Alaska has upped its checked baggage fees, bringing them in line with the industry standard. Luckily, you can get out of these fees with a few workarounds.

  • Get an Alaska Airlines credit card.
    There are two card options. Each waives the fee for one checked bag per Alaska Airlines flight.
  • Fly First Class.
    Flying this fare class lets you check two bags for free. You’ll also get access to expedited check-in, priority boarding and express security screening at some airports.

Pro tip

You can upgrade your paid fare to First Class for 15,000 miles one-way.

You can also pay for an upgrade with dollars, for as little as $29 for a one-way trip within 450 miles in distance. This could be very cost-effective, especially if you’re planning on paying for checked baggage anyway.

  • Get a credit card with travel credits.
    You can pay for Alaska baggage fees and get reimbursed via statement credits. This option might be ideal if you fly only once in a while, or if you want to check two or more bags per flight.
  • Earn elite status.
    Alaska’s Mileage Plan has three elite tiers, all of which offer two free checked bags on each Alaska Airlines flight.

Guide to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

How to earn elite status in Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Reach elite status one of three ways by earning enough eligible miles or segments:

  • Earn miles on Alaska Airlines flights only.
  • Earn miles on flights with Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners.
  • Fly segments on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners.
MVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Eligible miles on Alaska20,00040,00075,000
Eligible miles on Alaska + elite-qualifying partners25,00050,00090,000
Segments flown on Alaska + elite-qualifying partners306090

How much does it usually cost to check a bag on Alaska Airlines?

These rates apply to bags that weigh up to 50 pounds and have maximum linear dimensions of 62 inches. You’ll pay extra if your bags are oversized or overweight.

First bagSecond bagEach additional bag
$30$40$100

According to the Alaska Airlines website as of April 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

How to get a free checked bag with an Alaska Airlines credit card

You can avoid checked baggage fees with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card® card or the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card.

You and up to six companions on the same reservation can each check one bag for free per flight. You must be enrolled in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program to qualify, but you don’t have to pay for your flight with the card.

Consider applying for the card well in advance of your flight. You’re eligible for the checked baggage benefit about two to three weeks after opening your card account.

What is Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare?

Book an Alaska Airlines flight in economy — round-trip or one-way. During the same booking, add a guest onto your itinerary.

Your guest will fly for a $99 base fare plus taxes and fees, which start at $22. This could total as low as $121.

Compare credit cards that offer free checked bags on Alaska Airlines

There are two cobranded Alaska Airlines credit cards that offer free checked baggage.

Meanwhile, several other cards offer general travel credits, which you can use to offset baggage fees. You’ll pay annual fees for most of these cards. If you want to pay no annual fee, consider the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card.

Our pick for baggage credit with no annual fee

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

  • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee now through September 30, 2019. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 12.99% to 17.99%. APR will vary with the market based on prime rate. Subject to credit approval.
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 4x points on travel purchases through the PenFed Honors Advantage program. Earn 3x points on travel purchases for all other card holders.
  • Earn 1.5x points on all other purchases unrelated to travel.
  • $100 annual air travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck benefit every 5 years
  • No caps or limits on rewards. No annual or foreign transaction fees.
  • Chip enabled for added security.
  • Variable rate as low as 12.99% APR. Rate and offers current as of June 1, 2019 and are subject to change.
  • Federally insured by NCUA.
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Promoted
Updated June 26th, 2019
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee Filter values
40,000 miles and companion pass after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
3x miles on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$75
40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
40,000 miles and companion fare after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
3x miles on Alaska Airlines and 1x miles on all other purchases
$50
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and companion fare after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

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 and 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
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

There are a few ways to avoid baggage fees on Alaska Airlines. The quickest option is upgrading your Alaska Airlines flight to First Class.

If you’re not sure an Alaska Airlines credit card is right for you, consider an airline credit card with travel credits.

Frequently asked questions

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