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Low level elites have seen a lot of their benefits trimmed back this year – starting with United’s watering down of their Premier Silver program which included only allowing premium seat selection at check-in and decreasing the amount of free checked bags to one.
Delta and US Airways have both also revised their baggage allowance for their 25,000-mile-a-year Silver elites to one bag of 70 pounds or less. American is the lone holdout, giving their Gold elites two free checked bags and I don’t anticipate them changing that rule as they try to ride out their bankruptcy without angering too many of their frequent flyers.
I rarely check bags, but this elite perk can save you a ton of money if you do – especially if you travel with multiple family members. Of course, if free bags are most important to you, flying Southwest might make the most sense, because they allow two free checked bags for all passengers.