Credit card baggage delay insurance guide

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If you’ve never been the last passenger in the arrivals hall, staring disorientedly at an empty spinning luggage carousel, your time is coming. Airlines are equal-opportunity bag-misplacers, and you’ve simply flown under their radar as yet.

Those of us in the miles and points world travel as often as we can, and we’ve all lost a bag at least once. We wouldn’t dream of booking a flight with anything but the best travel credit cards offering baggage delay insurance. Some credit cards, like those issued by Citi, won’t cover a lick of travel insurance. It’s important to know the cards that will give you the biggest reimbursement for delayed bags, and how soon the benefit kicks in.

Below are the best baggage delay insurance credit cards currently on the market.

Best baggage delay insurance credit cards of 2020

Card nameCard bonusBaggage delay coverageWho's coveredAnnual feeOur review
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five daysPrimary cardholder and immediate family$95Chase Sapphire Preferred review
Chase Sapphire Reserve®50,000 bonus Chase points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five daysPrimary cardholder and immediate family$550Chase Sapphire Reserve review
The World Of Hyatt Credit CardUp to 50,000 bonus points:
- 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- 25,000 more bonus points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases in the first six months
Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five daysPrimary cardholder and immediate family$95World of Hyatt Card review
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card 100,000 bonus Chase points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account openingTriggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five daysPrimary cardholder and immediate family$95Chase Ink Business Preferred review
United℠ Explorer CardUp to 70,000 Bonus Miles. 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to three daysPrimary cardholder and immediate family$95, waived the first yearChase United Explorer review
(Photo by Tooykrub/Shutterstock)

Does travel insurance cover delayed baggage?

Travel insurance comes in many different forms. Whether you’ve got a travel credit card advertising travel insurance or you’ve purchased a comprehensive travel insurance package, delayed baggage is probably included. Coverage for delayed baggage provides you money to make “essential” purchases within reason. This means toothbrushes, body wash, food and even lodging.

During a conference to Ireland years ago, my garment bag was delayed, and I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred to purchase a new suit for my meetings. The expense was reimbursed without issue.

Can I claim for delayed baggage?

Delayed baggage insurance differs slightly by credit card issuer, so refer to your benefits guide before brazenly phoning your card and demanding satisfaction. The cards on this list generally will cover you as long as:

  • You used the card to pay for your entire fare (or you used the card to pay for the taxes and fees on an award flight)
  • Your bag was delayed six hours or more
  • Your bag was delayed on the way to your destination (not on the way home)

For example, if you book a round-trip flight to Cancun with 20,000 Southwest points, you’d be covered if:

  • Your bag arrived late to Cancun by six hours or more
  • You used the https://millionmilesecrets.com/go/chase-sapphire-preferred-card/ to pay for the award flight’s taxes and fees

What to do when bags are delayed

If your bags are delayed more than six hours, it’s time to file a claim. Here’s the process:

  • Alert your airline that your bags are late by filing a report at the airline’s baggage services office or counter in the arrivals hall of the airport (usually next to the carousels). Remember to take a copy for yourself!
  • The airline will provide relevant documents and information, and let you know if they intend to reimburse you for anything
  • Make your “essential” purchases, such as clothing or toiletries, and keep the receipts handy (you’ll have to submit them later)

Again, card issuers differ on the method to filing a claim, but if you call the number on the back of your card, they’ll tell you the website to visit, and you can input all the above information relatively hassle-free. Also be sure not to delay your claim, as you have a small window (20 days from the time of delay with Chase cards) to open a claim.

Also, airlines may also compensate you for delayed bags, but in my experience it’s exponentially easier to receive reimbursement from credit card insurance. Some MMS team members (not me) have had success shooting the airline a secure message when a bag has been delayed. Most recently, Southwest provided a $50 travel voucher for inconvenience.

It’s always worth a shot, as this compensation is on top of the perks provided by travel credit cards.

Best baggage delay insurance credit cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best beginner credit card for baggage delay insurance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Chase points value averages about 2 cents each according to our estimation. That means this bonus is easily worth $1,200 in free travel.

This is our number one card for beginners in miles and points. Its rewards are super easy to use, and it’s one of the most well-rounded cards in the travel world.

Delayed baggage benefit: Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five days. You and your immediate family are covered.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits and perks include:

  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • DoorDash Dashpass benefits (must activate the offer before December 31, 2021)
  • Primary rental car insurance

You can get lots of value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to Chase transfer partners.

$95

I’ve had this card for many years and I take it on all my trips. When you subtract the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee from the value of the welcome bonus and the card’s benefits and perks, the card’s value is clear.

With a bonus worth $1,200 (based on our Chase points valuation) minus the $95 annual fee, you can get a first year value of $1,105. Add the fantastic

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best premium credit card for baggage delay insurance

When you sign up for Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 in travel on average (based on our estimation of Chase points value).

This is one of the best credit cards for authorized users. They receive excellent perks, such as Priority Pass access (valued at $429+ per year) and at least 12 months of complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (valued at ~$120 per year) when you activate your free membership by December 31, 2021.

Delayed baggage benefit: Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five days. You and your immediate family are covered.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits include the ability to earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining (excluding $300 travel credit), 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022), and one Chase point on all other purchases.

The best perk for this card is the annual $300 in travel credits, which are automatically earned whenever you make a qualify purchase including airfare, hotels, rental cars and more. You also get an application fee credit (worth up to $100) for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. The card also includes a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you and up to two guests access to 1,200+ airport lounges.

You can also receive a free year of a Lyft Pink membership when you activate the benefit by March 31, 2022. To activate, add your Sapphire Reserve card as a payment option in your Lyft app and you’ll be prompted to activate your Lyft Pink membership.

$550

Be sure to run the numbers when deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. After all, you’re effectively paying a $250 annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee – $300 travel credit). You’ll pay a $95 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. So you’ll effectively pay $155 more each year ($250 – $95) to get many extra perks, like lounge access and Lyft Pink membership.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best premium travel rewards credit card. Its sign-up bonus is worth at least $750 in travel. And with the $300 annual credit for travel purchases every cardmember anniversary, that’s $1,050 in value in the first year, not counting other money-saving perks you enjoy as a cardholder.

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card: Best hotel credit card for baggage delay insurance

With the World of Hyatt credit card, you can earn up to 50,000 Hyatt points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account
  • 25,000 additional bonus Hyatt points after you spend another $3,000 ($6,000 total) on purchases within the first six months of opening your account

We estimate Hyatt points value to be about 1.7 cents each, meaning this bonus is worth $850 in Hyatt hotel stays. But they can be worth much more, depending on how and where you use them (read our post detailing the best use of Hyatt points).

Hyatt has an ongoing Brand Explorer promotion where you can earn free nights valid at Category 1-4 hotels for every five different Hyatt brands you stay at, including award stays. These awards pair perfectly with the free nights you can earn with the World of Hyatt card because they are all valid at Category 1-4 hotels

Hyatt is up to 17 brands, meaning you can earn up to three free nights.

Delayed baggage benefit: Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five days. You and your immediate family are covered.

With this card, you’ll earn:

  • 4 Hyatt points per dollar at Hyatt hotels (not counting the 5 Hyatt points per dollar you’ll regularly get for staying with Hyatt)
  • 2 Hyatt points at restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
  • 1 Hyatt point on everything else

Every year you keep the card you’ll get a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel. You’ll get an additional free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel after spending $15,000 in an anniversary year.

This card comes with Discoverist Hyatt status, which gives you 10% bonus base points per stay, upgrades to a preferred room based on availability at check-in, late checkout when available and more. Plus, you’ll be able to climb the elite status ladder quickly because you’ll receive five qualifying-night credits every year and two qualifying-night credits after every $5,000 you spend on the card.

Read our full Hyatt Credit Card review.

$95

Hyatt has excellent hotels, thoughtfully balanced between value and comfort — and the Hyatt award chart is extremely generous.

A unique perk of using Hyatt points is that you don’t have to worry about blackout dates. If Hyatt is selling a standard room, you can reserve it with points. There are some quirks and exceptions at certain hotels where you’ll inexplicably have difficulty finding available rooms (Andaz Maui). But I’ve found this benefit to be extremely valuable, and squeezed 4+ cents out of my Hyatt points a handful of times.

Hyatt points are the most valuable hotel points you can earn and are typically worth ~1.7 cents each, which makes this card’s bonus worth $850 in Hyatt stays. I’ve used a handful of Category 1-4 Hyatt award night certificates and it’s not hard to book a $150+ night stay. So once you subtract the annual fee you’re getting over $900 in value the first year.

But if you’re making the best use of Hyatt points, it is easy to blow that number out of the water. You can reserve astronomically expensive hotels with Hyatt points, like the five-star Park Hyatt Maldives, for 30,000 Hyatt points per night. Rooms at that hotel can go for $900+ per night.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Best small business credit card for baggage delay insurance

The Chase Ink Business Preferred offers 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Again, we estimate Chase points value to be about 2 cents each. You could quite realistically get more than $2,000 in value from this bonus.

Chase business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report. That means they don’t count toward your Chase 5/24 limit. Opening the Chase Ink Business Preferred won’t limit you from being approved for other valuable Chase credit cards later on.

Delayed baggage benefit: Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to five days. You and your immediate family are covered.

The card also comes with the following coverages:

  • Cell phone Insurance – You get up to $600 per claim in cellphone protection against covered theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly phone bill when you pay it with your credit card.
  • Extended Warranty – When you buy stuff with your card, they add one extra year when the warranty is three years or less. The extended warranty protection is up to the amount charged to your card less shipping and handling fees, with a maximum of $10,000 and no more than $50,000 per calendar year. (Sorry, your business yacht is not covered.)
  • Rental Car Insurance – Rental car insurance is primary when renting for business purposes and you decline the car rental agency’s CDW.
  • Lost Luggage – This benefit covers the cost to repair or replace lost luggage and the personal items inside. You can be reimbursed up to $3,000 per person each trip with a limit of $500 for items such as jewelry and electronics. (So don’t pack your original Picasso.)
  • Trip Delay Protection – If your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours (or requires an overnight stay), you could be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses (meals, lodging, toiletries, medication and other personal use items).

$95

You can’t go wrong with this card. In the absolute worst case, you earn the intro bonus and take home $1,000 minus the annual fee, but it’s easy to get much more value by following our guide on the best ways to use Chase points.

We selected the Chase Ink Business Preferred as our best overall small business credit card because, aside from the huge intro bonus, it also has generous spending bonus categories and great built-in insurances. MMS staff and readers alike have saved by using perks like the card’s trip delay coverage, rental car insurance and cellphone insurance.

This bonus alone is worth:

Read our post on how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

United℠ Explorer Card: Best airline credit card for baggage delay insurance

The United Explorer comes with up to 70,000 Bonus Miles. 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. We estimate United miles value to hover around 1.3 cents each. That means you should have no trouble receiving $910 in value from this bonus.

One of my favorite benefits of the card is that you receive access to more award seats than travelers who don’t have the card. In other words, if you go online to book a seat, you may see plenty of options where others see none.

Delayed baggage benefit: Triggered after 6+ hour delay, $100 per day for up to three days. You and your immediate family are covered.

The United℠ Explorer Card enhances your travel experience in multiple ways with a variety of benefits and perks:

  • Priority boarding
  • 2 one-time United Club lounge passes per cardmember year
  • $100 credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership (you can read about TSA PreCheck versus Global Entry here)
  • Primary car rental insurance when you charge the entire rental to the card
  • The card also comes with trip-delay insurance (when your travel is delayed 12+ hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for expenses like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket)

$95; waived the first year

The United℠ Explorer Card has so many meaningful benefits that it would make sense for almost anyone, regardless of travel goals or styles. Here’s our full review.

This card is well worth the annual fee. If you take two round-trip flights per year with checked bags, you’ll save money by keeping this card. And the lounge passes are a good value , as well — they cost $59 each if you purchase them. Plus, if you use the $100 credit to pay for Global Entry, you’ll come out ahead of the $95 annual fee right from the start.

How we choose the best baggage delay credit cards

Activation

We look at what it takes to trigger each card’s insurance benefits. For example, some credit card baggage insurance only kicks in after a delay of 12 hours or more. The above cards kick in after just six hours.

Maximum insurance value

The more money you can receive from your card issuer, the better. We look at the maximum amount you’ll get from a worst-case scenario. Most of the cards above will give you up to $500 if your bag is delayed five days or more. Other cards cap their insurance at $200 per year.

Other benefits and perks

If you’re looking for a card that covers you for baggage delay, you must be a traveler. We took into account other travel benefits that you might like when putting together the best baggage delay credit cards.

Let us know if your favorite baggage delay insurance card isn’t on this list! And subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card comparisons delivered to your inbox.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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