Alaska Offering Mileage Plan Members Free Checked Bags In January

Here’s a brilliant promotion on the part of Alaska Airlines. Alaska is offering Mileage Plan members traveling during the month of January one free checked bag. That’s a savings of $25 compared to the normal cost of a checked bag.

Let me start by saying that Alaska Airlines is the one airline I consistently check bags on. As much as I give Alaska a hard time in some ways, they do an amazing job with checked bags. They have a baggage service guarantee, whereby if your bag doesn’t arrive at the baggage carousel within 20 minutes of when the aircraft door opens, you receive either a $25 discount for a future flight or 2,500 Mileage Plan miles.


Alaska literally puts every other US airline to shame in that regard, and it shows a real respect for their customers. It’s absolutely infuriating when you pay to check a bag on another airline, only to have it take 45 minutes for the bag to arrive at baggage claim.


So when I first saw Alaska’s free checked bag promotion I was confused, and I didn’t get it. For one, by linking the perk to when you fly as opposed to when you book, they’re not maximizing the amount of incremental business they could generate through the promotion.

But the more I think about it, the more brilliant I think it is:

  • This is an opportunity for Alaska to actually showcase how good of a job they do with checked bags, thanks to their 20 minute guarantee
  • This allows people to sample an elite perk, specifically one free checked bag
  • This encourages those that aren’t already members of Mileage Plan to sign up
  • This encourages those that might otherwise by loyal to Delta SkyMiles to instead put their Alaska Mileage Plan number on a reservation.

Kudos to Alaska Airlines on this promotion. It’s brilliant, in my opinion. I doubt we’ll see Delta respond directly despite their “Battle in Seattle,” though I’m sure they’ll find another way to try and one-up Alaska.

Here are the full terms of the promotion:

Mileage Plan members and companions traveling on the same reservation will receive their first checked bag free on qualifying reservations when they check-in for their flight or at the airport. The promotion is valid for flights flown between 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1 through 11:59 p.m., Jan. 31. At least one valid and active Mileage Plan number must be in the reservation at the time of check-in, and flight miles must be credited to Mileage Plan to qualify. Offer may not be applied retroactively, and no refunds will be issued. Not applicable for travelers who already receive one or more free checked bags. Travel is valid on flights marketed by Alaska Airlines and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest or PenAir between January 1, 2015, and January 31, 2015. Free first checked bag must weigh 50 pounds or less and have a maximum dimension of 62 linear inches (length + height + width) to avoid additional charges. See for complete baggage rules. All terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan program apply. Offer subject to change without notice.


  1. at least one airline is still trying to win customers over with service perks and not just racing to the bottom with the pack. good job Alaska.

  2. Don’t forget that for years, you can put you luggage on the “Ala Cart” when boarding Horizon Air (now simply billed as Alaska) flights for no charge baggage check. When you arrive at you destination airport, pick up you bag right at the plane and away you go.

  3. I fly on Alaska frequently enough to have 75k status, and I love their policies. However I really wish they would invest in a better fleet.

    Their 737-900ER’s are nice, but the rest of the fleet is getting old, and they really should pick up a few widebodies for their long routes (SEA-ATL, SEA-HNL)

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