United is increasing checked bag fees if you don’t prepay

Feb 21, 2020

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United is increasing its checked bag fee in March 2020 for those who don’t prepay online but the airline did not say how much the fees will increase — all the more reason to have elite status or carry the right cobranded credit card.

The announcement came in statement issued Feb. 21, 2020: “We are making changes to our checked bag fee on certain flights, effective for travel on and after March 6. The changes do not apply to customers who booked their trips before Feb. 21, 2020, and will not apply to customers who prepay online before check-in. As always, MileagePlus Premier customers and those who purchase tickets with an eligible MileagePlus credit card will continue to receive complimentary checked luggage,” the statement says.

The move by United to raise its baggage fees follows JetBlue, which quietly raised its fees, making it the most expensive U.S. airline for checked bags.

United already has a strict baggage policy that requires passengers with basic economy tickets to check in at the airport to ensure that no unpaid baggage gets aboard. For advance check-in, basic economy passengers can pay for checked bags online prior to their flight.

According to seatguru.com, United currently charges $30 for the first check bag for a domestic flight and $40 for the second bag. If United follows in JetBlue’s footsteps, then it will likely be an increase of $5 per checked bag.

Related: 5 things you need to know about United Airlines MileagePlus 

TPG suggests not booking basic economy as it’s the most restrictive fare. All other fare options allow for a free carry-on, though checked bags are additional unless you have elite status or carry a cobranded credit card.

You can enjoy complimentary checked luggage with select credit cards such as the United Explorer Card (up to 1 bag), and the United Club Infinite Card and the United’s Presidential Plus Card (up to 2 bags). However, there are two caveats: You must book the ticket with the applicable United card and the card must be valid at check-in.

The information for the United Presidential Plus 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.

Featured image from The Points Guy archives.

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