And another one bites the dust. Following JetBlue and the US Big 3, Alaska Airlines increases checked bag fees too. That leaves Hawaiian Airlines as the last one not to raise fees. I mean, there’s Southwest too, but they won’t charge fees. And airlines like Sun Country don’t count, right?
Alaska Air is basically copying everyone else with its fee increases. And so, for tickets purchased or last exchanged on December 5, 2018, and later, the first checked bag fee is going up $5 to $30, while the second checked bag fee is jumping $15 to $40. The third checked bag fee has an even bigger jump, going up $25 to $100. Overweight and oversize bags also cost $100. It’s worth noting too that these fees apply to everyone. For example, if you’re an elite member that gets two free checked bags, your third bag is going to cost you $100. See the chart below for complete details.
How to Avoid Alaska’s Bag Fees
If you’re not a road warrior or a resident of Alaska, the best way to avoid fees when flying Alaska Air is by having their co-branded credit card. As with most airlines, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America grants you one free checked bag for you and up to six people traveling with you on the same itinerary. That’s WAY better than Hawaiian Air’s lousy checked bag benefit.
But, as you may recall, the Alaska Air Visa Signature is my favorite airline card, not only for the checked bag benefit, but also for its companion certificate. As you may recall, Alaska Air Visa Signature cardholders receive a $99 companion certificate every year. And with that certificate, a companion can fly with your for $99 plus taxes and fees anywhere Alaska flies.
Mrs. Island Miler and I use our certificates every year. So far, our best use of the certificate was our flights to and from New York. My ticket cost me somewhere around $800-$900, while the companion certificate let Mrs. Island Miler fly for $150. That’s a $600 to $700 savings for us! And she still earned miles and elite qualifying miles for that flight.
Alaska Airlines Increases Checked Bag Fees, Final Thoughts
It sucks that Alaska Air, the airline that tries to be more customer friendly, is joining the bag fee increase club. But, it’s not like the move was a surprise. Especially as Alaska continues to struggle financially in the wake of their acquisition of Virgin America. However, to me, this increase isn’t that big a deal. The credit card is such a no-brainer to have that most Alaska Air regulars have it and never had to worry about check bag fees. But even if you don’t have the Alaska Air Visa Signature, you could also offset the fee with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Platinum, and the Amex Gold Card.
H/T: One Mile at a Time