How to Get a Free Checked Bag with a Delta SkyMiles® American Express® Card
Want to save on Delta baggage fees? Card Members can check their first bag free when using their eligible co-branded American Express Card to book a flight with Delta.
By Michael Grace | American Express Credit Intel Freelance Contributor
4 Min Read | November 1, 2021 in Cards
Eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Cards allow Card Members to get their first checked bag free on Delta flights.
To get the benefit, you must have an eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Card and a SkyMiles account, and you must pay for your airfare with the eligible Card.
The free first checked bag benefit can lead to big savings, especially when traveling with up to eight other people – as long as everyone is listed on the Card Member’s reservation.
For more than a decade now, baggage fees have become somewhat of a nuisance for travelers. Most airlines charge a fee for passengers checking their luggage, and that amount can grow rather significantly in conjunction with the size of your travel party and number of bags checked.
But through its partnership with Delta Airlines, American Express offers a way for Card Members to save money by getting the first checked bag for free. Hint: You’ll need an eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card.
For Delta passengers with main cabin tickets on a domestic flight, the first checked bag typically costs $30 and the second bag costs $40, one way.1 This means you can expect to add $60 to your fare’s base price for a round-trip ticket in the U.S. For two bags, that’s $140 round trip. Note that although $30 is the common cost, Delta baggage fees can vary both by route and fare class.
Overweight and oversized bags will be subject to additional charges. For example, the weight allowance for standard Delta baggage fees is 50 pounds.2 Fees for exceeding the weight limit can range from $100–$200 depending on weight, and bags exceeding 100 pounds are not permitted. Bags measuring 63”–80” in linear inches (the sum total of your bag’s length, width, and height) are considered oversized and are subject to a $200 fee. Anything larger than 80 linear inches is not permitted. And remember: If the bag is both overweight and oversized, you’ll incur both an overweight and oversized fee.
It’s possible to get the first checked bag for free on a Delta flight if you use an eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card, including:
- The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, which has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and then $99 per year thereafter.3
- The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, which has a $250 annual fee.4
- The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, which has a $550 annual fee.5
Note that additional American Express Business Cards offer a free checked bag on the airline.
To receive the benefit, you must use your eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Card when booking your flight on Delta Airlines. The reservation must also include the Card Member’s Delta SkyMiles number to receive the baggage fee waiver for the first checked bag.
Baggage fees will then be waived at check-in for those on the reservation. Just make sure those bags aren’t overweight or oversized, as they won’t be eligible for the benefit. If you check a second bag, you’ll have to pay the second-bag fee – normally $40 for main cabin domestic flights, as mentioned above.
For even greater savings, remember that the first checked bag free benefit also extends to as many as eight additional travel companions, provided they’re all listed on the reservation made by the Card Member. If you’re traveling as a family on vacation, that’s one free checked bag for everyone. For example, at $30 for each passenger’s first bag, a family of four could save $240 in roundtrip baggage fees. If your group reaches the benefit’s maximum number of nine travelers, that’s $540 in roundtrip savings. Both sets of savings are considerable, and that money can be allocated elsewhere on your trip.
Each Delta passenger can bring one carry-on bag and one “personal item” on board the plane, both free of charge. Personal items may include a purse, backpack, laptop bag, or something similar in size. These items should be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Larger bags and smaller-size suitcases must meet the size requirements to fit in the overhead storage bins.
You can generally check whether your carry-on is approved before boarding the plane, but it’s best to know before you go. Individual length, width, and height measurements may not exceed 22" x 14" x 9", respectively, and combined length, width and height measurements may not exceed 45 linear inches.6 Note that these measurements include handles and wheels.
Delta Airlines offers select American Express Card Members the opportunity to check one bag for free on flights, provided you book the reservation with your Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card. Baggage fee waivers can be extended to up to eight other people listed on your travel reservation, potentially offering big savings.
1 “Baggage & Travel Fees,” Delta
2 “Excess & Overweight Baggage,” Delta
3 For more on the Delta SkyMiles American Express® Gold Card Rates & Fees, click here.
4 For more on the Delta SkyMiles American Express® Platinum Card Rates & Fees, click here.
5 For more on the Delta SkyMiles American Express® Reserve Card Rates & Fees, click here.
6 “Carry-On Baggage,” Delta