We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
How to get free checked bags on American Airlines
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?
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 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 domestic 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
The Platinum Card® from American Express
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
Pictures: Getty Images
Ask an Expert