Are you planning a trip? With most airlines charging baggage fees for checked luggage and even some charging a fee for carry-on bags, travelers are forced to spend more and more on their airplane tickets. Here, I'll show you a simple way to avoid paying for your checked-luggage which could save you around $50 per person for a round trip.

Baggage fees are on the rise and they make you want to think twice before booking your flight. But just how much are Americans spending on baggage fees? In the first quarter of 2013 U.S. airlines earned $800 million in checked luggage fees, according to the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Delta (DAL) ranked the highest, earning approximately $192 million in baggage fees during the first quarter of 2013. United (UAL) and US Airways (LCC) followed close behind earning $143 million (United) and $130 million (US Airways) in checked baggage fees.

But just how much are airlines charging per checked bag? The airline that charges the most for the first checked bag is Spirit Airlines with a $45 fee, the second checked bag costs $55, and you will be charged $100 for an additional bag. American Airlines charges $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second, and $150 for an additional checked bag.

JetBlue charges $20 per one-way ticket for the first checked bag, when you pay at a kiosk or via web check-in. You will pay a higher fee of $25 when you check your fist bag at the check-in counter. Checking a second bag will cost you $35.

On all airlines, overweight baggage fees are normally even higher, ranging from $50 (Alaskan-Horizon Air) to $100-200 (United Airlines).

Paying for checked luggage started in 2008 when American Airlines started charging a $15 fee for a first checked bag, and many airlines quickly followed suit. In 2010, Spirit Airlines imposed a carry-on bag fee. This year, in 2016, the only big U.S. airline that does not charge a baggage fee for checked luggage is Southwest Airlines (which allows you to check in 2 pieces of luggage for free).

How can you avoid paying for your checked baggage? I'm going to explain how you can bypass baggage fees by paying for your flight with the right kind of credit card.

One of the easiest and best ways to get free checked baggage is by purchasing your airline ticket with a frequent flyer credit card. Some frequent flyer credit cards offer the first checked bag free of charge as a special benefit to card members.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, issued by American Express, a advertiser offers one free checked bag for you and up to 9 people in your reservation when booking a Delta flight. Delta normally charges $25 for the first checked bag one a one way trip, so by purchasing your ticket with this card you can save up to $50 on a round trip per person. And if you purchase round trip tickets for a family of 4, you can save up to $200! This card also offers a 20% discount on Delta in-flight purchases and gives you priority boarding. You can also earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on Delta purchases and 1 mile for every $1 you spend on other eligible purchases - so, you can even earn miles by paying your household bills with this card. I would recommend this card to people who fly with Delta frequently because you can earn miles on your purchases and use those miles to pay for your next flight. As a special offer, new members will receive 30,000 bonus miles when spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Get $50 as a statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card in the first 3 months. $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms & restrictions apply.

You can see the full Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express review here to see what else this card has to offer.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card, issued by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), lets you check your first bag for free and that of another companion on the same reservation. This saves you $50 per person on a round trip. This card also offers lots of bonus miles if you spend more than a certain amount with it. For example, start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You can earn 10,000 bonus miles every year when you spend $25,000 in net purchases made with this card. You can even earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles if you add another authorized cardholder to your account and make a purchase within the first 3 months of opening your account. Earn double miles on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases. There is no limit to the amount of miles you can earn and accumulate, so the more you spend using your card, the more you earn.

This card has many other perks such as travel accident insurance and lost luggage reimbursement, you can find out more in our United MileagePlus® Explorer Card review here.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®, a partner card issued by Citi in conjunction with American Airlines. As a primary cardholder, when purchasing plane tickets with your card on an American Airlines flight, you will get your first eligible checked bag for free as well as the first checked bag of up to 4 people on your reservation. So, if you purchase 4 round trips with this card on an American Airlines flight, you will be saving $200! You will also earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your card account. You will also earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back - up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles per calendar year. You can earn double AAdvantage® miles for each $1 you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases. On all your other purchases, you will earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on this card. This cards $95 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months.

Read our Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® review to see all the pros and cons of this card.

The JetBlue Plus Card lets you check your first bag free on JetBlue operated flights, when you use it to pay for your tickets. It also lets you enjoy 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases including movies, cocktails and food. Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases using your new card within the first 90 days. You earn 6 points for each dollar you spend on JetBlue purchases, which makes this a rewarding card for frequent flyers. Plus, you earn 2 points per $1 at grocery stores and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Another perk is that you earn 5,000 bonus points each year, after your account anniversary. You can redeem your points for travel with no blackout dates, and you get 10% of your points back every time you redeem, which you can then use towards your next redemption. Benefit from a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, with a regular 12.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% variable APR after that. This card has a $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. With Southwest your first and second checked-bag are free with Bags Fly Free® (there are weight and size restrictions so make sure to read the full terms and conditions), but this card still has some great benefits so we included it! Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn 2 points/$1 spent on Southwest® purchases and participating Hotel and Car Rental partners and 1 point/$1 spent on all other purchases. Receive 6,000 points after each annual cardmembership anniversary. Chip technology makes it easy to use your card outside of the US. This card comes with a $99 annual fee.

Find out more in our Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review.

So, as you can see, using a frequent flyer credit card to purchase your plane tickets can help you save a lot of money on your checked baggage. The only downside to these cards is that they are airline specific and made for people who tend to fly frequently with the same airline. Click here to see the full list of airline credit card offers on If you are not faithful to any specific airline and prefer cards that offer flexibility as well as miles, points and travel rewards, check some of our highly rated travel credit cards.

Other Ways To Get Your Checked Bags Free

There are other credit cards which give you an annual airline credit towards incidental fees, including baggage fees, in-flight food and beverages, on-board wi-fi and similar charges. If you only fly once or twice per year, you can take advantage of this airline credit to cover you checked baggage fees.

Citi Prestige® Card comes with an annual Air Travel Credit of $250, which can be applied towards airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. That means when you use this card, you can get up to $250 of your baggage fees covered every year. You earn 40,000 bonus points after charging $4,000 in purchases to this card in your first 3 months after account opening. Those bonus points can be redeemed for a $532 flight on any other airline or $400 in gift cards. This card lets you transfer your ThankYou Points to a number of frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate or even better. Enjoy a complimentary 4th night for any hotel stay, complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges and hundreds of Priority Pass™ Select VIP lounges, and solid travel insurance coverage (it even includes up to $100,000 for medical evacuation costs). This prestigious MasterCard has a $450 annual fee, but can easily pay for itself many times over if you use its many benefits.

Read our full Citi Prestige® Card review.

The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you up to $200 of airline fee credit per calendar year that you can apply towards incidental fees like checked bags, in-flight refreshments or flight changes. You need to select one qualifying airline for purchases that you would like to apply this credit towards, so make sure to choose the airline that you always fly with. Charge your checked baggage fees to this card to enjoy the $200 credit. You earn 40,000 points after using your new Card to make $3,000 of purchases in your first 3 months, plus you get 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Membership Rewards® can be transferred to many popular frequent travel programs. This card comes with pretty comprehensive travel insurance (including medical evacuation coverage) and top shopping protection benefits. You get complimentary access to more than 900 airport lounges (The Centurion® lounge network, Delta Sky Club®, Airspace Lounges and American Express pays for your Priority Pass™ Select membership when you enroll). Terms and conditions apply. This card has a $450 annual fee, but gives you exclusive perks that can make that fee more than worth it.

Read our The Platinum Card® from American Express review here.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express covers up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more with an Airline Fee Credit. You must choose one airline, and this credit will be applied towards charges from that airline which you pay for with this card. This is a good card to use if you want to get rewarded for your everyday purchases with travel. To start off, you get 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $2,000 on purchases using your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Also you get a $75 hotel credit with The Hotel Collection at and a room upgrade when you arrive, if available, Terms apply. Plus you get 3X points per dollar for flights you book directly with airlines, and 2X points per dollar for purchases you make at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. Other purchases earn 1X points per dollar. Terms and limitations apply. You pay no foreign transaction fees and get good travel insurance coverage (including a baggage insurance plan premium roadside assistance). This card has $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.

Read our review of Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express here.