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.
There are seven ways to get free checked bags, including getting an Alaska cobranded credit card, earning an elite status and joining the Alaska-exclusive Club 49.
1. Get an Alaska Airlines credit card.
There are two card options. Each waives the fee for one checked bag per Alaska Airlines flight. You can avoid checked baggage fees with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card or the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.
With either 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.
2. 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. Consider getting a travel credit card to use this perk.
3. Earn elite status.
Alaska’s Mileage Plan has three elite tiers, all of which offer two free checked bags on each Alaska Airlines flight. Find out how Alaska’s membership program works and how to earn an elite status.
4. Be a Club 49 member.
If you’ve joined Club 49 — accessible only to residents of Alaska — you can check your first two bags free when traveling on an itinerary that has at least one Alaska-based Alaska Airlines city.
5. Travel to destinations within Alaska.
If your itinerary includes only Alaskan destinations, you can check your first three bags free.
6. As active military personnel.
If you’re actively serving in the US military, you and your dependents can each check five bags free. Each bag can have overall dimensions of 115 inches and weigh up to 70 pounds.
7. 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. 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.
Here’s what Alaska charges for checked bags that are under 50 pounds and no longer than 62 inches in combined length, width and height:
According to the Alaska Airlines website as of September 2021. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Bags that exceed the height and weight requirements will cost $100 each to check.
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.
Read more about how to get free checked bags
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.