On Delta, one less fee - if you're a member

What's this about Delta's new policy on checking baggage?

In these days of the airlines nickel-and-diming travelers, Delta's latest offer is completely surprising since it benefits passengers by removing a fee — something unheard of in the industry these days. But the offer also assumes that you carry the airlines' affinity card like Delta travelers should do if they fly a lot.

Delta and virtually all other airlines have been charging $25 each way to check a bag, but it announced that effective June 1 if you carried a Delta American Express credit card you would be able to check the bag free. So you can save $50 each time you fly round trip if you have the card.

Also, the offer extends to up to nine people flying on the same reservation, so if you have a family of four you could save $200 round trip if each person checks one bag.

Delta continues to charge $35 each way if you check a second bag, like most other airlines do. (Southwest Airlines is the main exception; it doesn't charge for luggage at all.)


There is a caveat, though. The annual fee for the card starts at $95, but those fees could easily be made up if you fly several times a year or if you travel with your family.

But Delta, since it took over Northwest Airlines a few months ago, has been offering affinity card signup bonus — something like 20,000 fee miles and waiving the annual fee the first year.

A similar deal has been offered by Continental — which soon may be merged with United — since last fall to its Chase affinity card-card holders. Some are asking the question of why the airlines would offer free bags when they generate so much revenue. One answer is that they probably get a sign-up bonus from the card companies for new cardholders.

What To Read Next
Get Local