Credit Cards

Never Pay For Checked Luggage Again With These Airline Credit Cards


Editorial IndependenciaWe want to help you make more informed decisions. Certain clearly marked links on this page may take you to a partner website and may earn us a referral fee. For more information, see How we make money.

Today, airlines charge between $30 and $40 for a one-way checked bag. But with the right credit card, you can reduce this out-of-pocket expense on your next flight.

The right airline credit card can get you and your travel companions a free checked bag or two on your next flight. It’s one of the travel perks that can offset the annual fee charged by most airline credit card issuers.

For example, you can spend $70 roundtrip for a checked bag with United Airlines. But the United℠ Explorer Card offers one free checked bag for you and one travel companion. You’ll reduce the card’s $95 annual fee if you take advantage of this benefit on a roundtrip flight with you and a friend. All you have to do is book the flight with your card and make sure your friends are on your reservation.

pro tip

Even if your checked bag isn’t free, be sure to pay for it with your credit card if you have travel protections to cover your bag in case of loss or damage.

If you’re planning a few flights this year, the cost of checked luggage can add up quickly, and an airline credit card is one way to save money. Here are cards that offer free checked bags, how much you and your family can save with free checked bags on your next flight, and what else to consider if you’re thinking about getting an airline credit card.

Airline credit cards with free checked baggage

american airlines

Typically, the first checked bag is $30 and the second bag is $40 each way for domestic American Airlines flights. But with the right American Airlines credit card, you and your fellow travelers can check in one piece of baggage for free if they’re included in your reservation and the flights are booked with your American Airlines credit card. These are the cards that offer free checked bags and how many guests can check their bags for free:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®: First checked bag is free for up to eight travel companions on your reservation.
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: First checked bag is free for up to four traveling companions on your reservation.
  • Aviator® Silver Mastercard®: Free first checked bag for up to eight fellow travelers on your reservation.
  • Aviator® Red Mastercard®: Free first checked bag for up to four fellow travelers on your reservation.
  • Aviator® Business Mastercard®: Free first checked bag for up to four fellow travelers on your reservation.

delta airlines

The first bag checked for Delta Airlines is $30 each way and $40 for the second bag. All Delta credit cards offer the first checked bag free for cardholders and up to eight traveling companions on the reservation. You must have a Delta SkyMiles account and pay for your flight with your credit card.

Keep in mind that the annual fee of each card varies, although the number of companions is the same for each one. The Delta SkyMiles Gold Card may be a good option if you don’t travel as often because of its $99 annual fee after the first year, compared to the Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Reserve Cards which have higher annual fees.

These are the Delta credit cards that include free checked bags for cardholders and their companions:

Southwest Airlines

Even if you’re not a cardholder, Southwest offers two free checked bags for domestic flights. Bags must be within size and weight limits. Each additional bag, including oversized and overweight bags, costs $75 each way. Southwest still offers several credit cards to earn rewards on everyday spending, then redeem your points for Southwest flights and travel partners.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airlines charges $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second bag for domestic flights, depending on the class of travel. The JetBlue Plus Credit Card offers the first checked bag free for you and the three guests listed on your reservation.

Free checked baggage does not apply to the JetBlue card, but you’ll still get other airline and cardholder benefits, like food and beverage discounts.

united airlines

United Airlines generally charges $35 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second bag each way, depending on your domestic flight (you can use the airline’s baggage calculator to determine your costs and see if you qualify for any discounts). The airline also offers a luggage subscription that starts at $349, but you’ll get more perks and travel rewards with a United Airlines credit card, even with an annual fee.

Most United cardholders get their first and second checked bags free on United and United Express flights when they book with their eligible credit card. These are the United credit cards that offer free checked bags:

  • United℠ Explorer Card: Free first checked bag for a fellow traveler on your booking.
  • United Quest℠ Card: First and second checked bags are free for one travel companion on your reservation.
  • United Club℠ Infinite Card: First and second checked bags are free for one travel companion on your reservation.
  • Presidential Plus℠ Card: First and second checked bags are free for one travel companion on your reservation.
  • Presidential Plus℠ Business Card: First and second checked bags are free for one travel companion on your reservation.
  • United℠ Business Card: Free first checked bag for a travel companion on your reservation
  • United Club℠ Business Card: First and second checked bags are free for one travel companion on your reservation.
  • Introductory Offer:
  • Annual quota:

    $450

  • ordinary APR:

    16.74% – 25.74% (varies)

  • Recommended Credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • More informationexternal link icon On our partner’s secure site
  • Introductory Offer:
  • Annual quota:

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

  • ordinary APR:

    16.49% – 25.49% Variable

  • Recommended Credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexternal link icon On our partner’s secure site View Rates & Charges, terms apply.
  • Introductory Offer:
  • Annual quota:

    $99

  • ordinary APR:

    15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable depending on your solvency.

  • Recommended Credit:

    740-850 (Excellent)

  • Learn moreexternal link icon On our partner’s secure site View Rates & Charges, terms apply.

Airline baggage fees

The savings you’ll get with free checked bags can add up quickly. Even if you only take one round trip a year, you can save up to $75 each way. Please note that baggage fees may depend on the class of flight, whether you are traveling on a domestic or international flight, and the number of bags you check. Here’s a breakdown of baggage fees from the major airlines.

Cost of the first checked bag Cost of the second checked bag
american airlines $30 $40
delta airlines $30 $40
JetBlue Airlines $35 $45
Southwest Airlines $0 $0
united airlines $35 $45

What to look for in a travel credit card

If you’re considering getting an airline or travel credit card to earn rewards for future travel, be sure to weigh the benefits, fees, and bonus categories to get the full value of the card. The card could be a good fit for your wallet if you’re already an airline loyalist, a frequent flyer, or if you check a bag on most flights. Here’s what to consider:

Your Preferred Airline

If you’re loyal to an airline, check your list of destinations to make sure you can book the most flights with the airline and maximize your rewards. For example, if you love Southwest perks like free checked bags, upgrades, and discounted lounge access, but don’t fly to or from the airline’s locations, you may not get the value. card total. You can choose a travel credit card to redeem rewards for flights and hotels for the best deal instead of brand loyalty.

Bonus Categories

Make sure the card’s bonus categories align with your everyday spending to maximize your rewards without overspending. For example, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card offers 3X ​​miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X miles at restaurants worldwide and US supermarkets, and 1X miles on everything else.

But the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers 3X ​​points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming. If your spending doesn’t match the categories, you won’t be able to maximize your rewards.

Fee

Most airline and travel credit cards come with an annual fee, but the cards come with credits and discounts to offset the fee. As an example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard has an annual fee of $450 after the first year. But the card includes a $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit, lounge access, 25% off in-flight purchases and more benefits for up to eight companions to offset the cost. If you know you’ll be using the card’s benefits often, the annual fee may be worth it.

Otherwise, you can choose a travel rewards cash back card that doesn’t have an annual fee to earn rewards at no additional cost.

Cardholder Benefits

Most travel and airline credit cards come with perks for the cardholder that would otherwise cost extra. Before choosing a card, make sure the benefits align with the Cardholder’s benefits, such as lounge access, free upgrades, food and beverage discounts, and more. If you take advantage of the credit card benefits, you will get the full value of the card and improve your trip. But if the benefits aren’t attractive or you won’t be using them often, you can choose another card that aligns with your habits.

Related Articles