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American Airlines eliminates 2nd free checked bag on some international flights

Jan. 30, 2020
3 min read
American Airlines eliminates 2nd free checked bag on some international flights
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American Airlines has come out with updated bag policies for international routes, eliminating second free checked bags on flights to a number of countries. While this devaluation comes with no notice, fortunately customers still able to check their first bag for free. Keep in mind that this change affects Main Economy customers only — all other fare classes retain the same baggage allowance.

The affected countries are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, with fees of up to $65 now being charged for your second bag. While that's not quite the whopping $100 fee charged for additional bags on transatlantic flights, it still represents a significant devaluation for travelers.

Related: How to avoid checked baggage fees on the major U.S. airlines

If you're a frequent flyer to any of these countries, you can still get your second bag free by booking into Premium Economy (or business). Otherwise, elite status holders such as AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Platinum and Oneworld Sapphire members can check two bags for free.

Unfortunately, credit cards that offer free checked bags, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® don't work here, as they offer just the first bag free and only then on domestic itineraries. However, if you have a credit card that offers annual travel credits, you can often use these credits to offset the checked bag fees. These cards include:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: If American is your selected airline for the Amex airline fee credit, bag fees are reimbursable, up to $200 per calendar year. If not, you have until Jan. 31 to change your airline. Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: As above, you can use your airline fee credit to offset bag fees, up to $200 per calendar year.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Same as the other American Express cards, up to $250 per calendar year.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: This card reimburses up to $300 per year for qualified travel expenses, including checked bag fees.
  • Citi Prestige® Card: Citi offers $250 per year in credit for travel expenses, including checked bag fees.
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: This card offers a $100 annual airline incidental statement credit, despite its low $95 per year annual fee.

The information for the Citi Prestige card and Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Which American Airlines expenses trigger the Amex airline fee credit?

While this is unfortunate news for flyers, it brings American Airlines' oft-confusing baggage policy into a more streamlined approach. Most destinations served by the airline now charge for a second bag, with the exception of Australia, Japan, China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.