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American Airlines raises bag fees, won’t allow some travel agency bookings to earn miles

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An American Airlines plane sits at the gate at Cancun International Airport on May 26, 2023.
Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

American Airlines has raised the price to check a bag for the first time in more than five years and said it would limit which travel agency bookings are eligible to earn frequent flyer miles.

Passengers will pay $35 to check a first bag for domestic flights if the service is booked online in advance, or $40 if they purchase the option at the airport, the carrier said Tuesday. Both options previously cost $30. A second checked bag will cost $45, up from $40, whether purchased in advance or at the airport.

First checked bags on flights between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico will be $35 whether purchased online in advance or at the airport.

American Airlines last raised bag fees in September 2018 along with other major airlines. Carriers are looking for ways to increase revenue as airfare has declined over the past year. The last inflation report showed airfare fell more than 6% in January from a year earlier.

Frequent flyer members with elite status and some American Airlines credit card holders will still receive a complimentary checked bag.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline is reducing fees for slightly overweight bags, so travelers will no longer have to frantically remove items from their suitcases at the check-in counter. For example, customers will pay a fee of $30 on checked bags that are as much as three pounds over a 50 pound limit, instead of the previous $100 fee.

The carrier also said Tuesday that it will start limiting which tickets purchased through a third party are eligible to earn AAdvantage frequent flyer miles, a move that aims to drive traffic to American’s website and the latest in a series of changes to the program. It said it will provide a list in April of preferred travel agencies whose bookings will still be eligible for the rewards credits.

Customers who buy basic economy tickets will only earn frequent flyer miles if they book on American Airlines’ website.

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