Advertiser Disclosure

RewardExpert.com is an independent, advertising-supported web site. RewardExpert.com receives compensation from many credit card issuers whose offers appear on our site. Compensation from our advertising partners impacts how and where their products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within review lists. RewardExpert.com has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace.

Best Credit Cards for Free Checked Bags of 2017

Jennifer Blocker
Updated on: 07/04/2017

Aside from the ability to earn free or cheap airfare, one of the most popular benefits of airline and travel credit cards is free checked bags. The savings can add up quickly, especially if you are an avid traveler. Remember to always use your airline credit card to pay for your flight and to include your frequent flyer number. Most carriers require both in order to get a free checked bag.

Top Rated Credit Cards for Avoiding Baggage Fees

No one likes paying baggage fees, and many of us will go to great lengths to avoid them. Some people wear several layers of clothing instead of packing an extra bag, while others will travel light, hoping that there will be laundry facilities at their destination. You can even buy specially designed clothing that can hold up to 15 kilos for the purpose of beating bag fees. Skip all the nonsense and use an airline or travel credit card to get free checked bags.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on American Airlines Purchases
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
AAdvantage®
Rating
80
  • 30,000 bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
    • 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %25% savings on purchases on American Airlines flights

Travel Benefits

In-Flight Savings:

Receive a 25 percent discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your AAdvantage credit card on American Airlines flights.

Priority Boarding:

Get on board American Airlines flights early and claim that overhead bin space before it fills up.

Free Checked Bag:

First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions.

Why should you get this card?

  • Good Sign-Up Bonus: The standard 30,000 -mile sign-up bonus is worth at least $450 in flights and can easily get you a domestic round-trip ticket.
  • Free Checked Bag: You and up to 5 people on your itinerary get a free checked bag. That’ll save you $50 per person per bag for a round-trip flight.
  • 10% Miles Refund: Get 10 percent of your miles back after redeeming them for flights. That’s basically a discount on every booking.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you fly American Airlines, the AA credit card can be a great value for the money. The sign-up bonus in conjunction with the waived annual fee for the first year makes it a risk-free proposition. And 30,000 AAdvantage miles can take you on a round-trip journey to any destination in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America.

Then there are the perks and benefits you’ll enjoy at no additional cost, such as free checked bags, a 10 percent mile refund and reduced mileage awards. Even double miles for American Airlines purchases is a worthy benefit, considering how hard it is to earn AAdvantage miles since the cheapest seats now earn only half the standard miles.

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year.
  • Fly to great destinations on American Airlines operated flights for up to 7,500 fewer AAdvantage® miles! So you'll save your AAdvantage® miles for another trip. Visit aa.com/reducedmileageawards for more information.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months).
  • First checked bag is free.
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights.
  • Receive a 25% savings on eligible in–flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on American Airlines Purchases
  • 2xMiles on Gas
  • 2xMiles on Car Rental
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
AAdvantage®
Rating
80
  • 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
    • Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year of cardmembership
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %25% savings on purchases on American Airlines flights

Travel Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

Whether using your card at home or overseas, you don’t have to worry about incurring foreign transaction fees.

In-Flight Savings:

Feeling a little peckish or parched? With your card, you’ll receive a 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines.

Companion Pass

Each year you spend $30,000 or more on the card, you can earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate for a free companion ticket. You only have to pay the taxes and fees, but the airfareis free!

Why should you get this card?

  • Big Sign-Up Bonus: The standard bonus is 30,000 miles, which is good. But American often offers up 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months, and that’s great!
  • Free Checked Bag: Without this card, you’d have to pay at least $25 per bag per person on each flight you take. But with this card, you and four companions get your first bag checked for free. Even if you just travel with one business colleague, that’s savings of $100 for one roundtrip if both of you check a bag. That savings can really add up!
  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get one mile per dollar spent on every purchase plus double miles on purchases with American Airlines and for telecommunications, rental cars and gas.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re a business owner looking to earn AA miles on credit card purchases, the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select is definitely right for you. Not only does the card come with a great sign-up bonus to boost your mileage account balance, but it also earns double miles for common business purchases, including rental cars, gas and telecommunications, and with American Airlines.

For the first year, you won’t pay the $95 annual fee, but the card is definitely worth keeping year after year due to the speed at which you can rack up AA miles. Furthermore, the annual fee isn’t so high that you need to put a lot of spend on the card to get your money’s worth. So even if you are a small business or don’t put a lot of expenses on credit, it’s still a great card to get.

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases on your card as well as other employee cards.
  • Fly to great destinations on American Airlines operated flights for up to 7,500 fewer AAdvantage® miles! So you'll save your AAdvantage® miles for another trip. Visit aa.com/reducedmileageawards for more information.
  • Receive a 25% savings on eligible in–flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • Receive employee cards at no additional cost plus, earn AAdvantage® miles for purchases made on employee cards and set a unique credit limit for each employee.
  • Quarterly & Annual Account Summaries.
  • First checked bag is free.
  • Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights.
  • Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year of cardmembership in which you spend $30,000 or more in purchases and renew your cardmembership.
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on Hawaiian Airlines Purchases
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$89
HawaiianMiles®
Rating
81
  • 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days
    • 5,000 annual bonus miles after spending $10,000 or more on purchases by your account anniversary
    • $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

When using the Hawaiian Airlines credit card overseas, cardholders won’t incur foreign transaction fees.

Free Checked Bag:

The cardholder receives one complimentary checked bag when flights are booked directly with Hawaiian Airlines and purchased with the Hawaiian Airlines credit card.

One-Time 50% Off Companion Discount:

Upon signing up for the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard, the cardholder will receive a one-time 50% companion discount for a round-trip coach fare between North American and Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines.

Why should you get this card?

  • Good Sign-Up Bonus: Earn a quick 35,000 miles that can easily be worth $525 in travel on Hawaiian Airlines and its partners.
  • Free Checked Bags: When you pay for your Hawaiian Airlines flight with your Hawaiian Airlines credit card, you get a complimentary checked bag worth $25 per segment.
  • Discounted Award Flights: Cardholders receive access to discounted mileage costs for award booking.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Hawaiian Airlines credit card comes with several benefits right off the bat, including a sign-up bonus of 35,000 HawaiianMiles and a one-time 50% discount on a companion ticket. Cardholders also receive one complimentary checked bag on flights with Hawaiian Airlines and an annual bonus of 5,000 HawaiianMiles when they spend $10,000 by the account anniversary. Finally, the ShareMiles program allows free transfer of miles into their HawaiianMiles account.

If you’re looking for a big boost to your HawaiianMiles account, the 35,000-mile sign-up bonus is a great move, even though the annual fee of $89 is not waived the first year.

  • Earn 35,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 5,000 annual bonus miles after spending $10,000 or more in purchases by your account anniversary.
  • Earn 2X miles on eligible purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Earn 1X miles on all other purchases with no mileage caps.
  • No blackout dates plus access to discounted award flights on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made in another country.
  • Enjoy a COMPLIMENTARY 1ST CHECKED BAG for the primary cardmember when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Get $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America at each account anniversary.
  • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is easier and more secure.
  • Enjoy bonus miles at select partners.
  • Special perks like 24/7 Concierge Service, lost luggage reimbursement, travel assistance services, car rental protection, unique experiences and VIP events.
  • Annual fee is $89/year.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3xMiles on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Purchases
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$75
Mileage Plan™
Rating
74
  • 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days
    • Free checked bag on Alaska and Virgin America flights for you and up to 6 other passengers on the same reservation
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • $121 companion fare

Travel Benefits

Alaska Airlines Annual Companion Pass:

Visa Signature® cardholders who make any combination of purchases totaling at least $1,000 that post to the account within 90 days of the account open date will qualify for a round-trip coach Companion Fare on Alaska Airline, with a base price of $99 plus taxes and fees.

Alaska Airlines Free Checked Bag:

Primary cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card who have an open account at the time of travel may check 1 bag free of charge for themselves and up to 6 passengers traveling on the same reservation on both Alaska and Virgin America flights.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You’ll never be charged a fee for using your card outside of the U.S.

Why should you get this card?

  • Companion Fare: The annual companion fare allows a family member or friend to accompany you on a flight for just $121. This can result in huge savings when used for relatively expensive fares.
  • Valuable Sign-Up Bonus: The 35,000 mile sign-up bonus is worth $450 if you redeem at a reasonable valuation of 1.5 cents per mile. However, even greater value is possible. More Lenient Bank: Bank of America has not imposed restrictions on earning sign-up bonuses or opening new accounts like many of the large credit card issuing banks.
  • More Lenient Bank: Bank of America has not imposed restrictions on earning sign-up bonuses or opening new accounts like many of the large credit card issuing banks.

Our Expert's Conclusion

Those looking for low cost international premium cabin awards. Alaska’s partner award charts offer substantial savings over most competitors in this area.

West Coast-based travelers looking for cheap short-haul awards. Alaska’s distance-based award chart combined with its West Coast network allows for cheaper award tickets on short-haul economy awards.

  • Up to 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining.
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America.
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem miles for flights on Alaska Airlines and over a dozen of our global airline partners.
  • 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days.
  • Annual companion fare from US$121 ($99, plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • Best frequent-flyer affinity credit card as voted by the readers of Global Traveler Magazine (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on American Airlines Purchases
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$450
AAdvantage®
Rating
81
  • 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months
    • 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %25% savings on purchases on American Airlines flights

Travel Benefits

Admirals Club Membership:

Lounge membership includes access for the cardholder and their immediate family or two guests. Authorized users, which can be added at no cost, also get full lounge access.

In-Flight Savings:

Receive a 25 percent discount in the form of a credit statement on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.

Reduced Mileage Awards:

Save between 2,000 and 7,500 AAdvantage miles when booking one-way and round-trip flights on select routes.

Why should you get this card?

  • Sign-Up Bonus: You will earn 75,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. The bonus is enough to book two round-trip flights within the U.S. or to the Caribbean.
  • Free Checked Bags: Most co-branded airline cards offer this perk, and the Citi AA Executive Card is no exception. Check a bag for yourself and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation.
  • Admirals Club Membership: Escape the busy terminal and enjoy an adult beverage and free Wi-Fi while you relax in a quiet lounge.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit: Enroll in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and receive an application fee reimbursement once every five years.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you live in an American Airlines’ hub city, such as Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, and fly with the airline often, then the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard could be a good option for you. If you’re looking for airline perks, the card has got you covered with free checked bags, priority boarding and complimentary lounge access.

The downside for many travelers is the card’s high annual fee and weak rewards earning structure. Unless you pay for airfare often, it might take a while to accumulate enough miles for an award ticket. However, frequent flyers can easily justify the $450 fee by using Admirals Club lounges every time they travel.

  • Earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $7,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Receive a 25% savings on eligible in–flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
  • Every year (January through December billing statement), when you reach $40,000 in spending on purchases, you will earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines.
  • Admirals Club® membership including access to more than 50 lounge locations worldwide. Up to two guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) may accompany the member.
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users even if you aren’t traveling with them.
  • Receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre√ ®.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3xPoints on Airfare
  • 2xPoints on Dining, Hotels, Travel, Gas and Groceries
  • 1xPoints on Car Rental
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $195
Membership Rewards®
Rating
95
  • 25,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • $100 airline fee credit

Travel Benefits

Free checked bags:

First and second checked bags are free for cardholders

The Hotel Collection:

Get a $75 credit for activities if you book two consecutive nights at participating hotels through Amex Travel.

Airline Fee Credit:

Get an annual $100 fee credit that can cover bag fees, in-flight purchases, change fees and more with one airline of your choice.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points for airfare booked directly with airlines, dining out, fuel and snacks at gas stations, groceries at supermarkets and Uber rides—and there’s no cap on the number of points you can earn. Points will add up quickly, and so will your trips!
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: The airline fee credit can be used toward checked bags, seat upgrades, taxes on award flights and onboard meals and entertainment. It’s even possible to buy gift cards from some airlines for later use. The credit applies automatically whenever an eligible charge is made.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Although not the biggest sign-up bonus we’ve seen for an Amex card, 25,000 Membership Rewards points are enough to book a round-trip domestic flight. If travel is not in your plans at the moment, the points are worth at least $250 in statement credits.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a travel rewards cards with fantastic earning potential, the Premier Rewards Gold card is it. In fact, no other Membership Rewards card offers such significant reward rates. Additionally, you can earn 25,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first three months.

The points can be transferred to partners or used as cash through the Amex travel center, which offers a choice for purchasing a ticket with points when award seats aren’t available. Flexibility in both earning and redeeming is one of the strongest features of this card.

  • Earn 25,000 Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Memership.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then $195.
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • 3X points for airfare purchased directly from airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets.
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards points at amextravel.com.
  • 1X points on other purchases.
  • You can get 2x Membership Rewards® points per eligible dollar spent, in addition to a $75 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights at participating properties, at americanexpress.com/hc.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit.
  • Membership Rewards® program - use points for rewards from over 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment. You can transfer points to our selection of frequent traveler programs.
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Bonuses & Rewards
Annual Fee
Rewards Program
Rating
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on tickets purchased from United
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
Annual Fee
$95
MileagePlus®
Rating
77
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
    • 5,000 bonus miles after you add the first authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your Card during the first 3 months
    • 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 on purchases on your Card each calendar year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • 2United Club℠ passes each year

Travel Benefits

Priority Boarding:

The primary cardmember and companions on the same reservation will be invited to board United-operated flights prior to general boarding.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection:

Cardholders receive the benefits of the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (LHRC) program when booking through an LHRC travel specialist.

Complimentary United Club Passes:

Enjoy airport lounge access with two free United Club passes every year you have the card.

Why should you get this card?

  • Big Sign-Up Bonus: The 40,000-mile sign-up bonus can get you at least $750 in travel. If you are strategic with your miles, it could be worth over $1,500.
  • Free Checked Bags: Between you and your companion, you can save up to $100 in checked baggage fees per round-trip booking.
  • Extra Award Availability: Cardholders get access to extra saver level award space and guaranteed standard level award space when flights are available for purchase.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great sign-up bonus to help you book free flights with United or one of its Star Alliance partners, the MileagePlus Explorer card might be just what you need. With a 40,000-mile sign- up bonus, you’ll be well on your way.

Since the annual fee waived for the first year, you have time to see if the card is right for you before making a long-term decision. After the first year, the annual fee will be 95 .

  • Get 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus miles after you add the first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Each calendar year, you are eligible to receive one 10,000-mile bonus after you reach $25,000 in purchases on your Card.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United.
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free first checked bag – a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip.
  • Priority boarding.
  • 2 United ClubSM passes each year for your travel.
  • Use miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • Enjoy luxury hotel & resort collection privileges.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Compare No Baggage Fee Credit Cards

Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.

Credit Card
Bonuses & Rewards
First Year Rewards
FEES
RE® value
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 35,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$989
FEES
-$89
RE® value
$900
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$860
FEES
-$75
RE® value
$785
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

More Details
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 75,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,694
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,244
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$892
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$892
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card

United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,249
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,249
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Business Platinum Card®

Business Platinum Card®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,539
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,089
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$910
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$910
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,387
FEES
-$99
RE® value
$1,288
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,071
FEES
-$69
RE® value
$1,002
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,071
FEES
-$99
RE® value
$972
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 35,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,035
FEES
-$195
RE® value
$840
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$560
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$110
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,010
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$560
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
United MileagePlus® Club Card

United MileagePlus® Club Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$733
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$283
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,087
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$992
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$892
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$892
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$910
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$910
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$860
FEES
-$75
RE® value
$785
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

More Details
FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 FlexPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FlexPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,130
FEES
-$85
RE® value
$1,045
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 35,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,035
FEES
-$195
RE® value
$840
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card

FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 FlexPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FlexPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$880
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$880
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

More Details
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 25,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$987
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$987
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details

A Guide to Airline Baggage Fees and the Credit Cards that Can Help You Avoid Them

This guide is based on economy class tickets for domestic flights. Baggage policies vary, though most airlines allow passengers to bring a free carry-on, but charge for checked bags. JetBlue and Southwest Airlines are two exceptions. JetBlue allows all passengers to check their first bag for free, and Southwest Airlines gives passengers up to two free checked bags. On the other end of the spectrum, Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant will charge you to bring a carry-on bag.

You can avoid all of this by getting a credit card that gives you a free checked bag. Note that authorized credit card users typically get many of the same benefits that primary cardholders enjoy, but checked baggage waivers aren’t often one of them. They do not receive their own free bag when traveling on their own, though they may get a free checked bag when traveling with the primary cardholder on the same reservation.

Be sure to measure your bags. This is important as the baggage fee waiver included with most of these credit cards may not be used if the bag is oversize or overweight. On top of that, you may be charged additional fees.

A checked bag must be 62 inches or less in total size, which is calculated by adding together the bag’s width, length and height. Just measure all of the dimensions and add them together to figure out your bag’s total size. Some airlines are sticklers and include the wheels and handle in their measurements, so be sure to consider that. It’s best to be on the safe side as fees for oversized or overweight bags can be steep.

  • Delta:

    Baggage Fees: $25 each way for the first bag and $35 each way for the second. Additional Bags range between $125 to $200 each way, depending on destination and size. Overweight fee is $90 to $175, and the oversize fee is $175.
    Bag Criteria: Must not be over 50 Pounds and must not be more than 62 inches, including length, width and height.
    Credit Cards to Avoid Delta Baggage Fees: If you have either a Gold or Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card or a Delta Reserve card, you can check a free bag for you and up to eight other companions traveling on the same reservation. This applies to both the consumer and business versions of these cards, which are issued by American Express. To get your free bags, your reservation must include your SkyMiles number. This can be a value of up to $450 per round trip.

  • United:

    Baggage Fees: $25 each way for the first bag and $35 each way for the second. Additional bags cost $100 each way. The overweight fee is $100 and the fee for an oversized bag is $200.
    Bag Criteria: The size of the bag must not be over 62 inches, including handles and wheels. However, the weight of the bag is based on the traveler’s MileagePlus Premier status. General economy passengers and those with silver status have a weight limit of 50 pounds, while Premier Gold and Platinum members have a weight limit of 70 pounds.
    Credit Cards to Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees: The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer and United MileagePlus Club cards both offer a free checked bag. The Club card also allows for a second free checked bag. Both the primary cardholder and one traveling companion are eligible for the free bags. To get the benefit, you must buy the tickets with your MileagePlus credit card and include your MileagePlus number in the reservation. You can also get a free bag with award tickets as long as you pay the taxes and fees with your United credit card. The Explorer card can save you up to $100 per round-trip ticket, and the Club card can save up to $240.

  • American Airlines:

    Baggage Fees: $25 each way for the first bag and $35 each way for the second. Additional Bags will run you $150 each way. The oversize and overweight fees are $200.
    Bag Criteria: Must not be over 50 pounds and must not be more than 62 inches, including length, width and height.
    Credit Cards to Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees: Citibank and Barclaycard both offer United credit cards that include free luggage. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard, CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard and AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard all allow for one free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to four persons traveling on the same reservation. You must purchase the ticket with your credit card and include your frequent flyer number in the reservation. This can save up to $250 on a round-trip ticket.

  • Alaska Airlines:

    Baggage Fees: $25 each way for the first bag and $25 each way for the second. Additional bags cost $75. The overweight and oversize fees are $75. Only one additional fee will be charged per bag.
    Bag Criteria: Must not be over 50 pounds or more than 62 inches, including length, width and height.
    Credit Cards to Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees: The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Visa Business credit cards come with a free checked bag. Up to six passengers on the same reservation can also check one baggage item for free. This is a value of up to $350 per roundtrip.

  • Hawaiian Airlines:

    Baggage Fees: $25 each way for the first bag and $35 each way for the second. Additional Bags cost $100. The overweight fee ranges between $50 and $200. The oversize fee is $200.
    Bag Criteria: Must not be over 50 pounds or more than 62 inches, including length, width and height.
    Credit Cards to Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees: Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard allows for one free checked bag for just the primary cardholder. The plane ticket must be purchased with the card. You will not receive a free checked bag if you purchase your ticket from a third party, such as a travel agent or booking site. This is a savings of $50 per round-trip ticket.

  • Aeromexico:

    Baggage Fees: First checked bag is free. A second checked bag will be $58. A third or fourth bag costs $163 if booked through the call center. Overweight bags will be an additional $18 per kilogram. An oversized bag can incur a fee of $160.
    Bag Criteria: Must not be over 50 pounds or more than 62 inches, including length, width and height.
    Credit Cards to Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees: All of the Aeromexico Visa cards branded by U.S. Bank allow for up to two free checked bags for the primary cardholder only. This includes the Aeromexico secured Visa. You must present your Aeromexico credit card at the ticket counter to get your free checked bag. The Visa secured credit card is among the best in its class. A prepaid credit card with a baggage waiver is not easy to come by. This can save $100 per round-trip ticket.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our FAQ. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

  • If your bag is oversize or overweight, it will not be eligible to be a free checked bag. Be careful because with some airlines you may be charged for the bag in addition to the overweight and oversize baggage fee. Be sure to measure your bag correctly. Most bags are required to be less than 50 pounds and no more than 62 inches. These fees are steep that you may be better off paying for two bags instead of one oversized or overweight bag.
  • For the most part, the amount of bags you have will be counted as such. Therefore, you will most likely be charged whatever the airline charges for a second and third bag, even if you get the first one for free. These credit cards give you a free checked bag; they don’t hide or erase the fact that you brought one. Fees for a third bag are high, so check with the airline first. To avoid the fee, consider shipping the bag instead.
  • JetBlue allows everyone to check one bag for free, and Southwest Airlines allows for two pieces of luggage for free. Most other carriers charge around $25 for your first checked bag. Spirit Airlines, it’s worth noting, charges $45.
    Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant also charge for carry-on bags. If you are not loyal to a single airline, there are several cards that are not airline specific that offer credits that can be used toward checked baggage fees on any carrier. The Platinum card from American Express, for example, gives cardholders an annual $200 travel credit that can be used toward travel-related expenses, such as baggage fees or lounge access.
  • Regardless of what airline credit card you have, you will usually only get baggage privileges on that airline and not its global partners or codeshare flights. An exception to this may be if you have a connecting flight with one of their partners, but the flight originates with the carrier branded by your credit card.

    If your airline credit card has helped you attain a certain status within its frequent flyer program, you can usually get a free bag that way. Airline credit cards are the easiest way to raise your rank within a frequent flyer program. When you reach a certain level within your frequent flyer program, it usually translates to having a higher status in their global airline alliance.

  • Most of the credit cards that offer free checked bags have an annual fee. However, several of them waive the fee for the first year. The annual fee for a credit card that offers complimentary checked bags can range from $45 to $450.

    Keep in mind the higher the annual fee, the greater the benefits will be available to you. For instance, with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card that has a $49 annual fee will give you a $25 travel credit per award flight, which can cover a checked bag on most airlines.

    However, the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card will give you up to nine waivers per flight for traveling companions on the same reservation. This can be a value of up to $450 per round-trip flight . The annual fee for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex is only $95, which is waived for the first year.

    The value of the perk will ultimately depend on how much you travel and who you travel with. This is just an example of how paying a little more for a card can save you a lot more money.

  • Usually airlines will not allow you to stack complimentary baggage benefits. This means if you get a checked bag with your credit card, you will not get an additional bag through your frequent flyer program. Even if you get two bags by having elite status with a frequent flyer program and one through your credit card, you will get a total of only two free bags.

    Another example: you may be eligible to get a free checked bag for traveling on an international flight, one through your frequent flyer program and another from your credit card. In total, you will still get only one free checked bag.

    However, if you have at least gold status in the MileagePlus program, you can increase the weight of your free checked bags by 20 pound. That means you can bring a bag that weighs up to 70 pounds, instead of 50.

    Another example where your frequent flyer status can get you more baggage is if you’re an AAdvantage gold member. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard allows for a first checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to four people, while AAdvantage Gold status does not limit the number of traveling companions which can receive a free bag. Therefore, technically you can get more free bags that way. But you still would not be able to get a second bag for yourself unless it is under one of the other people on your reservation.

  • Paying fees for baggage was introduced in 2008 by American Airlines, who at that time charged $15 for your first checked bag. This was supposed to be temporary measure to offset the high price of fuel during at that time.

    However, other carriers began to follow suit, and within no time most major airlines were charging baggage fees. The temporary seems to have turned to permanent, and the costs are rising every day. And forget about it if you are considering a third bag. This could set you back over a hundred dollars one way. That’s not including the fees for the first two bags you checked.

  • Specifics per card may vary, but some credits are automatic while others may require some action on your part. With the Platinum card from Amex, for instance, you must choose an airline in which you want your incidental travel fee credit to go toward. When you use your credit card with your chosen airline, you or any authorized users will automatically be credited. You may change you chosen airline annually in January. The total credit is $200 for the account, not per card on the account. The credit can take two to four weeks to appear.

    With the U.S. Bank credit card you must call customer service to claim the credit. In any case, if you do not see the credit within six weeks, call the member services number on the back of your card and let them know.

  • I travel a lot as well, but I am not sure if there is a limit to how many times you can use the free checked bag benefit. If there is, I have not come across it yet. Also, I have looked through the terms and conditions of many credit cards as I am always trying to get the most out of my cards. I have not yet seen anything about there being an annual limit.

    However, some travel cards limit your checked bags as you can only get a certain amount of credit per year, like the Platinum card which allows for a $200 credit annually. By the same token, some other travel cards may offer a credit that can be used every time you fly. With U.S. Bank FlexPerks, you can claim the $25 credit anytime you book an award travel ticket with FlexPerks.

More Questions & AnswersLess Questions & Answers