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Your Complete Guide For Free Checked Bags Benefits [2021]

- Sep 5, 2021 Credit Card Info, Travel0 comments

Saving money. There are those who love it and those who…greatly like it. 

So if there’s a way for you to avoid paying for baggage when you fly, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

Many airline credit cards come along with some sort of free baggage benefit, but every card’s nuances are different. 

Firstly, some airlines offer free baggage for the first checked bag, while some offer two checked bags for free.

Additionally, with some airlines, the benefit can be used by your travel companions as well, and some, are not that generous.

And finally, in order to get the free baggage benefit, you need to book the tickets properly. 

In this post, we’ll go through the various nuances of the free baggage benefit offered by the different airline credit credits

Before we get started, it’s important to note that the benefit of free baggage can’t be used as a coupon. (In other words, it can’t be “clipped” and “saved”.)

When would you want to use it as a coupon? Say your ticket comes along with a free checked bag and you’re traveling with two suitcases, the second bag will not be covered by the credit card if the credit card only offers your first bag checked-free. In other words, the benefit can only be used in a case where the first checked bag is not free.

American Airlines

American Airlines has many credit cards that come along with a free checked bag benefit. 

Do I need to book the flight with my AA card in order to get the free checked bag?

No. As long as you get the card before departure and add your mileage number to your reservation (at least 7 days prior to departure), you will get the benefit.

Which American Airlines credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee Free-checked bag
Barclays Aviator Red   $99 (waived 1st year) First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on domestic American Airline flights.
Barclays Aviator Business  $95 First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on domestic American Airline flights.
Barclays Aviator  $0 N/A
Citi AAdvantage Executive Club $450 First checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions on American Airlines domestic flights.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum  $99 (waived 1st year) First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on domestic American Airline flights. 
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Business  $99 (waived 1st year) First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on domestic American Airline flights. 
Citi MileUp $0 N/A

Alaska

Alaska Airlines has two credit cards issued by Bank Of America. Both offer free baggage. 

Do I need to book the flight with my Alaska Airline card in order to get the free checked bag?

No. As long as you get the card before departure and add your mileage number to your reservation. 

Which Alaska Airlines credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee  Free-checked bag
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card $75 First checked bag free for you and up to 6 companions on domestic and international flights. 
Alaska Airline Business $50 First checked bag free for you and up to 6 companions domestic and international flights. 

Delta

Delta has a total of 7 credit cards all issued by Amex. Here is the list of the ones that offer free baggage. 

Do I need to book the flight with my Delta card in order to get the free checked bag?

No. As long as you get the card before departure and add your mileage number to your reservation.

Which Delta credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee Free-checked bag
Delta Blue  $0 N/A
Amex Delta Gold $99 (waived 1st year) Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation.
Amex Platinum Delta $250 Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation
Delta Reserve  $550 Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation
Gold Delta Business  $99 (waived 1st year) Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation
Platinum Delta Business  $250 Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation
Delta Reserve Business  $550 Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation. To qualify, make sure to include your SkyMiles number on your reservation

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has a personal and a business credit card. Only the Hawaiian personal credit card offers a free checked bag benefit.

Do I need to book the flight with my Hawaiian Airlines card in order to get the free checked bag? 

As per Hawaiian credit card terms, you will need to book your flight using your Hawaiian credit card in order to be eligible for a free checked bag

Which Hawaiian Airlines credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee Free-checked bag
Hawaiian Airlines  $99 First checked bag free. The ticket must be purchased with your Hawaiian Airlines credit card and your mileage number must be added to the reservation.
Hawaiian Airlines Business  $99 N/A

JetBlue

JetBlue cards are issued by Barclays bank and most come along with a first checked bag free benefit. 

Do I need to book the flight with my JetBlue card in order to get the free checked bag? No. As long as you get the card before departure and add your mileage number to your reservation at least 7 days before departure.

Which JetBlue credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee Free-checked bag
JetBlue Plus $99 First checked bag is free for you and up to 3 companions. To qualify, make sure to include your TrueBlue number on your reservation
JetBlue Business  $99 .First checked bag is free for you and up to 3 companions. To qualify, make sure to include your TrueBlue number on your reservation
JetBlue $0 N/A

United

United has 6 credit card products, all issued by Chase. Most of the United credit cards come along with a first or even a second bag checked free. 

Do I need to book the flight with my United card in order to get the free checked bag? Yes. You will need to book the flight using your United credit card. Some readers reported being successful by filing a refund claim by United Refund to get a baggage charge refunded even if they did not use their United credit card when booking.

Which United credit cards offer free checked bags?

Annual fee Free-checked bag
United Club Infinite  $525 First and second checked bags are free for you and one companion on United flights. Plus receive a free carry-on bag even with a basic economy ticket. The ticket must be purchased with your United credit card and your MileagePlus number must be added to the reservation.
United Club Business  $450 First and second checked bags are free for you and one companion on United flights. Plus receive a free carry-on bag even with a basic economy ticket. The ticket must be purchased with your United credit card and your MileagePlus number must be added to the reservation.
United Quest  $250 First and second checked bags are free for you and one companion on United flights. Plus receive a free carry-on bag even with a basic economy ticket. The ticket must be purchased with your United credit card and your MileagePlus number must be added to the reservation.
United Explorer $95, (waived 1st year) First checked bag free for you and one companion on United flights. Plus receive a free carry-on bag even with a basic economy ticket. The ticket must be purchased with your United credit card and your MileagePlus number must be added to the reservation.
United Business  $99 (waived 1st year) First checked bag free for you and one companion on United flights. Plus receive a free carry-on bag even with a basic economy ticket. The ticket must be purchased with your United credit card and your MileagePlus number must be added to the reservation.
United Gateway $0 N/A

The following airlines do not offer free baggage:

Here is the list of airlines that don’t have a credit card that offers a checked bag for free. 

Free checked-bag
Southwest Airlines With Southwest Airlines, bags fly free. Southwest never charges for your first and second bags, even if you do not have their credit card. 
Spirit Airlines  No Spirit airline credit card offers free checked bags 
Frontier Airlines  No Frontier airline credit card offers free checked bags
ELAL No ELAL airline credit card offers free checked bags
British Airways  No British Airways US credit card offers free checked bags
AirFrance KLM No AirFrance KLM US credit card offers free checked bags
Emirates  No Emirates  US credit card offers free checked bags
Allegiant  No Allegiant US credit card offers free checked bags
Virgin Atlantic  No Virgin Atlantic credit card offers free checked bags.

 

So, grab ‘em luggages and get traveling!

Frequently asked questions
If I have an Amex Platinum Delta card and I fly international (so I get 1 free bag) does my credit card get me a second bag free?
No. You only get the first bag free. If the first bag is free anyway then you don’t get a second bag
If I'm flying American Airlines this Wednesday, can I apply for their card and get a free checked bag?
Unfortunately, you need to get the card at least 7 days prior to departure

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Sam Sam has nearly a decade's worth of experience educating his many readers on everything credit. Sam spends his days checking out credit cards for a full report, from the minute benefit details to the shebang of welcome bonuses. Plus studying the ins and outs of building proper credit. It’s his favorite pastime and he loves sharing it with others.

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