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

Jan 30, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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 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 photo courtesy of GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images.
The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.