Which Companies are Begging to Pay Your Airline Bag Fees?

Companies Want to Pay Your Airline Bag Fees

Did you see the latest JetBlue ad, touting their free bags? The expressions on the faces of people who’ve just been told they must pay a bag fee are a hoot.

Take a look at the video� below.

Free Bags on JetBlue, Southwest

What’s new about this is JetBlue is suddenly touting its longtime policy of free bags (the carrier charges no fee for a first checked-bag). In contrast, Southwest has made something of a cult of its “bags fly free” ads and folks there talk this up at every possible opportunity.

Looks to me like JetBlue is off the fence and going to be sticking with free bags, and why not? It’s certainly helped turn Southwest into a customer favorite – as well as a money-making operation – so rare among the airlines.

Not Sure If Your Airline Charges for Bags? See the Airline Fee Chart

So that’s one way to avoid bag fees – fly a “free bags” airline.

Another way: Let someone else pay the fees for you.

Companies that Want to Pay Your Airline Fees

Believe it or not, there are some companies that are begging for the privilege of paying your fees. These businesses can be divided into three main categories: hotels, credit cards, and yes, the airlines themselves. Here is just a partial list of firms that want to pay your fees:

Hotels Pay Airline Fees

Look at these hotel deals, and notice the “catch” for each:

Kimpton Hotels – This chain with brands like Hotel Palomar and Hotel Monaco has a promotion called “We’ve got your bag” which gives you cash back to cover your bag fees.

  • The catch: You pay the first checked-bag fee and they pay for your second bag, up to $25 (and please note on many airlines, the roundtrip bag fee is $50).

IHG Hotels – Includes hotel brands such as Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites and more. You get reimbursed for any bag fee, up to $50 per person.

  • The catch: You must stay with them for two consecutive weekend nights, and apply for the fee rebate, which comes in the form of a pre-paid Visa card.

Amelia Island Hotels – According to Florida’s Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, some hotels on this resort island are participating in a “Pack your bags” promotion, which gives fliers a room credit of up to $80 for bag fees.

  • The catch: I couldn’t find any mention of these deals on several of the websites for the hotels listed under the promotion; you may have to call these properties for details.

Credit Card Companies Pay Airline Fees

There are a lot of credit card deals; here are just a couple and remember, always read the fine print:

Delta’s SkyMiles branded American Express Card: This allows you and up to eight others on the same reservation to check one bag for free all year long

  • The catch: The card costs $95 a year, but the fee is waived for the first year.

American Express Business Platinum Card: This gives you $200 in incidental airline charges a year, for any airline – good for bag fees and even the dreaded change fee.

  • The catch: The card costs $450 a year, but it also includes perks like VIP airline lounge memberships which can be worth twice that amount.

Airlines Pay Airline Fees (Sort of)

Look for airline “bag specials” – here’s one of them:

United’s Premier Baggage: Pay $249 a year, and you and eight others on the same reservation get two free bags all year long. Traveling families could save hundreds.

  • The catch: Pretty obvious – if you don’t travel much, it won’t be worth it.

Best Way to Save on Bag Fees

My personal favorite: use a carryon every time you fly. Except on Spirit Airlines of course, which charges you up to $45 for a carryon bag fee.


Published: October 20, 2010