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JetBlue flyers who check their luggage will now pay $5 more for that convenience each way. The airline quietly increased fees for checked luggage, flight changes and flight cancellations; they're now the first major U.S.-based carrier to charge more than $25 for a first checked bag.
However, JetBlue passengers who hold the JetBlue Plus Card can still get one free checked bag on their flights. Card users can mostly offset the $99 annual fee if they check bags on three one-way flights every year.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
What fees are changing?
JetBlue is charging passengers $30 for their first checked bag, up from $25. The price is applicable to all passengers who purchase flights on or after Aug. 27. The second bag fee will also go up by $5 to $40, for a total of $70 for two checked bags each way. All additional bags will cost $150 each, a rise of $50.
Flight change and cancellation fees are also increasing. Those flying on the carrier’s Blue, Blue Plus or Mint fares face fees of up to $200 plus the difference in the ticketed price if they decide to change their flight plans. If passengers cancel a flight, the cancellation fees will be deducted from any credit granted on the original fare paid. Some travel insurance plans might be able to reimburse travelers for change and cancellation fees.
JetBlue’s new fee structure for flight change and cancellation is:
On fares of up to $99: $75
On fares of $100 to $149: $100
On fares of $150 to $199: $150
On fares of $200 and above: $200
On Mint fares: $200
The previous fee structure still applies to all tickets purchased before Aug. 27. Members with Mosaic elite status in JetBlue’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program will continue to get two free checked bags on flights. But they will pay the extra $150 for checking any additional luggage.
How can I avoid paying for checked bags?
Even though JetBlue fees are increasing, flyers have some ways to get around the fee for checked bags.
Consider buying an upgraded fare class on JetBlue JetBlue Blue Plus, Blue Flex and Mint fares offer better perks, including at least one checked bag (plus additional TrueBlue points if the ticket is booked at JetBlue.com). It could make sense to buy an upgraded option if the difference is fare would be lower than the cost of checking your bags.
Earn TrueBlue Mosaic elite status Mosaic elite-status members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue program may check up to two bags free of charge when flying with the airline. This option is beneficial for those who use JetBlue as their primary airline and spend over $2,500 in airfare. You can qualify for Mosaic status by earning 12,000 base TrueBlue points and flying 30 segments in a calendar year, or by earning 15,000 base points in one calendar year.
Hold the right credit card Although JetBlue Plus Card offers one free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to three companions traveling on the same reservation, other premium credit cards have credits to offset checked baggage fees for users. Both The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — which charge higher annual fees — reimburse users a fixed amount every year as a statement credit to reduce qualified travel fees.
Look at other airlines Consider flying on other airlines with lower or no fees. For example, Southwest Airlines offers two free checked bags and no change fees for members of its Rapid Rewards frequent-flyer program. When changing or cancelling a ticket, flyers simply pay the difference in airfare.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Airline Cards’ Fine Print May Leave You Holding the Bag Fee How to Get Started With Frequent Flyer Programs Don’t Let Hidden Hotel Fees Spoil Your Stay
Featured image courtesy JetBlue