Can You Get a Free Checked Bag on United Award Flights?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Mike comments:

If I book an award flight, will I still get a free bag and priority boarding with the Chase United Explorer card?

Can You Get A Free Checked Bag And Priority Boarding On An Award Flight

Can Mike Get a Free Checked Bag and Priority Boarding on United Airlines Award Flights?

Yes, you get all the same benefits with the Chase United Explorer Card whether you’re on a paid or award flight.

Chase United Explorer Benefits

Link:   Chase United Explorer

Link:   Top 10 Benefits of the United Explorer Card

For a limited time you get an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 United Airlines miles when you spend $2,000 within 3 months on the Chase United Explorer card.  Plus you get lots of great benefits including free checked bags and priority boarding.

And you’ll have access to more award seats than folks who don’t have the card.  This really helps when you’re trying to book an award flight!

Note: Some folks are able to get a better offer that includes a $50 statement credit.  This is NOT my link but I’ll always tell you about the best deal!

Free Checked Bag

With this card Mike and a traveling companion (on the same reservation) each get 1 free checked bag on United Airlines flights.

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United Charges $25 Each Way for Your 1st Checked Bag, but With the Chase United Explorer Card It’s Free

This is a great benefit because Mike can save up to $100 each time he takes a round-trip flight within North America and certain destinations in South America.

Priority Boarding

As a Chase United Explorer cardholder, Mike and a traveling companion (on the same reservation) will also get priority boarding.  So Mike can get on the plane early and have more overhead bin space for his carry-on.

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Mike Can Skip the Line With Priority Boarding

But, will Mike get these same benefits if he has an award ticket instead of a paid ticket?

Yes, Mike Still Gets Free Checked Bags & Priority Board on Award Flights!

Mike will still get priority boarding even if he is on an award flight as long as his United Airlines number is on the reservation.

He also still gets a free checked bag on award flights as long as his United Airlines number is on the reservation and he pays the taxes & fees on his award ticket with his Chase United Explorer card.

Bottom Line

You get the great benefits of the Chase United Explorer card no matter if you’re on a paid flight or an award flight.

To get priority boarding, your United Airlines number must be on the reservation.  Enter your United Airlines number on your award reservation to get a free checked bag and pay the taxes & fees with the Chase United Explorer card.

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10 responses to “Can You Get a Free Checked Bag on United Award Flights?

  1. Does the same hold true for AA Citi Executive Card ? If I booked tickets on AA with another card or award booking with the fees/taxes charged on any other card, can I still use the benefits of Citi AA Executive Card for Priority boarding/Free checked baggage/Lounge Access ?

  2. How does this work on international flights… I booked one recently and it is only showing me one free checked bag (as they allow one for anybody)… But the 2nd is paid. In the past I think the 2nd was free if you paid with the united card.

  3. Can you get a free checked bag on partner airlines or it’s for United flights only?

  4. What if you are flying UA but on a partner award, like Aeroplan or Miles & More?

  5. Can anyone comment on if an award ticket is paid for with united for taxes, but CSP is used to upgrade to E+?

  6. last time I flew an award UA flight I was told I had to pay the award fees with my explorer card to get the free bag, not just have my frequent flier number pegged to the ticket…

  7. @Andy – I have booked AA with my CSP and I have received all Citi AA Exec benefits. I called Citi and AA to confirm that it wasn’t a mistake. I believe for United or Delta you must use the appropriate branded card

  8. What if I booked the award ticket with the card, but then canceled the card before the flight? Can I just show the card to the agent at check-in and have them waive the fee?

  9. I am taking a United international flight with 2 partners tomorrow. Didn’t have the Chase card when I booked the award, so I didn’t pay the fees with the card. I do have the card now and I got the free bag when I went online for the boarding pass just now. Not sure why, maybe because it’s international? At any rate, I’m glad I don’t have to pay the 25 bucks.

    • @Andy – Yes, you still get lounge access and priority boarding etc.

      @Brandon @DBest – Only United flights (provided it is the 1st flight of your journey).

      @Joe S – You never know so doesn’t hurt to ask.