Get Your Bags Checked For Free

A Credit Card That Will Get Your Bags Checked Free

When airlines first introduced checked bag fees, it was originally said to be a temporary measure to combat high fuel costs. But these companies quickly became addicted to the additional revenue, and now Southwest is the only airline that doesn’t charge for checked bags.

Another reason that airlines seem to charge for checked bags is so that they can promote their frequent flyer credit cards that offer a free checked bag. For better or for worse, this strategy works, and the best way to avoid these charges is to have the right credit card.

This card offers you and a companion a free checked bag, but only when you use it to pay for your tickets. Other benefits include up to $100 credit towards the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, priority boarding, and 25% back on your United in-flight purchases. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

These Credit Cards May Provide Travel Insurance You Didn’t Know You Had

 

These days, it’s pretty hard to buy an airplane ticket without the carrier trying to sell you additional insurance with your ticket. In fact, some carriers, like United, literally won’t let you complete your purchase until you’ve accepted or declined the optional travel insurance policies that they offer through a third party.

But what most travelers don’t know is that their credit card may already include numerous travel insurance protections, making it unnecessary to purchase the optional insurance. Here’s some of the credit cards that offer you the best travel insurance, so that you can decline to pay extra for the same coverage.

In addition to offering outstanding rewards, this card also comes with very strong travel benefits. Most importantly, it offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, that provides a benefit if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations. It can reimburse you up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. Other benefits include baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, which currently offers 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.

Mastercard® Titanium Card™

 

This card offers a surprising array of travel benefits including trip cancellation and interruption coverage that works if your covered trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason. This benefit can reimburse you up to $5,000 per trip and $10,000 per 12-month period. You also receive baggage delay insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver insurance. There’s a $195 annual fee for this card. You also get the same coverage from the $495 Mastercard® Black Card™ and the $995 Mastercard® Gold Card™.

United℠ Explorer Card

 

You can feel comfortable declining the optional insurance offered by airlines with this card, because it includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance. This will offer you a benefit if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations. It can reimburse you up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. Other benefits include baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year), which currently offers 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. (See rates and fees)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

This card offers several different airport business lounge memberships. You can visit a Delta SkyClub when flying Delta the same day, or visit over 1,000 lounges with the Priority Pass Select membership. Then there are the luxurious American Express Centurion lounges at select airports. This card also offers you a $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (requires enrollment) and up to $100 in credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. There’s a $550 annual fee for this card. (See rates & fees).

 

United℠ Explorer Card

 

If you just need occasional lounge access, this card may be for you. It offers you two day passes each year to the United Club lounges. It also offers you 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. You earn 2x miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays, and on United purchases. You also receive up to a $100 credit towards the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Other benefits include priority boarding,  25% back on United inflight purchases, and one complimentary checked bag (for the cardholder as well as a companion) when you use your card to purchase your ticket. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

 

How to Get a Refund When Your Flight Price Drops After You Buy

What happens when you buy an airfare and then discover that sometime before take-off the fare has dropped in price?

A Look at Price Drop Refund Policies by Airline

If the price dropped for the exact same travel dates, flight times, and the same class of fare, then some airlines will issue a travel credit for the difference in fare. However, most of those that will issue a refund are going to charge a fee for doing so.

If you happen to stumble upon a lower fare within 24 hours after you booked your flight, you can take advantage of the 24-hour rule for flights from or to the U.S. and get a full refund as long as your flight is at least 7 days away. This is the official Department of Transportation policy, but some airlines and third-party sites allow you to cancel for free even if it is less than 7 days prior to departure.

After 24 hours have passed since the original booking, only a few U.S.-based airlines will issue a full refund, in the form of a travel credit, depending on when the ticket is rebooked or canceled; and only one of those will issue a travel credit anytime up to 10 minutes prior to departure. The others charge anywhere from $50 (for a domestic fare) up to $750 (for an international one), which often wipes out any savings. And if you’ve purchased a Basic Economy fare, then you’re out of luck.

Any travel credit issued is valid up to one year from the original date of purchase.

Note: This information applies to non-refundable fares only; fully refundable fares can be rebooked at any time, almost always without a fee, if the fare goes down.

Related: Strategies to Get a Refund on a Non-Refundable Airfare

Alaska Airlines

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Will Alaska Airlines Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, for Main class fares and above. If a lower fare is available more than 24 hours after booking, a travel credit is given if there is any remaining value after fees. Saver fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fees for flights wholly within the state of Alaska.

$125 change/cancellation fee on all other routes.

Alaska Airlines used to have one of the simplest and best policies in the industry, but have now adopted fees for the majority of its route network. Unless you are flying wholly within Alaska, the price will have to drop more than $125 for you to receive any sort of refund credit. Alaska also has a price guarantee, which issues a refund equal to the price difference (if greater than $10) if you find a lower fare on the exact same itinerary somewhere else within 24 hours of booking.

Allegiant

 

Will Allegiant Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, a credit voucher good for future travel will be issued for qualifying changes/cancellations. For bookings made without Trip Flex, any changes must be made at least 7 days prior to scheduled departure.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$75 per person, per segment for bookings without Trip Flex.

If Trip Flex was purchased during booking ($8-$20), no fee applies and changes can be made up to 1 hour prior to departure.

Electronic Carrier Usage Charge (online booking fee; $18 per passenger, per segment) is not refunded with or without Trip Flex.

Although Allegiant’s policy states that a travel credit will be issued if there are any remaining funds, there would have to be a significant price drop for this to happen after all the associated fees. Since Allegiant’s fares are already very low, it’s unlikely you’ll ever actually get a travel credit.

 

Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting an Airline Voucher

American

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Will American Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, for Main Cabin Economy fares or above. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$200 for domestic travel.

Up to $750 for international travel.

Since the fees are so high, you’ll rarely see any refund unless there is a drastic price drop.

Delta

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Will Delta Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, for Main Cabin Economy fares or above. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$200 for domestic travel.

Up to $500 for international travel.

Delta also has a Best Fare Guarantee for flights originating in the U.S., which states that if you find a lower fare by 12 midnight Eastern Time on the same day you purchased a ticket on Delta, you will receive a refund for the difference in fare (must be at least $10 less). If the lower fare is for the exact same itinerary and only found on another site and not on delta.com, you will also receive a $100 travel credit voucher.

Frontier

Will Frontier Refund If Price Drops?

No, Frontier will charge you a fare difference if the price is higher, but will not issue a travel credit for a drop in price. However, if you’ve purchased the Works bundle during the initial booking, the ticket is refundable and a new ticket can be purchased at the lower rate.Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Although Frontier doesn’t issue any travel credits if you find a lower fare, it no longer charges a flight change fee for any changes made 60 days or more before departure.

 

New No Change Fee Policy on Frontier Airlines

Hawaiian

Will Hawaiian Refund If Price Drops?

No – Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Hawaiian’s fare rules state that a “refund or credit will not be provided if a flight change is made and the applicable new fare is less than the original fare paid.”

JetBlue

 

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Will JetBlue Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, tickets changed within 5 days of the original booking date do not incur a change fee as long as there are no changes to the origin/destination, stopover points, flights, and travel dates. A voucher will be issued for the difference in fare, which is good for future travel up to one year from date of issue. This lower fare policy will only be honored if you find the lower fare and call JetBlue Reservations at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) to get the refund credit. Any changes made more than 5 days after booking will incur a change fee.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fee if the flight is changed within 5 days of booking.

If more than 5 days from booking, $75-$200 depending on the price of the fare.

JetBlue also has a Best Fare Guarantee for flights originating in the U.S., which will issue a $50 credit if you find a lower fare for the exact same itinerary on the same day of purchase. The lower fare must be at least $5 less than what you paid and what is currently available on jetblue.com in order to receive the credit.

When Is the Best Time to Book Your Flight?

Spirit

 

Will Spirit Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, surprisingly, Spirit states that if a new fare is less than the original fare, a future travel credit will be issued to be used within 60 days. Of course, the fare will have to drop more than the modification or cancellation fee in order for a credit to be issued.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$90 per customer, per booking for modification or cancellation made online.

$100 per customer, per booking if made over the phone or at the airport.

Southwest

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Will Southwest Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, the simplest policy there is. Just rebook your fare and a travel credit will be issued for any difference in price to be used up to one year from the date of the original purchase.Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Southwest is the only airline that truly gives a full refund credit any time a fare drops in price up to 10 minutes prior to departure.

Sun Country

 

Will Sun Country Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, if the price of the new airfare is lower, the difference is given in the form of a travel credit good for one year from the original date of purchase. The fare drop must occur at least 60 days prior to departure to get a full refund credit for any price difference. If it is within 60 days of travel, a change fee will apply.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fee if the change is made 60+ days prior to departure.

$50 per direction, per traveler for changes made 59-14 days prior to departure.

$100 per direction, per traveler for changes made 13-0 days prior to departure.

Sun Country changed its ticket change fee policy in July 2019 to become more customer-friendly. We hope that other airlines will follow.


Related: New No Change Fee Policy on Sun Country Airlines


United

Will United Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, there have been multiple reports of an unofficial price drop refund policy on United. If the price drops within 30 days of booking the ticket, call a United Reservations agent to ask for a refund credit. Some agents may not know about this policy so ask for a supervisor or try calling again if your first attempt does not succeed. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$50 processing fee for price drops within 30 days of booking (unofficial policy).

For price drops more than 30 days after booking, a $200 change fee for domestic travel and up to $400 for international travel will apply.

While United doesn’t officially state its price drop refund policy anywhere online, it has worked for many travelers who have called United after a fare has dropped. Some have even mentioned having the $50 processing fee waived, though it seems lately that is not happening anymore so the price drop will likely need to be more than $50 for any refund credit to be issued.

It never hurts to try calling an agent and asking for a refund if you notice a significant drop in price for your flight. If you are courteous and you get an agent in a good mood, you may even be able to get a refund outside of the airline’s official policy. Just don’t have high expectations or demand any sort of refund that you are not entitled to, because an agent is less likely to do any favors for an angry customer.

NOTHING WRONG WITH KNOWING!

HAPPY TRAVELS, CHRIS

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