Free Checked Bags via Credit Card Complete Guide

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Many airline credit cards offer free checked bags to cardholders. However, the details vary a lot by airline. Are international flights included? How about the bags of companions on the same reservation? Do you have to pay for the flight with the airline credit card? Find answers about free checked bags via credit card below…

a baby sleeping on a suitcase
Many airline credit cards offer free checked bags, but the details can be confusing. Tip: Even if you get free checked bags, I recommend bringing your kids along as carry-ons rather than trying to check them through.

General Info, Common Across Credit Cards

In all cases that I’ve found, baggage fee waivers are only for normal bag fees and do not include oversized bags or pets. Most credit cards allow a maximum of 1 free checked bag per person, but usually cover a free bag for at least one companion as well. Additionally, when you get free bags through other means (such as elite status), the baggage allowance is not cumulative. In other words, if your elite status allows 2 checked bags, you do not get 3 free checked bags. One exception is with the Hawaiian Airlines card which gives elite members one additional free checked bag. In all cases, free checked bags are available only to primary cardholders. Those with authorized user cards do not get this benefit.

Strategy for getting free checked bags

If you have a flight coming up where you plan to check bags, it can make sense to apply for an airline credit card to save some money. Ideally, you would be eligible for both a big welcome bonus and free checked bags for your flight. This strategy can be especially beneficial when traveling with a family since one card may cover a free checked bag for everyone traveling together (depending upon how many are traveling). For example, Delta Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cards offer free checked bags for the cardholder plus up to 8 companions traveling together. That can amount to huge savings.

The combination of checked bag savings and the value of points earned from a welcome bonus should easily make up for the airline card’s first year annual fee. When the second year annual fee comes due, if you don’t have a near term need for the card’s benefits, you can either cancel the card or, better yet, in some cases you can downgrade to a fee-free card which doesn’t offer free checked bags. Then, when you fly that airline again in the future, you may be able to upgrade before the flight in order to avoid paying for checked bags again. In that case, you’ll usually pay a prorated annual fee for the card.

Free Checked Bags via Credit Card Comparison Chart

AA Delta United Alaska JetBlue Hawaiian
Must pay with card to get free bag? No No Yes5 Yes No1 Yes6
Max # companions that get free first bag 4 or 82 8 1 or 23 6 3 0
Free bags on international flights? No4 Yes Yes Yes Yes No
# of days before flight that loyalty number must be attached to reservation 7  0  0 0 7 0
  1. JetBlue’s documentation states that you must pay with your card, but multiple readers have reported that this is not true in practice.
  2. Most American Airlines cards offer 4 companions with free first checked bag, but the following cards offer 8: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, and AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard.
  3. Most United Airlines cards offer 1 companion with free first checked bag, but the following cards offer 2 free checked bags for both the cardholder and one companion: United Quest Card, United Club Infinite Card, United Club Business Card, United Club Card (no longer available new), Presidential Plus Card (no longer available new), and Presidential Plus Business Card (no longer available new).
  4. This restriction is not as terrible as it sounds.  AA explicitly allows 1 free checked bag to all passengers on most international routes. More details can be found in the American Airlines’ section of this post.
  5. United’s purchase requirement is waived for flights completed during the 90 days following the account open date. In other words, you do not need to have paid for your flight with your United card to get a free checked bag if you’ve opened the card within 90 days of the flight.
  6. The Hawaiian Airlines card offers two free checked bags to the primary cardholder only (companions do not get this benefit) and only when booking directly through Hawaiian Airlines.

Alaska Airlines

Summary Info

  • Eligible credit cards: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, Alaska Airlines Visa Business, and Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard.
  • Prerequisites: Airfare must be purchased with your card and your Mileage Plan number must be on the reservation to qualify for this benefit. With Canadian credit cards, the primary cardholder must be traveling. With US-based credit cards, an eligible primary cardholder, authorized user or co-applicant of the card must be traveling to qualify for the first checked bag free benefit.
  • Eligible flights:If you’re flying on Alaska Airlines operated and ticketed flights, including flights operated for Alaska by Horizon, SkyWest, or PenAir (AS 001-999, 1000-1999, 2000-2999, 3300-3499), you are eligible for the first checked bag free benefit. If your flight connects to or from another airline, standard baggage fees will apply.
  • Other restrictions: For reservations made with group booking codes or through the group desk, you’re not eligible for receiving a free checked bag. This appears to only be the case for consumer cardholders; business cardholders don’t seem to have that restriction listed.
  • Official info: Alaska Airlines FAQ – First checked bag free benefit.

Alaska Credit Card Offers

Card Offer and Details
75K miles + Companion Fare ⓘ Non-Affiliate
75k miles + Companion Fare ($99 fare + taxes) after $3K spend in 90 days
$95 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: Alaska miles are quite valuable so this offer is better than it appears
Earning rate: 3X Alaska Airlines ✦ 2x gas, EV charging, local transit, rideshare, cable, and select streaming services purchases ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by BOA. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $121 companion pass every year after $6K spend.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free first checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation ✦ Priority Boarding ✦ 10% bonus on earned miles with eligible BOA account ✦ During 2024, earn 4K EQMs/$10K spend, up to a maximum of 20K EQMs.
75K miles + Companion Fare ⓘ Non-Affiliate
75K miles + Companion Fare ($99 fare + taxes) after $4K spend in 3 months (enter any random 6-digit number for referral code)
$95 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: 70K after $4K in 3 months [Expired 4/23]
FM Mini Review: Alaska miles are quite valuable so this offer is better than it appears
Earning rate: 3X Alaska Airlines ✦ 2x gas, EV charging, shipping and local transit ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa issued by BOA. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $121 companion pass every year after $6K spend.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free first checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation ✦ 10% bonus on earned miles with eligible BOA business account ✦ During 2024, earn 4K EQMs/$10K spend, up to a maximum of 20K EQMs.

American Airlines

Summary Info

Free checked bags on AA international flights

The AA credit card free checked bag benefit is limited to domestic American Airlines operated itineraries. This is not as bad as it sounds. Even without an AA credit card, AA automatically allows a free checked bag for each passenger for most international flights as long as you’re not flying Basic Economy. Here are the flight destinations where AA offers a free checked bag:

  • All Transatlantic Flights (e.g. flights between North America and Europe, Africa, or the Middle East)
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • South Korea
  • Uruguay

If you are flying AA on an international flight that is not listed above, then you will have to pay for checked bags even if you are a cardholder.

AA Credit Card Offers

All current AA credit card offers are shown below. Please note that the AAdvantage MileUp Card, which has no annual fee, does not provide free checked bags.

Card Offer and Details
Up to 70K Miles ⓘ Friend-Referral
Up to 70K miles: 60k miles after 1st purchase and paying the annual fee within 90 days + 10K miles when you add an authorized user & they make a purchase within first 90 days.
$99 Annual Fee
Recent better offer: Up to 75K: 60K miles after first purchase and 15K after adding an authorized user and making one purchase on that card [Expired 2/24/24]
Earning rate: 2X AA ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn $99 + tax domestic companion certificate with $20K membership year spend.
Noteworthy perks: First checked bag free ✦ Preferred boarding for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions traveling on the same reservation ✦ 25% off in-flight purchases ✦ $25 wifi credit per membership year ✦ Flight cents: round up purchases to earn more miles
75K miles after $3,500 spend in first 4 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: None, this is the best we've seen.
FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for a great intro bonus. Plus it offers the usual collection of perks for flying AA (free checked bag, priority boarding, etc.)
Earning rate: 2X restaurants ✦ 2X gas ✦ 2X AA
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Citi. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $125 AA Flight Discount with $20K membership year spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ First checked bag free ✦ Priority Boarding ✦ Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases
Earn 10K AA miles after $500 spend in 3 months
No Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Not bad for grocery spend if you highly value AA miles
Earning rate: 2X grocery ✦ 2X AA ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Grocery: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Citi. This card imposes foreign transaction fees.
Noteworthy perks: Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases
75K miles after $5K spend in first 5 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Alternate Offer: There is an alternative offer of 30K + $400 credit that can be found when doing a dummy booking on aa.com.
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: This card usually has a great welcome bonus, but if you're looking for a card to keep long term, you'll find better options.
Earning rate: ✦ 2X AA ✦ 2X certain telecommunications merchants ✦ 2X car rental merchants ✦ 2X gas
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 2X (2.6%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Phone: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Mastercard World issued by Citi. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn $99 plus taxes domestic companion certificate after $30K spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ First checked bag free ✦ Priority Boarding ✦ Save 25% on inflight purchases
70K miles ⓘ Affiliate
70K miles after $7,000 spend in first 3 months
$595 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Good choice for those who need Admirals Club® access and those who value the Loyalty Points boosts at 50K and 90K Loyalty Points earned. Plus, it offers the usual collection of perks for flying AA (free checked bag, priority boarding, etc.) and some handy credits for Avis or Budget rentals and GrubHub.
Earning rate: 4X AA ✦ 10X hotels booked through AA.com/Hotels ✦ 10X car rentals booked through AA.com/Cars ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Brand: 4X (5.2%)
Other: 10X (13%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Citi. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ First Checked Bag Free ✦ Admirals Club® access for both primary and authorized users ✦ Up to $120 in statement credits per calendar year for car rentals booked directly with Avis or Budget ✦ Up to $120 per 12 monthly billing cycles for GrubHub purchases (up to $10 per monthly billing cycle) ✦ $10 monthly Lyft credit after you take 3 Lyft rides that calendar month ✦ 10K bonus Loyaty Points after earning 50K Loyalty points through all channels and another 10K bonus Loyalty Points after earning 90K Loyalty Points through all channels ✦ 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights ✦ Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Delta

Summary Info

Delta Credit Card Offers

All current Delta credit card offers are shown below. Please note that the Delta SkyMiles Blue Card, which has no annual fee, does not provide free checked bags.

Card Offer and Details
65k miles ⓘ Affiliate
65k after $6k spend in first 6 months. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
$350 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Good choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of annual companion certificate
Earning rate: 3X Delta ✦ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ✦ 1.5X on transit, eligible U.S. shipping, and purchases of $5K or more (up to $100K per year)
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 3X (3.9%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 1.5X (1.95%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) per $20 spent
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Annual $2,500 MQD Headstart ✦ Domestic, Caribbean, or Central American economy companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal ✦ Earn up to $200 as a statement credit each year after booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals with your Card through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits for purchases with select rideshare service providers [enrollment required] ✦ Priority boarding ✦ First checked bag free on Delta flights ✦ Complimentary Upgrade list: get added to the complimentary upgrade list after Delta elite members and Reserve cardmembers (ticket must be purchases on or after 2/1/24 to receive this benefit) ✦ Terms and Limitations Apply. (Rates & Fees)
50K miles ⓘ Affiliate
50K miles after $3K spend in 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
$350 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Good choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of annual companion certificate
Earning rate: 3X Delta ✦ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ✦ 2X restaurants ✦ 2X US Supermarkets
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 3X (3.9%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Grocery: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) per $20 spent
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Annual $2,500 MQD Headstart ✦ Domestic, Caribbean, or Central American economy companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal ✦ Earn up to $150 as a statement credit each year after booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals with your Card through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits for purchases with select rideshare service providers [enrollment required] ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants ✦ Priority boarding ✦ First checked bag free on Delta flights ✦ Complimentary Upgrade list: get added to the complimentary upgrade list after Delta elite members and Reserve cardmembers (ticket must be purchases on or after 2/1/24 to receive this benefit) ✦ Cell phone protection ✦ Terms and Limitations Apply. (Rates & Fees)
75K miles ⓘ Affiliate
75k after $10K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
$650 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of SkyClub access and companion certificate. Also a good choice for big spenders seeking Delta elite status.
Earning rate: 3X Delta ✦ 1.5X on eligible transit, U.S. shipping & office supply store purchases
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Office: 1.5X (1.95%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 1.5X (1.95%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) per $10 spent
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Domestic, Caribbean, or Central American economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ✦ SkyClub access (starting 2/1/25, 15 visits per year (after 15 visits have been used, additional visits can be purchased for $50 each) or earn unlimited visits after spending $75K/calendar year on the card ✦ 4 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ✦ Centurion Lounge access when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve card ✦ Earn up to $250 as a statement credit each year after booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals with your Card through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits for purchases with select rideshare service providers [enrollment required] ✦ Complimentary upgrades ✦ $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ✦ Priority boarding ✦ First checked bag free on Delta flights. ✦ Hertz President's Circle Status ✦ Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
60K Miles ⓘ Affiliate
60K miles after $5K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
$650 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of SkyClub access and companion certificate. Also a good choice for big spenders seeking Delta elite status.
Earning rate: 3X Delta
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) per $10 spent
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Annual $2,500 MQD Headstart ✦ Domestic, Caribbean, or Central American economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ✦ SkyClub access (starting 2/1/25, 15 visits per year (after 15 visits have been used, additional visits can be purchased for $50 each) or to earn an unlimited number of visits each year starting on 2/1/25, spend $75K or more on eligible purchases between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter. ✦ 4 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ✦ Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta ✦ Earn up to $200 as a statement credit each year after booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals with your Card through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants [enrollment required] ✦ Up to $10 per month in statement credits for purchases with select rideshare service providers [enrollment required] ✦ Complimentary upgrades ✦ One statement credit every 4 years for the $100 Global Entry application fee or one statement credit every 4.5 years for the $85 TSA Precheck application fee ✦ Priority boarding ✦ First checked bag free on Delta flights. ✦ Hertz President's Circle Status ✦ Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
55k miles ⓘ Affiliate
55k after $4k spend in first 6 months. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150
FM Mini Review: Priority boarding and first checked bag free make this a reasonably good option for Delta flyers who do not have elite status. However, those who can make use of an annual companion certificate would do better with the Delta Platinum card.
Earning rate: 2X Delta ✦ 2X U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and U.S. shipping purchases (capped at $50k per year starting 1/1/24)
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $200 Delta flight credit after $10K in purchases in a calendar year
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Get up to $150 back per year as a statement credit for prepaid hotels or vacation rentals booked through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Priority boarding, and first checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
40K miles ⓘ Affiliate
40K miles after $2K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150
FM Mini Review: Priority boarding, and free checked bag make this a reasonably good option for Delta flyers who do not have elite status. However, those who can make use of an annual companion certificate would do better with the Delta Platinum card.
Earning rate: 2X Delta ✦ 2x restaurants worldwide ✦ 2x US supermarkets
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Grocery: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $200 Delta flight credit after $10K in purchases in a calendar year
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ✦ Get up to $100 back per year as a statement credit for prepaid hotels or vacation rentals booked through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays ✦ Priority boarding and first checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
10K miles ⓘ Affiliate
10K miles after $1000 spend in the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
No Annual Fee
Note an unusual restriction: Welcome bonus not available if you've had another Delta consumer card in the past 90 days.
FM Mini Review: This card offers an OK welcome offer for a no-fee card, but many/most other cards offer better return for spend.
Earning rate: 2X restaurants worldwide ✦ 2X Delta ✦ 1X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: 20% statement credit on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and headsets Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

Hawaiian

Summary Info

The Hawaiian Airlines consumer card from Barclays now offers 2 free checked bags, but only to the primary cardholder. Companions on the same ticket do not get free checked bags.

Hawaiian Credit Card Offers

All current Hawaiian Airlines credit card offers are shown below.  Please note that the business card does not provide free checked bags.

Card Offer and Details
Up to 70K miles ⓘ Non-Affiliate
60K Miles after $2K spend in 90 days plus 10K miles after adding and making one purchase on an employee card, both within 90 days
$99 Annual Fee
Recent better offer: Expired 9/11/22: 80K + $99 statement credit after $2K spend in first 90 days
Earning rate: 3X Hawaiian Airlines ✦ 2x gas, dining, and office supply stores ✦ 1x everywhere else
Base: 1X (0.75%)
Dine: 2X (1.5%)
Gas: 2X (1.5%)
Office: 2X (1.5%)
Brand: 3X (2.25%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn up to 40,000 annual bonus miles — 20k miles with $50-$99k annual spend or 40k miles with $100k or more annual spend;
Noteworthy perks: One-time 50% off a companion discount on roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines
65K miles after one purchase in first 90 days by entering any 6 digit code (such as 123456)
$99 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Earning rate: 3X Hawaiian Airlines ✦ 2x gas, dining, and grocery stores ✦ 1x everywhere else
Base: 1X (0.75%)
Dine: 2X (1.5%)
Gas: 2X (1.5%)
Grocery: 2X (1.5%)
Brand: 3X (2.25%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Two free checked bags when flight is booked through Hawaiian Airlines ✦ One time 50% off companion ticket ✦ $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines at each account anniversary

JetBlue

Summary Info

  • Eligible credit cards: JetBlue Plus Card and JetBlue Business Card.
  • Prerequisites: The terms state that all ticket purchases (original and exchanges) must be made with the JetBlue account and the cardmember’s TrueBlue member number must be entered at the time of booking. Additionally, the account must be open 7 days prior to air travel AND, reservation must include the primary cardmember’s TrueBlue member number 7 days prior to air travel. However, readers have reported that the previous sentence is not true in practice. In their experience, the bag waiver becomes available immediately upon approval of the card and you do not have to pay for your flight with the card.
  • Eligible flights: All JetBlue operated flights. Not available for travel on codeshare flights booked with a JetBlue flight number but operated by another airline.
  • Other restrictions: Perk only applies to “Blue” fares (since other fares include free checked bags)
  • Official infoClick here and scroll down to the section titled “Free First Checked Bag”

JetBlue Credit Card Offers

All current JetBlue credit card offers are shown below.  Please note that the JetBlue Card, which has no annual fee, does not provide free checked bags.

Card Offer and Details
70K miles after $1K in spend in 90 days and payment of annual fee. Application requires a promo code. Any five digit number (like 00000) will work.
$99 Annual Fee
Recent better offer: Expired 9/22: 80K after $1K spend in 90 days
FM Mini Review: Frequent JetBlue travelers should seriously consider this card for its terrific perks. The combination of the 10% rebate on awards and the annual 5,000 point bonus make this card a keeper.
Earning rate: 2X restaurants and grocery ✦ 6X JetBlue ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.33%)
Dine: 2X (2.66%)
Grocery: 2X (2.66%)
Brand: 6X (7.98%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 tile for every $1,000 in purchases.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free checked bag ✦ 5000 bonus points every anniversary ✦ 10% point rebate on awards ✦ $100 statement credit w/ purchase of travel package ✦ 50% savings on in-flight purchases
Up to 60K Miles ⓘ Non-Affiliate
Up to 60K miles: 50K bonus miles after spending $4K in first 90 days + additional 10K miles after a purchase is made on an employee card in the first 90 days
$99 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: This card is almost identical to the JetBlue Plus card except that this one offers Group A boarding and earns 2X at office supply stores rather than grocery stores. Both cards are great choices for JetBlue flyers.
Earning rate: ✦ 2X restaurants and office supply stores ✦ 6X JetBlue ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.33%)
Dine: 2X (2.66%)
Office: 2X (2.66%)
Brand: 6X (7.98%)
Card Info: Mastercard issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 tile for every $1,000 in purchases.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free checked bag ✦ Group A boarding ✦ 5000 bonus points every anniversary ✦ 10% point rebate on awards ✦ $100 statement credit w/ purchase of travel package ✦ 50% savings on in-flight purchases
15K points after $1K spend in 90 days. Application requires a promo code. Any five digit number (like 00000) will work.
No Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: Not bad for a fee-free airline card.
Earning rate: ✦ 2X restaurants and grocery ✦ 3X JetBlue ✦ 1X everywhere else✦
Base: 1X (1.33%)
Dine: 2X (2.66%)
Grocery: 2X (2.66%)
Brand: 3X (3.99%)
Card Info: Mastercard World issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn 1 tile for every $1,000 in purchases.
Noteworthy perks: 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases including cocktails, food and movies.

United Airlines

Summary Info

  • Credit cards eligible for 1 checked bag: United Explorer Card, United Business Card, United Explorer Business Card (no longer available).
  • Credit cards eligible for 2 checked bagsUnited Quest Card, United Club Infinite Card, United Club Business Card, United Club Card (no longer available new), Presidential Plus Card (no longer available new), and Presidential Plus Business Card (no longer available new).
  • Prerequisites:
    • The primary cardmember must include their MileagePlus number in the reservation and purchase the tickets with their United MileagePlus Chase Card.
      • The requirement of purchasing tickets with your card does not apply to new cardmembers traveling on flights within the first 90 days of the account open date. In other words, new cardmembers get the free checked bag benefit for 90 days even for flights that were not paid for with their United card.
      • Some readers have reported success getting free checked bags even without paying for the flight with their United credit card by haggling at the check-in counter, but others have reported the opposite.
    • The Primary Cardmember may use miles to book award travel on United-operated flights, as long as they pay for their award ticket taxes and service charges with their qualifying Card (or are within 90 days of opening a new United card) and include their MileagePlus account number in their reservation.
  • Eligible flights: United- and United Express-operated flights
  • Other restrictions: Unpublished fares, such as those purchased on priceline.com and Hotwire, are not eligible.
  • See also: How to get free checked bags on United flights booked with partner miles.
  • Official info: Free checked bags for United Cardmembers

United Credit Card Offers

All current United credit card offers are shown below. Please note that the United Gateway Card, which has no annual fee, does not provide free checked bags.

Card Offer and Details
100K miles after $5K spend in first 3 months.
$99 Annual Fee
After clicking through, be sure to click the link at the top that says, "Are you a small business owner?" to see the business card offers that include this card. You are not eligible for the bonus if you have received the bonus on this card within the past 24 months. Please note that the United EXPLORER Business card (no longer available) is a different product and does not affect your ability to get the bonus on this card.
Recent better offer: Expired 11/9/22: 150K (75K after $5K spend in 3 months and another 75K after $20K total spend in six months)
FM Mini Review: Decent perks such as enhanced access to United saver level economy awards makes this a keeper for some.
Earning rate: 2X at restaurants including eligible delivery services , gas stations, and office supply stores ✦ 2X United ✦ 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Office: 2X (2.6%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $100 annual United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases greater than $100 ✦ Earn up to 1,000 PQPs per year: 25 PQPs per $500 spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Improved economy saver award availability ✦ Unlocks complimentary elite upgrades on award tickets ✦ Free first checked bag ✦ Priority boarding ✦ No foreign exchange fees ✦ 2 United Club passes per year at anniversary ✦ Free DashPass for one year (must activate by 12/31/24) ✦ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ✦ 5,000 bonus miles at anniversary when you have this card and also a personal Chase United credit card. ✦ 25% back as a statement credit on United in-flight and Club Premium drink purchases
80K Miles ⓘ Affiliate
80k miles after $5k spend in first 3 months
$525 Annual Fee
This card is available to you if you do not have any United Club card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for any United Club card in the past 24 months.
Recent better offer: Expired 1/27/23: 100K after $5K spend
FM Mini Review: While pricey, the Chase United Club Infinite Card is a great choice for those who want a United club membership and other perks like a 10% discount on saver awards. .
Earning rate: ✦ 4X United ✦ 2X dining & travel
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 2X (2.6%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 4X (5.2%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn up to 8,000 PQPs per year: 50 PQPs per $500 spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ United Club membership ✦ Unlocks complimentary elite upgrades on award tickets, including companions on the same reservation ✦ 10% discount on saver level economy awards within the continental US and Canada ✦ Up to $100 for Global Entry, TSA Precheck or Nexus fee credit ✦ Priority check-in, security screening, baggage handling, and boarding ✦ Free 1st and 2nd checked bags ✦ Hertz President's Circle Elite Status ✦ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
75K Miles + 1,000 PQP ⓘ Friend-Referral
75K miles + 1,000 Premier Qualifying Points after $5K spend in first 3 months.
$450 Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: While pricey, the Chase United MileagePlus® Club Business Card is a great choice for those who want a United club membership
Earning rate: ✦ 2X United ✦ 1.5X everywhere else
Base: 1.5X (1.95%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn up to 1,000 PQPs per year: 25 PQPs per $500 spend
Noteworthy perks: United Club membership ✦ Unlocks complimentary elite upgrades on award tickets ✦ Priority check-in, security screening, baggage handling, and boarding ✦ Get one year of complimentary Dash Pass (Must activate by 12/31/24) ✦ Free 1st and 2nd checked bags ✦ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ✦ Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® President's Circle®
60K miles after $3K spend in 3 months.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: Expired 8/11/22: 70K after $3K spend
FM Mini Review: Decent perks such as enhanced access to United saver level economy awards makes this a keeper for some.
Earning rate: 2X United ✦ 2X restaurants ✦ 2X on hotel stays
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 2X (2.6%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn up to 1,000 PQPs per year: 25 PQPs per $500 spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Improved economy saver award availability ✦ Free first checked bag for primary cardholder and one travel companion when you pay with the card ✦ Unlocks complimentary elite upgrades on award tickets ✦ Priority boarding ✦ No foreign exchange fees ✦ 2 United Club passes per year on you anniversary ✦ One year of complimentary Dash Pass (Must activate by 12/31/24) ✦ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ✦ Up to $100 Global Entry,TSA Pre-check or Nexus credit ✦ 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
70K Miles + 500 PQPs ⓘ Friend-Referral
70K miles and 500 PQPs after $4K spend in the first 3 months
$250 Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Earning rate: 3X United ✦ 2X restaurants including eligible delivery services ✦ 2X on all other travel ✦ 2X select streaming
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Travel: 2X (2.6%)
Dine: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn up to 6,000 PQPs per year: 25 PQPs per $500 spend
Noteworthy perks: Up to $125 in statement credits for United purchases each cardmember year - terms apply ✦ Two 5K award flight rebates per cardmember year ✦ First and second checked bag free for cardholder and one companion when you purchase your tickets with the card and include your Mileage Plus number ✦ Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus reimbursement ✦ 25% back on United inflight or Club Premium drink purchases
30K miles after $1K spend in first 3 months
No Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: Expired 8/11/22: 30K after $1K spend
Earning rate: 2X United ✦ 2X gas stations ✦ 2X local transit and commuting
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Improved economy saver award availability (only when downgraded from a card with an annual fee) ✦ No foreign exchange fees ✦ 25% back on United in-flight and Club Premium drink purchases
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Jacinto

If I have a United Explorer credit card, it gives me a free checked bag as long as I at least pay for taxes and fees with the credit card. What if I book a United flight through my Amex account because of the Biz Plat 35% rebate. Can I still get the free checked bag? I did add my United frequent flyer # to the Amex reservation.

Lea

For the “unpublished fares” of United, this also includes group tickets. When my ski club uses UA, card holders do not get a free checked bag though they do when flying AA.

Baris

Do you know if any cards give similar benefits to European airlines? I’m an American living in Portugal, using mostly the EU airlines.. Thanks!

chris

JetBlue flights have worked for me several times with free baggage with paying via CSR not the JetBlue card.

YoniPDX

Had an intresting one on Alaska this past weekend.

We flew from Fiji to HNL on Fiji (easy day flight) .

Used our annual AS CP to book NS flight HNL-PDX.

Online check-in the AS app was showing fee for two checked bags (new fee not the old fee to boot).

Called CS – said to choose no bags/pay at airport and they can manually overide bag fee at check-in (we also had two boxes of Pineapples (no baggage fee -like wine from certain west coast cities on AS).

At check-in the counter rep said that you dont get free bags with CP – but they would take care of it.

Agent said That it was in the T&C of the CC. Couldn’t find anything remotely close to this online. (I know Delta CP you have to live In Hawai’i/PR to fly to/from)

Daniel A

Great page. Suggest you improve it by adding details for free bags for additional people on a reservation (I didn’t review everything but these are missing in the United section). Note that at the moment, United Explorer and Business cards both provide one free checked bag for the primary card holder plus one on the same reservation. “The primary Cardmember and one traveling companion on the same reservation are each eligible to receive their first standard checked bag free.”

[…] In case you were wondering about free bags with plastic: Free Checked Bags via Credit Card Complete Guide. […]

JohnnieD

Thank you for clearly showing the aa policy on checked bags with the cc. Was quite a surprise a few years back checking a bag to Aruba and being told that a fee was required. I questioned the rep about having the cc. Told me only on domestic flights-we get this alot.

DealGuru

so if i want to book a united flight with aeroplan points, is there any way i can get a free checked bag based on my Chase United card?

Nick Reyes

No.

Paul

Is there a tax or fee you pay as part of the booking? If so, and you pay that with your Chase, wouldn’t that qualify you?

Bob

Rule #1: NEVER check bags

Nick Reyes

I know a lot of frequent travelers live by that mantra, but it’s not realistic in my household. My wife would never travel carry on only by herself, never mind with all the stuff we also need for the kids. When I travel by myself, I rarely ever check a back. When I travel with my wife / family, we’ve never not checked a bag.

In almost 20 years of traveling together, the airline has only once ever lost a bag on us (and it was a drawstring bag we checked with sunscreen in it, I wasn’t exactly surprised it didn’t make it home lol). Actually, they also misplaced a gate-checked stroller on us, but I’m not counting that since even if you’re team carry on only, you may have to gate check something and as that proves, your carry on stuff can still get lost.

So anyway, my point is that we don’t all live by that mantra.

YoniPDX

We have flown on 32 flights so far in 2024 (most were outside the US) we have spent 42 days traveling Asia/Ocenia.

We started out with four checked bags at ±68 pounds. We each had a backpack and roll-on.

We slimmed down to 23Kg (51#) in New Zealand (we flew our daughter in for 8 days and sent her home with a very heavy roll-on that she checked).

That said we srill overpacked for the trip – but it worked out because one of the places we booked that had W/D (guest house) in Legazpi the washer died the day before we arrived (they used the W/D to wash linens/towels for the rooms).

Last year our checked bags were delayed in the Philippines we were flying from Boracay to Laoag with a 3hr layover in MNL on PAL. This has been our only issue with checked bags that I can recall.

We do use Samsung Smarttag2 to track our bags (they handshake with android phones – more people use these than apple in developing nations) We also have Airtags in outluggage but we they are connected to our youngest daughters Apple.

But most of our trips are less than a week and we tend to stick to carry-on.

JjQq

Alaska website says airfare must be purchased with credit card for free checked bag.

Paul

That baby would fit in that bag. Not suggesting you do it.

Nick Reyes

That was my son. Pretty sure we also got a pic of him in it 🙂

Boo Boo Bear

For Alaska card holders — Are Saver (basic economy) fares eligible for the free checked bag? I still won’t get a carry-on in cabin, right? I only get a small personal item in cabin?

Rusty

It was for me to Hawaii. Both people on the reservation got luggage.

JohnB

AA is the most variable on CC free bags. We have been charged for bags when another family member paid for our tickets. They have the Citi AA Platinum CC and so do we. They charged our tickets on their card. This has happened twice. Agents at check-in, stated the computer said no free bags. I even wrote AA and they agreed that we should not have been charged. They said they would refund and we received not a cent back.

We now avoid AA like the plague

patrick

Never mind…

Last edited 1 year ago by patrick