There are plenty of travelers who will never check a bag. It’s too much of a hassle and they swear it’s possible to travel for 2 weeks with only a carry-on bag. Sharon and I are not those people. Besides the need to bring enough clothes for the trip, we also like to bring home souvenirs with us (like the 10 bags of Beaver Nuggets we brought home with us from Buc-ees in Texas. But Sharon says she’s not obsessed with Buc-ee’s [Note from Sharon: I’m not.]).
While it’s never pleasant, one of the inevitable problems of checking a bag is when that bag gets lost. I can remember at least two instances of our bag going missing during a trip. The first time, I was visiting my parents and all my clothes for the three-day trip got lost. United found my bag and brought it to my parents’ house the afternoon before I was due to return home. Luckily, I had access to a washing machine and was able to wear some of my father’s clothes for the weekend. The most recent time it happened, our bags went missing on Southwest on a trip to Texas. Since we were staying about an hour from the airport, we ended up sitting at the Austin Airport Hilton, wasting several hours waiting for the next flight to arrive, hopefully with our bags. While we got the bags back both times, it was a major inconvenience. Fortunately, some travel credit cards now offer baggage delay coverage that allows you to get reimbursed for purchasing necessities until your bags arrive.
Coverages differ in how long of a delay is necessary to make a claim, the amount you can claim per day and for how many days they provide coverage.
Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards
Since you’re going to be flying, there’s a good chance you’d be charging airfare to your co-brand credit card. It’s necessary with some cards (specifically United and JetBlue) to use the co-brand card for payment if you want to take advantage of the free checked bag benefit.
So what coverage do these cards provide?
- American (Aviator Red – Barclays) – Minimum Delay 12 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Aer Lingus (Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Aeroplan (Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- British Airways (Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- JetBlue (Plus – Barclays) – Minimum Delay 4+ hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Southwest (Plus, Premier, Priority, Premier Business, Performance Business – Chase) -Minimum Delay 6+ hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- United (Explorer, Quest, Club, Business, Club Business – Chase) – Minimum Delay 6+ hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
A restriction on baggage delay for all these cards is that the airfare must be paid for in full with the card for coverage to be effective. The Chase cards have an exception where you’ll still be covered if you book a flight with points, as long as all of those points were earned from the Chase co-brand card.
Flexible Points Travel Cards
While these coverages are good, there are other cards that offer baggage delay coverage. These include travel cards from Chase that earn flexible Ultimate Rewards points.
- Ink Business Cash – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Ink Business Preferred – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 5 days.
- Ink Business Unlimited – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Sapphire Preferred – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 5 days.
- Sapphire Reserve – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 5 days.
All of these cards will cover trips when the common carrier fare for the transportation has been purchased with an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned on an eligible Chase card.
Hotel Co-brand cards
Several co-brand hotel credit cards also cover baggage delays.
- Hyatt (World of Hyatt – Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 5 days.
- IHG (Traveler, Premier – Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 3 days.
- Marriott (Boundless, Bold – Chase) – Minimum Delay 6 hours, $100 per day for up to 5 days.
Most of the credit cards that offer baggage delay coverage are issued by Barclays or Chase. However, there are some other cards that offer the same coverage, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards.
In addition, none of the cards issued by American Express or Citi offer baggage delay coverage.
Baggage delay insurance isn’t something that I’d use as the sole reason to use one card over another. Hopefully having to buy toiletries and maybe a change of clothes isn’t going to bankrupt your vacation budget.
However, if your bags are missing for several days and you need to buy a new outfit to go to dinner and a swimsuit for the pool, having coverage for those expenses is helpful.
A few final things to remember. The baggage delay benefit is secondary to any other coverage which would reimburse the same expenses (like from the airline or another travel insurance policy.) In addition, the coverage only applies when you’re flying away from home. They won’t pay for delayed bags on your return trip home.
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