Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Joey, commented:
I took a last minute flight to Reno from Phoenix to ski some fresh snow. I redeemed 4,500 British Airways Avios points for an award flight instead of paying $350 each way.
However, I was expecting to get a free checked bag on American Airlines because I have the Barclaycard Aviator MasterCard and the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card.
Do you know if the free checked bag benefit applies on American Airlines flights booked with British Airways Avios points? Or am I booking it wrong? Any help on getting the free bag on American Airlines would be appreciated.
Thanks for the question, Joey!
To get your 1st bag checked free, make sure you add your American Airlines frequent flyer number to your reservation at least 7 days before you depart.
I’ll give you tips on how to make the most of this benefit!
When Do You Get a Free Checked Bag?
Some credit cards, like the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage card, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card, come with 1 free checked bag as part of the card’s benefits.
But Joey booked an American Airlines flight with British Airways Avios points and did NOT get a free checked bag when he flew. Why?
“For benefit to apply, the Citi / AAdvantage account must be open 7 days prior to air travel, and reservation must include the primary cardmember’s American Airlines AAdvantage number 7 days prior to air travel.”
The same rule applies for Barclaycard Aviator cards (not available for new sign-ups).
In Joey’s case, it sounds like he took off sooner than 7 days after he booked his award flight.
Remember, only reservations with your American Airlines frequent flyer number attached 7 days before departure will get you a free checked bag.
And just in case, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to add your American Airlines number to British Airways award flights.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind!
Checking your bag free is a valuable perk that can save you a lot of money, especially if you fly often or have a big family.
To make the most of the benefit, remember these tips!
1. You Don’t Have to Pay With the Card
It’s enough to simply have the card in good standing to receive the benefit.
Make sure the same American Airlines frequent flyer number is linked to your card, and your reservation.
2. The Benefit Does NOT Apply for Authorized Users
I’ve written about the benefits of adding an authorized user, both for you and the person you add to your card.
In this case, free checked bag perk only applies to the primary cardholder. That is, you!
And, if they decide to earn a card’s sign-bonus for themselves, they can apply for it on their own!
3. Share Your Perk With Folks on the Same Flights
When you purchase tickets for friends or family, they’ll get a free checked bag too!
Just make sure they’re on the same reservation and flights as you are. Folks with the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Card and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card can use their perk for up to 4 people on the same itinerary.
And if you have the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you can share your benefit with up to 8 people traveling with you!
4. Don’t Go Overboard!
The free checked bag perk only applies for the standard baggage allowance. That means if your bag is over the weight limit, you’ll have to pay excess baggage fees.
And if your itinerary already includes a checked bag, you can NOT use the perk to check a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) bag free. It only applies to the 1st checked bag.
Joey, I hope that helps you understand more about when and how the free checked bag perk works on your CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card! Folks with the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage card and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard also get their 1st item checked free!
Remember to add your American Airlines frequent flyer number when you book flights (even through a partner airline like British Airways) at least 7 days before you fly, or you’ll have to pay for your bags when you check-in at the airport.
Thank you Joey for reading and commenting – enjoy your ski trip!
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!