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How to get free checked bags on Delta Air Lines

There are several ways to avoid baggage fees.

Our pick for free checked bags on Delta: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

70,000-mile

Welcome offer after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • 2x miles on Delta and at restaurants and US supermarkets
  • Delta perks include priority boarding, first bag checked free and statement credits
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $99
Apply now
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
70,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
With a welcome offer worth up to $840, up to 2x miles on select purchases, and assorted Delta perks, this is a strong choice for Delta fans. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
90,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles for all other purchases
$250
This card boasts a welcome offer worth up to $1,080, an annual companion certificate and valuable Delta perks. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$550
Delta's luxury offering shines with access to Delta Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges, an annual companion certificate and more valuable travel perks. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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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 Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. It has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $99 annual fee afterward (Terms apply, see rates & fees).

The $250-a-year Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offers additional perks such as an annual companion certificate and Status Boost (Terms apply, see rates & fees). And according to our valuations, the $550-a-year Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card includes annual benefits worth over $2,000 a year (Terms apply, see rates & fees).

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).

Free checked bags for Medallion: Basic Economy, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+
As a Silver Medallion member with a Delta SkyMiles card from American Express, you’re allowed a second bag up to 70 pounds free when flying within the US and Canada.

Silver MedallionGold MedallionPlatinum MedallionDiamond Medallion
Within the US and Canada1 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 destinations1 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.

Free checked bags for Medallion: First Class and Delta One
To and from all destinations, you can check three bags up to 70 pounds each.

Free checked bags for Medallion: Delta Premium Select
To and from all destinations, you can check three bags up to 50 pounds each.

  • 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 bagSecond bagThird bagEach 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

  • Are Delta’s normal checked baggage fees in line with what other carriers charge?
    Yes. Many carriers follow the same fee structure, though some carriers don’t charge as high as $200 for your fourth and additional bags.
  • Will I pay extra if my baggage is overweight?
    Yes. For travel within the United States and Canada, you’ll pay $100 per bag that’s 51 to 70 pounds. You’ll pay $200 per bag that’s 71 to 100 pounds. Delta won’t accept bags over 100 pounds.

    There may be different fees and maximum baggage weights for international flights.

  • Will I pay extra if my baggage is oversized?
    Yes. For travel within the US and Canada, you’ll pay $200 per bag measuring 63 to 80 linear inches. Delta won’t accept a bag measuring more than 80 linear inches.

    There may be different fees and maximum baggage measurements for international flights.

Pictures: Getty Images

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