Avoid overweight baggage fees with entry-level Elite status


Some people disapprove of the low level elite status; however, if you’re a heavy packer – or prone to paying overweight baggage fees – the United Premier Silver and Delta Silver Medallion status is a game-changer.

As a digital nomad and full-time traveler for three years, I have paid my fair share of checked baggage fees when I travel. However, my entry-level United Silver status saved me from paying additional checked baggage fees for my overweight baggage – and I have come to appreciate it immensely.

If you often struggle with a bulky bag and are fed up with packing and repacking your things at the check-in counter, consider elite status with one of these two airlines as you can save a lot of money.

You can more likely avoid overweight baggage charges by using the United Premier Silver and Delta Silver Medallion checked baggage benefits to your advantage.

United Premier Silver: Free £ 70 baggage allowance

An excellent advantage of United Airlines elite status is the ability to bring free checked baggage up to £ 70. Not only do you get free checked baggage, but you also receive an allowance for overweight baggage, as many airlines cap standard baggage at a weight limit of 50 pounds.

For example, as a non-elite traveling economy class from New York to Los Angeles, you would pay $ 35 for the first checked baggage (up to 50 pounds) and an additional $ 100 if your baggage is between 51 and 70 pounds. . As a United Silver member, you would save $ 135 on that ticket, or $ 270 round trip – United Airlines overweight baggage fees can sting.

If you are traveling abroad, the first piece of luggage is often free; However, again, you will have to pay for any weight over 50 pounds. For example, if you are a general member traveling from the United States to Europe, you will get the first bag free, but you will have to pay $ 200 for a bag weighing between 51 and 70 pounds. As an Elite Silver you would save $ 400 round trip.

Disadvantage: Only valid on United flights

One downside is that the franchise only applies to flights on United and United Express. One of United’s strengths is its membership in the huge Star Alliance Network. Unfortunately, the baggage allowance benefits associated with Elite status do not apply to other carriers.

Other ways to get free baggage allowance with United

  • Hold Gold status with Star Alliance: in particular, this status only provides free checked baggage up to 50 pounds. If you are looking for the excess baggage allowance, focus your efforts on United Silver status.

  • Active military personnel are entitled to free baggage allowance whether traveling for business or pleasure. For travel by military order, five free bags weighing 100 pounds are allowed. When traveling for leisure in economy class, the baggage allowance is three pieces of 70 pounds. Dependents are also exempt from charges when traveling on the same booking.

Delta Silver Medallion: Free Baggage Allowance

You can avoid the Delta overweight baggage fees with its entry level Silver medallion status, because the elites benefit from a good baggage allowance. On flights within the United States and Canada, Silver elites receive a free 70-pound bag. On flights to all other international destinations, you receive two free pieces of 50 pounds. Baggage benefits for Medallion members are also valid for a maximum of eight companions traveling on the reservation. Delta also made it easier for travelers to achieve status in 2021 for the following year.

On an economy class flight in the United States and Canada, it costs $ 30 to check your first bag under 50 pounds. If your bag weighs between 51 and 70 pounds, you would pay $ 100. Using the previous example of a flight from New York to Los Angeles by a non-elite with luggage over 50 pounds, you would pay $ 130 or $ 260 round trip. If you are an elite Delta Silver in the same situation, you would pay nothing.

While Delta Silver status does not provide an additional weight allowance on international flights, you receive a second 50-pound bag free of charge. If you have Delta Silver status and are a heavy packer – or if you’re just going on a long trip – take the opportunity to grab two bags weighing 50 pounds. Without status, you would pay $ 100 for the second bag, or $ 200 on a round-trip flight.

Bonus: Delta partners benefit from the additional baggage benefit

Unlike United, which only offers the advantage on United and United Express flights, Delta offers the advantage over partner airlines including China Southern, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia or any SkyTeam carrier.

Nerdy tip: The benefit also extends to a maximum of eight travelers traveling with the Elite member’s reservation. However, accompanying persons do not benefit from this advantage on flights departing from Paris or Amsterdam.

Other Ways to Avoid Delta’s Overweight Baggage Fee

  • SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members benefit from the baggage allowance indicated above.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.

    • Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

  • Similar to United, active military personnel receive checked baggage free of charge when traveling on business or personal travel. When traveling on military order, five free pieces of baggage weighing 100 pounds each are allowed. When traveling for personal reasons, two 50-pound bags are allowed.

Tip: American Airlines Gold status allowance won’t help with heavy bags

Elite Status at United and Delta May Help Avoid Overweight Baggage Fees

In summary, if you are a heavy packer and often travel on paid tickets, consider aiming for elite status with United or Delta as you will save a lot on overweight baggage fees. In 2021, it is easier than usual to achieve elite status with both airlines due to customer-focused changes made by carriers in response to the pandemic.

If achieving Elite status isn’t an option for you, a co-branded credit card that offers free checked baggage is also an option to consider.

Information relating to United Club business card℠ was collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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