American Airlines will eliminate free checked bags for passengers with full-priced economy tickets

american_usair_tailsAmerican Airlines said on Tuesday Apr. 8 that it would eliminate free checked bags for passengers with full-priced economy tickets and make other changes to its baggage and loyalty program mileage redemption policies.

American Airlines Group was formed in December 2013 with the merger of American Airlines, American Eagle and US Airways.

The carrier said the no-free-checked-bag policy would also apply to travelers redeeming AAnytime miles under the American loyalty program. Some higher-level frequent fliers in the American and US Airways loyalty programs will be allowed one less free checked bag, it added.

At the same time, American is lowering the amount of miles required for loyalty program members to get free travel to 20,000 miles one way from 25,000 miles for most of the year. For some of the busiest travel days, such as the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 50,000 miles will be needed for frequent fliers to redeem free flights.

The carrier said it would now allow two free checked bags on flights to South America, eliminating a USD$70 charge for a second bag. But American said it will start charging a fee for a first checked bag to and from certain cities in Mexico.

American said some of its changes were designed to align its policies with those of Delta and United. Delta announced in late February that it would change its frequent-flier program to tie miles earned to the amount spent on a ticket rather than the distance travelled.