How to get free checked bags on American Airlines

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

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Passengers waiting for their luggages

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Checking your bags can get expensive, especially if you fly multiple times a year. Luckily, American Airlines offers a variety of methods to avoid baggage fees.

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

Free checked baggage on American Airlines can save you $60 to $440 per person on a round-trip flight. Four American Airlines credit cards offer one free checked bag on domestic flights. You can also get free bags with elite status in AAdvantage or oneworld, or by flying Business, Premium Economy or First class. Each bag can weigh up to 50 pounds and have overall dimensions of 62 inches.

Here are more details about how your bags can fly free on American Airlines itineraries:

  • Get an American Airlines credit card.
    Four American Airlines cards let you check your first bag free on domestic flights operated by the carrier.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Earn elite status in oneworld.
    American Airlines is part of oneworld, which is among the largest airline alliances. There are three elite tiers in this alliance.Status in oneworld gives you one to three checked bags on American Airlines flights. Meanwhile, status in SkyTeam and Star Alliance — oneworld’s major competitors — gives you just one free checked bag maximum.This method of saving on baggage fees can be helpful if you’re a frequent flyer with a oneworld carrier. You’ll become a oneworld elite by earning status in one of the alliance’s member airlines.
  • Fly a premium fare class.
    When flying Business or Premium Economy, 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.
  • Fly to certain destinations.
    When you fly to eligible destinations, you can check one to two bags free.
  • As active military personnel.
    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 usually cost to check a bag on American Airlines?

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

First bagSecond bagThird bagEach additional bag
$30$40$150$200

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

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

American Airlines free checked bags

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World 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
Rewards
  • 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

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.

Baggage fees with American Airlines credit cards vs. United credit cards

Four of American Airlines’s credit cards have checked baggage benefits, but each lets you check only one bag. By comparison, United Airlines’ premium credit cards let you check two bags free.

Compare credit cards that offer free checked bags on American Airlines

If an airline card isn’t your style, consider a general travel card with travel credits. You’ll be reimbursed via these credits after you use the card for baggage fees.

Our pick for baggage credit

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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See Rates & Fees
Promoted
Updated October 23rd, 2019
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
70,000 miles after spending $4,000 in first 4 months
2x miles on American Airlines, gas and select business categories and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
70,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account opening.
5,000 EQMs after spending $20,000 and another 5,000 EQMs after spending an additional $20,000 each year
3x miles on American Airlines, 2x miles on hotel and car rentals and 1x miles on all other purchases
See terms
Earn 3x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2x miles on select hotel and car rentals and 1x AAdvantage miles on every other purchase.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
50,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
2x miles on American Airlines, car rentals, office supplies and telecom and 1x miles on all other purchases
$95
50,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
60,000 and a companion certificate after you make a purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee
2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on everything else
$99
Earn 60,000 bonus miles and a companion certificate when you make a purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee.
50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
2x miles on American Airlines, dining, and gas and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated October 23rd, 2019
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases 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 $4,000 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 $4,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
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
3x points on travel and mobile wallet purchases and 1x points on all other purchases

$400
Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days from account opening.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on flights and dining, 3x points on hotels and cruises and 1x points on all other purchases
$495
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

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 if you’re well-qualified, you could have great luck getting an American Airlines credit card.

Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

  1. 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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJuly 23, 2019Staff

      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,

      Faye

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