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One of the worst feelings when traveling is waiting at baggage claim and realizing that your bag didn’t make it to your destination. Luckily, there is hope, especially if you have a premium travel credit card. In this post/video, we’re going to explore how to use the credit card baggage insurance benefit.

How does it work?

If your luggage is lost or delayed, you’ll want to first notify the airline of your lost luggage and file a claim at the airport. You’ll want documentation from the airline acknowledging your report and detailing the steps that they are taking. Once you have the documentation, you can purchase what you need in order to get you through the baggage delay. However, you’ll want to keep all your receipts, as you’ll need them later once you file the claim.

The important thing to note is that every card has their own rules around what qualifies as a delay. For example, the Citi Prestige and AAdvantage Executive World Elite only require a delay of three hours for the benefit to kick in. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred require six hours, and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus requires twelve hours. 

What happens if my luggage is completely gone or destroyed?

For situations where your luggage is completely lost or damaged, you will want to do the same thing in terms of reporting it with the airline and getting documentation before leaving the airport. Though for lost luggage coverage, the amounts for reimbursement are generally higher, usually around $2000-$3000 per person. However, there are certain limitations for high-risk items, like electronics, jewelry, and sporting equipment. For example, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred offer up to $3000 in coverage for lost or damaged luggage. However, they will only reimburse $500 for high-risk items like cameras, watches, and jewelry.

Before going on your next trip, you may want to be aware of the timelines and limits for your baggage coverage. I recommend calling your issuer if you have any questions about the coverage. You don’t want to have to search for the information when you’re in the situation.

Tips to Consider

1. Rewards redemptions are usually covered under the benefit:

Travel bookings via rewards redemptions are covered under the benefit. Just make sure you keep any documentation showing that you transferred points or paid any taxes or fuel charges. Even if you only paid a few dollars for your rewards tickets, that should be enough to trigger the benefit and prove that you used the card.

2. Coverage is usually secondary:

Most of these policies are secondary coverage policies. If you purchased a separate travel insurance policy, the credit card benefit will only cover anything over the travel insurance. Also, the issuer will review and consider any compensation from the airline when paying your claim.

3. American Express only covers baggage loss (not delays):

While American Express generally has some of the most generous travel benefits and rewards, they do not cover baggage delays by default. You must purchase the protection separately by calling their customer support before your trip. However, baggage loss or damage is covered.

Final Thoughts

This card benefit is something that you hope you never have to use, but can really help make the situation better. Being able to buy clothes and toiletries while you wait for your luggage can really save the day!

We’re going to continue doing deep dives into some of these common travel credit card perks. We did one recently on trip delays, so check it out for more information. Also, if there is a perk or benefit that you want us to explore or explain, let us know.


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