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Delta Raises Checked Bag Fees by up to 20%

Sept. 19, 2018
5 min read
Delta Raises Checked Bag Fees by up to 20%
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It's been a few years since Delta nudged its checked bag fees up, but when a US competitor jumps first... well, you know the rest. With 2018 seemingly cementing itself as the Year of the Increased Fee, from Qatar's massive award price boost to ANA's lofted fuel surcharge to Priority Pass raising rates for daily lounge visits, Delta's baggage fee has surged up to 20% without notice.

On Tuesday, Delta was charging $25 each way for the first bag under 50 pounds, and $35 each way for the second bag under 50 pounds. Today, those rates have been inflated to $30 and $40, respectively, for non-elite passengers traveling in coach. Oddly, there's no mention on Delta's Baggage & Travel Fees page as to an effective date, so you should assume that it's in effect right now.

With United, Air Canada, JetBlue and WestJet all raising checked bag fees in the past couple of months, one has to believe that American (and potentially others, including low-cost carriers) will soon follow suit. As a reminder, US-based airlines fetched $4.5 billion (yeah, with a B) in baggage fees in 2017, which represented a near-10% bump from 2016. Given all the rate raising going on, the smart money is on that trend continuing in the upward direction.

It doesn't appear that anything has changed in terms of limits for Medallion members, with the below text reflecting Wednesday's verbiage:

To reward your loyalty, your first checked bag fee is waived with Delta Medallion Status or as a SkyTeam® Elite & Elite Plus Member. Traveling outside the U.S. and Canada or between the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, you will be able to check one additional bag over the standard cabin allowance. A Medallion Member traveling in Delta One can check up to 3 free bags at 70 pounds per bag. These benefits are subject to any applicable embargoes or regional weight restrictions in place. Please see our excess bag page for more detail.
The benefit extends on the Medallion Member’s reservation to a total of 8 travel companions, when traveling on a Delta-operated flight. Companions of Medallion Members will not receive this benefit on Delta-operated flights departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). Silver Medallions who hold a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express will receive a second bag free (up to two free bags at 70 pounds or 32KG each) for travel within the U.S. and Canada.
Breaking down Delta's latest bag fees, as of Sept. 19, 2018

While fee increases are never fun for flyers (though, they're often appreciated by Wall Street), this serves to increase the value of holding a cobranded Delta Amex. Here's the latest verbiage on bag waivers for cardholders:

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If you have an eligible SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, you receive your First Bag Free on Delta flights booked with your SkyMiles Credit Card. The benefit extends to up to 8 travel companions, who must be listed on the Card Member’s reservation — for a total of 9 passengers. The first bag of each passenger on the reservation will have their fees waived at check-in. This benefit can only be used with bags that are not overweight or oversize under Delta’s applicable rules. The first checked bag fee waiver will only be applied on flight segments which originate on a Delta or Delta Connection® carrier when you check-in with Delta for both a Delta marketed and Delta operated flight. Additional baggage fees will start at the 2nd checked bag fee listed in the Checked Baggage Allowance Each Way chart. Visit First Checked Bag Terms & Conditions for details.

If you're looking for a card to negate these new Delta baggage fees, in addition to a slew of other benefits, have a look below.

  • Through today, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express will net you 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases during the first four months.
  • The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express has an elevated welcome bonus of 70,000 miles and 10,000 additional MQMs towards Medallion status after you spend $3,000 in purchases during the first three months.
  • The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card not only include gratis SkyClub lounge access, but also come with 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 additional MQMs towards Medallion status after you spend $3,000 in purchases during the first three months.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

Featured image by CHRIS RANK

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