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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.
Here’s how to get a free checked bag on American Airlines:
- 1 checked bag is free for AAdvantage Gold members, oneworld Ruby members and those with certain American Airlines credit cards.
- 2 checked bags are free for AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and oneworld Sapphire members.
- 3 checked bags are free for AAdvantage Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members.
You can also get free checked bags by flying premium fare classes, flying to certain destinations and if you’re active military personnel.
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.
Free checked bags for American Airlines elites
|AAdvantage Gold||AAdvantage Platinum||AAdvantage Platinum Pro||AAdvantage Executive Platinum|
|1 bag||2 bags||2 bags||3 bags|
- 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.
Free checked bags for oneworld elites
|oneworld Ruby||oneworld Sapphire||oneworld Emerald|
|1 bag||2 bags||3 bags|
- 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.
Fly to these destinations to get free checked baggage
|First checked bag free|
|First and second checked 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?
|First bag||Second bag||Third bag||Each additional bag|
On First and Business Class flights, the maximum weight per bag is 70 pounds.
You can check up to 10 bags on domestic, transatlantic and transpacific flights. You can check up to five bags on flights to, through or from:
- Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
- South America.
How to get a free checked bag with an American Airlines credit card
Compare some credit cards with this perk and see the other travel benefits they offer as well.
American Airlines free checked bags
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®|
|Annual fee||$95||$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|
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.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
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
- Are American Airlines’s baggage fees in line with those of other carriers?
Airlines tend to raise baggage fees in lockstep, and American Airlines hasn’t been immune from peer pressure. Its baggage fees sit around the industry standard.
- Will I pay extra if my baggage is overweight?
Yes. When flying between the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Canada, you’ll pay $100 extra for a bag that weighs 51 to 70 pounds. You’ll pay $200 extra for a bag that weighs 71 to 100 pounds.
American Airlines doesn’t accept bags over 100 pounds.
- Will I pay extra if my baggage is oversized?
Yes. When flying between the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Canada, you’ll pay $200 per bag over 62 linear inches. American Airlines doesn’t accept bags over 126 linear inches.
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