Can You Add An Authorized User To Gift A Free Checked Bag Credit Card Perk?

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Question Of The Week: Can I Use A Free Checked Bag Credit Card Perk?

Question Of The Week: Can I Use A Free Checked Bag Credit Card Perk?

Our question of the week is about the free checked bag credit card perk that many of us have & enjoy. However, this question is a bit beyond that and dives into the fine print.

The Question

Our question of the week comes from Sara in our Facebook group:

I have Chase UA Explorer and AMEX DL Reserve and DL Platinum credit cards. If I add an AU and book their airfare using one of these cards, do they get free baggage or is that only for the primary cardholder? (I looked at Chase’s CC site and couldn’t tell.) If no, is there another CC that would allow my AU to get free baggage when flying (I’m in AZ and they’re in NJ so flying from the same airport is not practical).

In sum, the question has 2 parts:

  1. Can I add an authorized user to my credit card and have them get the free bag when flying alone without me on United?
  2. What about with Delta?

Free Checked Bag With United Credit Card

Unfortunately, you can’t do this with United. Here’s what their terms say:

One authorized user is eligible to receive the applicable standard checked bag(s) free only if traveling on the same reservation as the primary Cardmember and counted as the one traveling companion eligible for the benefit.

The authorized user only gets a free checked bag if traveling on the same itinerary as the primary cardholder. Not just on the same plane–the same reservation.

Free Checked Bag With Delta Credit Card

Sadly, you also can’t do this with Delta. Here’s what their terms say:

Benefit is limited to Basic Card Members (not Additional Card Members) with the Delta SkyMiles Gold, Delta SkyMiles Platinum, Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Delta SkyMiles Gold Business, Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business, and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Cards. Reservation must include the Basic Card Member’s SkyMiles number. Fee waiver also available for passengers traveling in the same reservation as the Basic Card Member.

The first line in the terms says very clearly that this doesn’t work for authorized users. The benefit is for the primary cardholder PLUS those traveling on the same reservation. Your authorized user can’t enjoy this perk when traveling without you.

Final Thoughts

It’s a great idea, but sadly your authorized user can’t enjoy that free checked bag credit card perk unless you’re traveling together. There are some great reasons (such as these current bonuses) for adding an authorized user to your credit card. While this 2nd user may enjoy some of the perks your card offers, unfortunately this isn’t one of them.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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    • Yes. If you have a card with airline credits from Amex, as long as you’re using it with the preferred airline it doesn’t matter whose baggage or whose seat fee it is. It should trigger the credit.

  1. Thanks for the quick reply. Even the Citi / AAdvantage Executive card doesn’t offer it to authorized users, while giving lounge access to free authorized users, so it’s likely a lost cause for now.

  2. I think this stinks for those cards that charge $175 for each AU card such as the Delta Reserve.

    I can understand on the Delta Blue, Gold, and even Platinum as those AU cards are free.

    But Delta should really consider letting the AU use the benefit just because the cost of the AU certainly isn’t cheap unless one is getting the free AU version of the Reserve card.

  3. Thanks for the article. I have wondered if there are any airline cards with free authorized users who can get free bag perks. Are you aware of any?

    • Not aware of any. All the cards I’ve looked at from Barclays, Chase & Amex all say this perk applies to the primary cardholder PLUS their companions on the same reservation. You’d need to find terms that don’t require this, which I’ve never seen. If you find one, please let me know!


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