United Credit Card Free Checked Bag Guide [2021]

One of the easiest ways to offset the annual fee of an airline credit card is to utilize the free checked baggage perk. It’s a relatively straightforward perk to use on most cards but every card has its own restrictions and limitations for this type of perk.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the United credit card free checked baggage benefit.

What is the United credit card free checked baggage benefit?

If you hold an eligible United Airlines credit card, you can get the first (or first and second) checked bag fee waived on eligible United flights for you and one other passenger.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

Eligible United credit cards

The following United credit cards are eligible for the free baggage waiver on United flights:

  • United Explorer Card (one free bag)
  • United Club Card (two free bags)
  • United Club Infinite Card (two free bags)
  • United Presidential Plus Card (two free bags)

In addition, the following business credit cards are eligible for the free baggage waiver on United flights:

  • United Business Card (one free bag)
  • United Explorer Business (one free bag)
  • United Club Business Card (two free bags)

You do NOT get a free checked bag with the following:

  • United Gateway Card
  • United TravelBank (discontinued)

Reservation restrictions

In order to receive the free checked bag benefit you must always use your eligible United card to make the purchase and you must also include your MileagePlus number on your reservation.

Note: Some Explorer cardmembers have had success getting this benefit by using their card to purchase Economy Plus access but there is no guarantee this still works.

The benefit will only apply on United and United Express-operated flights. Codeshare partner-operated flights are not eligible for the benefit.

So let’s say you used the United website to book a flight on EVA. If that flight is operated by EVA then you would not get the free baggage benefit. You can easily tell who is operating the flight when searching for your flight on the United website.

Also, keep in mind that you will still be responsible for oversize, overweight, and extra baggage fees since this benefit does not cover those. This is really important to note because those fees can be substantial.

For example, an overweight bag could cost you $200 per bag and an oversize bag could cost you $200 per bag as well. If you need to find out about the United size and weight restrictions click here.

This benefit does not affect the pricing in instances where you are purchasing an additional bag. For example, if you receive your first free checked bag for free but still need to purchase a second checked bag, the standard second checked bag price applies.

The same thing applies if you receive two free checked bags and are purchasing an additional third bag.

Elite benefits

If you already have elite status with United Airlines such as Silver status, you might be wondering if you can receive an additional free checked bag. That’s because you are already granted a free checked bag with United elite status.

Unfortunately, you will not receive an additional free checked bag in addition to the free checked bags awarded through your elite status.

The same logic applies if you are flying in a premium cabin such as first class. For example, If you are given two free checked bags based on your ticket class, you are not given additional free baggage for using a United credit card.

United credit card free checked bag FAQ

What personal United credit cards offer a free checked bag?

– United Explorer Card
– United Club Infinite Card

How many passengers can get a free checked bag with a United credit card?

The primary card member and one guest are eligible to receive the free checked baggage benefit.

How much does it normally cost to check a bag with United?

The checked baggage fee for United Airlines is typically $30 but it could depend on your route. You can find out more about the baggage fees here.

Do I have to use my United card to pay for my flight to get the free checked bag?

Yes, you need to use your United card for your purchase and add your United MileagePlus number to your itinerary to be eligible for the free checked baggage.

Do authorized users get a free checked bag?

Authorized users only receive the free checked bag if they are traveling on the same reservation as the primary cardmember and they will be counted as one traveling companion for purposes of this benefit.

Can you get the free checked bag on international flights?

Yes, the United credit card does not restrict the free baggage benefit to domestic flights.

How do I use the United credit card free checked bag benefit?

As long as your United MileagePlus number is linked to your reservation on an eligible flight and you use your qualifying United credit card, the waiver will be automatically applied at check in.

When will I receive my free checked bag benefit?

You will receive your free checked bag benefit usually about two weeks after account opening.

What if I cancel my United card?

You will only be eligible for the free checked bag benefit if you are an active cardmember at the time of check-in.

How many free bags do I get?

You will get one free bag with the United Explorer Card and two free bags with the
United Club Infinite Card.

Can I get a free checked bag on award flights?

Yes, as long as you pay the fees on your qualifying United Airlines credit card.

Do United basic economy passengers get the free checked bag benefit?

Basic economy passengers can still receive the free checked bag benefit. In addition, Chase cardholders are also exempt from the carry-on restriction and boarding group policy.

Final word

The free checked baggage benefit on United credit cards is one of the most valuable credit card benefits if you frequently fly with United. In some cases, it can completely offset the annual fee.

It is not quite as generous as the Delta free checked bag benefit but it is still a great benefit since it applies to international flights and allows up to two free bags in some cases.

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