Airline baggage fees are on the rise, with four major U.S. airlines boosting their fees in the past month.
Yes, it’s only a $5 increase, with the first checked bag now $30 and the second $40, on domestic flights. But the fees are per person,each way. A family of four checking one bag per person a piece will pay $240 round trip for bags when flying on American, United, Delta and JetBlue.
Aside from buying pricey tickets in first class or business class, which include free checked bags, here are five ways to avoid bag fees:
1. Sign up for an airline credit card or other credit cards that include free bags among the perks. The free bag allotment and other fine print vary by airline and credit card. Most airlines’ entry-level frequent-flyer credit cards (read: lowest annual fee) allow the cardholder and at least one companion to check the first bag for free. That’s the case with United Airlines’ MileagePlus cards from Chase. American’s Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Master Card allows free bags for up to four companions on the same itinerary. However, the new no-annual-fee card from American, the AAdvantage Mile Up card from Citi, does not come with any free bags. Delta’s SkyMiles credit cards from American Express allow one free checked bag for up to nine companions on the same reservation. In most cases you have to book the ticket with the credit card to receive the perk. American is a major exception, but cardholders have to make sure their credit card is linked to their frequent-flyer account and the frequent-flyer number is on the reservation. And the primary cardholder must be traveling. You can’t give your American credit card to your kids to get free bags on a trip without you, even if they’re additional card members on the account. Got a question about whether you get free bags with your airline credit card? Ask the airline on Twitter.
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