Let’s face it – as often as we try to travel with only carry on bags to avoid checked bag fees, the holidays make that a tough feat. Frequently we have to pack heavier clothes, and oh yeah – the gifts! (Remember – don’t wrap them!)
One way to avoid baggage fees : Consider becoming a cardholder of an airline-aligned credit card. If you already hold an airline credit card, brush up on your perks! Many of these cards allow one (or more) free checked bag to cardholders…. some even extend that benefit to travel companions.
Even though the cards usually come with annual fees, if you travel and check bags frequently, the card will pay for itself in saved baggage fees.
Here are some cards and baggage bonuses I researched - but please double check before becoming a card holder!!
United Mileage Plus Explorer - First bag checked free, and one companion on the reservation also gets a bag checked for free. Upgrade to a United Club card and you and a companion get two bags checked for free.
Platinum Select American Airlines AAdvantage – first bag checked for free, plus FOUR people on the reservation get bags checked for free – fantastic savings for a family.
Delta Gold Sky Miles – Eureka! Not only do you get one bag checked for free, so do up to NINE people on your reservation. Sounds great, but… I don’t really know anyone who books nine people on one reservation, but heck, if you do – that’s a $450 savings round trip at $25 a checked bag.
The nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation. Let’s beat them at their game.