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4 Tips to Avoid Frustration With a Baggage Delay Claim 

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4 Tips to Avoid Frustration With a Baggage Delay Claim 

Million Mile Secrets4 Tips to Avoid Frustration With a Baggage Delay Claim Million Mile Secrets Team

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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!

Credit Card Baggage Delay Coverage
Bag Delays Are Frustrating! Knowing How Your Credit Card Coverage Actually Works Can Help You Through the 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

Link:   Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards

Link:   Get Compensated for Delays, Lost Luggage, and More With AirCare

You get baggage delay coverage when you pay for your trip with cards like:

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.

Credit Card Baggage Delay Coverage
An Airline Customer Service Representative Will Provide Important Baggage Delay Documentation You’ll Need in Order to File a Claim With Your Credit Card Company

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.

Credit Card Baggage Delay Coverage
If the Airline Reimburses You for Any Essential Purchases Due to a Baggage Delay, You Won’t Get Money Back From Your Credit Card, Even If You Have Coverage

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.

Credit Card Baggage Delay Coverage
Reaching Out to an Airline Through Social Media Can Actually Get You a Response Quicker Than If You Call Them!

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.

Credit Card Baggage Delay Coverage
If You’re Forced to Purchase Toiletry Items While You Wait for Your Bags, Certain Credit Cards Will Reimburse You After a Claim Is Processed

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.

Bottom Line

Certain credit cards come with baggage delay coverage, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige cards.

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?

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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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What if your bag is delayed for 5 days and you have to purchase 5 days worth of clothing? Depending on where you shop that could easily cost more than $500. That amount of money won’t even cover 1 day of replacement clothing for me.

Great information, thanks!

FYI. Just went through this and found out that child diapers are not eligible. Apparently they are akin to baby food, which is not covered either. So the airline will pay for new clothing when my son soils himself, but not for the diapers.

Did you have to submit proof that airline denied to reimburse you?

My airline is neither reimbursing me nor providing the proof that they didn’t reimburse me

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience. That’s disappointing to hear they won’t cover diapers.

What about on a reward flight? For example, if I use United miles to book my ticket and use my Prestige to pay for the taxes/fuel surcharges, will Citi reimburse for delayed luggage? Or does it only apply to paid flights?

Million Mile Secrets

As long as you pay the award flight taxes & fees with your card, you’ll still get the coverage.

It seems useless to buy replacements clothes and not have an appropriate way to get them home. Would a piece of luggage qualify as essential item?

Million Mile Secrets

Great question! It’ll likely depend on the length of time your bag is delayed. You might consider calling the benefits provider to see if a luggage purchase would be covered.