One Unexpected Thing to Be Aware of When Getting an Airline Credit Card

If you signed up for one of those airline credit cards that promises a “free” checked bag, you may encounter an unexpected gotcha.

If you signed up for one of those airline credit cards that promises a “free” checked bag, you may encounter an unexpected gotcha. Those cards encourage you to add a card for your spouse to the account. But beware that the fine print on those cards limits the free bag to the “primary” or “base” cardholder only. So if your spouse is traveling alone and wants to check a bag, he or she has to pay the regular checked-bag fee.

Obviously, this probably ranks pretty low on most travelers’ “airline aggravations” lists. But it demonstrates, again, the big lines’ thin ears to consumer issues. Be warned.

By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.