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Why get clever avoiding airline baggage fees when you can get paid to do it

by on Thu February 9, 2012 • No Comment

The New York Times has an article about the lengths people will go to avoid paying baggage fees on airlines. Now, baggage fees are not a new thing — they’ve been around for decades. What’s new is charging for the first and second checked bags, which several years ago were free on most airlines.

The Times suggests things like…

  • Driving further to an airport that serves Southwest Airlines, since Southwest doesn’t charge for checked bags. Well, sort of — after the first 2 you are hit with fees up to $110 per bag, and Southwest doesn’t always have the lowest cost flight
  • Vacuum packing your clothes — this sounds absurd for most…especially when you consider the return trip without the equipment to vacuum seal
  • Scottevest brand trench coats that let you haul items in your jacket pockets

It makes passing reference to what is probably the easiest solution — getting an airline mile credit card that offers free checked bags — but doesn’t mention which airlines offer them.

So to help out below is a list of basic, entry level airline mile credit cards that offer a checked bag fee waiver. A single roundtrip flight can save you $50 or more, $100 or more if you’re traveling with 2 people. And they all come with decent bonus mile offers so you’re effectively getting paid for that checked bag fee waiver upfront.

Entry level cards ($95 or less annual fee, most waived first year)

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express – 1st bag free for up to 9 people per reservation

United Mileage Plus Explorer – 1st bag free for up to 2 people per reservation

Premium Cards (include lounge access, $395+ annual fee)

American Airlines Citi Executive AAdvantage – 1st  bag free for up to 8 people per reservation

Delta Reserve American Express – 1st bag free for up to 9 people per reservation

Note that if you’re flying US Airways you’re out of luck. No credit cards offer a checked bag fee waiver for their flights.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
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Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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