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JetBlue led off the latest round of bag fee increases last month. Not too long ago, JetBlue was one of the few airlines offering free checked bags. Those days are long gone as they are now a leader in making it more and more expensive to check baggage. The most recent increase made bag fees $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second bag. They offer a $5 discount on each bag if you pay for them more than 24 hours before departure.
United has now matched JetBlue’s new rates at $35 for the first bag and $45 for the second bag. They too will offer a $5 discount on each bag if you pay for them more than 24 hours before departure.
The new rates apply to flights within the United States and on short-haul flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. It goes into effect for flights as of 3/6/20 that are purchased as of today.
I’d guess that Alaska, American, and Delta are sure to follow. The only question is how long can Southwest avoid charging or baggage?
The higher fees make the case for having an airline credit card that waives baggage fees even stronger:
- The Chase United Explorer card or the Chase United Business Card offers a free carry-on bag, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and online checkin, even on a basic economy ticket. The United Club Card (Click on United Explorer Card) and the United Business Club Card (Click on United Business Card) offers 2 free checked bags. It’s worth noting that United requires that the ticket be purchased on the card, while other airlines don’t have or don’t enforce that requirement.
- The Citi AA card or Citi AA Business Card offers a free checked bag and priority boarding, even on a basic economy ticket. It’s worth noting that AA only offers the free bag on domestic flights, while other airlines offer it worldwide.
- The Delta Business Gold, Delta Business Platinum, Delta Business Reserve, Delta Consumer Gold, Delta Consumer Platinum, and Delta Consumer Reserve offer a free checked bag and priority boarding, even on a basic economy ticket.
- The JetBlue Plus or Business Card offer a free checked bag even on a basic economy ticket. However it does not offer priority boarding on a basic economy fare.
- The Alaska Airlines Consumer or Business card offer a free checked bag even on a basic economy ticket. However it does not offer priority boarding on a basic economy fare.
Do you keep airline cards just to waive checked baggage fees?