Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
While having baggage delay coverage is fantastic, it’s important to know exactly how it works. Spending a few extra minutes at the airport can save you lots of time during the claim process!
Million Mile Secrets reader, Shadab, emailed:
I recently filed a claim for a baggage delay because I have coverage with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. I flew on Etihad and my bag arrived 5 days late. Chase has asked me to submit a document from the airline, which I have not been able to receive. Do you have any advice what to do about this document request?
I understand Shadab’s frustration! He has baggage delay coverage with his credit card. But has been unsuccessful in getting payment for his claim.
Things to Know for a Successful Baggage Claim
You get baggage delay coverage when you pay for your trip with cards like:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
In most cases, your bags must be delayed 6+ hours for the coverage to take effect. The exception is with certain Citi cards, which cover you after 3+ hours. That’s why team members Harlan and Jasmin always pay for travel with their Citi Prestige card!
Hopefully you don’t ever have to deal with a baggage delay. But if you do, these tips can help you save time with the claims process or avoid it altogether!
1. Don’t Leave the Airport Without Delayed Baggage Documentation
If your bags don’t arrive in a timely manner after your flight arrival, go directly to the airline’s baggage office. This way you can speak with a customer service representative and get documentation for your baggage delay. The credit card company requires you to provide written confirmation of a baggage delay if you file a claim.
At this point, the airline representative might also have access to track your bags and estimate when they might arrive. And they might explain their policy for reimbursing passengers for purchases they make while waiting for their bag.
2. Try to Settle With the Airline
In general, dealing with insurance companies is never fun. So if you can avoid having to go through the claims process, you might be better off.
With most credit cards, baggage delay coverage is supplemental. This means you’ll only be reimbursed in excess of any money you receive from travel insurance or reimbursement from the airline.
So to have a successful claim with your credit card company, you’ll actually need proof the airline didn’t reimburse you for a bag delay. This is the issue reader Shadab is having.
Many airlines will offer to reimburse you for any essential purchases. For example, team member Keith’s checked bag was once 24 hours late on a trip to New Orleans. He purchased a few essential items because it was an overnight delay. And Southwest later paid him after he sent in receipts.
3. File Your Claim in a Timely Manner
If you decide to file a claim, keep in mind you only have a certain amount of time. Most credit cards give you up to 20 days following a delay.
This means you’ll want to have all of the required documentation in order, so you can help your chances of having the claim approved quickly. This includes:
- Completed claim form
- Copy of your travel itinerary
- Written confirmation of the baggage delay from the airline
- Copy of settlement or denial form from the airline
- Copy of credit card statement showing airfare charge
- Copies of receipts for the purchase of essential items over $25
The 3rd and 4th points are very important. That’s why before you leave the airport you should request documentation from the airline.
Note: Check your credit card’s benefits guide to confirm the timing and required documents for your claim.
If you’re missing documents from the airline and can’t connect with them on the phone, reach out to the airline’s customer service team via email or social media.
4. You’ll Only Get Reimbursed If You Have to Purchase Essential Items
Baggage delay coverage does NOT mean you get paid if your bags don’t show up on time. The coverage is designed to cover emergency purchases while you wait for your bags. So you can pay out-of-pocket for items like toiletries and clothing. Then, submit a claim to get reimbursed.
Most cards come with strict limits for coverage. For example, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the benefit covers up to $100 per day for a maximum of 5 days. And many items are not covered, including:
- Contact lenses, eyeglasses, or hearing aids
- Tickets, documents, money, and checks
- Jewelry and watches
- Cameras, video recorders, cell phones, and other electronic equipment
Many times, this coverage only comes in handy when you’re traveling to a destination and NOT on a return trip home. Because if you’re traveling home, it’s unlikely you’ll have to make any emergency purchases. Unless you don’t have any extra toothpaste at home! 😉
That said, it’s certainly an inconvenience to wait on your bags, even if it’s on a return flight. You can read how team member Keith received a voucher worth 2 free Southwest flights because of a bag delay after his flight home.
But filing a baggage delay claim can be frustrating if you’re not prepared. Because you’ll have to submit documents to the credit card company showing proof of the bag delay and a settlement or denial form from the airline.
That’s why I recommend getting the required documents from the airline before you leave the airport. Spending a few extra minutes at the airport can save you headaches later on.
Remember, baggage delay coverage only reimburses you if you have to purchase essential items like clothes and toiletries. And it’s supplemental, which means it covers anything NOT paid by the airline. So your best bet might be to try to get money back from the airline and avoid having to go through the claims process.
What’s your experience with baggage delay claims?