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You Can Save Hundreds per Year on Airline Bag Fees With This Subscription

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Image source: Upsplash/The Motley Fool

If you travel often and find it difficult to pack light, you understand the frustration of paying checked bag fees. Unfortunately, many carriers now charge a fee to check a bag. Unless you’re flying with Southwest Airlines and can take advantage of its two-free-checked-bags benefit, these additional travel costs can add up quickly throughout the year.

If you fly with United Airlines, I have some good news: The airline has a paid subscription that could save frequent fliers money on airline bag fees. Here’s what you need to know.

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Stop paying bag fees every time you fly

If you fly several times a year, bag fees can quickly eat away at your bank account balance. But you can avoid paying these fees every time you fly. Instead of paying a fee for every one-way flight, you can invest in an annual baggage subscription.

United offers this, and prices start at $349 per year for one traveler. The total subscription cost varies depending on your party size, number of checked bags, and travel region.

Here’s an overview of the yearly fee for a subscription that allows one checked bag per trip:

Travel region Subscriber-only price Subscriber and one companion price Subscriber and eight companions price
Continental United States (excludes Alaska and Hawaii) $349 $449 $649
North and Central America (includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean) $449 $549 $849
Intra-Asia and Oceania (excludes flights from Honolulu to Guam) N/A N/A N/A
Global N/A N/A N/A
Data source: United.com

Here’s an overview of the yearly fee for a subscription that allows two checked bags per trip:

Travel region Subscriber-only price Subscriber and one companion price Subscriber and eight companions price
Continental United States (excludes Alaska and Hawaii) $399 $499 $699
North and Central America (includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean) $499 $599 $899
Intra-Asia and Oceania (excludes flights from Honolulu to Guam) $399 $499 $699
Global $799 $899 $999
Data source: United.com

If you fly regularly, a baggage subscription could be well worth the added expense and could provide significant savings. But since this subscription is exclusive to United, it’s best for someone who typically flies with the carrier. If you fly with various airlines, this isn’t for you.

For frequent fliers, the savings can add up

You may be wondering if this is a good option to consider and what your total yearly savings might look like. It depends on the subscription you choose and how often you fly. If you usually fly within the continental United States and only need to check one bag on each trip, the $349 subscription would work nicely for you.

Let’s imagine you take 10 round-trip flights a year. United checked bag fees vary, but you’ll pay $40 for a checked bag as a non-elite flier. That’s $80 per round-trip flight. If you prepay these fees before check-in, you’ll pay $35 each way or $70 total. That’s $700 a year in bag fees. The $349 annual baggage subscription saves you $351 on these fees.

Consider all travel costs

Before booking your next trip, consider all travel costs beyond the initial airline ticket. You may need to budget more money for extra costs like baggage fees. But if you’re strategic, you can find ways to save money on travel expenses like this — or even avoid them altogether.

You can get a United Airlines credit card with free checked baggage perks if you’re a United Airlines loyalist. Earning rewards and using your credit card benefits could save you money. Review our list of the best United credit cards to learn more about the top features of each card.

But if you’re looking for a credit card with different travel perks, consider applying for one of the best travel rewards credit cards instead. These cards don’t provide free checked bag perks but have other valuable travel perks that could save you money on travel expenses.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Natasha Gabrielle has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Southwest Airlines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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