How to get free checked bags on Delta Air Lines

There are several ways to avoid baggage fees.

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Checking bags on a one-way Delta flight is pricey. Costs can add up if you take multiple round-trip flights a year. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid those pesky baggage fees using credit cards, elite status and fare upgrades.

How do I get a free checked bag on Delta Air Lines?

Delta offers free checked bags to Delta credit card holders, elite Medallion members and premium fare customers. Military members and customers on select international flights can also qualify for free checked bags.

A free checked bag on Delta can save you up to $60 per person on a round trip flight. Just make sure the bag weighs 50 pounds or less.

Here’s more details on ways to get a checked bag fee waived:

  • Get a Delta credit card.
    Delta offers several cobranded cards with a “first checked bag free” perk, so long as the bag weighs 50 pounds or less.
  • Get a card with travel credits.
    You can typically use travel credits for charges such as baggage fees, in-flight purchases, seat upgrades, airline lounge fees and more.
  • Reach Delta Medallion Status.
    There are four elite tiers in Delta’s Medallion program: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each offers one to three checked bags on Delta or partner flights within the US and Canada.

Compare credit cards that offer free checked bags on Delta

A Delta card with free checked baggage will offer additional airline-specific perks, such as inflight savings and special rates on Delta Sky Club access.

If you want more than one free checked bag per flight, consider a general travel card that offers travel credits. Just pay for your baggage fees with the card, and you’ll later be reimbursed via statement credits.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$195
Earn 35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & fees
75,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

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

How to get a free checked bag with a Delta credit card

If you typically check one bag per flight, you might like a Delta credit card. Check out the section below to see which products offer the checked baggage benefit.

You won’t get additional checked bags with the higher-priced Delta cards. So if you’re getting a card just for this perk, consider the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. It has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $95 annual fee afterward (see rates & fees).

The $195-a-year Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express offers additional perks such as an annual companion certificate and Miles Boost (see rates & fees). And according to our valuations, the $450-a-year Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express includes annual benefits worth over $2,000 a year (see rates & fees ).

Our pick for free checked bags on Delta

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.
  • Earn 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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How to get a free checked bag with Medallion status

As a Medallion member, you may be allowed to check heavier bags — up to 70 pounds versus the normal 50 pounds. Plus, up to eight travel companions on your reservation get the checked-baggage benefit.

The exception is Delta-operated flights departing from Amsterdam Schipol Airport (AMS) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

Silver Medallion Gold Medallion Platinum Medallion Diamond Medallion
Within the US and Canada 1 bag (up to 70 pounds) 2 bags (up to 70 pounds each) 3 bags (up to 70 pounds each) 3 bags (up to 70 pounds each)
To/from all other international destinations 1 free bag in addition to baggage allowance (up to 50 pounds) 1 free bag in addition to baggage allowance (up to 50 pounds) 1 free bag in addition to baggage allowance (up to 50 pounds) 1 free bag in addition to baggage allowance (up to 50 pounds)

Data obtained April 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

girl with luggage in airport Image: Getty Images
  • Reach SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus status.
    Delta is part of the SkyTeam airline alliance, which has two elite tiers.The fee for your first checked bag will be waived on Delta-operated flights if you reach either of these tiers. You can do this by obtaining Medallion status in Delta. But Medallion tiers give you equivalent or better baggage allowance, so this may not be particularly exciting.
  • Here’s the kicker: You can attain SkyTeam status by becoming an elite in one of the alliance’s member airlines. This might be a viable path if you’re a loyal flyer on an airline such as Korean Air, Alitalia or Air France.
  • Fly a premium fare class.
    When you fly First Class or Delta One, you can check two bags up to 70 pounds each for free. Fly Delta Premium Select and you can check two bags that each weigh 50 pounds or less for free.
  • Fly an eligible route in Basic Economy, Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+.
    You may be able to check your first or second bag free when you fly between eligible destinations. Bags must be 50 pounds or less.
  • For example, most flights from the US or Canada to Brazil come with two free checked bags. And flights from Europe to India come with one free checked bag.

How much does it usually cost to check a bag on a Delta flight?

These rates apply to bags that weigh up to 50 pounds and have linear dimensions within 62 inches. You’ll pay extra fees if your bags are overweight or oversized.

Baggage rates for travel within the United States
First bag Second bag Third bag Each additional bag
$30 $40 $150 $200

Data obtained April 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Bottom line

As one of the world’s largest airlines, Delta has many different policies for checked baggage. The easiest ways to avoid baggage fees are applying for Delta credit cards and flying in premium fare classes.

If you’re not sure a Delta credit card is right for you, consider other airline cards.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: Getty Images

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