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How to get free checked bags on Delta Air Lines

There are several ways to avoid baggage fees.

If you’re booking a trip with Delta, you can save money on checked bags by opening a Delta credit card — but that’s not the only way. Here’s how to bring along your luggage without being hit by fees.

6 ways to get free checked bags

Delta offers free checked bags to Delta credit card holders, elite Medallion members and premium fare customers.

1. 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. All you have to do is open an eligible credit card with Delta.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 normally cost?

It normally costs $30 to check your first bag and $40 to check your second with Delta. You’ll pay more if the bag weighs more than 50 pounds or exceeds 62 inches in combined length, width and height.

First bagSecond bagThird bagEach additional bag
$30$40$150$200

Data obtained September 2021. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

For an exact quote, use the baggage calculator on Delta’s website. Note that you might pay more if you wait to pay for your checked bag at the airport, instead of online in advance.

Compare credit cards that get you free checked bags

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
Limited Time Offer: 70,000 miles after spending $2,000 in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
United℠ Explorer Card
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and restaurants and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Free checked bags 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 September 2021. 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.

Bottom line

The easiest ways to avoid baggage fees with Delta 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 to save money on checked baggage and reap other rewards too.

Pictures: Getty Images

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