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.
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.
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.
|MVP||MVP Gold||MVP Gold 75K|
|Eligible miles on Alaska||20,000||40,000||75,000|
|Eligible miles on Alaska + elite-qualifying partners||25,000||50,000||90,000|
|Segments flown on Alaska + elite-qualifying partners||30||60||90|
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 bag||Second bag||Each additional bag|
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 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® CardRead more
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.
Frequently asked questions
Pictures: Getty Images