United Airlines Baggage Fees & Tips To Cover The Expenses [2018]

United baggage fees

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United has a pretty basic baggage policy all around so you won’t find many surprises here.  Overweight/oversized fees are a bit on the higher side but that being said, they’re consistent with most other major US carriers.

Something to note: Economy fares are now split into Basic or Full Economy, which is of importance when you consider the carry-on allowance.  Otherwise, in terms of baggage, fees are pretty much the same across the two.

United Airlines Carry-On Allowance:

1 personal item: FREE
1 standard carry-on bag: FREE (excluding Basic Economy*)

*Any Basic Economy Fare passenger that brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge; unless said passenger is a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Alliance™ Gold member.

Size Restrictions

  • Personal: 17″ x 10″ x 9″
  • Carry-On: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Lap Infant Carry-On Policy

  • Customers may carry the following infant and child articles on board, in addition to the maximum carry-on baggage allowance: Diaper Bag, Breast Pump, Government-approved child seat (infant carrying seat or car seat).

United Airlines Checked Baggage Allowance:

All checked bags must adhere to a max weight of 50lb for all Economy fares and 70lbs for Business and First Class fares; must adhere to max linear dimensions of 62 inches.

RouteEconomy
(Basic & Full)
BusinessFirst
Domestic US & Canada1st Bag: $25
2nd Bag: $35
3rd+ Bag: $150
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags: $
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags:
US to/from Mexico1st Bag: $0 – $25
2nd Bag: $40
3rd+ Bag: $150
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags: $150
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags: $150
US to/from Europe1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: $100
3rd+ Bag: $200
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags: $200
1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd Bag: FREE
4th+ Bags: $200

Credit Cards That Give You A Free Checked Bag With United Airlines

You have four credit card options if you would like to have checked baggage fees waived on United flights. Two cards will even waive the fee for two checked bags.

Check out the details below:

Credit CardChecked Bag Benefit Details
United MileagePlus® Explorer CardOne free checked bag for you and one companion on your itinerary.
Chase United MileagePlus® Club CardYour first and second checked bags are free. This benefit extends to one companion traveling on your itinerary.
United MileagePlus® Explorer Business CardOne free checked bag for you and one companion on your itinerary.
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Business CardYour first and second checked bags are free. This benefit extends to one companion traveling on your itinerary.

Credit Cards That Reimburse You For Checked Bag Fees

If you don’t have one of the cards above or have extra checked bags, you can use one of the cards below to offset the fees.

Credit CardFee Reimbursement Details
💳 Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®

  • Use your miles to cover any qualifying travel purchases of $100 or more, including baggage fees.
  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Rates & Fees
💳 Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a calendar year for baggage fees at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
💳 The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • $200 airline fee credit per calendar year on your previously designated airline. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
💳 The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
  • $200 airline fee credit per calendar year on your previously designated airline. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $450
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
  • $300 travel credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases).
  • Annual Fee: $450
Citi Prestige Card
  • $250 air travel credit per calendar year.
  • Annual Fee: $450

Additional / Excess Baggage Fees:

Oversized Fee: $200 per bag (up to 115″)

Overweight Fee (route dependent):

  • Bags 51-70lb: $100 – $200 per bag
  • Bags 71-100lb: $200 – $400 per bag

Mileage Plus Status weight allowance:

  • Silver: 50lb
  • Gold, Platinum, 1K:  70lb
  • Star Alliance Gold (traveling in First, Business or United Polaris Business): 70lb

Exclusions & Waivers:

Active U.S. Military Personnel

  • Personal Travel: 3 checked bags FREE (70lb)
  • Official Business: 5 checked bags FREE (70lb, up to 115″)

*Dependents of active U.S. military personnel will have the same exemptions as the military service member whose status provides the benefit, as long as they are traveling on the same reservation.

Mileage Plus Status

  • Premier Silver: 1 checked bag FREE (50lb)
  • Premier Gold: 2 checked bags FREE (70lb); 3 FREE for select int’l markets
  • Premier Platinum: 3 checked bags FREE (70lb)
  • Premier 1K: 3 checked bags FREE (70lb)

*Travel companions of MileagePlus Premier members will have the same exemptions as the Premier member whose status provides the benefit, as long as they are traveling on the same reservation.


To see more airline baggage fees and policies, click here.

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Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

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