How to Avoid JetBlue’s New Baggage Fees

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Folks were disappointed last month when JetBlue changed their free checked bag policy.

Now you’ll pay $20 (online) or $25 (at the airport) to check a bag with their lowest fares.

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

JetBlue No Longer Offers a Free Checked Bag With Their Lowest Fares

There’s still lots to love about JetBlue, like free in-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi, more legroom, snacks & drinks, and cheap fares!

Let’s see how to take the sting out of their new bag fees.

What’s the Deal?

Link:   JetBlue

JetBlue has changed their pricing and bag policy.  Now, you’ll have a choice of 3 fare levels when you buy a ticket – Blue, Blue Plus, and Blue Flex.

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

The Cheapest Blue Fares Do NOT Include a Checked Bag

To get a free checked bag (or 2), you’ll have to pay the more expensive Blue Plus or Blue Flex fares.

If you purchase the cheapest Blue fare level, you’ll pay $20 to check a bag when you pay online.  Or $25 at the airport.

$20 is cheaper than most airlines which charge for checked bags!  I still prefer Southwest, because they include 2 free checked bags (and the Southwest Companion Pass is my favorite deal for domestic travel!).

Minimize the Bag Fee!

If you know you’ll be checking a bag, you’re sometimes better off purchasing a mid-range Blue Plus fare instead of paying for a bag separately.

That’s because for some flights, the difference in fare between the cheapest Blue ticket and Blue Plus is only $15.

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

There’s Only $15 Difference Between the Cheapest Fare and the Next Level Up

However, I noticed that if there’s a connecting flight on your itinerary, the difference in fare jumps to $30.  If that’s the case, it’s better to pay for a bag separately ($20 or $25).

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

If You’re Connecting, It’s Better to Pay Separately for Your Bag

Note:  If you require 2 checked bags, it’s generally not worth it to pay the most expensive Blue Flex fare.  Those cost at least $100 more than the cheapest fare (and if you paid for 2 bags separately, it would cost $20 + $35 = $55).

Note:   A free checked bag is still included with Blue fares on flights to or from Santo Domingo, Santiago, Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, Kingston, Cartagena, Medellín, Bogota, Lima and Mexico City.

Remember, all JetBlue fares include a carry-on bag and personal item.  So if you can pack light, you won’t have to pay extra at all!

That said, Blue Plus fares earn 4X online booking bonus JetBlue points per $1 you spend (instead of 3 with the most basic Blue fare).  And flight changes are slightly cheaper.

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

Flight Change and Cancel Fees Are Cheaper With Blue Plus Fares, and You’ll Earn an Extra JetBlue Bonus Point per $1 You Spend When You Book Online

If you’re a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, it’s worth booking paid JetBlue flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  That’s because you’ll earn 1 extra Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 you spend (3X instead of 2X) when you book airfare through the portal with your card!

Note:   JetBlue flights booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal appear to be the lowest Blue fares.

Keep in mind, by purchasing a Blue Plus or Blue Flex fare, you’ll earn more JetBlue points because the bag cost is included in the price of the ticket.  To compare, if you paid $25 in bag fees separately on another airline, like American Airlines, you wouldn’t earn frequent flyer miles on the bag fee.

Use the Right Credit Card

If you must pay for a checked bag separately, consider using a credit card that reimburses airline incidental fees, like:

How To Avoid JetBlue's New Baggage Fees

Use a Card That Reimburses You for Airline Fees, Including Checked Baggage

Note:   With all the cards mentioned (except Citi Prestige), you’ll only be reimbursed if you pay the bag fee separately.  Paid airfare does NOT qualify, except with Citi Prestige.

Note:   The AMEX JetBlue card is being retired, and will be replaced by a Barclays card.  The new card may waive bag fees (but we don’t know for sure!).

Bottom Line

JetBlue began charging for checked bags on their cheapest fares last month.  You’ll pay $20 (online) or $25 (at the airport) for your 1st checked bag.

Often, you’ll save by paying the next most expensive fare, which includes a free checked bag and sometimes costs only $15 more.

Or consider using a card that reimburses airline incidental fees to pay for your checked bag, like The Platinum Card From American Express or the Citi Prestige.

Folks still like JetBlue for their great service, better seats, and freebies like in-flight Wi-Fi, entertainment, snacks, and drinks.

But I prefer Southwest because everyone gets 2 checked bags free – every time!  And for the Companion Pass!

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2 responses to “How to Avoid JetBlue’s New Baggage Fees

  1. The Chase Ritz-Carlton card also reimburses airline incidental fees.

  2. The Chase Ritz card costs $395 a year, gives you a $300 annual travel credit and provides you with access to Lounge Clubs at airports around the world. There are other benefits on using the card.. double points, upgrades etc. and it is part of the Marriott program.. However, I got the card some months back when they had a 140,000 point promotion, now 2 free nights, so at the moment I look at it as costing $95 year for the club access. Not sure what I’ll do before the anniversary date.