Delta bag fee rules when paying with a non-Delta branded credit card? Still free?

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I never thought my post last week about how simple the Barclays Arrival card is would generate so many e-mail questions about bag fees. But, you got questions, I got answers.

First off, as others pointed out, all the above that are non Delta CO-branded credit cards are an option to fly on Delta, earn Skymiles and MQMs and MQDs for the ticket, and be eligible for elite benefits if you are a Medallion at any level. Personally I like Arrival the best but I do use my FlexPerks too and could use my Sapphire if I needed to. But if you pay for the ticket this way, is your bag still free or not?

But let’s start with those who hold a Delta AMEX Gold or Platinum or Reserve card either personal or business. Unlike some other airlines, you DO NOT have to pay for a ticket with the card to get the free bag perk. You should be able to see at your “My Delta” that you are a card holder and you are good to go. If you have ever had and issue, I would remove all the cards you have as payment options and just put in your Delta AMEX and see if that does not fix it for you.

Next scenario is you are a Medallion without a Delta AMEX card (not a good idea but let’s go with it). Your Medallion benefits are not tied to payment method. What card or even who pays for your ticket does not matter as YOU get the perks when you fly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some fare classes, i.e. first class, include two or even three free bags. So, what card you used in this case is a moot point.

What about the case where someone is not a Medallion or has a Delta AMEX? Is the bag free then? Let’s go card by card:

  • The Barclays Arrival has no bag fee credit or rebate. You will have to pay Delta for your bags. But, once the fee does post on your statement, you could use your points to pay for that charge so get them for free by spending your points!
  • Chase Sapphire. Same as the Barclays card you get no bag fee credit or rebate. You will have to pay Delta for your bags. But, once the fee does post on your statement, you could use your points to pay for that charge so get them for free by spending your points but you will only get 1 penny a point this way so low value.
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks does have a bag fee credit of $25 round trip (note: only for awards with FlexPerks points). You will have to pay Delta for your bags. Then, after your trip, you can call U.S. Bank and ask for credit back for your bags but a MAX of $25 even if you paid more (or paid for a bag on the way home). This credit is not just for bags btw and can be used for many other things.

So the ideal situation to sum it all up is that as a Delta flyer it is always good to have a Delta AMEX card for the perks. If you don’t have one, then either the FlexPerks $25 credit or letting Arrival pay you back by spending points are the best options to offset your bag fees when you fly.- René

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  1. does flex perks pay for the bag even though you are not redeeming points, let say i book 1 way with us airways for $75 bos to clt will flex perks pay for the $25 bag fee on us air

  2. René: I thought the $25 credit with the FlexPerks card was ONLY for award travel (i.e., when you use your points to book a trip via their own redemption site). You’re saying it applies to a purchased ticket? That would be great news (not for DL travel, since I hold the AmEx card) but for when I can’t fly Delta.

  3. I always fly on a free ticket (using my husbands miles) with my husband (who always purchases his ticket) and we both have Amex cards that are used to pay the fees and the cost of the ticket.. I always get asked to pay for my bag. I always have to tell the curbside check-in person to put all of our bags on my husbands ticket so we don’t pay a fee. Is it because we do curbside check-in that I’m asked to pay the fee?

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