How to avoid JetBlue baggage fees
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Once upon a time, JetBlue wouldn’t charge you for your first checked bag.
Airline baggage policies since those days have become much worse. You’ll now be charged up to $35 for your first bag, unless you buy a qualifying (more expensive) ticket that exempts you from the fee.
There are still lots to love about JetBlue, like free in-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi, more legroom, desirable snacks, and cheap fares. There are a few ways to take the sting out of JetBlue baggage fees (including simply holding certain airline credit cards). You’ll want to fly the airline for its other perks, so let’s take a look.
Avoiding JetBlue baggage fees
On the majority of JetBlue’s routes, you have a choice of five fare levels when you buy a ticket:
- Blue Basic
- Blue Plus
- Blue Extra
- Mint (business class)
To get a free checked bag (or two), you’ll have to pay the more expensive Blue Plus or Mint fares. If you purchase any other fare type, you’ll be stuck with a fee:
- $30 each way to check your first bag, $40 to check your second bag if purchasing your checked baggage online more than 24 hours before departure
- $35 each way to check your first bag at the airport within 24 hours of departure, $45 to check your second bag
- Third bag costs $150
Note: Mint fares offer the first two bags free.
Choose the right fare
If you know you’ll be checking a bag, you’re sometimes a little 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 less than $30.
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.
Use the right credit card
On all JetBlue flights, those with the JetBlue Plus and JetBlue Business cards get a free first checked bag for themselves and up to three companions on the same reservation when using the card to pay for the tickets.
If you must pay for a checked bag separately, use a credit card that reimburses airline incidental fees, like:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200 annual airline fee credit per calendar year, but you must choose JetBlue as your qualifying airline)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200 annual airline fee credit per calendar year, but you must choose JetBlue as your qualifying airline)
Just remember, you’ll only be reimbursed if you pay the bag fee separately — paid airfare does not qualify for the credit.
If you qualify for TrueBlue Mosaic status, you and those on your itinerary get the first and second checked bags for free. You’ll qualify Mosaic when you earn 15,000 base flight points within a calendar year OR by flying 30 segments plus 12,000 base flight points within a calendar year.
You’ll earn between one and three base points per dollar you spend on the base fare of JetBlue-operated flights (depending on which fare level you buy):
- Blue Basic – 1 point per dollar
- Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Extra, and Mint – 3 points per dollar
On JetBlue’s lowest fares (Blue fares), you’ll pay $30 for your first checked bag when purchasing online ahead of time — but you’ll pay an extra $5 if you wait to do it at the airport.
Often, you’ll save money by paying the next most expensive fare (Blue Plus), which includes a free checked bag and sometimes costs less than $30. But if the fare difference is $30+, you’re better off paying for for a bag separately. Instead of paying for a Blue Plus or Blue Flex fare to have a checked bag included.
Those with select JetBlue cards get a free first checked bag. You could also consider using a card that reimburses airline incidental fees to pay separately for your checked bag. Check out our post on all the ways to avoid checked baggage fees for more details.
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