Are United Baggage Subscriptions Worth It? [2019]

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United offers a special plan called a baggage subscription that allows you to save money on baggage fees over the span of one year. These plans are also customizable so you can tailor them to your specific travel needs.

But are these packages really bargains or should you avoid them? 

This article will tell you everything you need to know about these packages. 

Interested in finding out the top travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out!


What are United Baggage subscriptions?

United Baggage subscriptions are customizable annual plans that allow you to save money on your baggage fees by checking your bags for free. The cost of the plan depends on how many bags and passengers you intend the plan on covering as well as the destination that you’re flying to.


How can you customize your subscription?

There are three ways that you can customize your subscription.

Baggage subscription

Choose the ability to check your first standard bag or first and second standard bags for free every time you travel.

Included travelers

Customize the number of companions who are able to receive this benefit when traveling on the same reservation as you.

Region

Select the geographic region where you want to be able to use your subscription.

You can choose from the following regions:

  • Continental United States (excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
  • North America and Central America
  • Intra-Asia and Oceania (excludes flights from Honolulu to Guam)
  • Global

You can customize your own package here.


What are the prices?

Here are some price packages that you might want to consider.

1 person with one bag (domestic)

$349

1 person with one bag (global)

$799

Now compare those prices to if you had picked up the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. You’d be able to fly with one bag for free for yourself and a companion while only paying $95 for an annual fee (that’s typically waived the first year).

So you’d be saving up to $800 and also get the following benefits:

  • Sign-up bonus 40,000 to 70,000 miles (depending on the offer)
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
  • Priority Boarding
  • Anniversary United Club Passes
  • Miles Don’t Expire
  • MileagePlus Premier members and traveling on an award ticket can receive Premier Upgrades
  • No foreign transaction fees

It’s really a no-brainer which option would be more valuable.

2 People with two bags (domestic)

$449

2 People with two bags (global)

$899

Now compare those prices to if you had picked up the United MileagePlus Club Card. You’d be able to fly with two bags for free for yourself and a companion while only paying $450 for an annual fee.

United Airlines Credit Card

But that’s not all you’d get.

You’d also get a lot of these other benefits:

  • 50,000 mile sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Access to United Clubs and participating Star Alliance lounges
  • Priority check-in, security screening, and baggage handling
  • Priority boarding
  • The primary Cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first and second checked bags free
  • World of Hyatt: Discoverist Status (the same status offered by the Hyatt card)
  • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status
  • Miles Don’t Expire
  • MileagePlus Premier members and traveling on an award ticket can receive Premier Upgrades
  • Increased award availability
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee

So you’d be paying one more dollar but you’d also get a lot of great perks like United Club access, Hyatt status, and other perks.

Clearly, the credit card option would be better.

To find out more about United credit cards click here

Family of five with one bag each (domestic)

$649

With the subscription packages, you can get up to 9 people covered (including yourself). But to make things a little bit more practical, I’ll use the example of a family of five.

Imagine each member checked one bag at $30 each so that’s $300 each trip.

If the family took three roundtrips in one year that’d be a total of $900 so you’re saving around $250 by going with the subscription package.

However, you’d need to take at least three trips to make it worth it, so families who take multiple trips a year could get value out of this benefit. Plus, if you were flying on one of their partners, the subscription doesn’t work as it only works for marketed United and United Express flights. For example, if you flew Lufthansa, you would still have to pay for bags.


Final word

The United baggage subscription packages aren’t as valuable as simply going with United co-branded credit cards for a lot of people. In fact, the credit cards could save you hundreds of dollars. However, when it comes to large families that travel multiple times a year, this subscription plan could save them a lot over time.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses 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.

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