Checking a Bag? Here’s How to Avoid JetBlue’s Baggage Fees

You might not be able to avoid bringing extra luggage, but you may be able to avoid the fees.
6 minute read | 6/11/19June 11, 2019
Luggage on a carousel at the airport

Checking a bag is sometimes unavoidable, and it can seem like a real drag any time an airline charges you for it. It’s part of flying, though, and unless you’re going to strictly fly Southwest forever, the only thing left for you to do is learn how to avoid those pesky fees.

JetBlue baggage fees vary depending on the fare you choose, so you won’t always get stuck paying them. Not all avenues to avoid these fees are suitable for everyone, but it’s best to know all of your options and exhaust the ones you can before shelling out any more money than you have to.

What’s JetBlue’s baggage policy?

You’ll find that JetBlue’s baggage policy is pretty straightforward and is in line with most other airlines’ baggage policies. But to avoid any surprises, see what you’re working with before heading to the airport.

Carry-ons

Each customer is allowed to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, which must be able to fit under the seat in front of you — this can be a purse, garment bag, briefcase, backpack, pet carrier, or other small item. JetBlue currently doesn’t have any weight limits for carry-on bags, but to ensure your items fit, make sure they meet the following size requirements:

  • Personal item placed under the seat in front of you: No bigger than 17 inches x 13 inches x 8 inches (Length x Width x Height)
  • Carry-on bag stored in the overhead bin: Must not exceed 22”L x 14”W x 9”H (this includes wheels and handles on the bag)

Regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allow the following items in addition to your carry-on bag, which don’t count towards your carry-on limit:

  • Duty-free items you may have picked up in the airport — but only a reasonable amount
  • One diaper bag for those traveling with a lap infant
  • Special items, such as a coat, umbrella, car seat, etc.
  • Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc.

The TSA also provides a full list of what you can and can’t bring on board. Some items, while not allowed in your carry-on, can be stowed in your checked bag instead.

Checked bags

If you plan to bring more than just carry-on bags, JetBlue offers fare options that include different numbers of checked bags. For the basic Blue fare option, for instance, you’ll pay $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second, while higher fare options include multiple bags for free.

1st Bag 2nd Bag 3+ Bags
Blue $30 $40 $150
Blue Plus Included $40 $150
Blue Flex Included Included $150
Mint Included Included $150
Mosaic Included Included $150
JetBlue Plus Card member Included $40 $150

Source: JetBlue.com

Make sure the bag you’re checking meets all size dimensions and weight requirements; otherwise, you’ll be stuck paying the following overweight or oversize fees:

Tickets booked on or after Aug. 27, 2018:

  • 51-99 pounds: $150 per checked bag
  • 63-80 inches (including handles and wheels): $150 per checked bag

Tickets booked before Aug. 27, 2018:

  • 51-99 pounds: $100 per checked bag
  • 63-80 inches (including handles and wheels): $100 per checked bag

How to avoid JetBlue baggage fees

Just because you need the extra luggage space doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay more for your bags to travel with you. Here are six ways to avoid JetBlue’s baggage fees.

1. Only pack a carry-on

Of course, the most obvious way to avoid baggage fees is to not check a bag at all. For those who can manage to squeeze everything into just their carry-on bag, you’ll be able to avoid the fees altogether.

This might mean more planning on your part. For instance, maybe you can plan ahead for what you’ll wear and only bring the exact number of outfits necessary for your trip. If you can manage to bring less, you’ll pay less.

2. Join the JetBlue loyalty program

Take a few minutes to join TrueBlue, JetBlue’s loyalty program. It’s free, and you can earn 2X TrueBlue points per $1 spent that never expire. Rack up enough and redeem your JetBlue points for travel with a Blue Plus, Blue Flex, or Mint fare, all of which include at least one free checked bag.

JetBlue’s highest level of their loyalty program, TrueBlue Mosaic, comes with two free checked bags for you and others on your itinerary. To reach TrueBlue Mosaic, you’ll need to earn 15,000 base flight points or fly 30 segments plus 12,000 base flight points, all within a calendar year.

3. Buy a premium ticket

Depending on the price and how many bags you need to check, it might be worth purchasing a higher-class ticket instead of paying for a bag separately. This can be determined with some quick math to see which option will provide the most savings.

If you’re checking multiple bags, however, it may not make sense to purchase the Blue Flex fare just to have those two checked bags included. Again, do the math, but in this case, it may be cheaper to pay for your checked bags separately.

4. Bring your military documentation

JetBlue offers a military discount of 5% off the base fare, plus two checked bags at no additional cost for National Guard and Reserve, retired military, veterans, and their families enrolled in Veterans Advantage. Just call 1-800-538-2583 and provide your VetRewards member ID to verify your eligibility.

Veterans Advantage isn’t free, though, and requires a paid membership with plans ranging in price from $4.95 for a 30-day trial to $9.99 a month if you pay as you go.

For active duty military traveling on orders or for leisure, you’ll get up to five free bags or two free bags, respectively. Speak to one of JetBlue’s reservation crewmembers at 1-800-538-2583 regarding baggage fee waivers.

5. Get a JetBlue credit card

Airline-branded credit cards are generally best for those who fly often with that affiliated airline. If JetBlue is where you usually turn when it comes time to travel, you may consider opening one of their credit cards.

Of course, it depends on your situation as to whether or not you should get one and if the value you get from the card exceeds the annual fee that usually comes with it. Value can be in the form of a free checked bag, discounts on inflight refreshments, or other perks.

Perks you get on JetBlue Annual fee
JetBlue Card

JetBlue Card

  • 3X points on JetBlue purchases
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases of food and cocktails
$0
JetBlue Plus Card

JetBlue Plus Card

  • 6X points on JetBlue purchases
  • First checked bag flies free for you and up to three companions
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases of food and cocktails
$99
JetBlue Business Card

JetBlue Business Card

  • 6X points on JetBlue purchases
  • First checked bag flies free for you and up to three companions
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases of food and cocktails
$99

6. Use a general travel card

If you’re a frequent traveler but want more flexibility in the way you redeem rewards than what an airline-branded card offers, a travel rewards credit card may prove beneficial. Some of these cards reimburse for airline incidentals, such as bag fees, while some allow you to transfer credit card points directly to TrueBlue.

Here are a few cards that can help you avoid JetBlue baggage fees:

Card How it can be used with JetBlue
American Express Gold Card
  • $100 airline fee credit to cover incidentals like checked baggage fees
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to JetBlue at a rate of 250:200
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • $300 annual travel credit reimbursed for travel purchases
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio
Citi Premier Card
  • Transfer ThankYou Points to JetBlue at a rate of 1:1

Bottom line

While you can’t always avoid checking bags, there are several ways to avoid paying the fees that may come with it. Whether this means racking up loyalty points or using a travel rewards card, consider the options that work best for your situation and always compare the cost of paying the fee for a checked bag against what it takes to avoid it.

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