Which Airline Credit Cards Will Waive My Checked Bag Fees?

checked bag

by on November 4, 2013

Travel costs can add up quickly — airfare, hotels, meals and entertainment, and a simple weekend getaway can set you back thousands of dollars. On top of that, we’re nickeled and dimed everywhere we go — Internet fees at hotels, cabdrivers who charge for baggage and so on.

The good news: There are easy ways to avoid some annoying charges. Some credit cards waive your baggage fees, for instance. Check out these awesome airline credit cards:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

The SkyMiles cards from Delta are designed to reward customers with airline miles, hardly an innovative concept. But the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express is special. Not only will you receive a free checked bag each on Delta flights for a party of up to nine people, you can earn other travel-related perks, including:

  • 30,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of owning the card
  • Double miles on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding on all Delta flights

The major drawback to this card is the $95 annual fee. (It’s waived the first year.) It’s also available only to those with excellent credit. But if you travel frequently and have a stellar financial track record, you might be able to save several times that annual fee.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Apply Now

on American Express's
secure website

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  • Earn 30K bonus miles after you make $1K in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 Earn 30K bonus miles after you make $1K in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. 15.24% - 19.24% Variable None

Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World Mastercard

Like the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, the Platinum Select/AAdvantage World Mastercard from Citi was designed with frequent travelers in mind. Book American Airlines flights with the card and you and up to four others in your party can each check one free bag. You’ll also have the opportunity to cash in on some sweet travel deals, like:

  • 30,000 American Airlines bonus miles when you spend at least $1,000 on the card within the first three months
  • Group one boarding on all American airlines flights
  • Double miles on all American Airlines purchases
  • 25% off on select in-flight purchases
  • The ability to earn back up to 10% of your redeemed American Airlines miles every year
  • Partner redemption: You also can redeem your miles with other Oneworld partners
  • Comparatively low interest rates – APRs range from 13.99% to 21.99%, which is slightly lower than comparable cards

As with other cards that offer travel perks, this card charges a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. But if you frequently fly American Airlines, this fee might be worth paying.

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
Citibank AAdvantage Visa Signature Credit Card
Apply Now

on Citibank's
secure website

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  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back - up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$95, waived for first 12 months* 30,000 American Airlines Miles Bonus after spending $1,000 - in the first 3 months Min APR: 13.99%
Max APR: 21.99%
Purchase: N/A
Transfer: N/A

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card

While the United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase is less generous with checked bag waivers – it gets you and one companion one free checked bag each – it does offer a few travel benefits that the other two cards don’t. For example:

  • In addition to earning 30,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months, you can earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $25,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 5,000 bonus miles when you make a purchase, then add an authorized user within the first 3 months of owning the card
  • Priority boarding, plus access to the United Club twice a year
  • No foreign transaction fee

Again, this card charges a $95 annual fee after the first year and requires customers to have pretty good credit.

The bottom line: With these cards, you can earn some good travel rewards and avoid those pesky checked bag fees.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
Apply Now

on Chase's
secure website

starstarstarstarhalfstar
  • Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Check your first bag for free — save up to $100 per round-trip
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with two one-time-use passes every year
  • No foreign transaction fees!
  • Earn double miles on United ticket purchases, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Your miles don't expire as long as you're a Cardmember, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
thumbsupPros
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 Start with 30,000 bonus miles after your spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. 15.24% (Variable) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

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