When is your free checked bag free?


In response to yesterday’s post about Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance, one reader noted that they had to pay for flights with their airline credit card rather than their Sapphire Reserve card to get a free checked bag.  Is that true?  The answer depends on the airline.

Free Checked Bags
Do you qualify for a free checked bag?  Are you sure?

I created a new resource post, “Free Checked Bags via Credit Card Complete Guide,” where I listed the policies of the major US airlines with regards to free checked bags for credit card holders.  While creating that page, I found a few interesting things:

  • Only United and JetBlue require you to pay with the airline credit card in order to get your first bag free.  With AA, Delta, and Alaska, you can pay with any credit card and still get the free bag benefit.
  • With respect to companions, United is the stingiest and allows only 1 or 2 companions to check their first bag free (depending on which card you have)
  • With a few exceptions, American Airlines credit cards do not offer a free checked bag on international flights.  As far as I can tell, neither Delta nor United have similar restrictions.  UPDATE: On the other hand, AA allows 1 free checked bag to all passengers on Transatlantic routes, and 2 free checked bags on Transpacific routes.

Anyway, please check out the new page and it’s handy dandy “at a glance” chart: Free Checked Bags via Credit Card Complete Guide.

Here’s a preview of the handy dandy first bag free chart. Please click through for full details.
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