4 Easy Ways to Save on Airline Baggage Fees

We’re spending more and more on baggage fees. Americans spent $3.4 billion to ship luggage last year (up 24% from the year before), reports Daily Worth.

It’s annoying to pay for something that used to be free, because you feel like you’re not getting anything for your money. Learn a few ways to avoid that feeling after the jump!

1.  Waive Fees with a Miles-Earning Credit Card

Several credit cards can help you big-time with checked bag fees, as explained yesterday in The New York Times Bucks Blog.

The Gold Delta Skymiles card, for example, will waive the first bag fee for everyone on the same itinerary, and the new Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard will waive the fee for up to eight people on the same American Airlines itinerary.

The Continental OnePass Plus card cancels the fee on all Continental and United flights — but for the primary cardholder only.

Even though you will earn miles with these cards, considerable annual fees will kick in after the first year, so you have to decide whether you travel enough to make it worth it. NerdWallet has a cool calculator that could help you decide.

2.  Fly an Airline that Doesn’t Charge Fees

Southwest and JetBlue are known for being some of the last companies who are holding out on charging fees for the first bag.

3. Get a Roomy Carry-on

Daily Worth recommends three rolling carry-ons which fit into most airlines’ size limits of 45 linear inches (combined height, width and depth). However at about $150 a pop, you’d need to fly five times to get your money’s worth.

Here’s an alternative: lots of perfectly good bags end up at the Goodwill or on eBay, notes Trisha Cupra in the comments section of that post. Don’t find what you need? Put in a “wanted” request to your Freecyle group.

4.  Cancel the Charges by Saving on Other Things

As I mentioned in Airline Baggage Fees are Here to Stay: How to Minimize the Damage, there are other simple ways to cut down on travel costs.

For example, we bring our own empty water bottles, sandwiches, and snacks. That way we aren’t tempted by the smell of Sbarro wafting over from gate 23.

What are your tactics for avoiding those pesky luggage fees?

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