Use credit cards, reach elite status or buy specific flights.
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?
Here’s 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 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.
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 bag||Second bag||Third bag||Each additional bag|
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 flight||1||1||1||1|
|Baggage benefit extends to…||4 companions||4 companions||4 companions||8 companions|
|Other travel benefits|
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 with no annual fee
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card
Read more about how to get free checked bags
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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