American Airlines Updates its Checked Baggage Policy with New Fees on International Flights

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Holding elite loyalty status with the American Airlines AAdvantage program just became even more valuable after the airline announced new checked bag fees. As if travel fees aren’t high enough, American Airlines is taking on yet another cost for travelers looking to go overseas. Elite status still has access to complimentary bags, but the bag policy is still selective to those members.

Review the latest policy updates for more pricing transparency before booking a flight with American Airlines.

American Airlines Updated Baggage Policy

Pricing transparency in the travel industry has been a recent issue that travelers frequently complain about. American Airlines has contributed to the confusion by having different pricing structures across its flight routes. The latest update, however, is a move to help reduce confusion about what travelers will pay during their flights.

As of June 7, 2023, American Airlines now charges the following fees on checked bags for international basic economy flights:

  • $75 for the first checked bag
  • $100 for the second checked bag
  • $200 for the third checked bag

Initially, American Airlines provided complimentary checked bags for its economy flights. The update eliminates free bags for these travelers, leaving this perk for more premium cabins, loyalty members, and AAdvantage credit cardholders.

International Travel is Now More Expensive with American Airlines

American Airlines operates flights to more than 60 countries. In an ironic policy update, it now varies travel fees depending on which region you’re traveling to. See below for a chart detailing all the airline’s baggage fees.

How Much Does American Airlines Charge for International Baggage

how much does american airlines charge for international baggage
How much does American Airlines charge for international baggage | Image source AA Travel Info

The new checked bag fees only apply for transatlantic and transpacific flights. Routes between North and South America remain unchanged, with fees similar to domestic travel.

For comparison, other major airlines like Delta and United still include a complimentary bag on specific routes. Travelers on transpacific routes get their first checked bag free. Transatlantic flights on these airlines also have a $75 fee for the first bag. It’s uncertain whether other airlines will also update their checked bag policy similar to American Airlines. However, it’s unlikely.

Save on international travel with American Airlines with award flights. Here are a few routes to consider for trip inspiration:

Most international travelers (especially on transoceanic trips) will likely have at least one checked bag. The new fees will bring in lots of revenue for American Airlines. At the same time, it encourages travelers to consider its loyalty program or upgrading their ticket reservation. Travelers with plans to travel internationally can compare the cost of the checked bags with the price to upgrade or obtain elite status to see which will save more money.

Getting Complimentary Check Bags on American Airlines

The newly changed bag fees apply only to travelers with an international basic economy. These travelers may qualify for a complimentary checked bag only by fitting the following criteria:

  • 1st free checked bags – AAdvantage Gold and oneworld Ruby members
  • Up to 2 checked bags free – AAdvantage Platinum, oneworld Sapphire members, and TrueBlue Mosaic members
  • Up to 3  checked bags free – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, and oneworld Emerald members

Refer to the following chart to see how many miles you need to earn elite status with AAdvantage.

Note that travelers in international basic economy cabins still get one complimentary carry-on bag per person.

Baggage Fees as Qualified Spending on AA Credit Cards

While baggage fees are becoming unavoidable for travelers, there are ways to benefit from them. Baggage fees are qualified purchases as spending on American Airlines and earn points with these AA credit cards:

Credit CardAnnual FeeEarning Miles
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercardintroductory fee waived, $99 per yearearn 2x miles on AA purchases
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard$450earn 2x miles on AA purchases
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUpNo annual feeearn 2x miles for AA purchases
AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard$95earn 2x miles for AA purchases
AA credit cards

Also, consider credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) that gives cardholders $300 annual travel credit—that’s enough to cover bags for two round-trip international flights.

In addition to earning points when paying for your checked bags, they also grant cardholders other travel perks, including priority boarding, lounge access, and in-flight discounts.

Bottom Line

More fees, especially on necessary items like a checked bag for international flights, aren’t something that travelers are too fond about. One of the biggest complaints about budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier is that they charge fees for everything. Adding checked bag fees creates the same criticisms for American Airlines. Also, it could add to the pricing confusion instead of solving it since travelers must now consider what region they’re traveling to and uncertainty about what’s included with their international basic economy ticket.

The new checked baggage fees are now live, and travelers with upcoming international flights on the airline can expect to pay them.

2 thoughts on “American Airlines Updates its Checked Baggage Policy with New Fees on International Flights

  1. what is the baggage fee for flight from CVG to Puerto Vallarta. and back from Puerto Vallarta to CVG? Traveling on Sept. 15 to Sept.22 2024. What is the weight allowance?

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