How Does the Free Checked Bag Perk Work With Citi American Airlines Cards?
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. Citi is an MMS advertising partner.
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.The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)